what do archaeologists do.....
when they're not getting tied up
being chased by huge boulders
or cracking their bullwhips?
we ordinary non-cinematic archaeology types do more mundane things.....
like take samples of dirt from each locus
and record it using a munsell soil chart
if we find a large object broken into numerous pieces, such as this storage jar - called a pithos - we number the pieces before excavating it so the folks in the lab will have an easier time piecing it together.
we take photographs of any major find, as well as photos of each trench at day's end (and hope to goddess we don't fall off the ladder when we have to stand at the very top and the wind is blowing - this is as close to indy's level of action as i get)
we record everything that is going on in the trench - we make sketches of every find and locus (distinct areas within the trench) as well as record soil samples. we also keep lists of everything that is bagged, including pottery, soil, bone and shell, botanical remains, charcoal, changes in the soil color, composition, and if we're lucky, note any architectural features
pottery and most other finds get bagged in plastic and tagged with those shown below, but fresco and other plaster as well as special finds (intact pots, coins, figurines, etc.) each get stored in a foil tin.
whenever a locus is opened and closed, and for every significant find, an elevation reading is done, using the stadia rod and target (shown below)
which picks up the light from the laser level - a little thing that looks like R2D2 - (still in its box) is installed on top of the tripod - here's one of my fellow supervisors setting it up first thing in the morning
sometimes we take pictures of cool bugs that land near our trench
or objects we find, such as this base of a stemmed cup
intact bowls which we hope to excavate.........intact
or of our team having fun
we take time during the day to consult with the boss
or work in the 'office'
(do you like what i've done with the place?)
so while the life of an ordinary archaeologist is not as dramatic as indy's, we have as much excitement as we can handle!
the dig wound up several weeks ago, but it's been a busy summer and i'm just getting around to posting about it. because we have uncovered so many artifacts, including major architecture, it is important to take time off to publish the finds. as such, next year is a study season, and digging will resume once that is completed.
until then, my work shoes (and bullwhip ;-) are on vacation.....
top 3 photos courtesy of Google images