And a beautiful day it was. But the hot sun and clear blue skies comes at a price – a price paid in sweat and thirst. Loose, dry dirt quickly coated clothes and skin, but it’s all a regular part of the job, as the new hands quickly learned.
Everyone worked hard excavating in the areas that were deturfed yesterday. At the rear of the dunes down towards the creek, the majority of the team tackled EA69. Further up the hill, Louise and a small team of 2-3 students began excavating EA70, a small area of erosion where material was exposed.
The goal for the day at EA69 was to strip back the dark grey topsoil layer (exposed by deturfing) down to the next layer down. All 86 square metres of it! Queue 30 or so trowels, coal shovels, buckets and knee pads. Two sieve tripods were also set up at either end of the excavation area. A sizeable portion of the topsoil layer was removed by the end of the day. A bucketful of stone artefacts (mostly obsidian, with some chert and basalt) was found, along with many more small fragments in the sieve. Fire-cracked rock was also fairly common.
As usual, the survey team of Josh and Patricia was on hand to record the locations of all artefacts and sample areas with the new Trimble total station.
Another aspect of field work is not only the actual excavation, but also the download of data in the evenings. I personally am involved with the photograph download. This involves obtaining copies of all of the photographs taken with our cameras, renaming them with unique ID numbers and describing them in the photograph database. This is an important task as the photographs are a valuable visual record of our fieldwork (once the sediment and artefacts are removed, we can’t return them to their original context!). The ultimate goal is to have a single photographic database spanning the entirety of the project, one which can be searched and queried, making it easy to find any photo that has been taken.
In all, it was a solid first full day of excavation, and a good introduction to archaeology for the students. Everyone indulged in a well-deserved swim on return from the field, and as I write are now shovelling (pun intended) down some tasty BBQ and potato salad, replenishing the energy reserves for tomorrow.