Monday, June 3, 2013

May 30: Signs of Life, by Nolan Russert

And so it began, another beautiful day in the Tennessee backcountry at archeological site 40WG11. The temperature has been fairly mild for late May, but today was one of the warmest we have had so far.  The day began with each team continuing to dig further in the soil hopefully to uncover more artifacts.

Most teams were on their second and third levels, which is approximately 20-30cm below the present-day surface.  All of the excavation pits are located on the north and northeast side of the cornfield, not far from the swift-moving Nolichucky River.  The backdirt piles began to accumulate as we reomoved more and more earth.  The main process that occurred today after removing all of the soil was water screening.  The soil is put into a windowscreen mesh, and a water pump pulls water from the river to wash the soil.  The soil is placed in the screen and through the process of continual water movement and the students' pushing it through with their hands, the loose soil is washed away, leaving behind artifacts caught in the screen. Today, we discovered many pottery sherds.  As we dig deeper and continue to water screen hopefully more artifacts are found to give us further knowledge of Spanish contact in east Tennessee!

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