Bags unpacked, refrigerators stocked, trowels and plums in hand… The 2009 Heidelberg University Archaeological Field Crew is in the house!
Like surfers in search of the perfect wave, we arrived this past week from distant, and not so distant places, from California and Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ohio, drawn here by the perfect dig, a site unique in both the richness of its archaeological artifacts and the stories of challenge and hardship they reveal. We have come to the Johnson’s Island Civil War Military Prison site.
|Illustrated here is a map of where we are excavating. Johnsons Island is a reasonably sized landmass just north of the city of Sandusky. Until recently, the only transportation to and from the island was by boat. In the 1970s, a causeway was built to service the quarry.|
Just as was done by our predecessors, JI Field Crew 2009 will be posting a weekly report of our activities on Johnson’s Island over the next five weeks. After much discussion among ourselves, we have decided to take a different approach this year, and depart from the collectively written, itemized accounting of the week’s work (often chock-full of references to “2 x 1 m sections” and the “plow zone subsoil interface”) that has been the norm for field crews over the past few summers.
Instead, the responsibility for reporting each week has been assigned to one of the three “dig teams” into which we have divided ourselves, the better to work the site effectively and to share the workload. This week’s report serves as the “scene setter,” and as such is along the lines of the more traditional collaborative writing approach. Starting next week, however, each weekly report will reflect the individual styles and approaches of those on the dig team who wrote it.
Photos by Juli Six
|The canopy in this photo is designed to protect current excavations from the elements.||Pictured here is our fearless leader, Dr. David Bush.||Tim Connolly sharpens his trowel before digging. The trowel is the key tool in the kit of any archaeologist.|
|A laser level assists us in monitoring the depth of our unit. This helpful device has been nicknamed “the angry bucket.”||The team hard at work.||Hannah excavating.|
|A plastic scoop is used to clear away loose soil.||Tim carefully screening the soil from his unit||Groups C and D searching for artifacts in excavated fill.|
|As we excavate, easily identified artifacts are deposited in a red plastic container.||Features, visual representations of discontinuity in soil composition, are marked with colored push-pins.||A completely outlined feature.|
|A unit’s location in space in time, known as its provenience, is recorded using a dry-erase board.||A properly marked unit, ready to be photographed||Field specimens are bagged and collected on a board for review.|
|The rest of the day’s events are recorded in next week’s post.|
|At regular intervals, artifacts collected are sorted and counted.||Lunch is taken a short distance from the canopy.|