This dig isn't like the archaeology I did just a few weeks ago in Springfield, Illinois. That ws diggin small holes all over the place (in a controlled manner) and looking to see if anything was there. This dig is knowing there is stuff there and trying to find as much as we can before a road goes through. This dig is more like what you're using to seeing on t.v. But, Gentle Reader, Archaeology isn't as glamorous as t.v. would lead you to believe. Most people employed in this field are doing manual labor all day, myself included. There is a lot of shoveling, but not the kind you might think. We don't just shove it into the ground and pop out some dirt. We dig in 10cm levels and that is skimmed with a sharpened shovel.
|This is our unit at 10 cm deep.|
It takes quite a while to dig, but it sometimes takes more time to look through all of that dirt. At this site, we're digging 2x2 meter holes. Someone with math skills can figure that out, I'm sure. It's a lot of dirt to push through a 1/4 inch mesh screen. And the ease of pushing it through has to do with how wet the dirt is, what type it is (sand, silt, silt loam, clay, clay loam, silty clay loam), the type of the screen, and the sturdiness of the screen.
|Shaker Screen, not someone I know|
That's what we're using. So, imagine it's lying on the ground, you dump a bucket of dirt in. That bucket weighs about 40 pounds. You learn ways to lift the screen. Then comes the fun part: you shake it back and forth about 20 times. Some dirt will fall out, maybe, like, 10%. The rest of it you have to shove through with your hands. You do this pretty much all day. It's hard on all the body parts: hands (skin and muscle), wrists, back, arms. But what you might not expect is the pain in your thighs. You see, you have to rest the screen somewhere in order to push the dirt though, so you'll just put it on your thigh. I have bruises after two days.
|This is from my dig. See how she's got that thing propped on her leg? That's what I'm talking about.|
Of course, most of you ask, "Did you find anything!?" Yes. We sure did. In two days my unit, which is now 50 cm deep, has found, in total, 5 pieces of beer bottle glass, 2 rusty wires, and a large tarp.
The next thing you might ask is, "What are you looking for?" I'll tell you, "anything we find." But if you really want to know, the site is Archaic. We look for points, flakes, and features. There. Now you'll never be interested enough to ask again.
I love working outside. I love sweating for my money. I like meeting new people and seeing new places. In a way, I feel like part of me is being reborn.
In another, more important way, I fucking miss my kid. He's not here. I'm not there. I've been gone just a few days. I try to remind myself that I'm doing this for him; if I have money to live, he has money to live. We're still paying for daycare. He still has bills. I still have to adopt him. There is good news, too. I'm not that far from home, so I can see him every weekend. It's not close to enough. I hate not being there. I feel like I'm missing everything, like he'll never forgive me for being gone.
I have teaching applications in. I'm hoping one calls soon, interviews me, and gives me job. I hope that job pays enough for me to be at home with Cyrus.
Right now, propped up in a hotel bed, my back aching, I feel like that might never happen. Like I've never had all that at the same time.
But tomorrow is another hot day and another level of dirt to sift through.