Saturday, July 21, 2012

Feature dissection and other 9th-week activities

Brooke and Wesley dissecting wall trenches in Area C.
Our ninth week is over, and only one week remains in the 2012 field season at Mission Escambe.  This week has seen a variety of activities, ranging from the careful dissection of intersecting wall trenches and other pit and trench features, the backfilling of a number of excavation units, a visit to UWF's Campus field school at the Thompson's Landing site, and a frustrating number of rainstorms at all hours, including more crew drenchings.

Four-way dissection of intersecting wall trenches.
Dissections of multiple features and feature sections.
The eight north-south wall trenches that are now known to intersect our 13-meter-long east-west wall trench in Area C represent quite a puzzle, and this week we finally began dissecting the intersections with two of these features.  This type of excavation is very intricate, involving the excavation of multiple and crossing bisects through the middle of each trench in an effort to discover whether one trench cut through the other (and if so which), or whether both were in use at the same time (which would be unlikely).  The pictures posted above and below here illustrate the complexity of this type of feature excavation, though this doesn't even begin to show the amount of paperwork and maps and individual provenience bags and tags that must be filled out for each and every section as excavation progresses.

Profile shot of excavated deep wall trench.
By week's end, however, two of these north-south trenches are showing signs that they may be two parallel walls of the same structure.  They are parallel and just over 7 meters apart from one another, and both are deep and flat-bottomed and filled with darker fill than the shallower east-west trench they intersect.  They also both seem to show a possible intrusive shallow upper trench within their fill, marked by thin layers of waterlain sand at the top (see photo just above).  This conclusion is preliminary, but we should know more next week before we have to conclude all excavations and backfill our remaining units.

A few additional shots of people and artifacts follow.

Michelle documents some water damage from a massive storm.
Incised rimsherd found within a shallow feature.
A good argument for fine-screening: bits of majolica glaze.
Brooke pouring backfill into a lined unit.
A visitor to the site: a "lubber" grasshopper.
Dr. Gougeon explains his excavations at Thompson's Landing.

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