Monday, June 2, 2008

Archaeology-Part 1

Whenever I tell people that I am an archaeologist they always ask what I do as such. Well, here it is, with pictures to prove it. This is the field side of archaeology in the southwest.
Most of our projects start with digging lots of backhoe trenches. We then get the pleasure of scrapping down the walls of the trenchs with a shovel to make them nice and smooth. Then we look for changes in the soil, artifacts, or charcoal and ash. These are all indications of human activity.

When we find something we will draw a profile of the different layers of soil. This is a really good example of a Hohokam canal. Typically our features are not this easy to see. The Hohokam built a fairly advanced network of canals to irrigate the area around Phoenix, some of their alignments are still in use today!

This is a picture of seven overlapping canal alignments. We actually got to excavate a portion of three of them. This is what it looked like when we were working on it.

As we dig the dirt we also screen it through wire mesh to look for artifacts. These are some of the crew members who work with me.

I don't really have any pictures of typical artifacts but I will try to get some and post them later. The most common are pieces of broken pottery, and stone artifacts. We don't find arrowheads very often or any gold ever. I also don't know anything about dinosaurs. Josh is the one with the fossils. Some of the neat things we find include rock art. Here are some examples of things we have found.

That's all for today. I will continue with more pictures later.


Anonymous said...

How interesting your job is. I especially loved the pictures. I am so glad that you enjoy what you do and that all is going well. You are terrific. Love MOM

Meghan said...

wow. i actually had no idea hat you did really, before that post. thanks for the education. you really are pretty cool to have such a cool job. i thought only people on movies did that kind of stuff...