Field School: Weeks 3 & 4

In Week 3 we became noticeably better at picking out which objects were artifacts, although not necessarily at knowing what they were.  We opened a couple of new squares, with my group starting on a new unit one square away from our first one.  It too was full of gravel, but not so bad on the roots since it wasn’t next to a tree.  We learned the art of schnitting, a technique of removing soil little by little using a shovel to scrape away the top layers very quickly. We found a few small pieces of various types of artifacts mixed in with the pebbles, but we were really looking for a modern pipe trench that was mapped in adjacent squares and finally found it on Saturday.  We took a tour of the nearby Spray Plantation and Brome Howard Inn to look at the architecture and check out one of the original slave quarter buildings that used to sit near where we are digging right now.  It was a sobering experience to stand in that tiny building and try to imagine living there with 7 or 8 other people.

Week 4 was my turn for a lab rotation – basically scrubbing dirty chunks of brick and coal all day.  I did enjoy cleaning glass though, it’s pretty and it’s one of the only things we have that really gets clean!  It was interesting to get an idea of how the lab setting works and what materials require different handling, but I’d rather be out in the field.  This past week we also survived our midterm artifact identification test, I haven’t gotten my grade yet but I think I did fairly well.

In my wanderings around campus I discovered a bunch of forts in the woods, including one tiny fairy village made of pebbles and twigs, and a turtle in the science building.  It was so hot one day that I decided to walk through the building instead of around it so I could have a few minutes of air conditioning and spent a few minutes with Izzy the diamondback terrapin.  At first I thought she liked me, but then I realized that she just thought I was going to feed her.  I visit her a couple times a week anyway.

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