My third week of digging was very different from my first two. The most notable difference between the week and the previous ones was that it lacked real consistency in terms of my work days and areas. While in my previous two weeks I had been working on a single project for most of the week, my third week had me working in a different area almost every single day. The week offered up both new challenges and new learning opportunities that I don’t think my dig experience would be complete without.
One of the biggest changes in the third week was the people. Many people who I had been digging with previously had only signed on for two weeks and it was certainly weird getting on the bus in the morning without seeing some of the people who I had been working with and getting to know for the previous too weeks. At first many members of the new group seemed distant. Among the new team members were several veteran diggers who were in some ways intimidating. They all seemed to know exactly what was going on in certain sections and many of them were very strongly opinionated about the way that things should be done and how certain finds should be viewed. However, after a couple of days, everybody relaxed a bit and settled in with one another. Although the dynamic of the group felt different, many people were still the same and I began to feel closer to many of them. Some of the new members proved welcome additions and integrated really well. I’ve said it before, but I’m very lucky that I chose this dig. The people on the dig are fantastic and it’s great to see that everybody has really come together.
On Monday, Dr. Mullins took out a drone in order to take aerial video and pictures of our site. Before we took the pictures, we had to remove the shade canopy. This took awhile, but it was totally worth it. Our site just looked incredible opened up to the air. I had never seen it like that and it looked much larger without the shade canopy. After Dr. Mullins Photographed every square using both the drone and his camera, we had to put the shade cloth back up. This was fairly difficult, but proved to be a fun piece of teamwork.
I started the week off working with one of the dig supervisors and one of the new people. Together, we were able to cover a large area and did a really great job with it. However, both of my dig partners were working at an amazing pace, and I often found myself a step behind. It just goes to show the value of experience in the field. As a result of their pace, I actually spent a bunch of time lugging buckets and dumping wheelbarrows. It was hard work, and I actually enjoyed it. However, in the process of lifting, I strained a muscle that had been acting up in my right hand and I decided that I couldn’t finish working that day.
Wednesday was my first office day. I knew that it would be a nice change of pace to take one, and I also knew that it would definitely be beneficial to my hand if I took a break from digging for at least a day. An archaeology office isn’t like most offices. It’s much more fun than normal offices are, but they also require hard work to function. My office day began with a much needed sleep in until 6:30. Following that I proceeded to the office where I was given a bag of bones and told to wash them. Bone washing is kind of fun because you realize at some point that you’re handling the bones of animals that have been dead for 3000 years. It’s also interesting to learn about the various kinds of bones. At one point, we found fish bones from the Nile which was really cool to see because it was further direct evidence of trade between our site and Egypt. I washed bones for a couple of hours until I was given my next job. I next had to label pottery…but my handwriting was too bad for that so I was instead told to organize the pottery bags and to put them into boxes. This work was nice and quiet and I quite enjoyed doing it. The best part of the office day though was certainly the ice cream run. By the time we got back from that, it was time for lunch and the rest of the day proceeded as it normally would.
On Thursday when I got back, I was assigned to my own area. I had been working on Monday and Tuesday in a rather cramped area, and my supervisor agreed that I needed to be moved somewhere else. The square I was given was rather small, but as a result of its small size, I was able to go down quite a bit. Working alone was very nice and meditative. The coolest find that I had while working in that tiny square was a series of bones embedded in the wall. These bones were all fairly large and were embedded deeply into the wall. Another fun bit of my new area is that I got to remove several stones. I love moving stones…so it was perfect. I finished my assignment and I got back to my assisting role the next day.
While the week for me was pretty standard in terms of finds, my Area actually produced some interesting finds. At the beginning of the week with the new team members, we opened up a new square within our area. After our new team members had dug down for awhile they came upon the top of a pot of some sort surrounded by stone circles. As they dug down deeper, they uncovered more and more of the pot and it was revealed that the entire pot was buried in the ground. There are other sites that have this feature, but there are many theories for why some vessels were sunk into the ground and none of them are really conclusive. However, after sending some soil samples to our metallurgical archaeologist, she revealed that the sample that she took was full of bronze and iron. After further finds in the area it seems as though we have discovered a piece of metal industry.