Friday, November 02, 2007

This year has definitely been a huge introduction into real archaeology. Don’t get me wrong, reading all the books and taking the intro courses gave me an idea of what was in store, but until I completed a field school and started delving into the research behind all the glory (yeah, I’m a geek), I had no idea what I was getting myself into. This summer I headed to the Atlantic to dig in Matilda Gage’s backyard and recover anything pertinent to an understanding of her household before the planned woodshed was built that would ultimately preserve but hide anything we may have missed. This site is a major aspect of Kim’s dissertation and has similarities to the Cheney House in that they both were strong female activists who mainly worked on a public sphere in their own homes. While Ms. Cheney’s yard hasn’t yielded the amount of artifacts as Ms. Gage’s has, it is upon washing and labeling in the lab that the commonalities in recovered objects begin to exhibit themselves. And though we haven’t been digging on an 8-4 daily schedule like the summer, you can find us every Tuesday from 9-2, coming in and out as class allows, and leaving with enough grime to have to explain ourselves to anyone coming within several feet (I should actually start speaking in metrics just to stay consistent with the field). This is probably the last leg of the excavation work, and my walls are just starting to get really nice and straight. But I definitely recommend anyone with a curiosity in real archaeology to stop by. There’s always something to learn: standardizing soil color, measuring depth with those amazing bubble levels, and though it only makes an occasional appearance, standing incredibly still with my friend the plumb-bob.

Jessica Merizan


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