A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America
Over the past week-and-a-half Maura, Alyssa, and Chris have been hard at work in the lab, finishing up the work of the first field session and preparing for the second.
We continued the tedious process of washing, drying, and
recording artifacts. Once again, clam and oyster shells were the big
winners in terms of sheer quantity. Ceramics, pipe fragments, and marbles
also enter the mix.
There were no surprises. The hot, humid weather did
nothing to help the process along. Artifacts that absorb water (bone,
brick, shell, etc.) don't fully dry in this weather, so we did not
accomplish as much as we'd hoped to; with limited drying space, we can't
begin washing a new batch until the first batch dries. We only got
through the objects from 15% of the units we excavated. And until we've had
a look at the rest of our finds, we can't get to the exciting part of lab
work: examining artifact densities, comparing types, looking for patterns,
and so on.
Laboratory work doesn't produce the quick and easy "wows" of fieldwork. It
is said that for every four weeks of digging in the field you're going to
spend at least 6 months in the lab decoding finds. The mood in the lab this
week was one of disappointment. We'd hoped to accomplish so much more. Still, you haven't lived until you've watched clam
As of Wednesday, July 7, we're back in the field. After this mind-numbing
week, we're eager to hit the trenches and will even be happy to face what
the media is billing as "New York's Deadly Heat Wave."
Discussion Question: Once the artifacts are cataloged, what issues can we begin to address?
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