The crew of the Garden Creek archaeological project doubled in size during our fifth week in the field, and what with additional trips to the airport and grocery store, there was little time for blogging. However, there was plenty of time (and man/woman-power) for fieldwork, which I’ll try to summarize on our day off.
Shaun and I spent most of the week working in Feature 1. Thanks to a freshly cleaned 80 cm deep profile (and some helpful photos from Dr. Larry Kimball), we were able to determine that the feature is actually a pit. It consists of several layers of fill that were dumped in over time, some of which included charcoal, daub, and artifacts. Conversely, the thick blanket of charcoal at the bottom of the pit was more likely the result of an in situ burning event that also burned the clay floor and walls of the pit.
After identifying these layers in the profile, we excavated the remaining exposed portions of the pit according to their natural stratigraphy. Shaun spent a lot of time cleaning the fired clay pit walls — a painstaking but worthwhile task. Now, all that’s left to do is scrape the pit walls and floors across these units for a photo, collect a column of sediment for flotation, and backfill.
Meanwhile, Erika finished her excavation of the pit in Unit 5. It was much smaller than Feature 1, but it contained several large Connestee potsherds. We look forward to comparing the artifacts from this pit (Feature 5) to those from Feature 1 and from pits in the mound, to determine if different activities or patterns of refuse disposal were occurring in different places.
Last but not least, in Unit 4, we continued our investigation of the midden. By Friday afternoon, all of the feature fill had been removed and screened, yielding several bags worth of sherds and other artifacts. Tomorrow, we will get final photos of the unit and excavate the line of seemingly rock filled postholes just east of the midden.
In addition to finishing up Unit 4, we’ll also be starting the trench through the possible earthwork ditch tomorrow. Luckily, for the next few weeks we have plenty of hands to complete it!