A student’s take on GCAP

(Today’s blog post comes direct from Sophia Reini, a University of Michigan undergraduate enjoying her first foray into the field…)

Thus far my experience on the Garden Creek Archaeological Project has been intellectually stimulating and tremendously enjoyable. Up until this point I have never been part of a dig. I have learned everything from troweling, screening, and mapping, to taking C14, flotation, and micromorphology samples.

Sophia (left) and Jess (right) mapping some of the posts following the removal of the first zone of fill in the earthwork ditch.

One thing I have been working on a lot since I have been here is the 5×3 meter unit that has been placed over a massive ditch. I first started by helping Alice and Jess clear off the entire plow zone layer from this unit. Next we clean scraped the whole thing Jess and I began to map out the post hole, pits and the ditch. We were able to identify these features by simply looking at the differences in the colors and textures of the soil.

5 meters of the earthwork ditch excavated to the base of the first of three zones of fill. The top of the next zone is very similar to the clay subsoil, but with a lot more charcoal and burned clay, among other artifacts. We think the vertical columns of rock (which continue into the next zone) are rock-filled postholes.

What I have been working on rigorously the last few days has been the ditch itself. With Jess and Alicia, I have been scraping out the dark top layer of ditch fill to reveal the yellow soil beneath it. I have found this part of archeology very meticulous but exciting! We have been careful in leaving the clumps of rocks we have been finding in the center of the ditch because we believe them to be postholes that were filled up with rocks. Also I have been finding many long sheets of mica and some fairly good size pieces of ceramic.

Ditch-level view of the line of rock filled postholes (at least, that's our current interpretation).

On Friday, we started to dig out the second layer of fill in the ditch. This layer is more yellow in color and has massive amounts of charcoal and daub mixed in with it. Also, another rock cluster at the north end of the unit has been uncovered, and it looks similar to ones found in the first later of fill. We have gotten a lot done with this layer in the last two days alone and should finish soon.

Alicia, Jess, and Sophia starting to remove the second zone of ditch fill.

Overall I have enjoyed myself tremendously and will be sad to leave the wonderful weather and dig site behind. I cannot wait to get back to Ann Arbor and start working with Alice in analyzing of the data we have collected thus far so that we can have a better understanding for what this site was used for.

About sophiareini

I am an undergrad at the University of Michigan working on a double in major in Classical Archaeology and Anthropology.
This entry was posted in Excavation, Features, Mapping, Students. Bookmark the permalink.

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