It’s true, most of our attention for the last few weeks has been devoted to the earthwork ditch, where there’s quite a lot of material to excavate! However, we have not left the rest of the site behind, particularly as we approach the end of the season.
Last week, I spent two days back in Unit 3, with its large stratified pits. I collected two different types of samples that will be processed for further analysis. First, I took a series of sediment samples for flotation from a 50×50 square cm column that cut through all identified levels of both pits. Matrix from this”flot column,” which was collected in natural levels, will be run through a tank of moving water. This will not only separate soil from artifacts, but also heavy artifacts (like sherds and flakes) from lighter remains (like seeds and charcoal).
After removing the flot column, I proceeded to take micromorphology samples from several profiles of the unit. Following the advice of geoarchaeologist friend Dr. Sarah Sherwood, I carefully removed cubes of dirt from different layers and at the boundaries of different layers. Soon, we will look at these samples under a microscope to see, among other things, if there are any microartifacts or evidence of weathering between layers that we couldn’t see with the naked eye.
With all of that complete, today we finally finished backfilling and re-seeding Unit 3. For now, our attentions are divided between the ditch (in plan and profile views) and on our Public Archaeology Day. If you find yourself in western North Carolina tomorrow (Saturday, August 20), please join us at the site from 1-3pm to learn more about the project in person. Just get in touch (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you need directions!