What a change from earlier in the week. Monday and Tuesday topped out in the low 90s. Today never made it out of the 50s! It was a welcome break from the heat, though we did get rained on throughout the day.
Remote sensing crew and field assistants huddle under the MTSU Blue Raider tent during one of the momentary downpours.
Magnolia Valley received well over 8 inches of rain yesterday — judging by the overflowing rain gauge on the property. We headed into the field knowing the grass would be wet and the soils saturated. We didn’t know several of our Shovel Tests would be written off due to standing water!
The survey crew spent all day in Area E — a gently sloping part of the valley. We had 26 total shovel tests to excavate there today, which isn’t that many to a seasoned survey crew, but proved an interesting learning experience for the students. Screening wet silty loam is not a big deal, but once that loam transitions to clay, well, it is like trying to push wet play-doh through a kitchen colander. Not many artifacts were recovered from this area, which means we will likely not come back here when we start actual excavations.
Shovel Test with standing water.
MTSU Anthropology major Sara N., screening very wet clay soil.
Today we had our first formal visitors to the field school! Dr. Mark Byrnes, Dean of Liberal Arts, and Dr. Karen Petersen, Associate Dean of Liberal Arts at MTSU drove out from campus to check out how our first week is progressing. I was happy to report that we have completed shovel testing in two main areas of interest and collected remote sensing data on a large chunk of a high priority area.