Rain, visitors, and features

blog post by  Sara N.

We have now had several rain days this field season resulting in either full or partial days not spent excavating units. While we all like a break from the heat and constant sun, I think we are all ready to get back to work and see what bits of the past we can uncover. Our last full day in the field was on Friday, which was also a Friends & Colleagues Day. The rain on Thursday night meant more bailing for the RCARP crew Friday morning, leaving a few units too muddy to excavate further.

Instead we focused on one of the main goals of the project, to share the prehistory of Middle Tennessee with the public. We had four visitors at the site, including Aaron Deter-Wolf and Sarah Levithol from the TN Division of Archaeology, and MTSU Assistant Professor of Nursing Mariesa Severson and her son, future archaeologist, Will Severson.

Will S., aspiring archaeologist, learning how to trowel.

Will S., aspiring archaeologist, learning how to trowel.

 

Will S., learning the basics, like screening for artifacts, with field school student, Clacey.

Will S., learning the basics, like screening for artifacts, with field school student, Clacey.

They all received a tour of the area currently being excavated and a brief summary of what we’ve uncovered about the site in the past four weeks. Then they all spent a few hours getting their hands dirty! Helping screen for artifacts, carrying buckets of dirt, and “schnitting” or removing dirt from the excavation units by lightly scraping a shovel across the surface to slowly reveal any differences in the soil (technically called “features”). Friday was their  lucky day as we began to see a few of these features/soil differences. One unit has a noticeable soil change stretching diagonally across half of the 2 x 2 meter square (pictured below). Another unit has a semi-circular feature visible off of the southern wall, marked by a darker soil color and more gravel, and the outer wall of the half circle is lined with large rocks not present anywhere else in the unit.

Feature