By Melissa Lewis
Photo: Student field tech Melissa excavating.
Waking up this morning, I could barely see anything outside of my tent. A thick layer of fog lay stagnant in the valley below us, and most of us packed our sweatshirts in our day packs, unsure about what the weather was going to be like for the day. As we were packing up and preparing to leave camp, Dusty introduced us to his friend Tim, a Cabrillo College Archaeology Technician alumni, who along with Erin, are our designated crew chiefs for the rest of the week. Before we left camp, Dusty discussed the importance of not only making sure we’re doing everything correctly with excavating, perfecting our methods and our techniques, but also developing our own interpretations this week. He stressed taking into account all of the readings we’ve been doing, all the artifacts and ecofacts our field school has observed, in preparation for our discussion Thursday night.
The weather cleared up, and by 9 o’clock, my team, made up of three other individuals, finished up our 40-50cm level. Before lunch, we managed to finish the 50-60cm level, and with working through lunch, we completed the 60-70cm level. Most of what we’d been finding in our unit before today, consisted of chert flakes, some obsidian, and saucer shaped Olivella shell beads. Our team worked well together, switching off between 1/8 inch screening, excavating, finishing the control unit (CU) paperwork and labeling our bags correctly. I was screening as we finished the 40-50cm level, and all of a sudden, I caught a glimpse of obsidian. In the first week of excavating, I found multi-colored chert flakes, quartz flakes, and historic artifacts, but I had yet to find any obsidian. I pulled out an intact contracting stem point, a projectile point with a later date than the desert side notched points we’d previously found in the site, worthy of hydrating during lab week. Before lunch, members from the Santa Cruz Archaeological Society came to visit our site and lend us support.
After lunch, our unit turned up less charcoal than we had previously, and our soil changed in color and texture. We continued to find faunal bone fragments, some fire affected and some not, and a broken saucer-shaped Olivella shell bead. We’re hoping to get down to sterile tomorrow, so we have time to column sample, side-wall profile and backfill, all before Friday. Before leaving the site, we did “data control” and did a count of all of our unit bags to make sure our paperwork and data corresponded, an important aspect to fieldwork.