Cabrillo College Archaeology Field School, Day 18 – July 7, 2010

By Mark Vedros, Jr.

Photos: Student field tech Mark accurately measuring elevation of a control unit (top), Dusty and Tim Gross supervising (center), and Arch. Tech. alumni Tim working with student field tech Lauren on a unit (bottom).

Well, the day started with the standard routine of a 6:00 a.m., waking-up, preparing the day’s lunch (turkey sandwich), and stuffing my face with breakfast (a turkey sandwich for breakfast—that varies though). I also attempted pressure flaking on an already flaked fragment of chert before leaving camp to complete control units (CUs) on Tim Gross’s layout near central camp. Tim brought quite an array of flaking stones, accumulating a seeming “Archaeology Playground” the day before with his various specialized tools, e.g. – deer antlers (for said pressure flaking).

Upon arriving at our site of excavation I and the other members, begin finishing level 7 (60 – 70 cm) of our unit. Stephen Henneck and I were the primary “shovels” of the CU, taking it to a depth of 90 cm before it was terminated due to encountering bedrock in level (80 – 90cm) and in the previous level (70 – 80cm). A possible scraper, two chert flakes and several bone fragments were observed in our 9th level (80 – 90cm); however, due to the encompassing bedrock it was determined that there location was likely to be the result of bioturbation, given their placement.

We completed 3 10cm levels total today, generating one obsidian flake, one fractured hand stone and 4 chert flakes at a depth of 60 – 70cm. One chert biface, multiple chert flakes and bone/charcoal fragments were found at a depth of 70 – 80cm. Level 9, 80 – 90cm, produced the above-cited scraper, chert flakes, and bone fragments.

A unit profile was also completed as Stephen Henneck measured layers while Dawn Johnson profiled the east side wall. Four distinctive layers presented themselves: The first (closest to the surface) consisted of midden and silty loam soils; in the second, caliche inclusions appeared in loam; in the third, silty sandy loam were present; and the fourth (the deepest) included decomposing rock within the bedrock, among other numerous features within the soil deposits (color, other texture/changes, etc).

Stephen Henneck displaced a root that was 91.5cm or 3ft. long, 7cm wide, 18cm in diameter, that extended from our southeast wall edge to the northwest perimeter via handsaw at depth: 70 – 80cm (ya go my shirtless friend : ).

Column soil samples are on top for Thursday and Friday for units that have reached sterile. As we near the end of an awesome field experience, having Mark Hylkema as well as Tim Gross readily accessible for their input and advice has been quite a treat indeed.

Mike Newland’s delicious feast and career-oriented lecture last night (Wednesday evening) was an illuminating light down the tunnel so to speak. He talked about subjects ranging from CRM vs. academic archaeology, ethics with regard to Native American Culture, and work ethic, to the plausible dynamics of personal relationships within archaeology (quite full-circle).

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