Backfilling Blues

Remember when I said that we’ll be making an effort to get some new material up on this blog in the next little while?  You know, about our field season and research and stuff? Well, that’s still the game plan.  But the other day, as I was looking for good archaeology blogs to follow, I stumbled across Trowels and Trenches, and since then I’ve been quite enjoying reading it – so much so, in fact, that I thought I’d share it with you.  I singled out this particular post because we’re currently in our field season, and I think that it (the post) is a great summary of what we do, even if our processes may differ somewhat. What’s more, the post is witty, which I like.  And by the way – just in case you’re wondering – yes, this piggybacking is partly an attempt to stall and buy more time to organize our thoughts and get some writing done.  Guilty as charged.

Trowels and Trenches

To truly understand the heartbreaking cruelty of backfilling you must first appreciate what a pain in the arse digging a hole, particularly a test pit, is. Test pits require a frustrating amount of planning. First we plan out exactly where it’s going to go, why it’s going to go there, how big it’s going to be and how we plan on digging it. Once all those decisions are made we string it out, we take levels and photographs and then we write notes. Once the digging begins we only take out a small amount of dirt at a time, maybe 5cm (depending on your methodology) and we sieve it all. Once we have finished that 5cm we take more levels to make sure the hole is flat then we photograph and get to taking more notes. When we come across artefacts we record their exact location with more measurements, levels…

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