Saturday, June 8, 2013

Today we have a guest blogger to give you a student's perspective of our dig ... Anima!

I didn't always wake up at 7:30 every morning without an alarm...but ever since this field school started, I am awake before the alarm starts to blare its upbeat song. A cup of coffee and a hearty bowl of cereal later, I am fully energized. After putting on sunscreen, packing my lunch and water, I am now ready to dig. We get on our Pirate-flagged ship and motor across to the hottest summer destination: Smith’s Island.
This is how our workdays start.
Early morning, Leigh and I are hard at work digging squares,
collecting dirt. 
After docking our boat along the western shore, we carry our tools from the cottage to the work site, which is about 6 to 8 minutes eastward. By now, we have worked on Oven Site for about two weeks. Needless to say, these weeks have been quite intense but gratifying. We have added about seven squares to Oven Site considerably, especially in the northern and eastern directions. In fact, today we opened up two brand new squares, with volunteers working hard to dig through the root-infested dirt down to the more manageable rubble layer. In some units, we have dug more than a foot down, while others require more work. We have also found what looks to be the front wall of the house, beyond which the man-made rubble ends and the natural bedrock continues.
In the farthest square above, the white limestone seen in this picture is actually
where the natural bedrock begins. The edge of the bedrock may mark the
front wall of the house. Also, there is a curious division between the hard, white limestone layer
 and a dirt-filled feature, as seen in this picture.
There is a rather curious feature lining our eastern-most unit, which we cannot say much about. Is it a grave? Let’s hope not. Is it a trash pit? We have yet to explore these possibilities.
       Kristina and I worked on the eastern most square today (N3 E4), which is adjacent to last year’s squares. This particular unit has been a treasure trove of bones, both fish and animal. After today’s dig, however, we have uncovered a decent amount of glassware and some pieces of pottery 
Some of many bones we found today, including some
shards of pottery and glassware.
(Kristina set to cross-mending these pieces immediately, to no one’s surprise!). We have a few more inches to go before we reach the next context layer, however. In fact, the next layer will bring us level with last year’s squares. This is actually quite exciting, as we are ahead of schedule!
Today was an unusually good day, as we had more helping hands than usual! Jason and Alaina first joined us, and then the father and daughter team of Scott and Kelsey Amos lent us their services. Kelsey, at less than 10 years of age, is our youngest volunteer yet!
The father and daughter team - with matching hats, to boot - help us
dig through that stubborn dirt layer.
Not only was she fond of sifting the dirt, but also she had quite a knack for finding bones! I do miss Krystal and Chloe, whose charm and wit never fails to lighten our dig days...also, they feed us great information about Bermudian hotspots, from restaurants to shabby-chic shopping sites.

As for four of us – two veterans (Kristina and Leigh), two newbies (Jonathan and I) – we have had our moments these last two weeks. Everyone agrees, however, that we get a blast from tormenting Kristina about her klutziness. Whether she is sloppily skipping over squares, tripping over branches, or breaking ceramic bowls, she has provided us with much comic relief. Meanwhile, the quiet but hilarious Leigh shared many ideas about an archaeologist wedding cake – layered, and cut with...A TROWEL! Finally, Jonathan has the best t-shirt ideas...I might have to come back to the field school just for the shirts! Did I also mention that Jonathan is rather punny? When he is not being “stumped by roots”, or pondering how best to make use of his “Mega-Trowel”, Jonathan is hard at work battling tree roots to the tune of Jimmy Buffet.
Jonathan soon realized that with great power comes great
responsibilities, as his "Mega-Trowel" soon gave
him quite a case of "trowel hands."

All joking aside, though, everyone here is hard working and enthusiastic, and very deserving of their induction into the mysterious and secret organization known as the “Loyal Order of the Tree Frog” (or some variation of that...Jonathan and I have yet to be inducted, as we must work hard to earn that title!)
        When we are not digging, we are out and about exploring this beautiful island. Dr. Jarvis is rather adventurous – perhaps as much as Ms. Frizzle! We snake our way around mysterious and dark tunnels of Fort Cunningham, walk the shores of Smith’s Island in search of old houses (needless to say, this requires the use of a machete, as Smith’s island is rather overgrown with unruly plants), and snorkel shipwrecks and coral reefs a few miles off the island. Personally, I have explored all of the forts around St. George, rode the (awesome) ferry to Dockyard, wandered Hamilton’s busy streets, snorkeled Bermuda’s shore, swam in the crystal clear waters of Tobacco Bay, and gone (night and day) fishing – for the first time in my life! And while squirrelfish are anything but an ideal catch, it is still an accomplishment! Now if only I could get them off my hook without Dr. Jarvis’s help...
            And so our days go by. I will be sad to leave St. George, but I hope to make the most of my time in the next coming weeks – and who knows, I might be back again very, very soon!

1 comment:

Jordan C. said...

The blog is awesome Dr. Jarvis and crew — I am definitely jealous of all your adventures! That pit below the limestone layer worries me, however, as my recent foray into Zombie literature leads me to believe it was probably a ritualistic burial site for the Living Dead. Good thing you all have sharpened trowels?

Hope your next and final two weeks are a blast!