Saturday, May 31, 2014

Blister Week Ends

The first week of any dig is "blister week," wherein students discover (sore) muscles they never knew they had and get blisters on soft hands that hitherto had mostly swiped Ipads and typed on laptops. Next week those blisters turn into callouses as using trowels becomes second nature - and proud badges of hard work.

The great enthusiasm has continued and we are progressing at a clipping pace. Yesterday was a day off for all, which students spent venturing into the bright lights of the big city of Hamilton or on the beach. We capped it off with a pizza/movie night (Jurassic Park, which Jim chose/made us watch) up at the Police Barracks - amazing surround-sound in the lounge. But today was back to business...

For me, today started at 3am when squally rain pounding on my window snapped me awake and sent me out to check on the boat (safely safe!), but said rain stress-tested our tarp on the site and we spent the first half hour bailing out "Lake Luke.

After that, we had a very important meeting - to divide the students between Team Jim and Team Leigh! I'm trying a pedagogical experiment in this year's field school based on recent digital history, video games and education (Jane McGonigal, James Paul Gee) readings by "gamifying" the curriculum. Students can earn points throughout the five weeks by demonstrating proficiency in field and lab skills, doing a variety of historical research and historical architecture computer modeling projects, exploring the Bermuda of today, and picking up new skills (boat handing, ichthyology, etc.). This approach allows everyone to make measurable progress throughout the dig, get constant useful feedback, and encourages them to try new things while also sidestepping the frankly artificial evaluation method of a high-stakes final exam. And individual achievement matters collectively, since on Fridays the total scores of the students on Team Jim and Team Leigh will be compared and the victor earn GELATO at Wahoos! (and if you've never had Wahoo's gelato, you underestimate how powerful a motivator this is.) So look for a winner to be announced this Friday.
 The hat that Alice (center, red shirt) is wearing may LOOK like an ordinary hat, but it's really a Sorting Hat for Carter's Island of Mischief and Misery - and put her in Team Leigh, along with Kelsey, Luke and Sam M. Team Jim's Five (Andrew, Ashley, Judd, Mimi, and Sam O.) are going to be tough competition, though. May the Odds be Every in your Favor!
On Days 2 and 3, we got the new lateral trench (to determine Oven House's length) laid out and are now down through two layers to 19th-century agricultural and quarry rubble deposits.
Ashley's creative use of a bucket
The new trench
Jim balances on a bucket to take a photo

 Alice, Mimi, Luke, Kelsey, and Sam M also recorded the profile of the long 2012-2013 trench.

The most noteworthy find of today was in Andrew and Judd's unit - the northeast corner of Oven House, which lines up nicely with extant wall cuts. It also appears that we have a nice, undisturbed 17th-century yard layer just a few inches below the surface which corresponds to the interior packed earth floor, some two feet below it. While artifacts have been sparse in the interior floor layer, we expect them to be more numerous in sheet refuse deposits outside near the house walls. Time will tell!
Mimi contemplates the Mystery Feature
Sam and Andrew


Judd, Andrew and Leigh
Luke, Mimi, Ashley, Kelsey, and the Sams

1 comment:

Sams Mom said...

Love the updates,and the pictures! Every one is working so hard and having fun at the same time. Take care of my kid!!!LOL