Field Season: Complete!

Hi all!

Apologies for the lag in posts, but we have been busy wrapping up excavations last week and as expected has been a dash to the finish. The last days at the site were spent intensely exploring the new site in order to get a handle on what exactly is out there, while wrapping up the last couple of test units in the previous sector.

At the moment, we are diving right into lab work (mainly washing artifacts, preliminary¬†cataloging and data entry/database tweaking). As a result, expect lab-related updates in the next few weeks! However, I’ll be putting up some delayed field updates to get everyone up to speed on what exactly we found in the last few weeks. The rest of this post will be exactly that:

In early December we opened up Test Unit 12, located in Sector 2 of the site over a large GPR anomaly located about 40m NE of Test Unit 16, which yielded evidence of a dense community midden deposit complete with much bone, charcoal and ceramics (including plenty of comales). At about 50cm below surface, we noticed an increase in the number of artifacts coming out, followed by an impressive increase in the size of artifacts (in some cases we found at least 50% of some large vessels). As we continued excavating, it became clear that this dense deposit continued very deep, but only in the Eastern portion of the test unit (reaching to about 1.5m below surface!). The Western part of the test unit had some very different and quite complex stratigraphy, with various compact floor/surface like strata interspersed with sandy/gravelly sterile volcanic strata.

Starting at 1.5-1.7m below surface, we encountered artifacts in a strat below a stereile volcanic layer that appears to be precolonial in date, based on the types of artifacts present, and the lack of any assuredly colonial artifacts (an exciting find that feeds the diachronic approach to colonial effects critical to the project).

By the time we finished Test Unit 12, we had recovered a massive amount of colonial artifacts, some almost complete vessels, a couple of groundstone artifacts and plenty of charcoal, lithics, flot and pollen samples. Plenty of artifacts were present in the Eastern profile wall, indicating that this deposit continues of to the East and South (which informed the placement of Test Unit 14 to the South).

In particular, we found some almost complete pitchers (bulbous bottom with a tall neck, the bottom of one and top of other visible in video below) in this profile wall, a rather interesting find as this vessel form is usually encountered only in the colonial period, yet the ceramic type is very similar to the precolonial/local ceramic types identified at the site.

See video below for some more photogrammetry fun, showing two of the pitchers in place in the profile wall of Test Unit 12 (as well as various other artifacts poking out). These vessels are about 2/3 of the way down in the colonial period deposit that reaches very deep in the Eastern portion of Test Unit 12 (officially this deposit is labeled Feature 12).

Pretty exciting to get such great preservation in this midden! Once we get artifacts from Test Unit 12, Feature 12 washed, expect to see plenty of great images of the various artifacts recovered.

Thanks for reading, and more soon!


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