Yesterday, I casually mentioned the summer I spent digging a hole. Here’s the deal.
I was an Anthropology minor in college. I could also write an entire post about this and how I should’ve become an anthropologist but anyway, Archaeology was a division of the Anthropology department and therefore counted towards my minor.
I’d heard about this field study class where you actually got to dig at a real archaeological site, in exchange for six credits. “Awesome!,” I thought, not considering what this would actually mean.
Long story short, I spent four weeks digging several large holes, five days a week, from 8am to 5pm.
Some tips in case you want to start your own archaeological site:
- Your hole should be one meter by one meter square, dug to a depth of one meter unless you find something interesting at the bottom and then your professor makes you keep digging until the hole is so deep that you need a ladder to get out;
- Use a flat edged shovel so you can meticulously shave the tiniest bit of dirt off in thin layers, so you can document the exact depth at which an artifact or soil feature was found;
- Alternate who gets to pick the radio station, or else you’ll end up hearing Matchbox 20′s “Unwell” so many times that it will still seem played out 10 years later.
We dug at a site about a mile down the road from Binghamton University, in Vestal, NY. Yes that Vestal. As in the Vestal Point?
FYI, those are projectile points, not arrowheads, you fool. Because they might not have all been arrows; they could have been spears or cutting tools or whatever. Now you know.
We also found a bunch of fire-cracked rock (not “crack rock” as people always think I’m saying). FCR is, for lack of a better description, rocks. Big, heavy rocks that we then had to lug out of the forest in buckets everyday.
The good part of our site was that it was in the forest, under tree cover, and therefore not in the hot sun all day. Also we got to be in the newspaper and on the local news. I can still remember the news reporter doing about 7 takes of his crouching by a hole, saying in a very news reportery way:
“We’ll find out what has got these archaeologists…. digging for more.”
Also one time Daddy came to spend a day with the class because he thought it sounded so cool. He loved it. And I loved it, because I got to pawn my manual labor off on him for a day.
I guess, in case you had any Indiana Jones fantasies, you’re a little more informed now?