Today, we showcased our hard work for the past five weeks. With topics ranging from zooarchaeology, comparative analysis of Tibetan and Hopi Culture, to cacao beans in Mesoamerica everyone’s topic was in-depth and interesting.
After the presentations, Susan and the group went over careers in archaeology and a recap of the field school
I can’t believe that the field school is over. Time went by so quickly. Congrats to everyone to officially graduate from the 2017 field school.
We started out our last day in the lab with a lecture on ornaments from Kari. Ornaments are items such as pendants, necklaces, bracelets, and ear spools. They are made from different materials such as shells, stones, and a combination of both items. After the lecture we then proceeded to identify and measure ornaments from some of the different sites Crow Canyon has worked on. Later on in the morning we moved out to the back patio to make our own ornaments. This process gave us a unique perspective on how much intricate detail went in to the production of pendants, bracelets, and beads.
While we ate lunch we had a brown bag forum with our Native American Scholar in Residence Jon Byrn. He gave us a lecture on Decolonizing Anthropology. After the lecture we returned to the lab to take float samples for the remainder of the afternoon. We wanted to thank Kari and the rest of the Lab Staff for the remarkable job they did in putting together a informative and enjoyable experience, while we were at Crow Canyon field school.
The last two days we have been finishing up our excavation work, which has been really crazy. Yesterday, Monysha found half of a turquoise bead, and another student found some jet and another projectile point. I found a bunch of pottery, none of which fit together (not that I expected it to). The heat was unbearable, it was near one-hundred and apparently nearby planes were not okayed to take off as it was too hot. What was really awesome was that there was this nice crisp breeze that would cut right through our site which honestly felt like it was heaven sent. After excavation we went to our nightly lecture which was really interesting as it was on ethics, which I absolutely cherish the fact that we have. As a lot of field schools do not teach this, and I feel that it is really important to have these kinds of lessons in this field.
Wednesday, we also worked out in the heat, except there were some righteous clouds for us. Our unit has this amazing little applet tree (that shielded us from the sun) which I have honestly grown to cherish (I probably would have used another bottle of sunscreen if it wasn’t for the tree!). The wind was even more intense today, and the clouds rolled over the mountains; all of which made me feel like I was back home in Washington. Getting acclimatized when I go home is going to tough, I can already feel it. After our last day of excavation we all went to Sonic as a treat, which really, really confused me. I had never really gone to a Sonic before, and the drink and food menu was extremely overwhelming. That being said though it was a really nice way to end our field work!
Today was our last Friday surveying in the field with Grant. It started fairly normally where for the morning we had our breakfast at around 7:30 and waited on the porch or in the cafeteria for Susan, John and grant to tell us what we were going to be doing for the day. This time we had Justin Lund to accompany us on our survey.
We loaded up into the white and the red vans with Matt Jones giving the white van a surprise by riding with us today and participating in the practice of sharing our dreams from the night before, started by Monyssha. Along the way to our site we were listening the radio and looking out into the fields. Matt J. mentioned that he was looking for a house that had an old buggy out in the front that he might like to buy.
After getting to the site, unlocking the gate and stopping along the dusty road that goes through the property, we formed up into our survey line. As usual, we had difficulty keeping the line straight but we covered a lot of ground on the property. We reached one of the property lines and then swiveled around and walked back towards the vans. We noticed a mound on a ridge that we would come back to after lunch.
For lunch we drove up to an open garage that the property owners graciously allowed us to use. After having some sandwiches for lunch (and getting chased by bees!) we packed up and went back down to the road. At the road we lined up in a survey line again and walked until we came to a ridge on the property. We started noticing pottery sherds and debitage everywhere. We were calling out finds until Grant told us to start marking diagnostic artifacts like pottery with paint still on it in recognizable patterns.
Grant decided that we had found a site based on the artifact density as well as the presence of a mound with sandstone chunks in linear patterns on the top of the ridge. We were then divided into groups that were to designate the site boundary. After placing all of our flags (and having to move them many times) we began to map the site with both hand-drawn maps and a trimble GPS. My group, after setting up the site boundary also filled out the site forms.
After discovering a new site, our group lined up in survey formation and walked back to the vans where Grant noticed another mound that the group also began marking with flags. We talked a bit at the end especially because it was our last survey day and then loaded up into the vans and headed back to Crow Canyon.
Every Thursday is a lab day, and each day focuses on a range of topics in order to provide us with skills we can use in the lab and outside of the lab. This Thursday was all about lithics, and we learned everything from how to identify the material of the stone tool to how to estimate the time period given certain characteristics. By doing so, we are able to learn more about technology, lifestyle, location and trade relationships between ancestral Puebloans.
After a morning of analyzing chipped stone, we watched a flint knapping demostration by Tyson Hughes, a Crow Canyon educator who has been flint knapping for 13 years. We were able to watch the production of some of the lithics we had just analyzed, which took our analysis to the next level.
At lunch we attended a presentation by Justin Lund, the current Native American Scholar in Residence and a PhD canidate at the University of Oklahoma, about deconstructing the traditional in order to analyze what role it plays in the modern world. This presentation got us thinking about our own identities and how we construct/deconstruct them every day.
After lunch we analyzed more lithics, this time focusing on projectile points. We were then able to spend the rest of our lab day painting our pottery with homeade yucca brushes.
At around 5:30 we were off to dinner, and then we came right back to hear another one of Justin’s incredible presentations. This presentation was geared towards some of his current reserach, which includes bioethics, Indigenous genomics, molecular anthropology, Mitochondrial DNA, and Indigenous anthropology. His presentation was equally entertaining and educational, giving us a solid background on the commodification of Native identity and some of the issues it poses.
Oh what a day to excavate. Today was the second day out of our normal week to excavate. During the early hours of the morning it was very chilly as it normally is during the summer session in Colorado. As the day countined, the temperature begins to shift from being cold to being hot. Before everyone started excavating, we all started off in different groups learning with different teachers learning about profile mapping. Profile mapping is a topographic profile or topographic cut is a representation of the relief of the terrain that is obtained by cutting transversely the lines of a topographic map. Each contour line can be defined as a closed line joining relief points at equal height above sea level. The first step to profile mapping is to have a group to do specific jobs. You can also do it by yourself but it will take longer than just doing it with other people who can do certain jobs to make your life easier.
Make sure you have grid paper as well and a tape measurer that can help proceed to the next step. You would have someone mark the paper where the place of each contour, strat, or hill-top crosses the project line. You would secondly label each mark with the elevation of the contour that the contour is representing. Thirdly, have a vertical scale on the profile paper that is labeling the lines that corresponds the elevation numbers that were given. All the coordinates that are given must be correct and have to be right in order to have the finished product right. Place the points on the grid paper according to the coordinates that are given. Connect the points. It should give you an exact representation of what you were profiling just on grid paper. After profiling a unit onto grid paper we then filled out a unit from that help determine further details about the unit that the lab or even other people want or need to know. These details help not only us but others as well just not only about the unit but the site in general about what types of soil belonged there. Our team confirmed that the unit soil was silty loam type of soil that was gritty.
As the day went on, we begun to work again on our units to get digging away to find and solve things that we didn’t know before until now. The unit where this picture is possibly excavating a Pueblo great house where maybe the roof collapsed first and then the wall collapsed. We may have a midden because the density of artifacts is very high or it could have been just where the inhabitants just threw things out there window. Strat 1 was just accumulated dirt piled together where strat 2 is the wall itself and we are pulling it out to further understand what had happen before the wall collapsed. As we moved further up the wall because we started from bottom to
top we begun to notice that the density of artifacts had dropped off a ton from what we were used to seeing. We could barely fill one bag while the other day we filled twice the bags within a couple of days.
By the end of the day everyone gave a site tour about their sites and what was going on about them. It’s sort of like an update for everyone’s unit. We didn’t have any afternoon programs because today was an extra half day to work on our research projects.
Michael Moralez, 2017 Field School Student
Today was an extremely enlightening day! For our first excavation day of the fourth week into field school there were quite a few discoveries. To start, our day began with much needed discussions led by Dr. Ryan and Justin Lund, our current Native American Scholar in Residence. These discussions are crucial in the understanding of Native American perspective and to develop archaeological thought that is both ethical and scientifically sound. After talking about things such as censorship, collaboration, and perspective we began a fortuitous day of digging!
The morning was windy and cold, and those of us on the west side of the house (the shady spot) found our luxurious holes unexpectedly cold and the temperature set a precedent for the rest of the day of peculiarities. Normally the ‘A Team’ sings the one lyric we know of any given song on repeat but today was not a typical day. The first two finds came in at the same time, a honking piece of jet and an amazingly painted piece of ceramic.
This got us on a roll as we quickly found a bone game piece and several projectile points (not pictured here).
But the discoveries did not end there, in our arbitrary unit, so named because it was supposed to be in the midden (trash), we discovered an unexpected portion of a wall. Only tomorrow can tell what we will find, but with a phrase Dr. Ryan likes to repeatedly oppress our excitement with, “It’s not what you find, it’s what you learn.” Jokes aside, finding all of these things really expands what we know about this site and only builds on everything that we’re doing here!