What a day to Excavate

IMG_2720Oh 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.

IMG_2725Make 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


Author: Crow Canyon College Field School

Mission The mission of the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center is to advance and share knowledge of the human experience through archaeological research, education programs, and partnerships with American Indians.

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