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Do You Have Dig Experience? September 03, 2007 9:45 AM

I was just wondering how many of us in this group have dig experience. Feel free to elaborate on things you found, what type of a site it was, etc.

I have dig experience from two sites I worked at this summer, located in Rhode Island, USA. With both, we were digging behind homes built circa 1830 looking for evidence of the way life was lived in the city we were in.

Our second site revealed that the artifacts we found were dumped into a trash heap all at one time, during a change in house ownership. Artifacts found included stoneware jugs, thick glass bottles with makers' marks indicating their contents had been seltzer or cola, a few pieces of transfer print, and clay pipe stems.

At the first site we found evidence of a previous house that was once occupied by British troops during the American Revolution. The owner at the time was a wealthy merchant. We found a button cover from the 63 regiment and gun flints. We also found many artifacts relating to the existing house which was first occupied by a shoemaker. Artifacts related to his daily life were found as well.

I spent the rest of my summer cleaning as many of these artifacts as I could. This job will continue starting next week, when I head back to school.

This post was modified from its original form on 03 Sep, 9:46  [ send green star]
 September 26, 2007 4:29 AM

I've been on a few digs here, mostly our local community digs. It's a lot of fun, but of course hard work.

I live in a very archaeologically rich area, so some local schools have "adopted" some sites on the outskirts of town and during the holidays there are also community digs for adults and children, supervised of course by a team of archaeologists.

Most of the finds have been from the Byzantine, Persian and Arab periods, now, after a few seasons they're starting to reach the Roman and Judea era layers. It's great to watch a little girl carefully, painstakingly sifting through the dirt and coming up with tiny shards of colourful ancient glass, she just beamed with joy. Another child digging with her father found an almost intact jug from the Byzantine period.

For now, all important finds are stored by the antiquities authorities, but we hope that one day we'll have the funds to have a local museum displaying the history of the region.

This post was modified from its original form on 26 Sep, 4:30  [ send green star]  [ accepted]

 October 15, 2007 12:57 PM

I don't have dig experience......I've only done trekking and met natives  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
I dig Texas October 15, 2007 2:01 PM

"I don't have dig experience......I've only done trekking and met natives"

So, you don't dig Indians? (sorry, couldn't resist.)

Personally, I am a member of the Texas Archaeology Society and participate in the annual Field School. Have dug in Menard, TX at the Presidio San Saba site & recemtly near Paris, TX at a historic Caddoen site looking for evidence of the Fourche Malline culture.

If anyone doesn't have anything better to do on Oct. 20 & 21 I'd like to invite y'all down to the Hueco Tanks State Historical Site annual Interpretative Fair this coming weekend. Take care all.

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Dig Experience October 16, 2007 10:22 PM

Hi...yes, I have dig experience, not recently however.  It was a glorious experience just outside Tucson, AZ, in conjunction with the University of AZ.  Yes, it was very hot!  Part of an old Indian home...bits of pottery, desert glass, etc.  We did it all, dig, sift, cleaning, and sorting.  I'd love to help in some way other than digging; my arthritis says "no way" on occasions which makes me angry.  That was a weekend I shall always remember...I tell everyone.  Now, I'm in Roseville, just outside Sacramento, CA and am not sure this is a popular thing to do; and not even anything in the college catalogues I've checked out.  Thanks for letting me put in my 2 cents.

Sandra Ritacco

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Re: Sandra R October 17, 2007 5:04 AM

I would suggest, given your arthritis, that you look into do some of the lab/collections management aspects of helping with a dig.  Or, if you are interested in a field school, has a compresensive archaeology field school directory listed.  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
Note to James C. October 17, 2007 5:35 PM

Hi...Thanks very much for the shovelbums suggestion.  I shall give it a try


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Dig experience November 08, 2007 9:28 PM

My did experience has been in NJ, mostly prehistoric sites. Some has been as part of a field school, other working with a professional company. I can't wait to have the chance to dig again. Oh, before you suggest an opportunity, one of my recent issues is that I can't pay to work.  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
Yes, I have probably more dig experience than i wanted December 29, 2007 4:39 AM

I did a degree in Ancient HIstory and Archaeology in the UK.  Part of the course involved three weeks in two consecutive years digging to learn Archaeological technique.  Since I was only doing archaeology to inform my historical studies, this seemed much too much of a good thing.  We were offered a choice of a Medieval site 20 miles away, a Roman Villa 10 miles away, or a rescue dig where they were planning a Park and Ride Car Park.

I chose the rescue site which was close to a building site where they were constructing a branch of Toys R Us, just outside Shrewsbury.  We had to start by clearing the grass and excavating the whole site to 18" or so.  This in a gale laden with rain was very hard work.  When we had done this, the sun came out and burnt us red.  I was given to understand that we were excavating a henge.  No evidence was available above ground, but it was on a hill, so evidence of a gathering of tribes for goods exchange, marriage exchange and a feast was the purpose of the exercise.  We did find subtle evidence in the form of layers of different coloured soil, and bits of pot, but eventually one girl found some bone.  Considerable confusion arose because our glorious leader was Welsh, and she was from Northumberland.  Middle England solved the problem, and we carried on.  At one stage, I was asked to draw a section of cobbles, but went out on a jolly in the afternoon.  My Greek tentmate volunteered to complete my drawing, and said she couldn't recognise any part of my drawing.  Since I had no pretensions to Art, I was not offended, but sympathised with her having to start again while I was out enjoying myself. 

Although I went again the next year, for the same site and we found some interesting finds, I really wasn't all that interested.  We were camped in the forum of Uriconium, the second city of Roman Britain.  That was pretty interesting, as were the baths, already excavated. 

The native people from whom I am at least partly descended were very rich.  They grew excellent grain but I reckoned that they had spent their profits on more land. 

There was a Roman Vineyard near to the campsite, and the chap who was making wine there had some decent wine.  He was at the mercy of the weather.  A good year would give him a brilliant vintage, but a cold wet summer and autumn would bring a very sharp, dry wine.  I quite liked it, and their vintage red was excellent. 

I once had a conversation with the Prehistory Reader there about why there were so few local roads leading to the main Roman Road, and I suggested it was because the main road was only for the Army.  Even now, the Army gets priority on our main roads.  He was a nice chap, and well informed on his own area.  We once sat at coffee time watching him on the skyline at the top of a large stepladder.  Someone said "Have you noticed how like Rolf Harris he is"  Someone else said "You never see them together".  I suppose he was trying to see if he could see Uriconium from the site.  I doubted if he could, or even if the hill had been much higher in Roman times. 

They were seduced away from their little huts and compounds by the luxury of the Roman Baths and the opportunities for Trade.  By 400 AD, the original garrison had a city around it.  There was at least one major villa within 10 miles, and reasonably safe because it was close to the Roman Road that led from Mona (Anglesea) in Wales, to Londinium. 

One year, a couple of years before my first dig, the Department thought they had a viable site, and had 60 students excavating a site that had absolutely nothing to show.  I wished I had known.  Shropshire, and the rest of the UK for that matter was alive with sites, and you could hardly dig anywhere without finding something interesting.  I expect I could have given them a site to dig but I didn't know they were struggling. 

Finding nothing in Britain is quite an achievement.  They weren't close enough to a river, never mind what the aerial photographs offered. 

This post was modified from its original form on 29 Dec, 4:41  [ send green star]  [ accepted]
Yes - on St Kilda March 25, 2008 9:46 AM

Spent 2 weeks out on St Kilda (pass Outer Hebrides and keep going towards Labrador)

We were looking for a Chapel but only found a midden

Had to draw it too in that drizzly rain

Wouldn't miss the experience though and found lots of artefacts (and those which weren't we used scrape our shoes thus making them artefacts )

Drop in at the StKilda Yahoogroup.  No action there but a good library of St Kilda treasures.  More members now than when we were active

Gari the

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