Well, things have really been moving along out at the Sarah Boston Site this week! Students are learning how to make detailed plan maps and profiles of the units they’ve been excavating, which is no small feat given the amount of rocks we encounter out there! Each rock and must be carefully drawn, photographed and completely exposed before excavators can lift them out to see what lies underneath. This takes time, and students are learning that archaeology requires patience and precision! They’ve also been seeing first hand the effort it takes to keep a detailed map of the entire site current and accurate. Thanks to Dr. Steinberg, a few of our students had a chance to try mapping today with the total station. The total station, in conjunction with GPS, allows us to establish an excavation grid that ties into a larger global coordinate system. Then we can record and locate the specific features of the site on the established grid with pinpoint accuracy.
Dr. Heather Trigg also joined us today, accompanied by Fiske Center Researcher, Susan Jacobucci. They came to extract a pollen core from an area adjacent to the Sarah Boston Site. To take this sample, Dr. Trigg sinks a hollow tube into the sediment, digs it out, and seals off the bottom. This technique ensures that the sample will be preserved, uncontaminated by modern pollen, until she and Susan are able to process the core back at the lab. Pollen analysis will help us determine the types of plants that were growing on the landscape during Sarah Boston’s day and help us better imagine how the flora on the Eastern Slope of Keith Hill has changed over the past several hundred, or perhaps even thousand years. It is our hope that the results from this test can be compared to the results of the pollen core taken from nearby the Deb Newman Site last summer, to get a deeper and more complete environmental history of Keith Hill as a whole.
Another update coming soon. Until then, please feel free to ask questions or share a comment below!
by Heather Law Pezzarossi