Am I the only one who gets the urge to play "Whack A Mole" when they look at this picture? This was the view from my pit looking west towards the river. The bank on the far side was quite low compared to ours - there was about a 30 foot drop to the river just behind these guys and hiking up to the site could be a bit treacherous at times. Especially the first day when none of us knew where we were going, what was ahead, and carrying sifters, buckets, tarps, and surveying equipment on top of our own personal gear, food, and enough water for the day. The smiley guy in front is (was) my friend Alberto Musacchio, a PhD student from Rome. He was also a clown...literally. He would entertain at kids parties to earn extra money. He was extremely intelligent but suffered from extreme depression. He passed away shortly after I graduated in 1999. It's still unclear what happened but I have my suspicions. I'm sure he's having a blast wherever he is, cigarette in one hand, a macchiato in the other, smiling at every young hot blonde he can see. Behind him to the left is Alvaro Arce who is currently doing his PhD in Paleopathology at the University of Durham in the UK. A fantastic dancer (we had to amuse ourselves in the lab somehow...) and plays a wicked classical guitar. And just over Alberto's left arm, with only her head visible is Nicole Obert, smart, funny, a bit senstive but all round nice person. She's currently working as a health inspector here in Edmonton. Poor girl, I bet she'd rather face the mice in our cabins and the possibility of catching beaver fever than having to inspect some of the restaurants in town.
This is a scraper. Everyone "Oooh" and "Aaaah". I found this about half way through the summer. Probably one of the most intact tools found all over the three years. Yep, I'm a superstar. It took an extreme test of my patience not to rip it out of it's centuries old spot in my pit. Its probably a good thing I ended up not being an archaeologist. I lack patience. It took the entire day to dig it out as we had to remove the surrounding dirt layer by painful layer, documenting depth, provenience, and draw it's location and note the proximity of debitage (cast off flakes/waste material) around it. This last part proved extremely difficult as it seemed everytime you moved and bump up against any of the walls, dirt and stone flakes showered the floor of the pit making it almost impossible to determine what was found at that level and what was much later in date. Arrrrggghhh. The quality of the pic is, once again, poor and I apologize for that but the piece itself is quite fabulous. If I remember correctly, I believe it was approximately 3-4 inches long and about 2 inches wide at the middle. I was one of the few lucky ones over the three different crews. There was also another, thinner blade which I uncovered in my pit in a layer just above this one but alas, no picture. There was clear evidence of wear which was going to be looked at once the dig was finished. With the exception of Lori Fossum (see below) who made our biggest find, there were a few others who found HUGE collections of flakes at upper levels indicating possible manufacturing locations but the majority of them merely found a couple of flakes here and there, and a hole lot of dirt.
Here it is. Our "big" find. Certainly not big in the size sense...it measured about an inch across and just under an inch tall and this was the only piece of the projectile point which was found. At the time, it was believed that it was the base of a Clovis point which was considered to be the oldest known technology in the Americas. However, there is apparently much debate about this going on now so our find may not be as significant as we believed when my bunk mate, Lori Fossum, unearthed it in her pit on our very last day of digging. At first many of us assumed it was a joke as our fearless leader, Caroline Hudacek-Cuffe, had jokingly commented all summer that in order to get top marks in the class, we'd have to find a Clovis point. Sure enough, it was no joke and the fact that it was found on the last dig day made it all the more ironic. Lori was getting ready to stop digging and refill her pit to preserve it for the next year's group when she gave a few final scrapes with her trowel. As with many of the pits, with each scrape a flake or two would pop up into the air and fall with a light "pooft" as it hit the disturbed soil. However, on one of those last fateful scrapes Lori's trowel hit something that made a much more noticable "clink" sound and the sound it made was a heavier "POOFT" when it landed. The rest, they say, is history.
So there you go. I have more pictures but I have to have them scanned at work so I'm not sure when I'll get around to posting any more of them. Enjoy :)