Saturday, October 3, 2009

First Fall Term Update!

The Utah Pottery Project is back on-line at this blog and on Facebook!

After a long break from the research blog, I am again posting updates. Starting today, I will write about our laboratory research. As we wash, catalog, and label the artifacts from last summer's dig at the Davenport Pottery Site, I'll post progress reports and connect the fieldwork with our lab analyses. Several interesting analyses are developing, and I will post updates when I can.

If I'm lucky, perhaps some of the students will write about what they are trying to learn in their projects.

There are several people helping out with the lab work and analyses right now. Jessica Montcalm, the project field director, is leading the processing of the artifacts in the lab, managing the flow of cleaning, conserving, and cataloging. Frank McGuire has also continued on since his time in the field. He has been helping Jessica to process the finds. This week, Frank and Jessica finished floating the soil samples taken during the dig this summer. The students enrolled in my Archaeological Sciences class helped with this process as they learned about floatation, archaeobotany, and geoarchaeology during the first few weeks of the term.

In this picture, Frank is measuring sample volume and mass before floatation.
After putting samples of dirt from different features and soil layers into water, light organic matter floats to the surface where we catch it for analysis. This method allows us to find seeds, charcoal fragments, bits of wood and shell-- lots of detail about the environment surrounding the site!

Jessica and Frank have help from some of the students enrolled my Archaeological Sciences course at Michigan Tech. Some of the class members have elected to study the Davenport Pottery dig artifacts for their semester research projects.

Allison and Jeff have decided to study the artifacts from the cellar feature that Andy excavated over the summer. They are going to help clean and label all the fragments from this feature so that they can try reconstructing all the broken pots. They will take out all the sherds, like the large ones pictured in the bucket below, and spread them out on the lab tables like a giant archaeological jigsaw puzzle!

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