Tuesday, June 19, 2007

A Burned Earth Feature

Our first pit feature of the 2007 season was discovered at the end of last week. The cross-section profile shown above nicely illustrates the dark, organic soil layer that filled the top of this shallow basin. Mixed with the dark-colored soils in the northern (right hand) half of the profile are reddish-brown soils that are the result of burning. Close contact with high temperatures, usually from burning wood or sometimes hot rocks, oxidizes the natural iron compounds in the soil, turning them a bright orange-red color (see closeup below)

As our crew continued to remove the fill of this small pit feature, they discovered a cluster of human bones which may represent another burial feature. Some of the bones were charred, indicating that this feature may be a place where remains were cremated. We should know the answer to this later in the week.

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