Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Tracing the Midden

Last week's rains set us back a bit, but this week has been relatively dry, and we have accomplished quite a bit.   Yesterday, we completed our shovel-test survey of the site with the help of youngsters in a Museum Archaeology program.  Eight eager students busily shoveled, troweled, and screened until the job was complete. 

We found few artifacts and virtually no midden deposits, but this was ok, at least for me, since we expected to be working at the very southern edge of the site.  So, the lack of discoveries was exactly what I expected.  The information from this survey will be very useful for understanding the diversity and locations of activities carried out by the prehistoric inhabitants of Burrell Orchard.   With the measurements taken during the excavation of each shovel-test unit, I was able to construct a map showing the depths of the midden deposits across the site.  As shown below, this map reveals a slightly curving distribution of deep deposits, some extending to more than 80 cm beneath the surface. 

As it happens, our current excavation units are situated within some of the deepest deposits on the site.  In future seasons, we will test areas of more shallow midden to better understand what was going on in places of less intense activities.

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