June 25, 2006

This is going to be the fastest blog entry ever.

1. I'm in New York.
2. I have no internet unless I drag my laptop up to the library at Cornell which I actually didn't know I could do until today.
3. I'm having a damned good time.
4. Lots of dirt, though.
5. Really more dirt than anything else.
6. Except maybe mud.
7. I did find a partial arrowhead.
8. And bones, comma, not human.
9. My classmates, who are rad, have nicknamed me Bones.
10. They have also been involved in my drinking more (quite tasty) beer over the last two weeks than in the previous six months.
11. But my pool game is improving!
12. Ithaca is indeed Gorges.
13. A little strange for a college town, though; where are the record stores? The tattoo shops?
14. The sidewalk punks?
15. I'm actually supposed to be doing research here.
16. Which my project partner is doing while I dick around.
17. So I'll just give you two pictures and go do some real work.
18. These pretty much sum up what you need to know.
19. Cornfields.
20. Holes in the ground.
21. Dirt.
22. But god damn if I didn't do a nice job with those walls. Seriously. Let's have some wall respect around here.

Posted by dianna at June 25, 2006 04:11 PM

Fun! And dirty. But fun!

Any idea what sort of non-humans your bones came from, or is that a job for Ph.D.s over the course of years of careful study?

How's the weather been treating you?

Posted by: Zach S. at June 25, 2006 01:26 PM

For some reason I had been envisioning a much more Children-of-the-Corn middle of a cornfield. Your actual work site looks much less spooky, but much more blisteringly hot. How many hours a day are you out there again?

Also, are you really allowed to sit on the potential artifacts, the way the guy in the first picture is doing? And is that guy actually using a spoon to dig his hole? Is he even an archeologist at all?

Posted by: Jacob at June 25, 2006 04:21 PM


Posted by: michele at June 25, 2006 04:56 PM

Some day when they bust out the "Bones" nickname, ideally when they least expect it, you gotta counter-bust out with some DeForrest Kelley impersonations. That's old school.

Posted by: poot at June 25, 2006 08:45 PM

Somehow I thought you'd have to go way further down to hit artifacts and bones and stuff, not kiddie-pool level. And I had no idea that there was so much beer-drinking and pool-playing involved in non-current anthropology. At least you're upholding the walls standard there, Bones. Sheesh.

That corn is made from dead Indians. I shudder to think what happens to you if you eat it. Angry Indian zombie spirits infect you and you come out with an attack of kernel mold or something.

Posted by: katie at June 26, 2006 02:55 PM

In the order in which they were received:

The bones are probably mostly deer and some small rodenty things, with a few fish and birds thrown in there. My excavation unit (in the second picture with my digging partner Siva and TA Adam) is smack in the middle of the remains of a longhouse, and we have what looks to be a hearth overlapping our north wall. The bones are more than likely a by-product of meal preparation.

We are out in this blistering sun from 8 am to 5 pm, with mid-morning, lunch, and mid-afternoon breaks. That's when it's not raining torrentially as it has been this week -- yesterday was spent bailing water out of our now less-than-square holes and today we didn't even try.

We are indeed allowed to sit in our pits. This site has been plowed for about a hundred years and everything is already as disturbed as can possibly be, so what we're mainly doing is pulling dirt out and screening through it for fragments of artifacts. The thing is that by the time we get down past the plow zone we're below what was ground level at the time of the occupation, so once we get there the only things we find are hearths, storage pits and postholes (the artifacts being mixed in the upper plowed layers). A posthole is what Ace there is digging out with that spoon, and that is not only allowed but encouraged. Archaeology is cowboy science. Seriously. You tell pottery apart from rock by licking it and seeing if it sticks to your tongue.

I'm not sure how to respond to the DeForrest Kelley remark, since I have no idea to what that refers. But I do occasionally say that damnit, Jim, I'm an archaeologist and not a miracle worker.

Beer-drinking and pool-playing are damned important here. Our TAs are at one of two local pubs almost every night and drinking beers around the house on most of the off nights. It's really necessary, I think, when you've spent all day either scraping dirt out of a hole with a tiny trowel or using toothbrushes to clean pieces of pottery the size of your fingernail. Besides, I finally won a game last night. Two! In a row! Then the cider I was having caught up with me and I lost the next two badly.

And I don't think anyone's buried here, to judge by the fact that we're actually allowed to dig it up. The Cayuga nation is pretty outspoken about what sites are okay to dig and what ones aren't. We've just got longhouses and maybe a sort of workshop area -- I pissed off a few of my classmates yesterday by finding some gorgeous flint arrowheads during surface collection -- so that corn is mostly made of bits of rock and maybe some rotted posts. And other corn.

But I have gotten a couple of mosquito bites and an impressive farmer tan, if that's enough of an ancient curse for you.

Posted by: Dianna at June 28, 2006 04:07 PM

i want pictures of you. there. i said it.

Posted by: michele at June 29, 2006 12:23 AM

give me what i want! AR AR AR!

Posted by: michele at June 29, 2006 12:23 AM

sheesh. i'm like a child.

Posted by: michele at June 29, 2006 12:23 AM

Well, learn something new everyday. In this case, two things.

One, rock doesn't stick to your tongue.

Two, carefully preserved highly delicate precious fragments of ancient pottery survive well in an archaeologist-spit environment. Possibly unless you've been drinking straight vinegar for breakfast.

Also, I'm with Michele. Actually, I'm pretty far from Michele, but I want pictures too.

Posted by: katie at June 29, 2006 01:11 PM

you could be with me THIS WEEKEND. did you get jacob's message?

Posted by: michele at June 29, 2006 05:04 PM

I did, but totally alas. I have a wandering hobo living in my apartment and one of my creditors is coming to track me down, so I have to stay home all weekend with the doors locked, the blinds drawn, and a baseball bat in my hand.

That was a baldfaced lie. I actually have a friend who just returned to the country staying with me, and my former Delightful Housemate coming down to visit and incidentally make me give him his thousand dollars of security deposit back, so no skipping town for river fun for me this time. I'm totally bummed. Have an awesome time! Ride the waterfalls! Don't have any broken feet! Post pictures!

Posted by: katie at June 30, 2006 04:56 PM