July 09, 2006

Speaking from beyond the... corn.

Now that a good two weeks have elapsed since my last communication with the internet, it seems like a perfect time to remind you all that I exist. Field school continues apace: simultaneously mind-numbing and completely fascinating. I spent all day Friday lifting tiny bits of dirt out of a posthole with the handle of a teaspoon because the spoon itself wouldn't fit. It's supposed to rain again on Monday, which means we'll be back in the lab brushing quarter-inch fragments of bone with toothbrushes and putting them into hundreds of tiny plastic bags. After that it'll be back to the field with trowels to scrape rain-induced mud off of the walls of our excavation units because we're a bunch of masochistic lunatics. At least, I'm a masochistic lunatic because I'm enjoying the hell out of this.

In all seriousness -- not that I wasn't being serious when I said I enjoy this stuff -- I am having a damned good time. My classmates are the most motley group of people I've ever seen get along, and we get along like gangbusters. At this rate I'm going to have almost as many close friends in Pittsburgh as I do in the bay area. Last weekend we piled seven of us into someone's tiny Honda and drove out to Watkins Glen to go hiking, which was, as one might expect, Gorges. Hence my first picture.


Next, a sample from my Corn Series (more of which will be up when I get around to getting my Eloise account fixed and putting up a big regular gallery). The corn has grown so high since my first pictures that it's barely recognizable as the same field. On the left, me, in a borrowed hat, hiding in a cornrow and looking pleased with myself. On the right, a sneaky shot of my TA Adam looking pensive and glamorous.

And for my final two pictures, Archaeology Makes You Strange. On the left, my name in folding rulers, which is the closest that you get to glittering lights when your work takes place in grubby cornfields. The lunch tray in the upper right is what we use to sort 500-year-old pottery fragments. On the right, the person responsible for spelling out my name in folding rulers, reading peacefully in a hammock made of excavated dirt. Sadly, his nickname isn't quite as settled as some others', so I'm unsure whether to refer to him as Cannon, Hulk, or Fezzik. Don't be fooled by his tranquil appearance; the first week we were here he was picking up 50-pound boulders at the reservoir near the house and heaving them at the cliffs to see what would happen.

(They broke.)

Posted by dianna at July 9, 2006 06:54 PM

Is that an Indiana Jones hat? I think that's an Indiana Jones hat! Damn it, those(that) Bones belong(s) in a museum!

By the way, my vote is for Fezzik.
Also, I'm having trouble finding the Diva pin. I'll give you a call tomorrow to see if you have any other ideas of where to look.

Posted by: Jacob at July 9, 2006 09:25 PM

Furthermore (and so on), I had no idea the Ithaca Gorges were so steep! Somehow I was imaging the (relatively) gracefully sloping Ventana gorges. Because it seem apropo, I would compare Ithaca to the final scenes of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

Posted by: Jacob at July 10, 2006 07:44 AM

Technically, it's a Stetson hat. Still, it's close enough to Indiana Jones for me. I really can't recommend it for the field, though, because it's ungodly hot and because it might be made of wool I can't in good faith soak it down to keep my head cool.

That Bones was in a museum a few weeks ago, albeit rather more briefly than most museum-located Bones. We had a rain day and went to the Rochester Museum and Science Center. It was damned awesome. I got in an argument with one of my classmates over the precise angle at which one should hold one of the atlatls to use it most efficiently. Oh, and we also went to the Museum of the Earth on the way back and I walked around giggling at the one person in the group who wants to study archaeology and yet doesn't believe in evolution. She was bloody furious at the explanation of vestigial footbones in whales. It was hysterical.

Oh, and to continue on the subject of Bones for a moment, whenever we're in lab sorting grubby artifacts my classmates keep taking the labels off the trays and putting them on me because they say Burned Bones. Sure, I've gotten a little sun, but damnit, it's not that bad!

Posted by: Dianna at July 16, 2006 12:00 PM

Really? No evolution? So the various dinosaur/whale/whatever bones can't conceivably be more than 6000 years old? Huh.

Actually, that assumes that her disbelief in evolution is rooted in Christian theology. I suppose it's possible that she comes to her skepticism through other channels.

Posted by: Zach S. at July 16, 2006 02:07 PM