How to draw a stratigraphic profile: simple version
I was going through my old vimeo account and found this video I made for a follower a year or so ago. She had sent me an ask requesting info about how to draw a strat profile for a homework assignment. It’s by no means an exhaustive class on profile illustration but I figure it might help out someone on fieldschool this year. My follower got an A+ on her assignment so it can’t be half bad! Good luck :)
Glorified golf-carts are one of the best parts of the job.
Hey everyone new! I’ve already discussed how we screen and process the soil on a previous reblog of this post so I’ll just copy and paste my answer again and hopefully clear up a few of the questions you all have about archaeology in the NW: It’s very different from summer archaeology, and very VERY different from academic archaeology. The point of commercial archaeology is to locate sites within a development, so that we can avoid them. We aren’t testing to learn more about a specific site. We are using the least invasive methods available (and within reason and price range) to selectively test high potential features to prove the existence of a site. We often refuse to test truly high potential features during the winter, as well. Once that is established we petition to the Archaeology Branch and advise the client to avoid the area, and the large buffer zone that we associate with it. You also tend to pick-axe in natural layers, so it ends up being more similar to summer archaeology than one would think. Once fieldwork is done, the soil is brought back in numbered bags (which correspond to a numbered site diagram) to be defrosted over several days. Once dried and defrosted the soil is sieved by hand through screens. If an artifact is recovered (generally only flakes) then we know exactly what test pit it came from and from which test area! Testing is different than excavation because we are using a grid method to just sample an area. We are trying to establish if there is a site, without destroying the site, and the information associated. It’s not about stratigraphy but rather about the location in general. The good news is that if a clovis point were to pop out (highly irregular) we would SEE it in the field. If further information is required we do excavate in long trenches. Either the excavation is done by building excavation tents and using large industrial heaters, and heat blankets OR we wait until the thaw, and excavate in better weather. Unfortunately, we can’t avoid winter testing, because the government regulates archaeology. My first winter, I was afraid that we might saw through an artifact, but no one I’ve ever met has done that. You can always feel when you hit a rock and usually stop to check it out. But, at least in Canada, before doing ANY development you have to call us in. That’s a huge plus in my opinion, unlike a lot of other countries. It’s not a perfect system, but at least there is a system. I hope that answers some questions people might have! I think I made a vlog about winter testing a while back but if there’s a lot of interest I can always record a “how to” for Canadian winter testing.
If you ever wanted to know how we do winter archaeology the answer is a cement saw, some feed bags, a pick axe and lots of muscle! This was actually taken last spring so there isn’t very much snow (nor is it very cold) but you get the idea.
Canadian CRM is badass
Alaskan archaeologists opt to hibernate during the winter. Though if it’s vital, we’ll use weed burners to soften up the ground. Hats off to you, ya crazy Canadians.
Yeah but how much of the dirt that is so hard that the had to SAW IT were they able to screen??
It is possible to take the frozen sediment back to the lab for screening. CRM is all about pandering to the client (cost), yet still being able to do justice to the resource. For we archaeologists in Alaska, the problem is usually that this methodology is cost prohibitive. And, sure, with this process you could make sawdust of some artifacts, but what’s really the difference between that and jamming a shovel into the dirt hoping to miss that same artifact? A clean cut versus an ugly snap?
It seems as though I’ve gotten a boost in followers. Thanks Oosik, I think? Anyway, I’m just finishing up grad school stuff these next few weeks but I’ll be going up north for fieldwork in a few months. I won’t have internet but I’ll be bringing back lots of photos and video! Yay!
I also have so much footage shot for a couple of episodes of *~Wilderness Survival Guide~* but that computer kind of died. I’m working on getting the data recovered so I can put up a few episodes. Here’s what you have to look forward to if I recover the video:
1. What the hell do I wear?: Field clothes and how not to excavate naked
2. Help me I’m Poor: How to write a kick-butt resume
3. How to Pee in the Woods
Hopefully see you soon!
Always wear proper eye protection!
Conflicting emotions after a long day of work