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Warren Wilson Archaeological Field School 2003
Day 34, 7/15/03

At this point the fieldwork is now done for the year.

Yesterday, we finished drawing maps of profiles in several different excavation trenches, helped with backfilling our excavation areas, and continued to take out burned timbers from structure 1. Backfilling involves covering everything with strips of plastic, or sheet-plastic with trowel-cut holes in it to let water move up and down through it, and then dumping all the dirt that we have sifted and mounded into backdirt piles during the course of the field season back in the squares from which it came. Mechanized equipment helps greatly with this task, but the finishing touches are done with shovels and sweat.

Rodning puts down plastic across area B for one of its nightly rests earlier this season.


At left, scooping dirt up to dump back into area C. At right, Karla helps Gary to dump backdirt gently, then to spread it out carefully, across the top of structure 3.

Today, we got out of our field house, hauled more equipment and artifacts back to the archaeology lab, and shoveled sand and backdirt on top of structure 1. We took out the last of several selected burned timbers from this structure this afternoon, having dug around them and encased dirt and wood inside foam and cardboard. We covered the burned architectural material left in the ground with breathable plastic, then a layer of bright powdery-white sand, and then a healthy serving of well-sifted backdirt. Covering everything up is the best way to preserve it from one field season to the next. And with all our squares backfilled, our tents taken down, our equipment stored for the winter, the site is ready for some rest.

See you next summer!

Of course there is lots of lab work to be done between now and then, including sorting and cataloging artifacts, compiling site maps, cataloging photos, and writing about what we have learned, all of which will be interesting to do!

Shoveling sand into wheelbarrows before covering the exposed remnants of structure 1 with it.


At left, Dave and Megan help Ellie cover structure 1 with backdirt. At right, Dave and Caroline dump white sand on structure 1 and the special black plastic covering it.

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17 July 2003 | David Moore | Warren Wilson College Archaeology | Field School 2003