Our first proper day digging started with the annual hand out of trowels! The students all received their very own Marshalltown trowel, the standard trowel in American Archaeology. There is somewhat of a feud between American and British trowels, which are smaller and thicker. I myself still use my trowel from SD 2010, especially useful for this kind of excavation where the main digging involves excavating 5cm levels of grid squares. The students were also given a safety briefing, and parts of the site were identified.
After receiving their trowels, students partnered up and volunteered for different grid squares. We were opening three new squares, a difficult task considering the crust of very hard earth compacted at the surface, but with potentially brand new archaeological discoveries. The other 6 squares were already begun, and would be likely easier to dig and immediately interesting, but we have a better idea of what is to be found. The students picked their squares carefully and decidedly!
The students on the new squares began cleaning dust, photographing and measuring their squares using a total station. Mattocks and heavy digging tools were soon being used under expert supervision to break through the hard surface, and some finds were made, although all were either clay pigeon or golf ball! This is to be expected at this early stage, and we hope the students hit the real archaeology soon!
Students who chose squares already partially excavated had to read through last year’s field notes to see how the squares were left. They cleaned and began digging their squares, finding much bone and some pottery.
With all the cleaning (brushing) that happened today, the air was very dusty, due to the dryness of the site. Many students noted the time old tradition of having black bogies!
Stay tuned for more dig diaries from Mitchell, South Dakota.