Monday, September 10, 2007

Monday, Sept 10

After working in the field for several weeks, artifacts start to pile up in bags around the office. This means that it’s time to spend a few days in the lab cleaning and cataloguing them, in order to understand better about what we have found and the site itself. A cleaning station is set up and it’s time to start cleaning off centuries old brick, glass, and ceramics. Old pipe stems, plates, and utensils seem to come back to life after the dirt and rust is cleaned from them. They each have a story to tell, not only of who used them, but when they were made and their importance to our research at Port Tobacco. It can be quite exciting to scrub off a piece of pottery to reveal the intricate details of the decoration!

Now that the artifacts have been cleaned, the next step is to catalog them according to their location on our field grid and the type of artifact. By cataloguing these artifacts and setting those into a computer program called Surfer, we can get a distribution pattern of the artifacts on the site. This distribution pattern gives us information such as possible building sites and areas where further more extensive excavations might be required on the site.

We will be spending the next few days in the lab both cleaning and cataloguing artifacts in order to not only learn more about Port Tobacco but also to give our aching muscles a break from the rigors of fieldwork.


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