Sunday, September 23, 2007
Orange is Not a Soil Color
We continued our shovel test pit excavations today and found what appears to be the remains of a building and associated trash pile or midden. This is exciting because the Port Tobacco maps of the late 1800s do not depict a building in this area (the southwest corner of the Centennial Hotel block). More on this later as we wash and analyze the artifacts.
Today's blog is about one of the lesser known tools of the trade, the Munsell Soil Color Charts. These charts come packed in a small binder for field use. Each chart is a single page of color squares, similar to paint chips. Every square has a notch cut out of it so we can hold a sample of soil behind the chart to determine which chip matches the soil color most closely. Each color chip has a corresponding number code and color name. This method of standardization prevents two archaeologists from referring to the same soil by different color names. For example, a soil that looks orange in color may have the Munsell name of light yellowish brown. In fact, orange is not an acceptable soil color...according to Munsell.
There are other color chart products made by Munsell. My favorite is the Frozen French Fry color chart that supposedly "ensures perfectly cooked fries every time". Seems like a gift for that hard to shop for friend.