Field School 2017 – Week 7
Eathan Brown — St. Mary’s College of Maryland
This past week out in the field has been incredibly eventful in numerous ways. I spent the previous week in the lab with Alexa, and yearned to be back out digging and screening. I was ecstatic to finally be back on site come Wednesday morning, but I did not realize some of the difficulties we would face as the week progressed.
Heat. The heat we experienced this week was dreadful, and made excavating much harder than it had previously been. On one day, it reached a heat index of 105 degrees Fahrenheit, and the museum had to close its doors early, lest we bake even more. I learned that our tents and water breaks would be crucial to our continued excavations. Despite the blazing weather, it was enjoyable to have a trowel back in my hands. Although Cormac and I were working on the far units containing a fence-line feature in this heat, we made a lot of progress getting the fill excavated.
A summer camp that Historic Saint Mary’s City runs came to the site twice during the week, and the kids had a chance to help screen artifacts with us (Editor’s note: Eathan is referring to the Archaeology of Food summer camp. The camp is finished for the summer, but more information about it is available here). I was very surprised at their enthusiasm in finding brick and coal (things I feel we find too much of sometimes). The campers asked a lot of questions, and were excited to go through the soil to find artifacts. It was heart-warming to see, and to teach them about archaeology at the site, and in general.
We had two lectures: one on maritime archaeology and the HMS De Braak with Charles Fithian, and another on Cultural Resource management with Mike Smolek. Both were incredibly interesting, and were a much needed reprieve from the heat. The stories that Mike brought along in his talk concerning Naval archaeology made his lecture fun and engaging (especially since I knew some of things he talked about).