2017 Week 7

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Field School 2017 – Week 7
Eathan Brown — St. Mary’s College of Maryland


“Blazing Trowels”



A portion of an animal’s mandible found in a layer of 17th-century refuse



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.



Field school students Eathan Brown (left) and Cormac Morrish excavating a trench feature

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.


Eathan and field school student Alexa Olivares (right) screening for artifacts with Archaeology of Food campers


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.


Blue-and-white striped glass trade bead found near the Calvert House




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).