Saturday, 26 May 2012

May 25th: Friday Wrap-Up

Today was our third Friday in the lab at Capilano University for a summary of the week and a chance to catch up on each crew members' project progress. Jasmin and Willow will be working on their garden feature assignments in the coming week, hopefully able to learn some more about the horticultural practices of the Japanese at the McKenzie Creek site in the early 1900's. Ryan, Nathan, and Spencer will be starting their field surveys next week...we aim to make details notes on any evidence of culture or surface artifacts in the surrounding areas so that Rebecca can add the data to her maps. The information compiled in the maps will help us gain a broad perspective on how the camp was organized during it's occupation by the Japanese.

Fridays are a great chance for us to get updates on how the artifacts are being interpreted and organized by Evan and Alexis. Bob took a few minutes to talk about some of the significant finds during the last 2 weeks and explain what some of them might have been used for by the Japanese. We were able to essentially confirm that the area we found most of the personal items in was once a cabin and that the "kitchen refuse" area was indeed a food/drink waste dump.

So Spencer K. took these cans that we found in the kitchen refuse area and apply this chemical method (known as metal extraction via electrolysis)...the process of which looks like this:

That's a piece of steel rebar in a bath of chemical solution (baking soda and water, if I'm not mistaken). The can and the rebar are then connected to an electric current and somehow the iron is restored to the can, thus strengthening it:

As can be seen in this photo, the rust can then be scraped away to reveal some of the original can. Hopefully we will be able to make some interpretations from the cans and get a better idea of what might have been in them at one point a hundred years ago. the way, a lot of people mistake archaeologists for paleontologists. So just to ensure that visitors to the site don't get the wrong idea of just what kind of digging we are doing, we have this handy (and somewhat humorous) poster:

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