Monday, 28 May 2012

May 28th: Community Meets Archaeology

Back to work in the field today! Most of the crew was continuing excavations while a few of us (Ryan, Spencer M. and Andrew) and ventured into the surrounding wild woods to survey (look for any evidence of culture). These surveys are important for mapping the site areas and looking for any clues as to where more areas might be located that are worth investigating in future Field Schools.

This past Sunday, Dini set up a booth at the Lynn Headwaters Park event "Wilderness at Your Doorstep" with artifacts from this year's and previous years' Capilano Archaeology Field School digs. It was a great way for the public to get a first hand look at the heritage of the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve as many people don't know that the Japanese inhabited that area in the early 1900's. 

I showed up to help Dini later in the we are at the booth with a selection of artifacts. A lot of people were very interested in the different kinds of bottles found at the site. Most of them are either medicine/perfume or beer bottles.

There's Dini chatting (it's what she does best) with a guest, explaining the background research we have done on the artifacts. It seemed that our booth was a big hit, folks of all ages took a shine to Dini and couldn't help but ask about the history of the LSCR...success! It's so rewarding to take part in community events like this.

Today I tagged along with Spencer M. on the Northwest hillside from the McKenzie Creek site to survey for any cultural remains. We scoured the slope for hours....and didn't really find much. Here's a little video clip of Spencer giving me the run down on what our forest adventure would entail:

This log is old growth (about a hundred years old) Spencer M. and I saw during the survey. You can see it has been cut with a saw, probably to use as shingle bolts by the Japanese loggers.

Spencer M. standing at the edge of where we began our was raining today in the forest so we had to be extra careful not to slip on or fall through rotting logs and vegetation.

This Japanese rice bowl was found today in one of the excavation units at the "kitchen refuse" area of the site. It's amazing just how much of it still remains in one piece! When we find an artifact (any evidence of culture that contains information that we can use to analyse or interpret it) we use one of these sheets to document it:

We do a simple sketch of the artifact and record it's statistics (size and material) as well as record where on the site and how far under the sediment the piece was found. It's crucial to keep detailed notes and documentation on the artifacts so that we can make better interpretations on how, when, and by whom the items may have been used.

This photo does a good job of demonstrating just how much work removing the first layer of material (called the "litter mat") is when beginning an excavation. Every measurement of soil after the litter mat is then sifted in a mesh contraption to ensure that we didn't miss any small artifacts. 

Tomorrow we're back out in the rain...but our spirits will not be dampened by the weather.

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