Sunday, January 3, 2010

excavation unit or swimming hole?

I know I sort of flatlined there for a little while, the place I’m staying at has no internet access, cell reception, stop signs or white people (well one now I guess). A normal day here starts around 6:00 am, the sun is up a little before then anyway so it’s hard to sleep in. I have a cup of coffee with the crew at the table outside my room and we discuss my plans for them that day. breakfast is hard to predict. somedays it’s cornflakes, or a bowl of ramen. Perhaps it’s an egg sandwich, two sausages, a fish, rice and bananas...with mayo. the joys and pitfalls of being fed by a loving samoan family are many.

We leave by 7:00 am. I drive the crew to the site which is just across the bay (you can see it on the map from the other day). we pile out, throw rocks at the growling dogs that wake up, startled away from dreams of killing chickens, and make our way to our beloved 1x1 meter squares in the earth. Excavations have been slow slow slow. Slow for two reasons primarily: 1). The sediment and soil of Aoa Valley consists of thick clays and gravels which makes digging and screening for artifacts arduous. 2). Rains have been very heavy, almost 30 inches this December! The rain wouldn’t be a big deal in most other settings, however this site is adjacent to a creek, so when heavy rains come the water table rises...our excavation units can actually fill with water from the ground up! Soon after heavy rains, our hard work only produces little square swimming pools...which I must say are quite refreshing albeit annoying.

On the upside, we encountered ceramic sherds and stone tools in unit B2 at a depth of 40 cm below the surface. To those that know me well, imagine the grin I had on my face when I realized I had managed to lead a crew smack dab into the thick of a 2,800 year old pottery deposit, nice.

It’s a fetish, field archaeology, it almost has to be.

This is Tovio. Without his help my project would be much less productive and entertaining.

Minnow fries anyone?


  1. Hey Dan,
    Looks like you found Tovio's head at about 30 cm. He's unusually well preserved for such humid conditions. Congratulations on the finds!