Thursday, June 14, 2012

Week 3, Day 24

With only one more day of field school left we're saying goodbye to Fort Tombecbe and to each other. The day was spent wrapping up all the work that needed to be done before we leave the site. People finished excavating, cleaning up their units, and screening their last few buckets. Dr. Dumas took pictures of different units and features for the field report. And everyone finished filling out their paperwork on their units and features.

After that we began the process of back filling. For those of you who don't know, back filling is essentially refilling the areas we dug up. Sounds silly, right? Spending a month digging up a unit just to fill it back up in the end. Actually, back filling is an important, necessary part of archaeology. When back filling, you cover the units in tarp and then shovel dirt (in our case sand delivered by Lauren's father) over them making them level with the rest of the ground. The purpose of back filling is to protect the units from the elements. You don't want rain or wind changing the newly exposed ground or any animals making a new home in one of your features. Tomorrow we will finish back filling, as well as dismantle our tents, pack up our equipment, and clean up.

Back filling one of our features with sand
As a special treat we went to the Epes BBQ club tonight where we got to enjoy each other's company, mingle with some of the locals, and eat some delicious food. It also gave us the opportunity to give Dr. Dumas, Brian, Ron, Dr. Hall and Ms. Rosa (who couldn't make it to the BBQ) the presents we had bought them to show our appreciation for teaching us so much about this site, this region and archaeology, for being our surrogate family for the past 4 weeks and just for being overall great people.

Putting the tarp over our units and Nadine and Lauren who insisted on working until the last possible moment
Unfortunately tomorrow is our last day, after which we will have to say our goodbyes and head home. Thankfully we'll be having a family style dinner in Land Hall where we will be able to reminisce about this incredible experience and try not to get too misty-eyed while saying our final goodbyes.

-Andrea Zrake

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