This is the last time that I will be writing as unfortunately Fort Tombecbe Field School is coming to a close. Today we arrived after a stormy night that appeared to have cleared up. We bailed the water and removed the protective tarps and begun excavating or screening our dirt. Soon (around 2 and a half hours after arrival) another Storm Cloud of Doom rolled in and we rushed to cover our units. I have never seen us pack up so quickly these last few weeks!
When we returned to the base of operations (Livingston), we took a fifteen minute break and then headed to the laboratory. Instead of washing artifacts, we were introduced to a new procedure. Sorting! It is pretty much what it sounds like, you organize the material into different groups. This is only done after the material has been washed. The organizations can be separated by numerous methods, but the method we chose was distinguished by what the artifacts were made by. There were several different distinctions such as Kaolin (the material used to make clay pipes), brick, charcoal, coal, beads, glass, unidentified metal, silver, etc.
You separate these artifacts from the matrix. The matrix is all the other stuff. I know that's not very descriptive, but it is highly varied because the matrix is technically everything that is not culturally significant. This includes all the chalk, pebbles, fossils, and mineral inclusions. After it's all separated then you place each collection of artifacts into distinct bags. On each bag it has the information of the area it was found and what it is. Then all of the bags you have just collected will go in a singular bag with the overall information. It's a lot of repetition, but this way you won't lose any information which is so precious to the archaeological process. If you feel like you're doing the same thing over and over that's a good sign!
After almost six and a half hours of lab work, we ended the work day. At night after dinner we were in for a fun treat. We got to create glass mosaics with Rosa Hall. It was a great day and I'm going to miss waking up at 6:20 a.m. and going to work! (OK maybe I am exaggerating, but hey I do enjoy the work!)
Signing off, (For the last time!)