Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The 2007 Season is Done

I have been too busy to post to the blog for a while. We finished fieldwork in early July. As typically happens, we found all sorts of interesting (and time-consuming) things the final weeks of fieldwork. We excavated three burials the final couple of weeks, two with ceramic vessels as offerings, one without. We found a buried burned house with a collapsed burned daub wall covering 20 cm of charcoal—burned seeds, wood, and other plant material. In that excavation (unit 323), a trench just clipped the edge of the feature in the final days of fieldwork, so we were only able to excavate part of it. In a trench designed to document the stratigraphy of an agricultural terrace we found a nice stone pavement, with a dense midden deposit underneath.

All this activity, plus other issues of closing down fieldwork, have given me little time for the blog (but then how I find time to start a new blog for professionals and grad students called “Publishing Archaeology”? I will quote Walt Whitman: “ Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself. I am large, I contain multitudes.”).

We have moved our entire lab to the Colegio Mexiquense in nearby Zinacantepec, where we will be analyzing artifacts for the next few summers. Just a few closing facts, things that came up in the final weeks of the season. Our total of burned daub is over 500 kilograms (half a metric ton). What are we going to do with all this? Stay tuned. I will keep this blog open to report various project results as they become available and as I have time to report. Also on the daub, we have found that many of the wood house supports were made of maguey stalks (the impressions on freshly-cut maguey stalks match rather precisely the impressions on the burned daub).

The last task given to our excellent crew of local lab workers was to catalog the sherd disks. They spent over a day at it, and had to stop when we came to move the tables and chairs to the new lab. The catalog now includes over 1,600 sherd disks, and they still have about 25% of the collection to catalog.

I won’t be giving a paper on the excavations at the SAA meetings next year, because I was talked into giving a presentation on “Ancient cites: Do they hold lessons for the modern world.” It seems less important to report new fieldwork at the archaeology meetings now, since things can be posted so easily on the internet. Between this blog and more formal project reports and data on the project web site, interested people can keep up with the project.

This has been an experiment for me. If you particularly like this blog, let me know. If you think it is stupid and pointless, then please keep your opinions to yourself! (I once got an email from a high school student telling me that “my so-called web site is a piece of sh—“. I think she needed information quickly for a report due the next day and my site didn’t have what she needed.)