The dig was under the auspices of the BLM, so our BLM archaeologist, Nancy Shearin, was in charge. Nancy (aka Bulldog) was the instigator of this whole affair -- there's never been an archaeological survey of this area before. She started finding all kinds of stuff in this and similar sites and managed to talk her superiors into funding some volunteer digs. She talked Dr. Metcalfe into helping her and getting volunteers from the U of U. She's got another volunteer team from Brigham Young University excavating a site on the other side of the House Range, and has plans for more cooperative projects like these two.
She also had three archaeology interns -- two of them from an eastern university (in Virginia, I think), who spent the summer doing various archaeological things with her. This was their last project for the summer. The project they finished just before coming to this one was three days of plodding through the charred remains of a large range fire looking for exposed artifacts. Three days of scorched earth, charcoal, and loose ash in desert heat -- and we thought we had it bad!
The rest of us were volunteers, paying our own way, from the University of Utah. Most of us had been Dr. Metcalfe's students in "Sandbox 101," aka Fundamentals of Archaeology, in spring quarter. The class is known as "Sandbox 101" because Dr. Metcalfe constructs several multi-leveled miniature sites, each about three feet square, out of fine-grained colored sand, tiny pottery, small bones, obsidian flakes, little plastic skeletons, pebbles, charcoal, and so on. Very realistic and nicely detailed. The students dug the boxes exactly as if they were real sites -- complete with all the paperwork, bagged specimens, and slow careful digging. None of the boxes had been completely excavated by the end of the twelve week class -- another touch of reality. Many of us had also taken other classes from Duncan, so we were pretty comfortable working with him.
|Intro||Getting there||Setting the scene|| Surveying the site||tent city|| The dig|