Application for University Research Internship Work Study Position
Dr. Hard will have two openings for University Research Internship Work Study Positions to assist him with his research projects. These positions will be available beginning Mid-July 2016 and continue through the fall and spring semesters. Applicants must be work study eligible. Preference will be for students who can start in July but Fall start is also possible. Preference will also be for someone with archaeological experience, but it is not required.
This position is for undergraduate students to assist Dr. Robert Hard with his research projects to gain practical research experience. Work will involve conducting research including working with samples, artifacts, library work, working with bibliographies, databases, administrative work, filing, and other duties as assigned
Please complete the attached application form and return to Dr. Hard (MH 4.04.32). Robert.Hard@utsa.edu
Today was the backfill day at the DOTMON site (AZ:CC:4:62 (ASM)). After all the excavating, screening, and paper work, the perfectly square hole (a 1x1m unit) we made in the ground must be backfilled and the site returned to its original state…almost. It is next to impossible to bring it back to how we found it, but we try. This practice is predominantly to clean up our mess and prevent injury, we did put in a 40cm pit after all.
Unlike the meticulous efforts archaeologists put in for excavating, back filling looks barbaric, with an almost haphazard technique of throwing rocks and tossing dirt into the unit. But it isn’t without symbolism. A common tradition is to place a historical item in the unit before sealing the unit. In our case Dr. Hard had tossed a few coins with recent dates in the unit. He said that these were for the next archaeologists who dug the site. It was our way of saying we were here, and now we are part of the history of this site.
Here I am shoveling dirt back into our unit at the DOT MON site (AZ:CC:4:62 (ASM)), while Dr. Hard (far left) and Robert Gardner (just to the left of me) pick up excavation tools.
Today Dr. Hard’s excavation crew (Megan Brown, Overton Lesley, and Robert Gardner) began to excavate unit Rock Ring A on the DOT MON site (AZ:CC:4:62 (ASM)). My fellow excavators dug into 3, 10cm levels successfully, while I filled out site forms, tags, and screened for artifacts. I wanted to dig so badly that I could feel the trowel burning in my back pocket, waiting to get dirty. But, there were other important tasks that needed to be taken care of before it was my turn to dig a level. Dr. Hard taught me the importance of testing the unit soil and the different types of soil that sand, silt, and clay can make when combined at different percentages. I also learned how to compare the color of the soil with the Munsell soil chart. I then mapped out level 1 and 2 after it had been completed. I felt cool being able to “eyeball” measurements onto the map. I had a blast, or created a blast of dirt while I screened for artifacts. To my surprise I found a lot of obsidian flakes, even in lower levels that were close to bedrock.
Here I am “creating a blast of dirt” while screening the unit’s dirt.
The important unit/level paperwork I filled out. This paperwork keeps the excavation organized and will be a vital piece of the puzzle for compiling the report and for laboratory analysis.
Today Andrea Thomas and I continued our excavations in our beloved rock ring designated ‘Feature E.’ It continues to yield interesting results, however, it is very much more than frustrating trying to dig through bedrock – yet we push on! So far we’ve recovered the base of a projectile point, a mano (used for food-grinding purposes), and a suspicious formation of five rocks in the middle of our feature. We will also took flotation samples from the fill underneath those rocks to see if we can get a hold of datable charcoal. A day in the life of an archaeological field school student is sweaty and overwhelming at times, but always exciting and rewarding as well. Today I learned how to create a profile map to understand the stratigraphy of the Northeast and Southeast Quadrant units; this type of map aids in the understanding of the various soils found in the feature, as well as the fill used to create a floor for the structure.
Here I am hard at work on excavating the Southeast Quadrant unit, level 3 of Feature E
This is a picture of the profile map I drew with the help of Andrea Thomas and Megan Brown providing the profile measurements
Today I worked with Ian Bates and Lori Barkwill-Love at Round Mountain (AZ:CC:4:61 (ASM)) on Test Unit 4, which is a 1x1m unit just inside a terrace wall. When digging in Test Unit 4, we found this white chert core in level two of the unit at roughly 50-60 cm below the datum. What I found particularly interesting was that the exterior of the core was made of chert, whereas the interior was calcium carbonate. When rubbed with finger, the carbonate leaves a white residue much like chalk. In fact, chalk is a form of calcium carbonate however, I cannot confidently identify this object’s material as chalk. Calcium carbonate is a combination of carbon, oxygen, and calcium and is believed to have been formed indirectly due to an organism intrusion. An example may be a bacteria or a secreting organism such as a bug or ant. We all found this particularly interesting since a core is the beginning rock that is struck for the creation of stone tools, and although chert is a widely used rock for tool creation, calcium carbonate is rarely used for flaking stones for tool production.
This is the white chert core we found in Test Unit 4, level 2.
Today was the last day on the Duncan Doughnut site (AZ:CC:4:63 (ASM)). This whole week we uncovered well preserved bones, charcoal, and flaked stone debitage on a site that could be a sheet midden. I learned a lot working on this unit along with Dr. Hard and Ashley Jones. We started off with a 50 x 50 cm unit because of the slope. And because of this I also learned how to stair step the unit. Going down by 10 centimeters each level the length of the unit kept extending to a point where we needed to stair step to see a lower level without extending it too far and removing a cultural feature. This site really helped me get to know what excavating was about, and it was exciting. We made sure that each level was measured correctly and the forms of each unit were completed before we moved on to the next level, especially being vigilant about our bag log numbers. I was getting into the rhythm of documenting and excavating. During the screening process, however, I needed Ashley’s assistance every time I came upon a heat spall, which I thought were flaked stone debitage pieces, but were in fact pieces of rock that pop off when a rock is put into a fire. But within time my eyes started to focus on shapes and colors to find artifacts, charcoal, and bone. Today was the day when we finally hit soil change. From the ashy soil to orange brown, indicating the end of the sheet midden. Everything that we did this week lead up to this and I was happy to see this until the end of the excavation.
A mammal mandible fragment from AZ:CC:4:63 (ASM)
Small mammal humerus fragment from AZ:CC:4:63 (ASM)
Unidentified mammal bone fragment from AZ:CC:4:63 (ASM)
Today was a spectacular day and truly a rare opportunity. Dr. Art MacWilliams, Hayley Fishbeck, David Barron, and I explored a Cerro de Trincheras site nicknamed the Sanchez site just outside the town of Safford, Arizona. Our crew meandered around the site, performing informal survey, and located constructed terraces and walls, over 80 rock ring structures, and an array of cultural material such as flaked stone, Early Pithouse ceramic sherds, and groundstone. At the end of the work day even though we were ready to leave, we still took the time to take in the view of this beautiful landscape and bask in an opportunity of a lifetime.
This is an example of a spectacular broken granite metate found laying out on topsoil at the Sanchez site. This was just one of many artifacts scattered all threw out the site.
Art MacWilliams taking in the breathtaking view one last time, while Hayley Fishbeck, and David Barron find themselves unable to let go of identifying surface artifacts.