I discovered early in my career that archaeologists have this love-hate relationship with artifacts. Or at least I have a love-hate relationship with them. It would be so much fun to just go out and dig up “stuff” and then go back to camp and take a shower and enjoy the evening with a cool drink. But nooooo.
Hold that thought.
If you’ve been reading the blogs you will know by now that we are dividing the work up into several different tasks. The first task, and one that is ongoing, was to clear away the bush around the known structures on Ft St George Cay. For the most part all of them were found (and even measured) by the true pioneer explorers of the island: Brooke Foxe, Jack McWilliams, Walt Brewer, Terry Smith and Lee Smith. In the process we are cutting branches, raking leaf cover, snipping roots, and generally getting hot, sweaty, mosquito bitten and really dirty.
The second task is to connect the various structures – so far we have three distinct locales and a fourth possible. To do that we have cut what Robert calls “elephant trails” between them. Our elephants are of the miniature variety and the trail is more a track, but that is another story. Randy, Will, and Robert have been doing a stellar job on that score.
The third task is to go out and locate previously unknown structures. That is how Neal managed to get into the Poison Wood. We are starting a bigger push on that task tomorrow.
And here is where my love-hate relationship with artifacts comes in. Each of these artifacts, the ones that are diagnostic (that is, will tell us something important) and even those that are not (but will give us an idea of general activity areas) must be recorded. Not just photographed, but their exact location noted. This entails taking measurements from each find to a baseline or other known point. You can think about it almost like a spider web – with all of the lines radiating out from the center to the artifacts at the ends and then connecting to the centers of other spider webs. Each artifact that is collected also gets a number and a little plastic tag so that it can be cross-referenced to the list of measurements.