July Field Update
High School Students Excavate, Learn, and Uncover Intriguing Artifacts
We shared an exciting and adventure-filled month with 57 high school students attending our High School Field School and High School Archaeology Camp. The students contributed greatly to our work at the Dillard site and discovered some intriguing artifacts along the way. The staff agreed that working with so many bright, inquisitive teens brought out the young person in all of us!
Before beginning work at the Dillard site, students visited the Duckfoot site, a sizable Pueblo I habitation excavated by Crow Canyon from 1983 to 1987. Both the Duckfoot and Dillard sites are located in the modern-day private residential community called Indian Camp Ranch. On our walk to the Duckfoot site, students learned to identify architecture of various time periods and learned how sampling methods used by Crow Canyon differed from one site to the other.
Next, students turned to the Dillard site (see map) to begin excavating. With their help, we made great progress at the Dillard site this month:
The Great Kiva
The north-south trench through the structure is now 75 cm deep, and several units in the northeast quarter of the building are being opened. The remains of a collapsed masonry wall that encircled the structure are now exposed just inside both ends of the trench.
|Is this fragment a ladle handle or a piece|
of an effigy? It is reminiscent of duck
effigies (the tail) found in Basketmaker and Pueblo I sites in the Mesa Verde region.
The decorative elements are puncture holes.
This month we also began exposing Structure 220, a burned pithouse to the southeast of the great kiva. Excavators have been exposing the south edge of the structure, and at least four postholes with burned beams have been found along its exterior edge. Midden deposits cover and fill the depression where Structure 220 once stood, suggesting that after the structure was abandoned, it was used by inhabitants of a nearby structure for refuse disposal. This midden deposit has yielded some intriguing domestic refuse, including a shell fossil, sandstone gaming piece, fragment of green-stone jewelry, and pottery fragment with parallel puncture holes (see photo) discovered by a High School Field School student.
To the southwest of the great kiva, field intern Tuesday Critz excavated a slab-lined pit feature adjacent to the first pithouse exposed this season, Structure 205. Three soil strata were identified, and their composition leads us to believe that the feature was used on multiple occasions as a thermal pit, with periods of secondary refuse or storage in between.
Teachers from around the country taking part in the National Endowment for the Humanities educators workshop, “Bridging Cultures: Diversity and Unity in the Pueblo World,” have just arrived and will be joining us for the next few weeks. We look forward to their participation and insight.
Just before the month’s end, we said goodbye to our first field interns of the year, Tamara Luce and Tuesday Critz. They helped launch the Basketmaker Communities Project, and their immeasurable help and hard work were greatly appreciated. Interns Sean Dollan and Allison Hall will be filling their shoes for the second half of the season, and we extend to them a hearty welcome.
What happens when a group of diverse teens from all over the U.S.—and the world—come together with little in common but an interest in archaeology? Stay tuned next month for a one-on-one interview with High School Field School students!
[PRINTER FRIENDLY VERSION]