Learning to accept dirt and live with it

Learning to accept dirt and live with it

Archeological Field School Day 12 and we’re all beginning to feel non-human.

Living in the woods is a strange experience you wouldn’t ever think about until you were actually put into the situation. Everything takes longer in the woods — bathroom, cooking, dishes, groceries.

The shower house is about ¼ mile up a hill. The closest convenient store is about 20 minutes away. Unfortunately, for all the people who have AT&T, there’s no service anywhere on the campground, which is proving to be a difficult thing for many to deal with, including myself.

The weather has also been hard to get used to, changing from freezing and raining in the first couple days to 90 degree temperatures in the field. I didn’t expect the conditions to be as harsh as they are, with scorching sunburns and sweat blisters, blood blisters on our hands from troweling so much dirt, bloody feet from walking barefoot through the corn stalks.

Fortunately, there is a creek on the treeline of our dig site that provides relief during our lunch breaks on the unbearably hot days. When it storms while we’re working in the field, the solution is to pile everyone in the vans, packed to capacity, and sit there to wait it out.

Archeological Field School

BU anthropology students spent four weeks in Chilicothe, Ohio, excavating a Hopewell habitation site with hope of uncovering another living site of the Mound Builders from 2,000 years ago.

Photo Gallery

Obviously, this provides a way to for all of us to really get to know each other. One day last week we were in there for three and a half hours.

The scenery around is so green it’s astounding. Green is the only color I’m used to seeing these days, and of course the color brown, which
we’re forced to look at daily as we dig through the dirt.

We’ve all quickly learned to accept the dirt. Maybe even embrace the
dirt, because it covers your body all day every day — even after baths in the creek.

Team Awesome

There was an optional half day in the field today and just about every student chose to attend. Today we were working out of a three meter by three meter pit attempting to uncover what the professors believe is a large Hopewell hearth.

By the end of our half day today we were on top of our feature and trying to make the pit completely level.

Tomorrow we will continue to excavate the feature and eagerly await to see if our suspicions about the supposed hearth are confirmed. On a side note, the campground we are staying at had a potluck today so we got to enjoy a lot of good food –— burgers, hot dogs, etc. — without having to cook.

It definitely makes the hard work in the field seem more rewarding when there is a nice meal to come back to. The next update should contain more information about our feature and hopefully we’ll be able to confidently confirm what it actually is.

    — Ian Gebhard and Tracy Byrne, senior anthropology majors