We made some significant progress at the site today, and as most often happens in archaeology, most of the progress was made at the end of the day. The day started fairly uneventfully. The crew in Unit 2 brought both sides of the unit to an equal level, and began excavating it down further. Unit 1 drew profiles of their unit in the morning, and thought they were close to finishing up the unit. By the end of the day however, it was apparent that cultural fill went down much deeper in the eastern 2/3rds of the unit. We may also have found the edge to a pithouse.
Unit 1. By 9:45, the crew in Unit 1 had had drawn profiles of the N, S, and E walls. The only thing that remained was to remove the large rocks found in the SE corner of the unit, in order to better examine underneath them and hopefully figure out why such large rocks were in this part of the unit and not in others. Once the rocks were removed, a few quick swipes of the trowel revealed that non-sterile sediment continued further down in the unit. The first piece of evidence that indicated that the sediment in the eastern2/3rd of the unit was not sterile was the lack of rocks in it, compared to the western 1/3rd. There was also charcoal flecking throughout and ceramic sherds throughout, although the sherds were smaller than in levels above. We also found a decent sized chunk of obsidian (by Mimbres region standards, at least) in the fill. So, we decided to continue excavating, and excavated from east to west, towards the sterile soil in the western 1/3rd. Soon, it became apparent that instead of a gradual slope of sterile sediment, the unit contained a stark break. Thus, it seems that some sort of pit was carved into sterile soil. Our hope is that this pit is a Late Pithouse period structure. The unit is currently excavated to approximately 90 cmbd. Although the fill is cultural, it does not appear to be trash fill (from prehistoric occupants dumping trash into an empty pithouse). The ceramics date to the Late Pithouse period, which is encouraging. While we are close to a meter below the ground surface, it is possible that we are only just now reaching the top of a pithouse. I’m sure by tomorrow we will have a completely different idea as to what is going on in the unit, but for now, it looks promising!
Unit 2. Today was pretty straightforward for Unit 2. Because the unit is now a 2 x 1.85, the crew recovers many more artifacts than Unit 1, and it takes longer to excavate a level. The crew finished level 3 today, and it is apparent that Unit 3 is filled with trash! The crew made fat bags of lithic and ceramic artifacts today. They are clearly excavating in trash, but the question remains: Is the trash undisturbed, prehistoric trash fill, or old backdirt from 1950’s excavation. Most likely, the crew is excavating into old backdirt. However, with another level of excavation, hopefully we can start to better decipher the history of this roomblock. Regardless, we will be able to learn much from the numerous artifacts that have already been recovered!
PS- Today was the least smokey day at the site today, and I think some progress is being made with the fire. While it didn’t smell like campfire at the site, it was a bit hotter today. One benefit (perhaps the only benefit) of the smoke was that it obscured the sun, keeping temperatures at the site down.