Today was another successful day at Woodrow Ruin. Both crews made good progress on their units. While the crews were working, I decided where exactly to put new units, and established the corners of the units on the site.
Unit 1. Unit 1 remained enigmatic today. The crew excavated to sterile sediment, and the unit will likely be closed tomorrow. Unfortunately, we were not able to further define the pit structure mentioned yesterday. Some sort of pit definitely existed; sterile soil in the western 1/3rd of the unit was cut into at some point prehistorically, and the area cut out was later filled with cultural material/trash. However, we did not come down on any features that were definitively “pithouse”. No hearth, no roof debris, no postholes, no floor, etc. However, I still think the crew may have been excavating in a pithouse. The ceramics recovered from the unit were definitely from the Late Pithouse period, and Style I ceramics seemed to be most common. By tomorrow, we will open Unit 3, two meters to the east of Unit 1. I think (or hope, at least) this unit will come down on a more formal pithouse. I think much of the material found in Unit 1 is associated with a more formal pithouse to the east. Unit 1 is located downslope from Unit 3. I think that many of the artifacts from Unit 1, and the large stones found in the eastern 1/3rdof the unit, originated in a pithouse to the east. Like always, I’m sure my hypothesis will change by tomorrow. But this is one of the reasons that archaeology is so exciting!
Unit 2. Unit 2 finished excavating another level today (level 4). The artifacts and cultural fill in this level remained consistent with the previous levels. Despite this, I became more encouraged today that the room Unit 2 is in was unexcavated by the GCAS. Although it is possible the room is filled with backfill from previous excavation and/or looting, several lines of evidence point to the unit being pristine. 1) No stratigraphic changes have been noted thus far. If the unit was looted or dug previously, by now, we would have found evidence of this in the stratigraphy. 2) Multiple large stones were found in the NE corner of the unit, which is in the NE corner of the room. These stones would have been removed if there was previous digging in the room, in order to find artifacts below the stones. 3) We can see the backdirt piles from the GCAS excavations. It would not make sense for the 1950’s GCAS to put dirt in neat piles in one instance, and put it into a room in another. We have recovered numerous artifacts from the room so far, including a piece of Mimbres polychrome. It just seems to me at this point that the room likely was unexcavated. I think, and hope, it is full of prehistoric trash, which will provide us with much useful information!
Tomorrow will be our final workday in the first workweek at Woodrow Ruin. I can’t believe how fast time has flown by!
Fire update: Today was much smokier than yesterday. Although the smoke cleared in the afternoon, we noticed smoke coming from the mountains immediately north of the site, putting the fire closer than it has been so far. However, it is unclear if this was part of the back-burn of fire control, or if it was natural growth of the fire.