Day 13: Under the Hot Gila Sun


Today was another productive day at Woodrow, although it was productive in a different way than yesterday. Whereas yesterday we made many exciting discoveries, today was a day of mapping, documentation, and setting up new units. All of these are critical to the success of an archaeological project, but not very exciting to blog about. Thus, today’s entry will be much more bland (and therefore shorter, to spare you all the boring details), than yesterday’s.

Unit 2. The crew of Unit 2 spent today finishing the removal of the baulk in the western part of the unit. The stratigraphy was what we expected it to be, for the most part. Immediately below the burned Classic period surface we encountered a soft fill, loaded with stones and Late Pithouse period ceramics (this is the capping layer laid prior to the construction of the Classic period floor in order to even the floor out). Under the capping layer is sterile soil. Like yesterday, we encountered an ambiguous pit feature carved into the sterile soil. Unlike yesterday, I do not think this pit was a post hole. I think it most likely was some sort of storage pit used during the Late Pithouse period. There is no evidence that the Classic period floor was cut into in the construction of this pit, so it must have been used during the Late Pithouse period. Like the pit we found yesterday, there was not ash, charcoal, or anything else in it that would help us identify its function. However, it is larger than the pit we found yesterday, and we did find a small obsidian projectile point in the fill from the pit.

Unit 2 with Part of Baulk Removed

Tomorrow, the crew will finish cleaning, documenting, profiling, mapping, and photographing the unit (this should take all day, if not part of two days), and then move to a new unit in the northern area of the site.

Unit 4. Today the crew of Unit 4 (which has currently dwindled to just Erin) spent the morning mapping and profiling the completed excavations. Once this was done, we established a new unit (Unit 6) immediately north and one meter west of Unit 4. This was done to hopefully identify more of the adobe architecture and floor we encountered in Unit 4. Once the unit was put into place, we started removing the overburden in it. Because we know what stratigraphic layers to expect (from Unit 4), we will excavate Unit 6 following natural/cultural breaks (for non-archaeologists, this makes excavating much easier).

Unit 6

Unit 5. Unit 5 was also expanded today. The crew began the morning by excavating further down. The unit is now over 1.2 meters deep, and still full of cultural fill. However, it is only a 1 x 2 meter unit, so moving around became very difficult, especially with adobe architecture in the way. Thus, we decided to add another unit directly south of Unit 5 (we will call this Unit 5A). When finished, this will make Unit 5 2 x 2 meters in dimension, and will provide us the needed space to work in. We will also hopefully identify more architecture in the unit. However, the crew has much digging to do and fill to remove in order to reach the current level of Unit 5. One final note: we did find several more worked sherds in the unit today before excavation became too difficult. There definitely is something going on with the high number of worked sherds recovered from this unit.

Unit 5, Over 1.2 Meters Deep!

Unit 5A, Attached to South Profile of Unit 5

Today was perhaps the hottest day at the site. If we didn’t break 100 degrees, we came very close to it. Although the Monsoon season brings much needed rains, it also brings humidity. In the desert, even the slightest increase in humidity is noticeable, and it was definitely humid today. 100 degrees with no humidity is bearable (at least for some of us). 100 degrees with humidity is not very fun.

It’s almost scary how fast this project has moved. We now only have 7 days of excavation left!



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