Today was the first day of our second week at Woodrow Ruin. We lost Sean, and Natalie for a week, but Lori started working with us today. We picked up right where we left off last Sunday (which is our Friday, its confusing, I know).
The theme of the day today was dendros (short for dendrochronological samples). Today, we exposed and collected a number of dendrochronological samples, bringing our total from Unit 5 close to 15. This is a fantastic amount of dendros. As I mentioned before, I am hopeful that we will get dates from some of these beams. If these can be dated, they will provide valuable information not only for the site, but the upper Gila in general, where dendrochronological data is limited. Because dendros are so important, and are also very fragile, it takes A LOT of time to excavate just one. Thus, Lonnie and Erin spent most of the day working on exposing the dendros. I jumped into the action too, and actually spent the majority of the day in Unit 5. Along with collecting some great samples, we identified what appears to be the floor immediately beneath one of the beams. It may take a while to get to the floor, because there are so many beams, but having so many beams really is great!
The crew working in the great kiva established a new unit today, Unit 12. After discussing the rock alignment with other archaeologists and thinking about it during the weekend, I am fairly confident that the large, flat rocks at the bottom of Unit 9 are part of a shrine. Because we left these rocks in place, there is limited space to work in the kiva. We are really deep, and still haven’t found any diagnostic architectural features. We therefore decided to expand, and add another 1 x 2 meter unit directly east of Unit 9 (creating a 4 x 1 trench heading east from the center of the great kiva). This new unit should hopefully uncover SOME form of architecture. The crew made great progress today. As expected, we once again enocountered the hard-packed clay layer near the surface, which seems to be an informal use surface associated with the historic period. We also found what appears to be another posthole in the surface. We will not pedestal this posthole, because we want to expose as much prehistoric area as possible. Delton and Sara made great progress today, and will continue to clear cultural fill from the great kiva tomorrow.
If you read this blog last year, you know that on several occasions I was certain about something, and then a day later I had changed my mind. This is the case with Unit 10/11. Before our weekend, I thought that we had two rooms between the units. I am now confident we have only one. The crew working in Units 6, 10, and 11 had reached an end point this morning. We had what seemed to be the floor exposed, and needed to decide where to dig next. The only way to be completely confident about the surface was to fully expose the hearth in Unit 6. By doing this, we discovered that what we thought was a cross-wall really was not; the hearth extended through it and into the surface in Unit 11. Once we determined that we were excavating in one room, it was easy to determine where to put the next excavation Unit. Towards the end of the day, the crew established Unit 13, a 1 x 2 meter unit (with the long axis running N-S) directly west of Units 10 and 11. Our goals for Unit 13 are to expose more of the surface, and hopefully identify more adobe architecture.
Another great day at the site! Things are moving along very well!