Final Countdown, Part II

There was no blog update yesterday because we went to the Farm and Ranch Museum in Las Cruces to view the Canada Alamosa display. We had a great time, and the crew would like to thank Karl and Toni Laumbach for admitting us in to the museum and having dinner with us yesterday! I will combine what we found before lunch yesterday with what we found today. Today was our second to last day of excavation at the site. Of course, it was a very busy day with several important discoveries. It was also the first day where the thermometer in my Trail Blazer crossed 100 degrees.

Viewing the Canada Alamosa display at the Las Cruces Farm and Ranch museum

Viewing the Canada Alamosa display at the Las Cruces Farm and Ranch museum

Unit 18 continued to produce very interesting stratigraphy, architecture, and artifacts yesterday and today. The differences that we have found on the north and south side of the units persisted the last two days. On the north side of the unit, there is much adobe, whereas on the south side the adobe is almost absent. At first, we left the adobe in place, because we were not sure if it was part of in situ architecture. However, by about lunchtime today (which is 10:45 for us–we get up early), we had realized the adobe was rooffall. Several of the large adobe chunks have beam impressions in them (the impressions are about 5 centimeters wide). The adobe also has many bits and pieces of charcoal mixed in with it. The adobe chunks are about 10 centimeters thick. Interestingly, all of the adobe was sitting at about the same level; the adobe popped off the fill below. After removing some of the adobe chunks, we discovered what appears to be a surface. So, we have large chunks of adobe from a roof sitting on top of a surface. The surface is very ephemeral, and in some places the roof has damaged it greatly. However, we found several flay-laying artifacts on the floor, including a very large sherd and obsidian flake. By the end of the day, we had about half of the surface exposed. This surface and rooffall is associated with Pithouse 2, the later, adobe lined pithouse we discovered in Unit 18.
While there is much adobe rooffall and a surface in the north side of Unit 18, there was almost no adobe on the south side, and no evidence of a floor. In fact, several large sherds are still vertical in the fill on the south side of Unit 18 (both sides are at the same depth). So, we seem to have two different depositional events on either side of the cobble wall, which post-dates both of the two pithouses. It is all a bit confusing (what else is new), but we will get it figured out.
On a different note, we found a cloud blower in the profile fill of Unit 5, where Erin is working. This cloud blower is smaller than the cloud blower we found in the great kiva, but the one we collected today is complete. Units 5 and 18 have also produced a high number of worked sherds, and a bunch of other “cool” artifacts (projectile points, Glycymeris bracelets, etc). Tomorrow we will finish exposing the surface in Unit 18, and then begin to close the unit.

Cloudblower from Unit 5

Cloudblower from Unit 5

Although excavation has ended in the adobe room (Units 4, 6, 10, 11, etc), the last few days have been very interesting. Yesterday, Dr. Lekson worked on defining the hearth, since Karol was done taking archaeomagnetic samples from it. Dr. Lekson found that there is not just one stone-lined heard, but two (the second cuts into the first), along with an ambiguous pit full of charcoal, artifacts, and loose fill cut into the south side of the hearths. We collected the ash from the hearths, which will hopefully contain remains from plants and animals people ate over 1000 years ago. We already found a large bird bone in the pit cut into the hearths.
After the hearths were excavated, documented, and photographed, we began backfilling the adobe room. Tomorrow, we will all start the day by filling it up more. Backfilling is always a little bittersweet, but we recovered excellent data from the room, and I’m looking forward to analyzing the artifacts we found in it!

Stone-lined hearths in the adobe room

Stone-lined hearths in the adobe room

Adobe room final photo

Adobe room final photo

John taking final photos of adobe room

John taking final photos of adobe room

Dr. Lekson and Megan mapping the hearths and pit in the adobe room

Dr. Lekson and Megan mapping the hearths and pit in the adobe room

Things are also winding down in the great kiva. We have been working slowly the last few days, but that is because a surface was discovere in Unit 19. In fact, we have found at least 3 surfaces. Yesterday, we discovered a surface near the ramp in the east profile. This surface was higher in elevation than the surface we found in Units 12 and 15. It was not in great condition, and seems to be mounded up where the ramp enters the kiva. We discovered two more surfaces below this. Unfortunately, the only artifacts we found on the surfaces were non-diagnostic brownwares. However, it is always great to see a floor, and the floor in the great kiva looks particularly nice. Tomorrow we will spend the day profiling and documenting what we have done, and do a few odds and ends things to help us better understand what we have found in the great kiva.

Surface in Great Kiva

Surface in Great Kiva

By the end of tomorrow, we should be completely done excavating for the year. With any luck, we will begin backfilling after our weekend (which we may spend part of working at the site).

Delton backfilling

Delton backfilling

Jakob

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