I’ve been bad about posting to this blog, and so now it’s time to confess a few things.
First, this past week I’ve been thinking a lot about lines and squares and all other sundry geometries that archaeology makes use of. More than a few times we’ve almost missed out on the good stuff (ladders, chicken wire) because of the iron will of the grid. We cut square units around circular buildings and peel even layers of dirt off of surfaces on which years of feet and rain have encouraged undulation. I don’t say this critically. All these straights and squares allow us to see what we would otherwise overlook — the gentle curve of a pit in the “penthouse” units, for example only became visible after a slow leveling of hard clay and softer pit-fill. The hours spent straightening a wall make it possible to follow the stratigraphy of back-dirt from the digging of the pit house or layers of million year old volcanic ash. I do, however, marvel at the feeling I get when i look down and see the smooth remnants of excavations — a perfectly pedestaled styrofoam cup and a delicately revealed piece of plaster wall. It all seems so human, for lack of a better word (though our recent discovery of Bower bird art might make me take this back). The thrill can only be described as a feeling of triumph over the chaos of the past. However fleeting and vain, it does feel good to make corners straight and sweep dirt-floors clean.
Second, the epidemic of naming continues. “The Penthouse” units — comprised of “The Love Above”, “The Lindz-Lounge,” and “Darryl’s Den” has proven to be far more interesting than we expected — finally living up to it’s party-animal name. But maybe more importantly, ClockPunk our dearly infuriating total station (basically a fancy laser that allows us to map horizontal and vertical co-ordinates) has finally found a mate. ClockPunk’s heretofore unnamed prism and rod has been christened Beatrix. A love for the ages.
And so the dirty days pass …