By Amy Reid
Lab tables cluttered with artifacts, scales, digital calipers, coffee cups, Excel spreadsheets and to-do lists that seem to get longer-not shorter. The analysis phase of an archaeological project can look more like chaos than science, but in reality there is a method — or methodology rather — to the madness. This post aims to describe the various analyses we have conducted and are planning to perform on the data recovered from our 2014 excavations at the Spring Lake Site. You will also get a sneak peak at some of the results available to date.
Figures 1-3: What analysis looks like
By Jacob Hooge
Spring Lake Data Recovery excavation pit, 2014.
So, what is a geoarchaeologist, exactly? Most simply, a geoarchaeologist is someone who very much takes the importance of archaeological context to heart. Over the course of my archaeological career, I have come to view the study of and reverence for artifacts themselves as just a bit obsessive and sometimes unproductive—something akin to Gollum admiring his Precious alone in some deep, dark cave. While some archaeologists are probably now gasping, “Blasphemer! Artifacts are why we’re here!”, they will remember that they, too, preach the importance of context. With an ever-expanding world of contextual information available to the archaeologist, the fine details of the artifact itself begin to pale in comparison to what surrounds the artifact for potential to inform. And I just happen to be all about that dirt. Continue reading