Remember how I said I had something exciting to tell you? Well, I’ve decided that I want to tell you now instead of telling you about my weekend (don’t worry, you’ll hear about it eventually). Ready? Ready for the fun and exciting news? I get to excavate!
Yep, that’s right. For about a week I get to be knee-deep in trowels and dirt layers. :) I’m working in an Old Kingdom (OK) area (not where the bakery is that I mentioned before, but it’s in the time period I like). Remember how I talked about the sebakhin? Well, they dug out an area just at the base of the tell where we’re digging this season so that we can see a nice wall with an intact door! Susan is working with me and she gets to do the layers that have accumulated in the door, while I dig the layers of wall that have fallen down next to the door. Doors are super rare, especially in this early of a time period, so the fact they are letting us look at it unsupervised is quite cool.
But let’s start with Saturday. My first excavation day started out slowly, since Susan needed to finish up her area in the Middle Kingdom silo area. I helped her use the total station to take points. “And what is a total station, oh awesome archaeologist?” you might be asking. The total station is a machine that uses fixed points in a site to help you calculate distances between other points in order to get a really detailed drawing of, say, a brick wall, without having to personally measure each and every brick’s position. So for said brick wall, you would take points on all 4 corners of every brick you have with the machine, then later load all the points on a computer to play a giant game of connect-the-dots. Would you like to see what a total station looks like? (Note how clean I am in this photo):
After we finished that, we went down to the OK area to start work. The first thing you have to do while excavating is clean the profile with brushes and air poofers, so you can get the top layer of dirt off in order to see all the different layers:
It’s a very dirty job and the dirt in our area is not only super fine (thus meaning the when you clean 1 thing off, all the dirt just floats back to the last thing you cleaned), it’s also all been burnt, so it’s all red. Meaning we got very, very dirty:
|The little white tags on the left are my area, while the tags on the right are inside the door (you can kind of see the 2 sides).|
Everyone got a very big kick out of how dirty I was, including our cook, who informed me when I got home that we had no water in the house... Luckily we were headed to Luxor and real showers in our hotel, so it wasn’t that big of a deal. Just very funny.
Today I actually started excavating while Susan cleaned another part of our wall. For some reason, they thought it was a good idea to let me loose with a trowel and mini-pick-ax, so I went to work. Pretty much what I do is take each layer individually and try to find any pottery, seal impressions, bones, etc. that I can. Since my area is basically just where a wall collapsed, my top 2 layers have mainly been mudbrick wall (which we don’t care about, so I get to hack those up with my mini-ax). I’ll do more tomorrow, but today I found sherds for 2 pretty pots and a fairly large bread mould, just chilling with my fallen wall. Tomorrow I might be able to get to the layer that has a ton of pottery in it. We shall see.
- Real life excavator
PS. Happy Halloween! I'm so sad I'm missing my favorite holiday, but we went to a Halloween party this weekend, which I'll tell you about later.
PPS. Once I get everyone's pictures of me, I'll post some more dirty ones. My face was pretty gross and I actually was allowed to go first in the shower, that's how dirty I was.