Archaeology Showcase

Keith Faz, Center for Archaeological Studies

 

I interned under the geoarchaeologist David Yelacic assisting in two projects.  The projects involved studying core samples taken from Lake Amatitlan, and Lagoon Sesecapa in Guatemala.

Core segments are meter-long tubes that are either pushed or mechanically driven into the ground to accumulate soil and sediment within the tube.  The core sample is the collection of those core segments.  Once the tube is pushed far enough, it is taken back out and cracked open to reveal the stratigraphy in a neat and orderly fashion.  Using this method can help researchers examine exactly how the soil and sediment was deposited and answer questions about climate. In addition, it can answer questions about other environmental impacts on the land.  Furthermore, this is one of the least destructive ways to excavate a section of land for study.

Since the core analysis did not take all semester the days I was not working on the core samples involved curating and organizing artifacts for Amy Benton, or curating core samples from Spring Lake with David Yelacic.  CAS was also involved in the Sessom Waste Water project.  My involvement included working with Senna Barnett of Hicks & Company to screen the buckets of soil brought up from the excavation.  The artifacts we were interested in were lithics (stone flakes, and tools used by Paleo-Indians), burned clay (evidence of the use of fire), fire cracked rock (same indicator as burned clay), bone fragments (always an important find for any archaeological project), and any other unusual find.  Figure 9 shows a collection of artifacts found in one set of buckets.  This excavation portion of the project lasted for three weeks, and over 100 buckets of soil were screened.  When screening these types of artifacts it is always important to use gloves because many of the lithics and bone fragments are very sharp.  Once the excavation ended and the soil was screened the next step was to wash and catalog each set of artifacts.  In this process only lithics were washed because bone, clay and/or any other organic material would be compromised.  Once washed each set was weighed and cataloged in preparation for curation.  This process lasted until the end of my internship period.

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