Our last day in the canyon was a busy one, and so Iím writing this from the
airplane on my way home to New Jersey. Our Earthwatch team spent Friday
morning washing, sorting, bagging, and cataloging artifacts. Each bag of
artifacts we collected from the site was emptied, and each item (except for
charcoal and bone) was carefully cleaned using a toothbrush.
After the artifacts had dried in the sun, we sorted them and labeled
a new bag for each type of artifact that came out of the original
bag collected at the site: ceramics (pottery shards), lithics (stone
that has been worked, like arrowheads), bone, etc.
Each of these new bags was given a unique number, and each one was cataloged
in a notebook. The catalog includes information about what the artifacts
are, where they were found, how deep in the ground they were found, when
they were found, how many of them are in the bag, and who cataloged them.
This information can be entered into a computer database and sorted in many
different ways to help the archaeologist detect patterns that will help us
learn about the people who left them behind.
This process was fun because it gave us a chance to see all the artifacts we
had found, as well as to look at things that were found in the units where
our teammates were working.
When we were all finished, we had 315 bags of artifacts! All of these
artifacts will be examined in a lab to see what clues they hold about the
people who lived at the Montoya site. It will be interesting to find out
what new things we learn!
Credits: Courtesy of Shayne Russell