Posted by: Tanner Whetstone | July 12, 2007

South Extramural: July 12, 2007

Since the last blog, many problems arose and the Pickaxe Punks had to scramble to get everything wrapped up by the end of today. With four open units, it seemed like we might have bit off more than we could chew. Problems arose in the Western 1×2 and Northern 1×1 with a seemingly endless “fake sterile” which had the consistency and was at the proper depth (and deeper) of our typical sterile soil but was strangely full of charcoal flecks. According to Lisa, in this area we were probably clipping the edge of a pit structure that was there before our wall was built, which explained the extra cultural material in the soil. Eventually real sterile soil was reached in these units, plan and profile maps were drawn, and they were closed out.

The Eastern units were even more of a scramble, with my 1×1 and Uthara’s 1×1.2(backhoe trench area) just barely being finished. In my unit, there was only enough time to reach sterile soil on one side of the wall, but it was quite interesting because its atypical steep slope, which fit into Lisa’s hypothesis of an underlying pit structure under the wall. Because of time constraints the other side of the wall was left partially excavated, a plan and profile map was drawn, and the unit was closed. Uthara’s unit was a mad dash to find the wall, which almost seemed to disappear after it exited my unit. This is most likely due to root disturbance by a large bush growing directly over the area. Eventually however two stones were found, and their direction indicates that the wall finally makes a turn to the North. This was very exciting for all of us, because none of us wanted to leave without finding out where the wall went, and now we are that much closer to discovering its final destination. Since it was the last day for digging and we were already two hours past our normal leaving time, no new units were opened, and as with all the other units maps were drawn up.

Tomorrow we will cover the bottom of our trenches with geotextile and backfill the area to prevent erosion and looting, among other things. It will be a bittersweet day to see six weeks of our hard work covered up in one day, but it is for the best and we wish the next crew excavating “our” wall the best of luck.

Thank you to Lisa, Rich, and HUROP as a whole for this awesome opportunity. We had a great time!

Pickaxe Punks – moving dirt until the end!

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