Feeling pleased with my snappy new vest, I got back to the business of excavating
– we dig in 5cm levels and most of the 1m x 1m units have to go down to 215cm below surface, so it takes a bit of time to finish up each area. Lots of trowel away sand, scoop into bucket and repeat. When the bucket is full, it’s screening time!
Hopefully nothing comes out of the screen, we want to find as much as possible in-situ so we can painstakingly map and record it – its location and relationship to the other artifacts can add a lot information to the bigger picture. But, sometimes small treasures slip past our notice which keeps it from being too mind-numbing.
Although screening by hand can be a bit boring so I set up a snazzy hanging screen – we’re working in sand here so it almost screens itself which is quite a treat. The last site I worked on was all clay which is horrendous to dig and screen.
But all the hard work pays off when you find a lovely little feature or a shiny scraper for cleaning hides hiding in the ground. Buried treasure, that’s really why we do this job. We tell ourselves it’s a noble calling, history is important, understanding our past, etc. (which of course it is) but really it’s the hope of buried treasure that keeps us going when we’re on endless surveys or excavating in the dead of winter in a tiny town located in the middle of nowhere.