Plowzone, Projectile Points, and Public Archaeology

This morning I woke up bright and early and made the long journey up to Ferry Farm, which is always a trip I am happy to make!  I arrived in the field at the usual time and was teamed up with Karen, a great archaeologist who is one of the interns and was my TA during field school.  She has been working on a unit in the northern part of the site and had just come to the base of the plowzone, which she asked me to help her level out.

Karen (left) and I (right) leveling out the plowzone layer of her unit.

We had to take down the corners of the unit quite a bit, but before long the ground was beautifully even and we were able to take a picture and wrap up the context.  There were surprisingly few ceramics in the bottom of this layer, but a large amount of charcoal and quite a few prehistoric flakes.  We also found a large piece of the base of a bottle, which I thought was very neat.  As we were working, Dr. Means came out from the lab and asked me if I’d like to do some scanning in the afternoon.  He was working with projectile points that have been found at Ferry Farm, which is something that I am very interested in, so I decided to join him after lunch!

Karen and I finished screening our soil just before the break, and after eating I said farewell to everyone and headed inside for the remainder of the day.  When I got to the lab, Dr. Means had the scanner set up and running and an area prepared for picture-taking and data-recording.  He taught me how to enter artifacts into the record book, photograph them, and complete the necessary paperwork before scanning them.  I also got to start a few scans myself, which was very exciting!

A projectile point that I photographed in the lab.

All of the artifacts that we worked with today were prehistoric, and most were projectile points made by people who either occupied this region or passed through it at one time.  This is particularly significant to me because I may be doing a research project on these artifacts as part of my internship this fall, so I am really glad that I was able to come to the lab today!  It was amazing to be able to see and hold these items, which were created by the hands of someone who held them thousands of years before me.

Visitors can watch as artifacts are washed, labeled, mended, and- on some days- scanned through the windows in this hallway.

As we were working, a few people appeared at the window to watch the scanner run.  We went out to greet them and tell them about our project, and even brought them a plastic wig curler that was printed using the 3D scanner to hold.  They absolutely loved it, and I really enjoyed being able to talk to them about the project and about Ferry Farm.  Getting the public involved is a huge part of Ferry Farm archaeology, so I’m always happy to contribute when I can!

Once the day was over and the scanning was finished, I packed up and drove back home.  Today was a wonderful day, and I hope to come back again on Thursday to do some more fieldwork!

Tomorrow will be a particularly exciting day at Ferry Farm, as there will be a huge 4th of July celebration!  Admission is only $1, and there will be plenty of games, food, history, entertainment and other activities for the whole family to enjoy.  There will also be archaeology and 3D scanning taking place all day, so if you are in the neighborhood you should certainly stop by!  You can find out more about this event on their website: http://www.kenmore.org/events.html

Have a happy and safe holiday!

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