Last May I posted on this blog for the third time after my first day as a field school student at Ferry Farm (see Day One). It was the first time I had ever been to an archaeological site, let alone dug at one. I wrote about arriving at the site and learning of its history, and I described my first time in the field. I remember how overwhelming it all was, and though I did my best to remain cool and confident throughout the day, I was a nervous wreck on the inside. I had no idea what to expect from the experience, and I was terrified that I would be terrible, or that I would mess something up. As the weeks went by, however, I started to become more and more comfortable in the field, and found myself falling ever more in love with archaeology. Everything was new and exciting, and each day felt like an adventure. I truly feel that I found myself at Ferry Farm, and though I did not know where I would be or what I would be writing about a year from then, I knew that all would be well as long as I was doing archaeology.
Little did I know, less than a year from my first day at Ferry Farm, I would be returning to the site for yet another first day – this time as an intern. This marks my first post in a brand new set of adventures at George Washington’s Boyhood Home.
This has been an incredibly eventful year for me. In the fall I joined the Virtual Curation Laboratory (VCL) at VCU and traveled to numerous sites around Virginia and Pennsylvania, scanning artifacts from a myriad of collections and creating 3D digital models of them. In March, I attended my first conference and presented a paper that won the undergraduate student paper contest, and I volunteered at my second excavation in Gloucester, VA. Around February of this year, I applied for a job at Ferry Farm as an excavation intern for the 2013 field season. Shortly thereafter, I was offered the position, and have been eagerly waiting for the start of the season ever since! Earlier this week I officially completed my junior year at VCU and took a short trip to the Virginia Museum of Natural History with the VCL. Then, on Friday, I finally began my first day as an intern at Ferry Farm!
I arrived promptly at 8:30 AM and made my way to our morning meeting space, where I met the other four interns who have reported for duty – Ryan, Cate, Katie, and fellow VCU student and VCL team member Allen Huber. After a brief discussion I was given a tour of the building by our Site Director Laura Galke, and then sat down to complete my employment paperwork. Once that was done, I headed out to the field to join the other interns at work!
As I approached the dig site, which is in the same area that we dug last year, I couldn’t help but feel like I was coming home. We are starting the season by taking down the remaining portion of the northern half of last year’s excavation area. I was initially paired up with Cate and Ryan, who were working on taking their unit down to the next level. While we were digging, we were visited by a group of preschool students, who needed one of us to talk to them about what we were doing. I volunteered and met the students under the tree next to the dig site. I told them about our excavation and showed them plastic replicas of artifacts (printed by the VCL) that have been recovered from the site. The kids loved the replicas, and seemed to enjoy my brief talk before they ran to the screening area to get their hands dirty! I enjoyed talking to them, and I really liked being able to use our replicas in the field!
Shortly after that, Katie had to leave to train for her position as our designated public archaeology person, so I took her place as Allen’s digging partner for the day. Their unit was between contexts when I arrived, meaning that paperwork had to be done before we could move on to the next layer. The unit had a utility trench running through it, and a large shovel test pit in one corner. Allen and I took the elevations, mapped the unit, and recorded the color and texture of the soil. While he was wrapping up the paperwork, I started giving the unit a fresh scrape with my trowel before we took a photo and moved on to the next context. Katie rejoined us shortly after we started digging, and when we screened the soil from that context we made quite a few interesting finds. There were a surprising amount of prehistoric stone flakes in this layer, as well as some nails, shell and ceramics. We continued working on our unit until the end of the day, and before I knew it, it was time to pack up and go home.
Overall, my first day as an intern at Ferry Farm was wonderful, and I am so excited to spend the rest of the summer at the site! I feel extremely fortunate to have this opportunity, and I can’t wait to see what this field season has in store…