maanantai 6. kesäkuuta 2011

Week One: The Excavation Begins

Monday and TuesdayAfter long plane rides, we had a small amount of time to get over our jet lag. Eva and Jen were piteous to our situation and the first Monday began at 10 as opposed to the usual 7:45. We went to the University of Oulu to gather supplies like tarps, sifters, trowels, buckets, shovels, etc. We met Babar and Saima (international students from Pakistan studying in Oulu) along with Riku, our Finnish assistant. After loading up the cars and eating lunch, the adventure to the site began. We enjoyed the sights of Finland including the lack of stop signs, pine and birch trees, and the beautiful Ii River. After driving back the path to the site, we encountered some fallen trees. Thankfully there was another way around because there was no way we were going to be able to get there. We finally got to the site, dropped off our equipment and explored.
Tuesday was the first day of excavations and the war with the total station. It refused to participate by giving completely inaccurate results. We learned how to fill out layer sheets and how to dig properly. By the end of the day, the total station was semi-compliant to our wishes, which was satisfactory. We endured the bugginess of Finland and engaged in battle by using the strongest bug spray in the world (which is apparently too weak to repel the bugs). Overall, the weather has been beautiful and sunny.

June 1 2011 Wednesday:After a tough day of digging on Tuesday, the team finally caught a break on Wednesday as rain clouds moved in on the Yli-II dig site. After picking up Riku, and two Pakistani students, Babar and Saima, the team set out for the excavation site. Overcast clouds held for roughly two hours in the morning, when rain began pouring down. The team took shelter in the tent/vans for about 20 minutes hoping for a break. As the rain began pouring more severely, however, Jennifer and Eva decided to take the team out for a field trip and the Yli-II museum. The team spent a rainy afternoon touring the exhibits and learning about the concept of uplift. Uplift is caused when the sea level gradually recedes and the shoreline expands westward. Archaelogists can use this phenomenon to accurately measure where the shoreline was at a particular point in time, and more importantly, the specific time periods of the artifacts buried within a particular time period. After wrapping up the afternoon with a short video on previous excavations in the area, the team broke for a quick meal and then returned to the dig site as the rain had finally subsided. Great progress was made in the remaining hours, with artifacts such as charcoal, quartz and fcr found within the trenches. Overall, it was a much easier, yet still productive day for the excavation team, who looked forward to discovering new finds the next morning.June 2 2011 Thursday

Thursday began with a continuation of digging in the trenches. Greg’s flight had been delayed in Toronto due to inclement weather on the Eastern coast of North America, but he was due to arrive that night, along with Dustin. The usually excavation suspects were joined by two faces: a Chinese student, and a Finnish-American student, both welcome additions to the team. A new unit, 111C was opened by Joe, Babar, and Saima, and many total station points leftover from the previous day were taken. In addition to excavation, Colin and Alesia were able to get some hands on experience with using the total station and the prism, as there were plenty of new points to be taken by the team due to the plethora of new finds. With these new finds the team continued to learn on how to fill out the paperwork, documenting samples, photos, and layers. Thankfully the weather began to hold much better today, and with increased warmth and wind, the bugs were much more sparse than earlier in the week.

June 3 2011 Friday: What the ROOT?
The weather on Friday was pretty nice, it was warm and windy which help kept the bugs away for a while. We were split into two groups for survey and excavation. Jen supervised the excavation team consisted of Babar, Saima, Riku, Alicia, and Eva. Dustin supervised the survey team consisted of Joseph, Colin, Dan, and Leyna.
Furthermore, while digging the excavation team found a big root that got in the most of the way and had a significant effect on the layer profile drawing. The only other way to avoid this root was to work around it for now. The survey team was introduced to t
he methods of survey by Dustin, he showed them how to look for artifacts that were in the mix of destruction by forester who chopped down the trees and destroy most of the previous excavation site from 2008. We were looking for anything that relates to pre-historic humans that lived in the region, such as flake, slate, and FCR (Fire-cracked rock). Once we found these artifacts, we marked them with a red flag. Th
en later on we came back to mark the coordinates with the handheld GPS in order to use it for mapping purposes. Friday was Eva last day working with us;
we took a group picture and said our farewell’s to her. We will miss her!

June 4TH 2011: Fun Saturday!
We went out to explore downtown Oulu to see what the nightlife had to offer. The downtow
n was pretty live due to a numerous numbers of high schools that just graduated. We went to the Finnish karaoke to chat and grab a couple of drinks. Ultima
tely, downtown Oulu was very fun and exciting. It was a nice to see a different perspective of nightlife in contrast to the U.S.


Today was a BEAUTIFUL Sunday in Finland!
We decided to take a field trip to a nearby "Giants Church" and the nearby bird sanctuary/park. The "Giants Church" is a large ring of piled stones with several surrounding burial cairns.

The morning ended up being a bit more eventful
than we imagined… While we were in our van (looking for the signs to the Giants Church) we ran over the stump of a tree that had been recently cut down! Thankfully, no one was hurt and other than a VERY flat tire there was no damage. We even got lucky because the van we were driving had a FLAT SPARE TIRE but our other van had another one we could use. Archaeology is always an adventure!

The bird sanctuary was absolutely beautiful- clear skies, shining sun and the perfect example of isostatic uplift! There were signs marking the previous shorelines, one
as recent as 1986! The entire sanctuary was a marshland, but they had built a nice little wooden walkway to allow the public access. Most of the land was still very waterlogged, however you could see the slow process of it drying out and rising above the water. The park also had two bird-viewing buildings- one was a very tall tower, and the other a small one-story building with many windows to allow people to view the many migrating birds that visit the area. Unfortunately, we didn't see too many birds but it was absolutely beautiful anyway!

It was a fun day all around! :)

The majority of us resumed excavating this morning while Greg, Dustin and Riku (our Finnish colleague) went to restock the vans with spare tires. After yesterdays adventure, we figured it best to have usable spares just in case anything happened again…

For those of us at the site, the bugs were really bad… No amount of bug-spray helped- even the FIRE didn't help! There weren't many mosquitos out, it was the black flies that were the problem. They land on you and crawl around until they find a delicious spot worth biting into!
Greg, Dustin and Riku made it back to the site in time for lunch, and after that we split into two teams. One team, Greg, Dustin, Colin and Joe went off to scout for new areas to survey while the rest of us continued excavating. It was SO frustrating having to work with so many flies trying to eat us alive, but by the end of the day we had gotten to level 7 in squares B and C and to the bottom level 5 in square D. On order to do that, Saima had to saw through a huge tree root that was becoming too frustrating to dig around anymore.

Overall, today was a great day and we can't wait to get back to excavating and to begin our survey project.

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