Last August we did a small dig in Jefferson, NH, a setting to which I am partial for its beauty, its lack of poison ivy, and its name. Dick the archaeologist is partial to it because we find stuff. We found stuff during the small dig, and so we had field school there: Jefferson 6.
It's next to a B&B where people digging some other earlier Jeffersons (1-5, et al), and sooner or later the landowner wants to build a house. Meadow with a spectacular view of Mt Washington.
The supervisors were Heather
Heather supervised Block A
and, because we received some additional funding from the Mountain View Grand Hotel, Abbie. Abbie has only been around SCRAP since 2009 but we all think it must have been longer. She has taken to agreeing that she was there since 1987. She is 23 and at the beginning of the season she was unhappy to hear she needed to cultivate the Boss-quality of making people slightly uncomfortable when she was near them. By the end of the dig she was properly evil.
Abbie supervised Block B
The students were almost entirely women; in the middle two weeks, all of the students were women and we could number the guys (returnees) on one hand. Other than, in Dick's opinion, a great deal more giggling and a great deal less drinking, it didn't make much difference.
We camped around the same cottage as we did in 2004, down a precipitous slope off Rte 2.
Being in a river valley means bad cell phone reception. All summer we waited for the internet guy to come, but he was never able to deliver (his life got in the way, and we could not blame him). The tents were set up along the powerline that runs from Quebec to somewhere south, Boston at least.
The cottage has an adequate kitchen, a great porch,
and almost no natural light inside. The water runs, but it has a rather high coliform bacteria count, so we were advised not to drink it. We got water from our friends across the road from the site,
The pump at Pat's place. It was clean.
and from local friends who also turned out to have a high coliform count in their well, which might explain... . Well, clean running water is indeed all it's said to be.
Supplemental sanitary facilities, nearer the road, had better cell phone reception. At least, that was George's excuse.
The food was delicious. One week, we had strawberries brought in from Quebec, George's pulled pork, and a chicken and cherries dish made by Rose, who really thinks main courses are just a prelude to desserts. She made a tasting menu of five desserts: little cheese cakes, fruit tarts, tiny brownies... I forget, but it was an amazing week.
So we were excavating a site that probably had to do with the view (still amazing after 12,000 years, though now with trees) one might have had of caribou migrating into the Israel River Valley. We put multiple-square meter units around places where we had found things in test pits. All of these are carefully lined out on a grid, which maps onto the the state topo maps and the world.
Crammed for dear life under the shade at lunch...
...chatting and eating...
...or in some cases, napping.
We also continued to dig test pits, supervised by Mikey
Mikey on the right
Colin on the right. A visiting botanist saved our lives with Popsicles. Thank you, Page!
until he was forced to go on vacation, when Dick allowed Colin to take over. Someone bought Dick two more pop-up tents for the test-pit digging crew, by that time off in a world of their own. I mean more than usual.
You will notice (in the pics of Heather and Abbie, for instance) that the site was rocky. The rocks were large and frequent and the paleos tended to tuck flakes and things right under them. They reflected the heat (what they didn't absorb) to make the units into nice reflective ovens.
It was hot the last four weeks in particular. Very Hot. REALLY HOT, like one week it started in the 90's and worked up to 105, and not much better in the shade. The air was not clear and one day (forest fires in Canada?) we could not see the next mountain over. Our brains were melting out of our heads. Since we were in the mountains, it generally cooled down at night.
Clouds over the campsite
The natives rejoiced.
We were very glad when it rained, which cooled things off a little.
Dick and Abbie supervise B.
The six weeks each went faster and faster. The end of the first week, some of us went to Megantic for a long weekend (next post); Nathaniel went to Outer Mongolia. This is not a euphemism. I took pictures, which is my excuse for not finding too much. I am not bad at digging test pits, and in the units, I was several times surprised to find I had dug down to the correct level. This happens rarely, usually when the level is messed up. I redeemed my reputation when Jess and I dug, profile-drew, and backfilled a test pit, carefully supervised by Mikey, only to be told by Cindy (the youngest rookie, a smart-mouth of 15) that we had dug it in the wrong place. Mirror-image problem. I called Cindy a rotten kid for the next 48 hours, pleasing her a good deal. The rest of the time she was "My Young Apprentice," but she was not familiar enough with Stars Wars to get the overtones. Otherwise, she shows a great deal of promise. I shall follow her career with interest.
There were more science-fiction and fantasy fans (geeks) than SCRAP has ever had. Though I was way older and did not watch most of their TV shows, we had enough in common for me to feel at home. Not that I didn't already, since I have spent two to six weeks in Coos County in 1999, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, and 2011, not counting the long weekends of Octoberfest since about 2005. I like the north, and the people I dig with.