#110 10 Days of Archaeology: Day 5

I don't know about "America's BEST Value" but it's OK. Except for the WiFi, which is virtually unusable.
Today is Saturday. It’s the first day of a sad little two-day weekend for most people. For thousands of archaeologists it’s just another work day. Our weekend starts in a few days and lasts for at least four days. Just one more reason I like this schedule.

For those of you that are single, or at least don’t work with your significant other, I’ll mention some of the difficulties, and niceties, that can arise when living with someone in a hotel room. If you read yesterday’s post you know that my wife came out to visit on Friday night and won’t be leaving until Sunday morning. Since she’s here now, I had some special considerations to think of when I woke up this morning.

This morning was much like it was when we used to work together. When we have a 7 am start time I usually get up around 5:30, make my coffee, and just get prepared, mentally, for my day. I like to either, write a blog post, read some blogs, read some news, or do some other mental activity that will allow me to be alert when the time comes to start. I’m usually at least a crew chief so when I get to the trucks I don’t have the luxury of being half awake and going to sleep in the truck when we get going. So, I like to be awake and alert. My crew deserves at least that level of safety.

As I was saying, I usually get up early. My wife, however, is like many people I know in CRM and will get up by 6:30, or later, get dressed, get a lunch together, and head out to the truck. She doesn’t usually sleep when she gets to the truck like a lot of people do. No, she knits or reads. In fact, she got out of archaeology to knit and read full time! Actually, she buys yarn for a major yarn supplier for a living.

So, even though my wife wasn’t going to work, my day started much like it used to. I leave the bathroom light on because it usually shines on the sink area in most hotels. That way I can see. Sometimes I just wear my headlamp but it shines in her eyes when I swing over that way. I try to not make any noise because I don’t want to wake her. You learn to get dressed and get ready for work in the dark. Once I’m settled and ready I don’t need more lighting to read or be on my computer since all of my devices light up on there own. This particular hotel room has an east-facing window so quite a bit of light comes through even with the blackout curtains drawn. That’s what one version of a morning can be like when you have a partner that you travel with. What’s your story? Do you get up together? When you both get up 30 minutes before the day starts is it chaos? Let me know in the comments.

My little friend. He didn't see too angry...Our work day was pretty chill. We finished recording one large site and moved on to another. They could’t have been more different from each other and they each had their own challenges.

As far as historics go, I don’t know whether I prefer a site loaded with artifacts or a site loaded with features and almost no artifacts. Many mining sites are like that. There can be dozens of features, including prospect pits, cairns, adits, shafts, stopes, etc., and absolutely no artifacts. They were either very tidy, which is doubtful, or, they were living somewhere else and traveled to that location for work everyday. On some mining complexes you find tent platforms and domestic items. On some you don’t. Sometimes it just depends on how remote the site is.

When you get a couple of sites that are all artifacts and features you end up writing all day. A lot. The amount of writing is quite absurd, actually. By the end of the day my hand hurts from all the writing, and, because I’m left-handed, I have nice pencil stains on my left hand. Also, I tend to write more than some people. When I write a description in the field I write it as I’d like it typed up. Chances are that someone not familiar with the site will be typing up what I wrote and I don’t want them to have to interpret what I was saying. I just want them to type it as they see it and correct my horrible spelling errors. If everyone wrote that way we could save a lot of time in the office.

At the end of the day I came home to a great wife and some home made lasagna. We sat down for the evening and enjoyed some wine and later some ice cream. It was a good evening and is in no way typical of what usually happens on a Saturday night in the field. This crew is pretty tame and doesn’t seem to go out partying much. I’ve been on crews that would go out more than a few nights during the session. By the end, though, no one really wants to go anywhere.

That’s the end of Day 5. Check back tomorrow for Day 6.

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you in the field.