Monday, June 06, 2005

Dig, Day 12. I was at work for only a couple of hours when the phone rang, it was the office. Yesterday a man was digging a hole for a new mailbox pole and found a human burial. I was being sent over to help with the removal of the remains. Tucson has several cemeteries that were later moved and the area subsequently built over. The neighborhood this burial was found in was a cemetery from 1875 to 1907. When the cemetery closed hundreds of burials were left behind. Some people had no local relatives to move the bodies. Others were too poor. Other burials were unmarked and could not be located.

When I arrived I had to deal with the Tucson police detectives. Talk about attitude! 'Stand behind the line, please." Finally the two University archaeologists arrived and the burial was uncovered.

Mapping the remains.

The burial turned out to be an adult male, perhaps 25 to 40 years old when he died (his wisdom teeth were erupted and his bones were completely fused). He faced east so that if the resurrection took place he would rise from the grave facing Jerusalem. He was buried in a wood coffin and was dressed in a shirt and undershirt, as shown by milk glass and shell buttons, a pair of suspenders, and blue jeans, as seen by brass rivets. A fragment of shoe leather was present near what was left of his toes, since most of his lower body had been removed when a curb was put in.

Clothing remnants.

Newspaper and television reporters arrived. I managed to wander through the live coverage, wearing my Amish straw hat with a pen sticking out of my mouth. Don't I look busy carrying those buckets? You can even see my trowel sticking out of my back pocket.

The hot anchorman.

I was interviewed by the Very Cute Anchorman, who was wearing his gym shorts and had very muscular, furry legs. He had happened by on his bicycle and called the station to do a story.

Pretty pink blossoms.

I looked at the pretty pink flowering tree while waiting for the interview to take place, they would look extra pretty scattered about as the Very Cute Anchorman and I exchange vows.

I returned to my regularly scheduled dig where more layers of dirt were being removed in the north room. At the end of the day I located a nice fire hearth.

The north room, today.

We are now deep enough to find only blue varieties of majolica, which are slightly earlier than the yellow and green type. We also found a saint's medal and a lead gaming piece, probably used to play checkers or chess. We are making good progress and it is really surprising how much we are uncovering on this project.

Blue varieties of blue majolica.

Later- here is a news article on the burial excavation.

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