Sunday, March 22, 2015

Third and final year of teaching Archaeology Field School at a Spanish mission site close to the Mexican border. This year we had nine students busy learning about the glamour and excitement of getting dirty and (sometimes) wet.

We are excavating in two places. In the road bed Leslie is supervising the excavation of two Hohokam pit structures. Nearby we are placing units in a probable horse corral and a probable sheep and cattle pen complex.

Alycia, Katrina, Brandon, Anthony, and Shelby documented the corner of the corral with Leslie supervising.

The animal management areas have a very hard surface, of unknown origin, and cutting into the surface are a variety of trenches and postholes, and sometimes trenches with postholes. Fences were once erected in the trenches, with branches woven in between posts. The mission existed between 1700 and 1775, there was no barbed wire fences back then.

A trench ending in a posthole.

It is amazing to see the students transform into archaeologists, by the ninth day they knew exactly what to do.

Marla and Alycia digging a trench.

We have two more Saturdays and then the field work is completed. Next the students do their projects and eventually our report gets published.
Shelby and Mark.

Lots of animals make the desert their home. We found many small tarantulas. Also a couple of scorpions and a nasty centipede. I also saw jackrabbits, cottontails, a cardinal, and vermillion flycatchers. Every night the coyotes would yip and howl. I lay awake in my tent listening to them.


We stayed at a beautiful ranch and of course the animals remind me of my childhood on the farm. Goats started having kids.


Interesting to see the animals in their modern pens and then to expose the 200+-year-old pens at the Mission.

Alycia, Brandon, and Marla preparing cross sections.

Back at the ranch I visited with the donkeys. They like to rest their heads on my shoulder. One got jealous of the attention I was giving the other two and bit me on the arm to remind me who was the boss.


It is spring time and the flowers are blooming.

Yellow flower.

White and yellow poppies.

The sunsets were often gorgeous. As I walked back from the barn where we had our catered suppers, I would stare at the vibrant colors.


A few minutes later.

The fifth kid born did not want to nurse. I tried to bottle feed it (I used to bottle feed our calves on the farm), but was not particularly successful.

Boy goat.

Giselle was much better at it and by the end of the week the little ram had started suckling. 

Giselle helps the kid nurse while Dean watches.

Giselle and kid.

Because he had been handled so much, the boy goat was very friendly.

Milky kisses.

On Thursday afternoon we braved the rain to documented the oldest building constructed by Anglo-Americans in Arizona. The stone structure was completed in 1858-1859.

Pennington House.

The students drew a floor plan, recorded historic graffiti, took photographs of everything, and filled out a form describing the house in detail. The building is already on the National Register of Historic Places. The information we collected will show what its condition was in 2015.

Face carved on one of the doorways.

We forgot to close the gate so I had to go back after supper and do so. Another beautiful sunset.

On the dirt road.

Besides the goats and donkeys, there were a cattle, including this very friendly heifer who liked to have her head scratched. Also chickens, less friendly.

Barney visits with the cow.

Fabiola arrived on Friday with high school students. She was a student on the field school last year. I made her hug one of the donkeys.


I really wanted to kidnap the triplets and watch them jump around my house. I am sure their mother would be upset about this.

Daddy Homer.

It was sad to pack up the tents and return home to Tucson. However, I am enjoying sleeping in a real bed and not waking up cold and wet.

2015 Field School. Anthony, Mark, Marla, Giselle, Barney, Sarah, Brandon, Leslie, Alycia, Nicole, Katrina, Shelby, and Jeremy.

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