Thursday, July 28, 2016

Back in 1972 or 1973 I really wanted a dog. We had a couple of dogs by then, my mother had a white toy poodle named Smokey (as a child I was obsessed with Smokey the Bear), and my brother had a little brown and white terrier named Ginger. Ginger had just showed up one day and climbed into my father's lap so we kept her. The Dreve's lived next door to my nice grandmother and bred poodles but somehow their female poodle got knocked up by some other breed (a Pekinese?) and as a result I got to have Pouncer. He started out black and soon turned a gray color. A very nice, friendly dog, prone to epileptic fits.

 He didn't get spayed in time and he got Ginger pregnant and she had five puppies in early 1974. We kept two, Curley and a white puppy whose name I forgot, and who managed to get run over. Curley was a fat dog and sometimes was grumpy. I came across this photo, probably taken by me in 1979 or 1980. Brought back memories of my two dogs. Wish I could see them again. in person.

Pouncer and Curley.

Monday, July 25, 2016

This morning I arrived at the dig site at 5:26. I carry my screens and then push my wheelbarrow over to the pit structure I am digging.

5:30 AM

By 5:57 AM, the first bead of sweat runs down my face. By 6:13 AM, the sweat has drenched my shirt.
6:13 AM

My shirt stays like this all day long. Clumps of dirt develop on my forearms, I have to use the trowel to scrape them off. I drink lots of water. Last Friday it was worse (108 degrees) and I drank a lot of red Gatorade and good lord it came out the same color.

Archaeology is glamorous.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Tyler and I drove to New Mexico for work. 

New Mexico.

We stopped at the Pepper Pot restaurant in Hatch and I had a grilled cheese with green chile pepper and onion rings for lunch. So good.

Tyler should have been a farmer.

We stayed in the Super 8 in Santa Fe. Would not recommend the place. Mystery stains on the floor and mystery gravy for breakfast. I did enjoy the air conditioning and cable tv.

Here I am at the office, well the dig site. I am enjoying the cool weather. The weathermen screeched about the horrible heat but I thought it was very nice.


We were digging around an 1890s cabin in Pecos National Historical Park. The cabin is going to be restored next year and the Park Service needs to know what sort of archaeology is present. The cabin is on the Glorieta Battlefield and we were also hoping to find evidence of the Civil War battle that took place there in March 1862.

The cabin.

There were wildflowers blooming. This gourd plant was next to where we parked the Suburban.


There are a lot of artifacts scattered around the surface of the site. We laid out units and counted them. On the first day I found a fragment of a cannon ball. We would find another fragment and two Minie bullets, so there was scant evidence for the battle.

One 2m by 2m unit's artifacts.

On Saturday, Tyler, his wife Mariel, and her delightful grandmother Heather and I went to Chaco Canyon. I had not been there since 1990.

Pueblo Bonito.

The visitor center needs some displays. The ruins didn't seem as big as I remembered it.

T-shaped doorway.

Tyler and Mariel enjoyed seeing the pueblo.

Mariel and Tyler peering through doorways.

Grandma Heather was fun to talk to. At 87, her mind is really sharp. 

Mariel and Heather.

Santa Fe is known for its green chile. We went to La Choza twice for meals. I was more impressed by the food at El Comal.

Green chile cheese enchiladas at El Comal.

On Thursday, Tyler and I backfilled and because we finished early, we drove over to Bandelier National Monument. This park has both pueblos and caveates.


The caveates are small rooms cut into the soft stone of the nearby cliffs.

Red mural within a caveate.

Tyler climbed up ladders to see the cave at the top with a kiva, one which you aren't allowed to go into (unlike back in 1990).

Tyler on the ladder.

A friendly deer stood along the trail on the way out.


It was a nice break to escape to Santa Fe. Now I am back in Tucson and it is hot and humid.

Friday, July 01, 2016

The monsoon season has arrived. It is raining in the morning, in the afternoon, and at night. Monsoon storms are not good for archaeological excavations. Jenny and I started to dig a pit structure on Monday. We had exposed the floor by Tuesday afternoon, and tried to cover the house to prevent water from getting in. The heavy rains that night flooded everything and the next morning there was several inches of water standing inside the house.

I am not happy.

I bailed out as much water as I could and in the afternoon I scraped up most of the mud and we covered it again with fence panels, plastic and a tarp.

It rained most of the day on Thursday, but when I got to the site, bailed off the standing water on the plastic, I was pleased to see that the floor had not gotten wetter. 

With help from Deb and Greg, we were able to complete excavation of the house. It dates to the Tortolita Phase of the Hohokam Pioneer period, sometime between AD 500 to 700. It has an offset entrance (one that is not placed in the center of the house). Two large posts with adobe cones mark the transition from the entrance to the house floor. A 25-cm-diameter plastered fire hearth lies inside the entrance. There are four post holes for roof supports on the floor, and a floor groove around the perimeter of the house floor, which was covered with an adobe (mud) plaster.

Looking to the south. The southwest corner of the house was under dirt and was still dry.

There was a scatter of pottery sherds on the floor, as well as some pieces of chipped stone. When I wet-screened the dirt I scraped off the floor, I found part of a sea shell bracelet. Three of the postholes had artifacts in them, in one case a couple of rocks that might have been used as chinking to help hold the post in place. A Y-shaped charred beam was present in the southeast corner of the house. The "Y" would have been used to hold a roof beam in place.

Looking to the north.

The entrance was interesting. It had an adobe step (the top of which might have been plastered but was probably sliced off by the backhoe by accident). Then an adobe passage way running to the adobe cones that were built around a pair of big posts. Smaller posts (about 5 cm in diameter) were found in the floor groove, along with some pieces of reed used as thatching for the walls.

Entrance looking south.

Perhaps totally by accident, the entrance way looked remarkably like a human penis. I do not think this will be discussed in the final report.

Entrance, looking to the east.

You never know what you will find when you do archaeology.

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