Sunday, October 02, 2016

I've been up in Alpine, Arizona, working on an archaeological survey. At elevations ranging from 8,600 to 8,850 feet. The first session was a nightmare of foot pain and staggering around trying to breath. On the sixth of eight days I started feeling better.

The second session was better, although it has started to get cold. The aspen and oak leaves are turning.

Big mountain outside of our work area.

We walk through the forest and meadows spaced 15 meters apart. Sometimes the slopes are horribly steep. I wear a bright orange vest so my co-workers can easily spot me. Sometimes we stop to catch our breath.

In the forest.

By the middle of the second session it started to get cold.


We hear elk whistling every day, and sometimes spot them while driving or while walking.

Bull elk.

Most of the ground is covered with pine needles, pine cones, and leaves. There are relatively few places where the ground surface is visible.


And when the ground surface is visible, we occasionally find archaeological sites. The most common are lithic (flaked stone) scatters. When we find one, we stop, place pin flags at each artifact, and then record the material and type of flaked stone.

Flagged artifacts.

Most of the flakes are pieces knocked off during the process of making stone tools such as spear points, scrapers, or bifaces.

Black flakes.

Chalcedony flakes.

I have yet to find a complete spear. My co-worker Connie found three on our last session. Maybe the next time I will be lucky.

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