Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Spring time has arrived and the animals are mating outside my office window. A vermillion flycatcher swoops through the air, catching bugs to eat.

Vermillion flycatcher.

At home, my backyard is loaded with a dozen different types of wildflowers and flowering bushes.

Brittle bush.

Bees were buzzing around as I watered.

Fairy duster.

Some of the plants were apparently planted by birds pooping out seeds. Every year I get one or two new varieties.

Purple flower.

I was out this morning doing some yardwork. My egg party is Sunday and I have to get things ready for the egg hunt.

Penstamen and macrame owl.

Wednesday through Saturday I have a testing project in parking lots. I hope something interesting turns up.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

We went to the Grand Canyon yesterday and I am worn out.

Evan and Mummy. 

 The Grand Canyon is both. At times, it is difficult to look over the side, so far down.

Click on the picture to see it better.

The park sells a book in the gift shops that details every single person who died in the park. I was glad no one fell over the cliff while I was there. People certainly do stupid things.

We also went to Walnut Canyon, but I forgot my camera in the car.

At times I was a bit short with my mother, who is acting her age and some. When we got home I took a nap, which ended when she started making noises in the kitchen. When I walked in, I discovered she had cut opened the gel freezer pack that goes into the cooler and was squeezing it into a bowl, since she had decided it was edible (it had a picture of a strawberry on it). I was not amused.

She has been here for four months and a week, and I am ready to have the place to myself again.

Monday, March 19, 2012

I went to an antique store with Mummy yesterday. I went through a huge stack of carte de vista photographs, looking for those with names on the back or handsome unidentified men.

Alva Cole, taken on 31 December 1888.

Unidentified man  (click to see better, he's good looking).

Unidentified man with nice moustache.

John J. Kink.

I have started researching the named people, and found memorials for two of them on the FIndagrave.com website.

This was my radical homosexual lifestyle agenda for last night.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Today is my half-birthday. It really ought to be a national holiday.

So let's see. Inside now, writing stuff at work, making a Power Point (I am horrible at doing so), and feeling antsy. While I mainly do historical archaeology, I suddenly find myself interested in prehistoric archaeology. The structures and ceramics from my dig at the old fort were very interesting.

Still plugging away at the gym and watching what I eat. I am down about 20 pounds since January 24. Four more months before I get re-tested for cholesterol.

Mummy is here for another month. She continues to be extremely picky about her food and I am completely out of ideas. Mashed potatoes will be served tonight.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

At the end of most digs there are surprises. One of these was the discovery of burned daub (mud) that once plastered the inside of a house, burned hard when the house burned down about 1000-years-ago. You can still see the fingerprints of an ancient person on the daub.

Finger prints. Click on the pictures to see bigger versions, with more details.

On the south side of the area with prehistoric features we found a rectangular house, the walls lined with adobe and covered with plaster. We hurridly excavated it, recording the soil layers and exposing the floor, on which lay a broken decorated jar and several grinding stones.

Feature 160 with floor artifacts. 

Jeff and Olivia mapped the house, photographed the floor artifacts in place, and then removed them. We carefully document everything on forms, maps, and photographs, collecting the information for future archaeologists to examine.

Feature 160, completed.

Allen was examining the area just to the west of the house, and noticed another line of adobe. It turned out to be another, smaller rectangular structure. It was very shallow and we were able to quickly excavate it on Friday afternoon, exposing a broken jar and several pieces of ground stone on its floor.

Feature 164, with floor artifacts in place.

This structure differed from all of the others on the site because it did not have a hearth. When we removed the floor artifacts, we discovered five hollowed out areas on the floor, which we call pot rests. They are the spots where round-bottomed jars were once set. The structure turned out to be a storage building.

Feature 164, after removal of artifacts.

We found many pieces of burnt daub in these houses with impressions of beams and the materials used for the walls and roof. This sort of architectural information allows us to figure out how the long-disappeared super structure was put together.

We cleared some of the area in front of the houses, but did not find any other structures (although they may lie hidden beneath nearby trees or the backdirt pile). The dwelling and storage house, which probably date to around AD 1150, provide a great deal of information about the settlement of the area at that time.

Both houses.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

My co-worker Henry flew over the old fort site in a helicopter and took photos yesterday. Click on the pictures to see them in greater detail.

The fort was occupied between 1873 and 1891. The buildings were sold off in 1896 and the three officer's quarters in the southwestern corner of the fort became a tuberculosis rest home. Soon, the ruin on the right will have a protective roof to halt its gradual erosion.

The small squares are planting pits from a garden next to two of the officer's quarters.

At the north side of the property, Chris and Steve completed a small prehistoric pit structure. Chris excavated the entrance way and found a red-on-brown bowl lying upside-down, apparently sitting on the roof of the structure when it burned and collapsed.

The house is the smallest one we have found.

All five of the houses that we have excavated have been different. Here is the one Jeff and Olivia dug, with the many postholes.

House in pit- the house was erected inside a pit, with the walls of the house inside the wall of the pit.

We started the last house that we will dig yesterday. As Henry flew over in the helicopter I told everybody to look busy.

I am in the white shirt.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Last week on the dig and it was windy in the afternoon. I am sitting at home exhausted. Last week a heron flew over and landed on a light pole.

Great blue heron.

The first pit structure George and Bill worked on had nice plastered walls and a partially plastered floor.

Pit structure, dates to circa A.D. 1080-1100. 

Nearby, Jeff and Olivia were digging the house-in-pit that contained about 100 post holes. The entrance had a polished caliche floor leading to the hearth.


The house had a wall groove extending around the perimeter of the house. The walls were anchored into the groove, preventing drafts.

Wall groove.

 A dozen grinding stones, including a broken metate, lay on the floor of the house.


The house is about 6 m across, fairly large. It dates between A.D. 1040-1100 based on the decorated pottery found close to the floor.


Today Chris, Adam, and Steve were digging a house with beautiful wall plaster, a polished caliche floor, a molded plaster hearth, and a broken jar and a mano on its floor.

Adam, Chris, and Steve.

And of course, we found another house in the afternoon. Sigh.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

After a long day at work I drove north to Flagstaff and Evan made me pizza for supper. I was very tired and slept poorly. The next morning we went on an adventure, driving northwest to Williams, passing by Beararizona. We did not stop. We drove down mostly deserted roads on the way to Perkinsville, stopping to look at a canyon.

Evan next to canyon. 

The road turned into a dirt road and we drove through some rather scary parts before coming out in Jerome. We parked the car and wandered through the mining town, now a tourist trap. At an antique store I tried on hats.

British Officer Homer.

 Becoming a tourist trap has saved the town from economic ruin. There isn't much else one can do with a former mining town.

Evan in Jerome.

Afterward, we traveled back in time to Tuzigoot, admiring the enormous ollas in the museum. The ruins were dug in the 1930s and are maintained by the National Park Service.


A herd of donkeys grazed nearby.

But Daddy, I want an ass!

We made Spanish Rice for supper and then watched the 1974 The Taking of Pelham 123, which has become one of my favorite films. The technology of 1974 seems so ridiculous today, but the subways look and sound the same. This morning we hiked down Picture Rock canyon, through which the Rio de Flag runs. It was very scenic.

Picture Rock Canyon. 

 Many large rocks have petroglyphs carved on them. We admired them. Did you know that I wrote Rock Art in Arizona?
Bow and Arrow hunter and deer.

Textile design.

Turtle or horny toad. 

I made it back to Tucson in record time, 3 hours and 50 minutes.

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