Wednesday, June 24, 2009

How can I do paperwork under these conditions?

It's hot. Really really hot. How hot? 107 Fahrenheit or 42 Celsius.

It doesn't feel that hot when we are out there... but then we are coming back in around noon and I think the temperature hits high around 2 or 3. Which is great siesta time, let me tell you.

Otherwise, I seem to be up to my eyeballs in paperwork. We have a sheet to fill out for every locus. A locus is a feature in the square. It can be a wall or a layer of dirt, a pit (often dirt within more dirt, but different colored and deposited at a different time... yeah, it *is* the pits), a floor (plastered or cobbled or beaten earth or.... etc), just about anything you can describe that is NOT an object you can pick up and move is a locus. And each one that you have has it's own page of information that must be filled out. Archaeological law states that you will suddenly have a plethora of loci (plural of locus) during your last week of excavation. Only 4 so far? Have another 12!

But because of this record keeping, I can tell you that in the first two weeks, we moved 25 cubic meters of soil. And for those of you who can't imagine in meters... that's 883 cubic feet of soil. From one square. Then myself and my volunteers also removed the back fill from another square. Which I have to guestimate, since there were walls that we didn't remove... but it was about another 25 and a half cubic meters/900 cubic feet of soil. Finally we dug down deeper in that square... removing some of the walls... and moved about (ABOUT) another 28 cubic meters/1000 cubic feet.

If my math is right.

And do remember that I am a social science major. I deal in theoretic cultural behaviors of long dead societies. Math is not something I often need to do.

This photo was taken of the site early in the morning. Like 5:30 or some mad time. We have to shoot photos before the sun causes shadows. Each of those squares is a 5 by 5 meter square, to give you some scale. (16 feet by 16 feet... jesus people) And there are nine of them. Not all have been excavated this season, we been here every summer for the last three years, but these are not the only squares we've dug, either. We had many other squares that are now back filled.

So there you have it. Archaeology is massive dirt relocation followed by paperwork.


  1. Remember the sunblock!

  2. Thanks for the photo - very cool. Archaeology was one of those fleeting childhood dreams - the ones that come and go and you never really think much about it. There was something about it though that I always thought was really cool. Of course, in my imagination I would have found gold in every inch of whatever I was searching, or some other expensive old treasure - not just dirt!

  3. me no like math.

  4. Thank you for the metric head would explode if I tried to do them myself.

    Love the update. You have the coolest job.

  5. I agree with Laura...even without the math (I am a mathematician, so I LOVE math), I think you have a cool job.

  6. Hey Archeogoddess! Me just over the border. It is pretty hot, isn't it. 44 here today.

    I moved from one friend to another *expressly because* of the promise of air-conditioning. Had had two nights in indescribable stickiness dreaming about the mosquitoes who were, in fact, grazing away. Then we moved in to a beautiful apartment in Zamalek, and the A/C in my bedroom didn't work. Oh SAD - but it's fixed now. A beautiful night last night !!

    Keep on trucking. Enjoy being in a real, wonderful place.

  7. Shalom Archaeogoddess!
    I am so very glad to meet you and your exciting blog. Thanks for solving the mystery of the leaning tree at Hebrew U. I will post it today.
    I plan to read back through your posts. Maybe it is written somewhere, or maybe it is a secret; but can you tell me? Where are you digging?!
    Do you need non-paying volunteers or even better, paid workers?? I need dig work for the summer.

    Good luck with the heat, etc. Enjoy your time here!

  8. Tov. Ani mevina. Nachon.


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