Posted by: Brian | October 12, 2009

Neither Rain Nor Snow – Archaeology Winter Style

Snowy Church Site - Monday, October 12th

Snowy Church Site - Monday, October 12th

Weather continues to be a challenge for our Hamline excavations. Earlier in October it was rain. Now we have snow. The only thing that gives me some hope is that the ground is not yet frozen. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for tomorrow’s class.

The Church Dig on a Better Day

The Church Dig on a Better Day

We had a nice day of digging last Thursday. Plenty of  sunshine and a lot of dirt flying.

Old marble found in our Church site excavations

Old marble found in our Church site excavations

Saturday was our first of two ‘Open Digs’ where we invite anyone from the neighborhood or from campus to join us at our excavations. An overnight snow, cold temperatures, and a bit of wind made outdoor activities a little unappealing. We had one volunteer excavator and a few people stop by to ask questions. I was a little discouraged by the lack of public in our public archaeology, but at least my students made some progress in our excavations.

Matt and Gao excavating at the Church site on Saturday.

Matt and Gao excavating at the Church site on Saturday.

Our dig at Old Main hit a debris layer just beneath the topsoil. There were lots of limestone chunks, some brick, glass shards, and nails – essentially the same stuff we found in our shovel tests. We’re going to leave a part of the debris layer intact and shift the rest of our excavation a half meter.  Our goal is to get to the intact soils and see if these soils are part of the original ground surface. With a little luck we should be able to find evidence of the 1880s University Hall.

Serri cleaning up the building debris layer oncovered in our Old Main dig.

Serri cleaning up the building debris layer oncovered in our Old Main dig.

We’re still looking for the wall in our excavation at the Hamline Methodist church. Combined we’ve only managed about five hours of digging – so I’m not yet concerned about finding the wall. I suppose it is possible I misjudged where the wall should be – that would be a bummer.

Tomorrow we’ll be digging with Hancock Elementary students. I always enjoy watching their enthusiasm. I just hope they have some nice weather.

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