Saturday, July 18, 2009

Week Two - Scott Striar

… you come to field school expecting to go to class and you wind up with eleven best friends..."

--Paul Pluta

The first two weeks of Temple’s field school on the grounds of Washington Memorial Chapel in Valley Forge Park have been an informative excursion from the classroom setting. Both Carin and Jesse have not only fostered knowledge in archaeological fieldwork but have given us a holistic understanding of the park, its history and the surrounding area. Our first week centered around both getting to know one another and getting to know Valley Forge. Both of these tasks were easy and the class has gotten a multi-dimensional understanding of the park. Through readings, tours of the park and landmarks (given by both Carin and Jesse, as well as the parks historical architect) and an extensive exploration of the site as well as the sites near surroundings, each member of the class can now give a thorough explanation of the concepts surrounding the dig as well as answer many other questions that might arise from visitors to the site.

Excavation has been the focus of the second week at field school. The class has learned a variety of skills essential to excavation. We have learned how to lay in units, proper methods for shoveling and toweling, understanding to level the units and how to build walls. Carin and Jess ehave looked over our shoulders and helped us spot certain items on the screen and features in the units. The brutality of the heat has been subsided a little by the shade of the woods so everyone is alert, friendly, and eager to work. So far we have laid in three new units and have begun to explore them. These excavated units have yielded many artifacts and a few features adding to the growing knowledge about the mysterious group of soldiers encamped in the woods on the grounds of the Washington Memorial Chapel.

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