Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Week 4 Midweek Update: Sand, Sand Everywhere and Way Too Much to Dig

The weather has been warm and humid and those of us digging at the Fairbanks House have been fortunate enough to spend most of our time on a beach... sort of. After moving west of the driveway in an attempt to "look beneath the sand" found in our first line of test units, we were more than slightly chagrined to find that the sand is everywhere!

Above: Updated dig map (red units are planned, green units are in progress, blue units are finished)

After digging through a test unit at the base of the driveway mound and another to the west in the yard (see above), we found that the clean, sterile sand showed up in the bottom of these units. Confused and not a little exasperated, we placed another test unit roughly 50m west of the driveway near a cluster of trees. This choice of location was founded upon the hypothesis that large trees (these are at least 30-40m tall) cannot grow in pure sand. Apparently, though, they can, and do.

Although we're still a bit unsure about the sand situation, our days of clearing out meters and meters of the stuff have come to an end (we hope!). In an effort to explore another portion of the property, we laid out two units to the north of the house today in the area where our geophysical survey may have found a buried living surface. Hopefully these units will give us a hint about another historic building on the property (and provide something other than sand).

Stay tuned this week and next for what could be some exciting developments!

Left: Josh backfilling a unit with, you guessed it, sand.

Below: Josh and volunteer archaeologist Max excavated a unit in the west yard.

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