“Hey, look! An American Penny!”

Today at the site I finished up the NW quad I was working on yesterday. I uncovered the majority of what looks to be some sort of saw in that quad and have started on the NE quad, which contains the rest of the tool. I took my first soil sample, which will later be floated. My fear came true…I didn’t recognize the next floor layer when I got to it. Luckily, I had a good amount of PPT’s on the beginning of the next floor so I stopped excavating. No harm was done and I accidentally did exactly what we’re suppose to do, so it all worked out. Just glad someone else caught it! All in all today’s work at the site went well. I made sure to put my sunblock on and wore a shirt that kept the existing burn mostly covered. It helped that we had a nice breeze today and a few more clouds!

We left the site an hour early today because we were having a number of people from the community over for dinner. After we got all the artifacts checked in, I got a shower! It may sound silly to be so excited for a shower, but when you get that much dirt on you and you’re on a shower rotation it’s pretty exciting! Around 5:30 people started showing up. One man as he was coming up the steps of the house says “hey, look! An American penny!” It made me laugh for a couple of reasons. One, because I react the exact same way when I find a Canadian penny; Two, because it’s still strange to think I’m in a different country (It doesn’t feel like it most of the time), and Three, I have never heard anyone say that before. It definitely put a smile on my face! Carl, the spiritual leader said a blessing before the meal in both the native language and in English. After we all enjoyed a meal of beef stroganoff, roasted veggies, salad, and rolls as well as homemade cookies for dessert, Carl started a session of drumming and singing. This was my favorite part of the evening! After he finished the first song, he says “better get you’re umbrellas out, it’s gonna rain now!” The drum was passed around to a few of the elders, and others explained the dances that go along with the songs. Two of them everyone stood for, I’m not exactly sure why but that’s the etiquette. One that we stood for was a victory song. Others we heard included, both the male and female rain songs, the huckleberry song, wind, goodbye, as well as other unidentified ones. My favorites were the children’s songs. One was something along the lines of “what does the wolf say? hoooowwwwllll! what does the owl say? who, who!” and so on. everyone who knew the song got really into it and it was so much fun to see!

I really enjoyed seeing 3+ generations singing these songs, and just how strong they keep their culture and passing down the traditional language, songs, dance and so on. It was a really beautiful experience.

**I blogged regularly during the field school on a separate blog. I will be posting three of them on this one, but if anyone is interested in reading some more click here **

The Past Few Days


Block B had an exciting find, a bunch of dog coprolites! Which is fossilized poop. I’ve never seen so many people so interested or excited about a pile of dog poop before! We’ve been constantly cracking jokes at the gal who found them. It’s actually a spectacular find. Not many of them have been found in the Fraser Valley and a plethora of information can be recovered from them. I began working on a new quad, which had a TON of artifacts. In one corner I found a couple hundred fish bones/fragments…it took a long time to pick them all out. I also found another bone awl!! This one is a little bigger and has notches at the base of it. A few larger bones and even a rib (mostly dog, maybe some deer). A tooth was also in this quad. Some of my block mates thought it might have been a human incisor, but after closer inspection it wasn’t. The quad is located near a hearth feature, so the items I found are most likely meal remains and/or discard. I couldn’t believe how much was in such a small place! I had a shower and laundry day that landed on the eve of our day off, so I got to be clean for 2 days! That evening we went into town and hung out at the Legion. It was a much busier night so we chatted with a few locals and played some pool


We all slept in a little bit and then headed into town. We got breakfast at The Reynolds again then ran a few errands that people needed to do. We had planned on going on a short hike up to a waterfall we had heard about, but decided going swimming sounded a bit better. Most of the gang went and we found a nice spot where the Cayoosh Creek meets the Fraser River. It’s the perfect swimming hole. A little protected spot that doesn’t have a strong current and the water is nice and clear. We hung out there for the rest of the afternoon and early evening soaking up the sun and swimming. Then we packed up and went to dinner downtown.


We all headed to the site at normal time but were only there for half an hour before the rain got a little too heavy to keep excavating. Once back at camp we did lab work. I worked on floats and we put a huge dent in the amount of soil samples that have accumulated. After lunch the sun came back out and we were able to start excavating again. It was my night to cook dinner, and that went well. I made my version of 5 On Black’s (a restaurant in Missoula) rice bowls.


Today was really hot. It got to the point where everyone started moving slow and getting rundown by the heat. The worst part is that this was supposedly “mild” and we haven’t seen nothin’ yet. To try and avoid as much of the afternoon heat as possible we are going to be at the site by 6:30am and take 15 minutes off of our lunch break. I finally finished the quad that was chocked full of artifacts. I moved in the Northern most quads of unit 15 and the composition was much different. At first we thought that it was substrate (the foundational material of the area, meaning that there would be no more floors) but it turned out to be this mysterious clay baked material that we’re not sure the meaning and/or purpose of yet.


**I blogged regularly during the field school on a separate blog. I will be posting three of them on this one, but if anyone is interested in reading some more click here **

Bridge River Field School

Today was my first day at the excavation site and my first coating of Bridge River dirt. I wasn’t allowed into the pit house yet because I have to be smudged by the spiritual leader of the community. This has been explained to me as an introduction to the ancestors. So I stayed on the rim and sharpened my trowel. Which sucks. It takes FOREVER. I still haven’t finished and my fingers have blisters. However the first sharpening is the worst and it won’t be like this every time. When I wasn’t sharpening my trowel I got to try my hand at sifting. I got covered in dirt and found lithics, fish bones and the most exciting being a large canine tooth! It was kind of an initiation! While sifting, I learned a quick review of how to recognize different elements and the procedure of recording everything. As well as the spit test. Pretty much as gross as it sounds. You spit in your hand and grab a little bit of the dirt that you sifted and try to roll it into a worm. The purpose being to determine the ratio of silt, sand and clay. I also got a run down on the site and the work that has been done there previously. A lot of information, that only added to my excitement about starting my first excavation!

Once back at camp, I got to shower! which is quite the luxury for only one day’s worth of dirt. We have shower rotations that only give us a shower every three days…yikes!! We also rotate laundry, cleaning, and cooking. Dinner followed by a group meeting for the four incoming students/TA’s rounded out the evening. It’s a little intimidating because I’m one of only two undergrads, but that just exposes me to more people with more experience in the field. And that can’t be bad!
I won’t be posting any pictures of the site or the artifacts because they belong to the Bridge River Community. I will try to post pictures of camp and other aspects of this adventure!


Home Sweet Home for the next 3 and 1/2 weeks! 

**I blogged regularly during the field school on a separate blog. I will be posting three of them on this one, but if anyone is interested in reading some more click here **