How to Do Archaeology Year Round

Now that a true New England winter is finally settling in, digging for the season has officially ended! We were quite lucky – normally digging has to end by November, but with unseasonable warmth in December, we kept trowelin’!
Tobey Site December Overview
Tobey Site as of December
But when the temperature drops, it’s important for the safety of not only the archaeologists and volunteers, but also of the site to stop digging. Why? Because artifacts and features are protected from the freezing temperatures and possible damage while they are still in the ground. For artifacts that are now closer to the surface, we put coverings on the site to protect them. Harsh winters are hard on archaeology sites and protecting the Tobey Site is our priority.
So now that the site is closed up for the winter, we have the opportunity to do the other side of archaeology: Lab work. While that doesn’t sound as glamourous as discoveries in the field, rest assured, it is! Here in the lab we will clean, catalog and analyze the artifacts. This process can be tedious and time consuming, but it pays off BIG! In the lab we can see all the details once an item is cleaned up a bit and studied. Dates on window leads, teeth marks in kaolin pipes and pot sherds that fit back together are just a few of the fun things we find while processing artifacts.BLOGPIC
The work that is done in the lab is just as important as the work in the field. The more carefully we excavate and the more detailed our notes are, the better we can piece together what was going on in Sandwich hundreds, even thousands of years ago.
Stay tuned in – we will post pictures of our progress here and on our Facebook and Twitter pages!

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