The picture above shows artifacts from several different test units after being washed. In the last few weeks we have accumulated a tremendous amount of artifacts. When there is a particularly exciting find there is always a little commotion around the site and it is shown around, but most of them get a quick glance before they are placed, dirt still clinging to their surfaces, into carefully labelled bags. These bags have been accumulating in our house, awaiting the next step in which they will be cleaned, rebagged and transported back to our lab.
Today, with storms threatening us all morning, we took the opportunity to wash some artifacts. We do this carefully, with old toothbrushes and basins of water. Artifacts in this photo can be seen piled up on tags identifying where they were found at the site. They are then left to dry for a few days. In the photo above you may see an artifact in the bottom left corner we showed on the site a couple weeks ago, a porcelain duck head. Next to it are film canisters holding the base of an early lightbulb. A chunk of shoe leather, likely from a miner’s boot, sits adjacent to this. Above all this is a mass of rusted nails.
Once catalogued and analyzed we will use them to learn about how people decorated their houses, when they first were given electricity, what they built their houses out of, and many other things. All this will begin after the fieldwork is over.