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Rachel's Reflection
Level 1: 10 points
Alltime Score: 670 points
Last Logged In: July 4th, 2012

15 + 55 points

Urban Archaeology by Rachel's Reflection

June 23rd, 2008 8:40 PM

INSTRUCTIONS: Go on an urban Archaeological dig.

Quite often, urban archaeology is all about rescue archaeology, which wikipedia defines as "archaeological survey and excavation carried out in areas threatened by, or revealed by, construction or other development." That is, someone wants to build a building, but would like to make sure there is noting of historical significance lying beneath the foundation.

For this task, I chose an urban locale that, while small, has been in desperate need of a large-scale clean-up and redevelopment project. This area has recently become dangerous, as the terrain is constantly shifting, and avalanches are not uncommon.

Yes, that's right. I am talking about my bedroom.

I had been planning this project for a while, but even excavating a small portion of my room is time-consuming. While planning this praxis, I happened upon another task that would help me prepare, and so I began this task already in possession of a topographical map of my keyboard shelf. (Check out Topography for photos; I am having issues getting the link to work.)

The first step, of course, was to gather the tools that I would need. First and foremost, I needed a hat. I began by considering my straw hat, which would keep the sun out of my eyes while it worked, but in urban settings, square feet are precious, and so the space I would be working in was too small for a hat of that size.

The second hat I tried was my winter hat, but it did not fit over my ponytail, and besides, it is summer outside.

At last, I found a hat that would work.

Next, I gathered my tools. Urban tools for an urban site: a spoon and food tongs for digging and for moving of objects, a toaster rack for sifting through the waste for further artifacts, a paintbrush for dusting artifacts, and a pad and paper to record what I found.

Then, I had to choose a site. As all archaeologists know, before beginning to dig in earnest, one must first dig a test pit. Since I already had a topographical map of a portion of my desk, (see my "topography" praxis for more on that) that seemed like the best place to begin. Of course, as noted in my other praxis, the topography of my desk has a tendency to shift rather frequently, so I was not certain that the map would still be useful.

My desk:

Further photos of the overall site can be found in the proof.

I began with a test pit, and met with immediate success. Here is a photo of my first artifact:

The extensive process by which I found this, and other artifacts, can be found in the proof below. If you are pressed for time, I will leave you with the images of my most interesting find:

As I worked, I determined that some of my tools were not so useful.

I also kept a record of all of the artifacts that I found.

Eventually, it got too dark to work, and so I looked at the progress I had made and decided that it was good enough for the first day's dig.

All that remained to do for the day was to file the artifacts...

... and cordon off the area:

And then, it was of to bed, exahusted from an afternoon's hard work, but satisfied with the results of my first day of excavation.

+ larger

Hat #1
Hat #2
Hat #3
All set!
The necessary tools
The dig site
more of the dig site.
Still more of the dig site
And yes, more dig site
Digging the test pit
Removing the topmost layer
Lifting out an artifact
Artifact #01 - a close-up
Removing the casing
Taking measurements
Yellow Pages
Inside the Yellow Pages
Wait - yellow pages?
Recording the first artifact
Sifting through the junk
Artifact #02
Brush dusting
The Card
Further evidence: Artifact #02 on top of Artifact #03
More records
And yet another date
Artifact #04
Artifact #03: interior
Keeping track of the artifacts
Labeling the artifacts
More labelling
Not an artifact
... so I disposed of it in the recycling
And more recycling gets tossed
Artifact #05
And now the real dig begins
A more sensible division
The excavation begins
The cleaning cloth
Testing the artifact
This paintbrush is now useless...
Artifact #A07
The list for Area A
A credit card?
NOT a credit card
And what is this box? (Artifact #A10)
I scooped it up for further analysis...
Examining the new artifact
Artifact #A15
Artifact #A16
Artifact #A17
Artifact #A18
But very different...
... on the inside
This list is sideways!
Filing the artifacts
A work in progress
The fence
The sign

11 vote(s)


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7 comment(s)

"Stretchy circular band"
posted by Tøm on June 23rd, 2008 8:49 PM


Excellent tasking, as is becoming the norm from you!

(no subject)
posted by Rachel's Reflection on June 23rd, 2008 8:54 PM

Thank you!

(no subject)
posted by Sparrows Fall on June 25th, 2008 2:42 PM

Very thorough tasking! Take this tasking out into the world! I look forward to seeing what you do next.

(no subject)
posted by teh Lolbrarian on June 25th, 2008 6:05 PM

I'm so glad my mentioning sf0 inspired you to join. Your tasks are always most excellent!

(no subject)
posted by Rachel's Reflection on June 25th, 2008 8:14 PM

Thank you.

Yours are quite impressive as well.

And now, if only I could be a teensy bit less obsessed with it... :)

(no subject)
posted by Gremlin on June 26th, 2008 3:46 PM

Ha! Awesome! I totally had the same idea! You did a much better job with your methods and documentation than I had planned for mine. I bow to your skills :)

(no subject)
posted by Rachel's Reflection on June 26th, 2008 5:51 PM

It's always fun to find someone who is on the same wavelength. You are welcome to have fun comparing your findings to mine if that helps at all. :)