Thursday, February 25, 2010

Carnival of Tedium

Last week was Carnival, which in our village meant that anytime you left the house you risked being pelted with water balloons, sprayed with foam, or covered in colored ashes (I fortunately managed to avoid the egg fights that I had been warned about). Daycare was also closed, so BG was with us the whole week, which was both wonderful and not, as I've expressed before.

While the world outside was celebrating, here, inside my lab, was a carnival of tedium (and by lab, i mean our dining room table, and occasionally part of the kitchen counter). The last few weeks I've been offering up the top layers of my epidermis as sacrifice to the archaeology gods, spending several hours on most days washing bags (and bags...) of artifacts.

As I spent longer excavating that I originally planned, it means that I'm not going to be able to fully analyze everything I dug up (I know, bad archaeologist, bad, bad). So, I'm triaging, washing and analyzing first those areas of the site which (I think) will be critical to the themes in my dissertation. I've also got one of my friends/workers helping me out, so she'll keep washing while I start analyzing. My goal is to get everything washed and nicely organized, including picking out possible museum pieces, before I leave. That way at least everything will be in good condition for when I come back, whenever that might be. Fortunately, a lot of the Manteno stuff got washed while Taylor was still here, so it might actually be possible to get everything washed. The biggest limiting factor right now is lack of drying space, which I might be able to remedy if I work up the courage to organize our loft a bit, which I've currently given over to the spiders (and who knows what else).

We've almost finished washing all the levels from our deep pit through the midden. Once that's all washed I'll sit down to draw, measure, record, and photograph everything. While the tedium of this might not be any better than the washing, it will mean that you, my loyal followers, will soon be able to see some of the 3000 to 5000 year-old artifacts that are currently sitting in boxes around the house!


  1. I know it is a lot of work but it will be worth it in the end! :) Hang in there!

  2. Do you get any assistance from the local universities? I would think there would be lots of students looking for some field work experience.

  3. There are very few archaeology programs (a BA program just starting up in Guayaquil and an MA program just a year old in Libertad), and higher ed at the moment in in upheaval (the government is threatening to shut several departments/universities down, including the near-by one that has an MA program). So, while I've put out feelers, I haven't gotten any bites :(