Community Archaeology in Action

LAARC Community Dig
As one of the admins for the Flickr group Archaeology in Action, I have to weed through the photos occasionally, taking out the travel shots from Cairo and whatnot. It can be a real pain, and having to split hairs about what “archaeology in action” is and is not feels a little stifling. However, it really is the best way to keep a good, focused group, and I get the pleasure of seeing photos from sites around the world.

Today, for instance, we received a submission from the LAARC, or the London Archaeological Archive and Research Center from the Michael Faraday community-based project they did last summer.

The flickr series they posted with the project is wonderful–lots of images and it really shows the progression of the excavation and all of the kids involved. Though I wonder if they have to get signed releases from the childrens’ parents, like we do here in the states. And they even have creative commons licensing! Bravo, LAARC.

It looks like they have a youtube feed as well:

Please submit your field photos to Archaeology in Action–it gives me something to look at while writing my literature reviews!

Juliette Street, 2002


Trav mentioned in the comments for the last post that the excavation was done during a field school. While I was looking for something else, I happened upon the photos I took during my first field school in Dallas. That’s when I actually started my first blog (“Things to do in Dallas When You’re Dead,” now defunct) so I could keep in touch with my friends while I was away for the summer.


Our pits weren’t particularly straight and were pretty unproductive, until we stopped digging under the house (to find the foundations?) and started digging behind where the house once was.


I still remember walking up to Jamie, our TA, and asking him straight-up if I could actually be an archaeologist. He said Yes! See, until that point, it hadn’t occurred to me–I was a socio-cultural anthro major (explains a lot, right!) and was just taking the class for my field credit. I wanted to go to Greece, but was broke, so I ended up digging for Maria Franklin in Dallas. And, eventually, I made it to Berkeley. Not too shabby, really. And ever since that summer I knew that I wanted to dig for the rest of my life.

Anyway, it looks like the Juliette Street project has a lovely website where you can learn more about the history of the site and of the amazing church located right next door. I have a few more photos of the site and the participants in the dig on flickr.

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

2-Biface Knife2

If you’re an Americanist archaeologist:  Nothing.

He is clearly within an undifferentiated layer of yellowish sediment.  He’s been digging in arbitrary levels and pedestalled a biface for recording its depth, then will collect the biface and level the pedestal to the arbitrary “floor” he has excavated to in the rest of the unit. 

If you’re a British archaeologist: Everything.

He has clearly hit a surface that the biface used to sit on, and he should have levelled to that floor to preserve context, recorded everything on the surface, then removed the biface and continued until he found the next surface, as signalled by a stratigraphic change or more artifacts. By pedestalling the artifact he removes its context. 

Nice biface, regardless!

(My thanks to Travis S. for posting such a graphic example of this.)

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