Who we are

The Lost Towns Project is a team of professional archaeologists and historians, working closely with the government of Anne Arundel County, Maryland to discover and explore the County's rich heritage. The team is committed to sharing the discovery process of this incredible heritage with the public through hands-on experiences, publications, lectures, and exhibits. In this blog, we will share some of our exciting discoveries, updates, and events. Check out our website at www.losttownsproject.org for much more, or to learn how to become a volunteer or intern! No experience is required to assist us in field investigations, laboratory studies, archival research, and interpretive programs. Join us to rediscover the History in your own backyards!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Archaeology through the Eyes of an Intern

Written by Jillie Drutz, Lost Towns Intern

I’ve been studying it for two years, never having picked up a trowel and itching to finally get out in the field and really learn the art of archaeology. My love and fright of anthropology propelled me to do this internship with the Lost Towns Project. After spending two days in the field at Pig Point and one day at the archaeology lab in Londontown, I found out that it was nothing like what I expected. Nonetheless, it was still amazing and I was right about one thing: the history came alive.

At Pig Point, the wonderful archaeologists and volunteers patiently taught me the basics. I learned how to dry and water screen for artifacts, excavate a unit, and fill out a provenience card by measuring and recording elevation, and analyzing artifact content and soil. In the world of archaeology, the most important thing is context (location, location, location of course). While taking all of the meticulous recordings and measurements and carefully troweling the unit, it was difficult to understand exactly why this was important. It wasn’t until we finished excavating a specific stratigraphic layer of a unit, that I realized that stratum was destroyed. Those meticulous measurements preserved the material history.

The day after, I did not return to the field; rather, I worked in the lab and got to see where the artifacts that I helped unearth the day before went. I washed and sorted artifacts and helped label them with the site and lot numbers. For three hours I bonded with a bunch of rocks, a toothbrush, and a very dirty colander. The dirty rocks became clean and sorted artifacts. I could see clear geologic patterns and variety in the different stratum of the different units. We found flakes, animal bones, fire cracked rocks, and cores that began to tell a story of the people that lived on the land thousands of years before us. Although I certainly haven’t even begun to learn everything I can, I learned so much already and really got a sense of what archaeology can do. I look forward to getting even dirtier.

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