Sunday, August 12, 2007

Field Trip

Occasionally, very occasionally, it pays to tell your boss the first thing that pops into your mind. In my case, I blurted out a whiny "I wanna go on field triiip! We should all go on a field trip!"

So, we went on a field trip to see archaeology in context as opposed to on our computer screens.

Here's a look at what you might find if you peel back Toronto's concrete crust:

Goodies
Bottles for ink, medicine, booze... Ceramic cups, fragments of vessels, teapot lids...

wood-lined cistern
A wooden cistern, like a big buried half barrel. The cistern is a feature as opposed to an artifact.

a mid-19th century shoe
A leather shoe, one of several, with the sole and eyelets still intact. There are a couple more photos from the site visit here.

Later: Writing about that cistern stirred up a memory. When I was an undergrad doing field work in the ancient city of Pompeii, I developed a reputation among the grown-up archaeologists for being very good at figuring out the sequences of building phases and stratigraphy. A fuss was made over me. The Roman house we were working on had a deep stone cistern for water storage which had some unusual features. The managing archaeologists wanted someone to get a closer look at this cistern, so they lowered me into it. I remember standing on the floor of this deep, narrow stone pit. Ground level was several feet above my head. I was as good as buried in the ancient city: it was a moment of vulnerability that I won't forget.

2 comments :

Darlin' T said...

fascinating! great story... love your blog.

e-n said...

9 1/2 out of 10 ian's still think you have an extremely cool job.

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