Archaeology at a Rich Site

Anne Marie Butz

Going into this experience I had only participated in one field school, with Dr. Powis, based off of CRM practices. Before my field school in Peru, Kennesaw State and University of North Carolina wanted me to be aware of common differences between cultures that often times can make people feel home sick or alienated by providing me with readings on what events I might face. While these readings were good and helpful; they could not have accounted for the difference in archaeological practices that I encountered. The field school was working hand in hand with Gabriel Prieto who works with National Geographic. We worked for a week at Pampas De La Cruz, and three weeks in a school yard in Huanchaco. At these sites they had found over 140 children sacrifices as well as llama sacrifices, pottery, textiles with copper ornaments, beads, and many more things.

Due to the amount of variety of artifacts and the high concentrating this was a great experience for me to learn the proper techniques for excavating different materials. Most of the artifacts that were recovered at the Dabb’s site were much more durable then the artifacts in Huanchaco. This caused for different tools such as brushes instead of trowels, as seen above. Other differences in technique involved the amount of sifting that we did. In Georgia sifting was a high priority because the concentration of artifacts was so low and without sifting we could not have pieced together a representation of the culture. In Peru you would sift every other bucket of dirt so that you were still able to see the small remains to keep an accurate representation of the civilization, but there was so much else that you could already understand the culture by.

In my experience in archaeology when you are digging you should celebrate every find, no matter how small it is, because a lot of time you are just sifting through dirt and rocks. This experience was very different, and I couldn’t help but to compare the two excavations. On the first day the group was all thrown into the field regardless of past experiences and it was captivating to see everyone’s reactions to finding artifacts. In my section we caught word that someone had found llama bones in another section, and everyone immediately wanted to go over and see them or try to help excavate that section in hopes that there would be one more. This seems to be a normal reaction that I saw in both of my experiences, and the response was the same. We still had to man our section and keep working. The difference was in Peru when we went back to digging our section we would come across something relatively quickly. In the first day I believe everyone was able to start excavating human or llama remains or some sort of ceramics. Due to how rich the site was it made it very easy for everyone to stay motivated and excited to go to the site every day.

All in all, it was fascinating to learn how archaeology is practiced in different places depending on the circumstances. I learned a lot about how archaeology can be done when the site is rich in artifacts, and I was able to see how that affected the archaeologists.  This was an excellent experience to broaden my horizon and expand my knowledge of archaeology.

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