Seventeen students from all over the US had joined us in Colorado for 3 ten-day excavation sessions.
Budding Archaeologist or maybe they joined to get some easy college credits.
Our Archaeology Field School students were excavating and sifting furiously.
One young man, whom I will call Jacob, was from New York City. He had never been outside the city.
We were at 9,800 feet midst the mountains, some of them known locally as “14s”- 14,000 feet high and breathtaking in their beauty.
But altitude slows one’s activities, makes one breathe deeply, makes one light headed, and makes one not remember the simplest of things.
So was this incident altitude or culture induced?
As I mentioned, sifting of the excavated soil was going rather furiously and the dirt was getting too high under the screen.
The crew chief knew this could be dangerous so, he yelled, “Jacob, get the wheelbarrow and move this dirt.”
Jacob, who at the time was walking across the site, stopped dead in his tracks, stared at the crew chief but was unresponsive. Again the crew chief yelled, “Jacob, get the wheelbarrow and move this dirt.”
Finally a response, “What’s a wheelbarrow?”