Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Great Expectations

Jim had decided to do a very controlled surface collection prior to excavation.

A grid system was put in place and each ‘block’ as I remember was 10 meters x 10 meters.

The Taylor ranch in the San Pedro Valley is a Sobaipuri protohistoric site (1450-1700 AD).

Sobaipuri artifacts are extremely small; pottery sherds are usually no bigger than your small fingernail and Sobaipuri projectile points, even though made of lovely red or yellow jasper that stand out on the desert floor, are also very tiny averaging about 17 millimeters in length. It is the point base that we long to find as it is diagnostic for date and culture.

What this tinyness of artifacts meant to us was normal ‘survey’ techniques (up right and walking!) could not be used. It was ‘on hands and knees’ to search the ground. We crawled every square inch of our blocks. Once in a while someone would mutter about a sherd or a lithic.

A point base! I found a point base.

Proudly I took the base to show Jim.

“Is that the best you can do?” he said as he fondled the artifact.

Harrumph! I’ll show him! That droll sense of humor!

I went back on hands and knees grabbed something, arose, marched to Jim and said, “Will this do?”

“Yep! That will do.” Jim grinned.

I had a whole point!

The beautiful red Jasper point was handed around for all to see. It was found but a few centimeters from the point base but as I said it had no more archaeological meaning than the point base except it was so pretty!

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