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Thursday, July 8, 2010

I Dig Bells Bend. Call for Gunga Din.

Best part of today: first day of field school dig in Bells Bend. About 20 folks, profs mainly from UT Knoxville and U of Arizona, students from all over, and all rabid--in a nice way, of course--for paleoindian archaeology.

My very simple understanding is that this is the period about 10,000 years ago characterized by Clovis points, and just before that time. Our squash and potato patches are apparently not the only places in the mid-East with gazillions of points (which is interesting, and counterintuitive if you believe that we were populated by folks coming over the Bering land bridge, all the way over on the other end of the continent), but virtually no carbon-datable sites.

But Bells Bend looks very promising! Shane Miller, the young PhD student who seems to be at least partly in charge (even if he is self-described as "a bit feral" after the last six weeks, spent at the Topper site in South Carolina), calls this the "Holy Grail" of Paleoindian archaeology, and can begin to answer the really big questions about who came where when. Or so I understand.

Otherwise, other news: dry, dry, dry. And no Gunga Din. Until: the WOOFFERS devised a clever system involving a pump, tank, pickup truck and hose to keep things going until yesterday, when the pump/creek/soaker hose option finally came to fruition. Still working on the pump/creek/storage tank (septic tank seconds)/hose option. Which has engendered many (many many!) hours of manly conversation--Tom, Zach, Keith, George, Devender, Joe, Eric, and many more.

Meanwhile, I was in two gully-washers today, one downpour at Vanderbilt, just as I was walking to my car to come home, and one at the Nature Center in the Bend, just down the road, but not a drop on the farm. And the sky is clearing.

Go to Facebook and look at the I Dig Bells Bend site. There is also a web site. All with daily posts from the dig. And lectures at 7 almost every night at the Center.

Exactly how am I supposed to concentrate on preparing two lectures to deliver in Huntsville next weekend in the midst of all this excitement?