Posted by: signalhillarchaeology | August 6, 2009

Fastest Six Weeks Ever…

It always amazes me how quickly time flies when you’re digging…. and here we are, (almost) ready to backfill tomorrow!

Lots of passers-by ask if we’re going to fill the site back in when we’re done, and the answer is always: yes.

Ah, our site, on the last day of excavation. The students have gone, it's quiet and peaceful, and lovely to look at...

Ah, our site, on the last day of excavation. The students have gone, it's quiet and peaceful, and lovely to look at...

We can’t leave 1-meter deep excavation trenches open right beside a popular and well-travelled public pathway– that’s just a hazard.

Also, the effects of our Newfoundland winters– the constant freezing and thawing and freezing and thawing– would be hard on the stonework.  Without any further stabilization and long-term conservation plans, the lovely stone foundation and walls that we have exposed would crumble quickly away.

It always seems strange that we teach archaeology students to dig perfectly square and precise holes in the ground… and then, after we’ve painstakingly excavated them with hand tools, we turn around and say “right, job well done everyone, now fill the carefully-excavated holes back in, right now… you have three hours: GO”.

But that’s just the way it is. We have reasons for backfilling, public safety and conservation of physical remains being the most important.  At the North Range Barracks and Emberley site, backfilling is going to happen tomorrow– and hopefully we’ll be done by the early afternoon.

But this evening, we got to sit down and take one last look at the whole site, at its fullest excavated extent.  We took some last pictures, drew some final maps, and talked for one last time about our interpretations of the site… and took a few minutes to enjoy the quiet, cool breeze and the evening sun.

The Archaeologist, Triumphant.

The Archaeologist, Triumphant.

…and of course, we took a few moments to celebrate, too   🙂

—Amanda Crompton (Instructor)


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