To the right you can see some important tools of the trade for an archaelogical expedition in a hot climate: boots, sturdy work gloves, hat, bandana, sunscreen, water, and wait... What's sitting on top of the water bottle?
Before I tell you what's balanced on top of my water bottle, I need to give you a little background information. I am assigned to a square in our dig called "PP2," with my peer Eric, another PSR student. We have been working on our square for three days now. The first step was cleaning up loose material and separating the dirt from pieces of broken pottery and other material evidence such as bones and shells. After we cleaned for a day and a half, our professor Aaron Brody made a tentative call that what we were working on was an ancient collapse, and we began excavating: carefully removing dirt from between rocks and articulating the edges. It is fairly slow work because anything can be in there and it's important to keep things intact.
This morning as I was removing some dirt and other material that was over a foot or so below the level of the highest rocks in our square, my hand pick hit something that sounded suspicious. I cleared away the packed dirt carefully, and suddenly a rusty metal loop came into view. It was a bucket handle, the very one you see in the photo.
The bucket handle was not what we were hoping to find, but it proved to be the most significant find in PP2 for the day, as it proved conclusively that we were digging, not in an ancient collapse, but in a rubble pile or fill left by a late 20th century archaeological expedition. Eric and I got to demo the whole square down to the level of the handle, and maybe tomorrow we will find an ancient level underneath. None of the work we have done so far has archaeological significance.
What is quite apparent is that the spiritual practice of non-attachment is crucial for this field, as well as for a peaceful life. As long as we focus on the process and don't get attached to any particular outcome, all is well. If we get attached to a particular outcome, pain of some sort almost certainly follows.