2014-10-03 12.23.20
Forensic archaeology this week at Whispering Woods.

Week Five at Whispering Woods was a little hectic and fractured.  For starters, Site 7 is done and this week marked the opening of Site 4.  To do this, on Thursday Ani, Alex, Tovah, and Kimberlee (the instructors), had to determine, as much as possible, the location and boundaries of Site 4 from the Phase I shovel test map.  After a bit of triangulation and fumbling with reel tapes and a compass, we planted a pin flag and laid out a line of shovel tests at 20ft intervals.  We’ll have to go back and lay out all our lines at a later point.  For now, though, enough shovel tests are plotted for the next couple of weeks, especially considering that Site 4 is located on some very compact soil so digging this week was slow-going.

To make things even more complicated, Kimberlee and Ani were scheduled to run a 2-day forensic archaeology course on Oct 2 & 3 at the Rutgers Pinelands Field Station.  This course has run four times now and is affectionately known as the “pig dig”.  It was scheduled long before the Whispering Woods project existed.  So how could Ani and Kimberlee be in two places at once?  The answer: bury a dead pig at Whispering Woods and bring the class there!

So that’s exactly what we did.  Last week, Alex and Kim buried a previously deceased piglet at Whispering Woods, away from anything archaeological and brought the police participants to the site.  It was a neat opportunity for the Rutgers students to explain to the police (from Ocean Co, NJ and Buck Co, PA) a little about stratigraphy and how to document soil context.  Levi, particularly, got to supervise the police dig.  For Kimberlee and Alex, though, it meant bouncing between the police dig and Site 4.

Site 4 has yielded our first feature.  One of the shovel tests contained an unusual rust-colored lens of soil.  So we’ve opened a 1 meter-square excavation unit.  For the students, it’s their first chance to trowel.  Time ran out before they got too far so we’ll revisit it this week – that is, if the weather holds.  Rain is in the forecast!