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It’s a trap! It’s a rack! It’s a…

July 11, 2015

I was lucky enough to uncover the 100th find of this year’s season. At first I thought it was a piece of a dart shaft, which greatly excited me as my undergraduate dissertation involves studying the arrow and dart shafts in order to understand why they are found in the state that they are. After bagging and mapping the artefact, I returned to the square eager to continue removing the burnt layer – the layer right on top of the cultural-rich house floors.

As I continued to clear the area, I started to realise that.. oops. I had not recovered the whole artefact! The shaft continued for roughly 40 cm. It ended up being a cluster of artefacts: three shafts in total, a beam, a large rim and a decorated sherd of pottery, a couple of other pieces of worked wood.


This made me even more aware that cleaning and exposing the area around the artefact is crucial as it not only ensures that the whole artefact is collected, it also provides a larger picture for our interpretation to be accurate. It is something I knew but find hard to put into practice because each finding is so exciting.

Our first interpretation as the shafts were beginning to be exposed was that it was a fish trap because some pieces of wood crossed others. However, when it was all revealed it appeared to be a rack to potentially dry fish or hold utensils.

A u-shaped piece of wood was causing some issues with the rack identification but it turned out that fact my first identification of the wood as dart shafts was correct (all those hours in the lab sorting artefacts had paid off!). The u-shaped piece of wood was actually a whole mask, a rather rare find within the site as they were often broken after use. The mask unfortunately was in a poor condition and a chunk was missing.

IMG_4789After solving of the shaft/trap/rack dilemma, I returned to removing the burnt layer, only to find today’s artefact of the day! It was a complete serpentine labret of considerable size. This is an incredible find as the other serpentine labrets that have been found are broken, except for a small button labret (found by myself in the screen last year).


This square in the newly opened are was filled with incredible artefacts. I look forward to seeing the 200th artefact!


One Comment leave one →
  1. Marjorie permalink
    July 12, 2015 01:08

    Marvelous find. Your post helped me see all the work it took to establish any collection in any museum and how exciting each find is as a small piece and how each small piece is part of a unique larger puzzle. Our best to you all!

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