It’s been a few weeks since I’ve done any attempted poetry. But here’s the newest version of Poetic Archaeology.
knapped stone, machined glass
strewn across the new plowed field
wake to wind-chapped hands
Our archaeologist’s controlled surface collection is underway. Spring is the best season for this kind of work—at least in agricultural areas. Plowing or disking will bring some buried artifacts to the surface. After a rain, especially a not-too-heavy shower, an archaeologist’s trained eye can catch even the smallest waste flakes left by a knapper fashioning a stone projectile point. Once the crops get taller, it’s harder to see the ground surface and those artifacts.
In many parts of the US, agricultural fields often reveal archaeological sites with artifacts covering Native American, European contact, and American history. Our poetically inclined archaeologist has found both Native American hand-crafted stone artifacts, which could be several thousand years old, and more recent machine-made glass, probably bottle fragments from the nineteenth or twentieth century. She’ll study the artifacts in her lab to see if she can pinpoint more exact dates for when they were made.
I don’t have a good photograph for a controlled surface collection, but below is a crew shot from an initial survey in a scruffy cornfield somewhere in the US. If you click on it for an enlarged view, you’ll just be able to see the top of a red pin flag in the center of the photo, marking where an artifact was found. I think our intrepid archaeologist is lucky enough to be working in a freshly disked field with no weeds or planted crops.