Sailing the Prairies

My return to fieldwork has been greatly anticipated by…well, me. It has only been a couple of days so far, but things look like they should be picking up after this. I’ve been assisting another archaeologist with some small, one-day projects in various places around southern Alberta. It’s been some good learning, and they’re the size of projects I hope to start with when I finally get permit-holding capabilities (some day Alberta Culture you’ll let me out on my own, some day!). DSCN0802

The first place we headed to was Carstairs – not glamorous, and still kinda frozen. We rented a small jackhammer but in the end we were able to get through the partially frozen ground with a bit of sweat and jumping energetically on our shovels. Sadly all our hard work resulted in lots of test pits and nothing awesome to show for it. Our endeavors were probably hindered by the 3 pre-existing pipelines already cutting through the area – oh well, was a good day to get my first sunburn of the season.

imagejpeg_2The second job involved assessing a wellpad, access road and pipeline near Cochrane. We dug fewer holes but we had to traverse through a minefield of cattle droppings to get there, so it kind of evened out. The area was largely broken by cultivation, so anything that might have been there would likely have been destroyed years ago.

I’m starting to feel better about my ability to do a job this size, my experience last summer with the giant oil sands projects had me a bit intimidated. But, something like this seems like a good start – if I don’t get lost getting through all the fields and back roads…

Our last job was near Suffield, where they have a military training area; thus, we were hoping to catch a glimpse of rugged young men running drills but alas, we were disappointed. To make up for that we had ourselves a little adventure by driving through a lake. It looked quite dry and it was, until we got about half way through it, then it got soupy and we may have panicked a bit. But never fear, we escaped with our lives.   DSCN0829

It’s a good thing too because we finally managed to find something! It was a small cairn of about 6 rocks, but to their credit they are the only rocks we came across in the section and there are a couple recorded stone features in the neighboring sections. Woohoo!

Tomorrow’s adventure: gravel pits!

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