What I do all day…
Last week I finished up a big project at work. I have been working part-time in an archaeology lab for the past few years with the professor who was also my undergraduate advisor. I love having a flexible job that gives me the opportunity to learn new skills and do something that I love. Mainly I do zooarchaeological analysis, which is the analysis of bones, shells, corals, and landsnails. The goal is to see what people were eating and to see how they interacted with their environment. I have worked on projects from around Polynesia, in places such as Hawaii and French Polynesia.
For this project I worked with a group of undergraduates. We were analyzing a bunch of samples of shell and bone from several archaeological sites in French Polynesia. Overall the project took two semesters. I had a great time getting to know and working with the undergraduates in the lab.
Trays and trays of bags from the field:
First we washed all the shell:
Then sorted them by species:
Here they are identified, counted, weighed, and bagged:
Next up the bone was washed:
Sorted by element:
Compared with known specimen (this is a mouth piece of a parrotfish):
Identified, counted and weighed… It all sounds so easy, but in fact took months!
Looking at all these photos I’m reminded about why I love archaeology. As you dig you find lots of pieces of rock, charcoal, faunal remains, artifacts, it can be a bit chaotic. But by slowly looking through all the materials, patterns emerge and you can draw conclusions about how people lived in the past.
Making order from chaos:
That’s pretty much what I do all day.