We arrived at the site this week to find that high water tables combined with the recent torrential rains had given rise to vibrant wetland ecology…in our testpits. From the small accusing brown frog in Claudine’s test pit to the bloated dead rat floating in
Instead of continuing to test pit the area, we began to focus on some of the more promising excavations that had been conducted the week previously. Colin, Claudine and I started out on the meter by meter pit that was turning up a lot of human generated debris, and found coffee cup fragments, a bit of plastic and a piece of paper in short order. Oh the social complexity required to generate such beauty!
If you look at the intricately detailed Paint map below, it's possible to figure out where the house pit is in relation to the rest of the site.
Despite my obvious bias towards the house test pit, I’ll have to say that Grave 2 proved to be by far the epicentre of excitement for the afternoon. Early on, Corey came upon what he thought was a large bone, and as time progressed, turned out to be some sort of skull. As just two weeks previously Andre had jokingly stated “This year, I’m gunning for a giraffe”, all of the students assumed that he had inside information and so of course it must be a giraffe.
Fortunately, we didn’t only find a skull. After further excavation, a set of large ribs began to emerge from the east wall of Grave 2, leading us to question whether or not they were related to the skull. We all began to gather around the grave in awe and wonder, as Andre explained that the unidentified skull could either be related to the set of ribs (in which case we were probably going to be able to excavate an articulated skeleton this year) or to the carcass in the plastic bag (in which case we would just have a skull as that carcass was far too ripe to work with). Accordingly, our priority for the next week was to determine whether the mysterious skull was related to the body inside the plastic bag or to the set of ribs, and work from there. By that time the light had begun to fade, and all of the eager, inquiring students were forced to save their questions for another day as they were shooed into the cars to begin the long drive home.
Next week: Is it a giraffe???
Spoiler: No, it’s an equid.
For those of you who are less interested in Python references, note the shape and length of the skull, and size and position of the orbital sockets. Giraffe or not?
This is actually a different picture. Andre, however, was communing so intently that he did not notice the paparazzi.
"Ok. So. Some bad news. After careful consideration I think we're going to have to address the possibility that this may be some sort of undead ungulate. We're going to need to back fill this pit before the sun sets, just in case."
"Actually, on second thought it may just be a giraffe. That would be exciting though."