(June 9, 2022)—We wake before the sun to the sounds of birds in nearby trees. After a week and a half, the mockingbirds have adopted the beeping of our alarm clocks as their morning song, and an always-heard but never-seen turkey gobbles away in the distance. We sit together and eat breakfast, preparing for the day ahead of us.
After a short drive to the site, we unload our tools and discuss that day’s plan. By the time the sun has lazily woken and peeked his head above the trees, we’re already on site hunting for the next big find, competing to see who can find the most stone tools or be the first to break past adobe melt to find the cobblestone foundations that signify walls—walls that tell the stories of people who once called this place home. The four walls that define room 416, the room that I and four other students are working in, seem to have enclosed people’s garbage dump!
Once a dump, but now a literal treasure trove of information, revealing new information about the lives of people who lived here 1,200 years ago. Some of the big finds in room 416 include two refit vessels, one of which is nearly half complete. Flaked stone tools are so prevalent that we are pulling them right out of the dirt, keeping count in a friendly competition to see who will find the most.
Each day we learn more and more—not only about the site’s original inhabitants, but also about one another. Discussions about likes and dislikes, and about everyone’s tastes in music, as well as debates about which rocks are and are not ground stone fill the air. In a way, our conversations and debates breathe new life into the area…I like to think that the original inhabitants had similar conversations during long, hot summer days 1,200 years ago.