Today we finished excavating our third stratum level in our unit.  Because of the few artifacts that we were yielding from this level, my partners and I thought we might be done with this unit and wouldn’t find anything more of interest to us.  We guessed it was just like our previous unit, where after three levels, we weren’t finding anything but a lot of rocks.  When we took the picture for the bottom of this level, our professors noticed that we had a feature.  A feature is remains that cannot be removed from the unit.  Usually when you find a feature, you excavate it separately from all your other dirt in the unit.    Image

By looking at the picture, you can see that our feature was a straight line of darker dirt going diagonally across our unit.  Initially, we didn’t think much of it, but we decided to continue to dig that part of our unit separately.  We excavated down about 4 inches when we found a pipe going across our unit in the exact same direction as our feature.


The pipe was an old abandoned irrigation pipe that was possibly from the 1980s and was made of black plastic.  One thing I learned today is that even when your unit isn’t yielding many artifacts, it doesn’t mean that your unit can’t offer any more valuable information.  I also learned that by excavating a feature separately, you can discover a lot more information than you would if you excavated the entire unit together.  Also, features can tell you a lot about your unit and may help you uncover artifacts or tell you a little bit about your unit’s past. 


2 responses to “Features”

  1. Bert Dugan AC'61 says :

    What course led this project? Was there faculty involved?

    • almaoldmainexcavation says :

      Hi Bert! The course is called “Michigan Archaeological Fieldwork,” and it is a Spring Term course. Two Alma College anthropology faculty, Dr. Mary Theresa Bonhage-Freund and Professor Alexandra Conell, co-taught the course.

      We will be teaching this course and excavating Old Main again this spring term! Excavations will last from May 1 to May 16, 2015, and we will be continuing our blog posts at that time

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