Madison Square

Madison Square
Savannah Under Fire archaeologists work in Madison Square, Savannah, GA, surrounded by visitors and citizens interested in our dig.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Dirty Job

Why has Mike Rowe never done a Dirty Jobs show on archaeology? Archaeology is all about dirt. Everybody thinks it is all about the artifacts. They're important, but the dirt is the real information. The different colors, shapes, and textures of soil tell us if we are digging a privy, a modern pipe trench, or a post hole that was the corner of a house.

The difference between an archaeologist and someone digging to find artifacts (may I say looter?) are these clues from the differences in dirt. Archaeologists record the soils and the artifacts we find in each soil. We take pictures, fill out forms, map our finds, and write endless notes. In the lab, we use these field records and our artifact analysis to “reconstruct” the site and to understand the site. We then write our technical report and a (hopefully) more interesting public report.

Once you disturb the dirt by digging through it, you destroy history by destroying the dirt clues. Archaeology is a dirty job, in fact, we are dirt connoisseurs.

On Friday- catch us in Laurel Grove Cemetery.

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