There are many processes of excavating or digging a trench at a site. The process I focused on today was sieving. This process includes several parts; the first of which, the sieve, also buckets, bags, and labels, as well as an excavation form used to record what artifacts we find. Artifacts are found objects during the dig- whether that means bone, stone, shell, bead, anything and everything possibly manipulated by humans. We record our finds on the excavation form, and sort the finds into well-labeled bags. Sievers maintain the organization of this process, as it can get very confusing to tell one bucket of dirt from another. Typically a trench will be divided horizontally and vertically using metric measurement as well as north and south coordinates. This enables us to place what we find on a graph.
Sieving itself is a process of sorting through the dirt collected while digging. Excavators do not assist, if only to load dirt into a bucket and distinguish the location of the soil or artifacts. This is because minimal movement in and out of the trench is best! One wrong step could topple a trench wall or desecrate valuable artifacts. In addition, the seivers collect the full buckets and replace them with an empty one in order to keep the process going. The bucket is then carried over to the sieve- maintaining organization. In today’s instance, our sieve is 1×1 meter of metal with many small holes systematically placed throughout, like mesh. The small openings allow for grains of soil fall below, leaving behind stones, bugs, bones, teeth, and anything else for our clever eyes to find! We then sort the finds, and put them in their appropriately labeled bag. Essentially, the processes consist of “grab, bag, and tag!”