Laurel Engbring, physical anthropologist
Archaeology can be a bit of a gamble: you can dig for weeks and find nothing.
I began this season at Amara West excavating two shafts. They had little preserved inside them; though we did find the disarticulated remains of a neonate (a newborn child).
The tumulus I am currently excavating (G314) started out as a simple raised mound in Cemetery D, and initially proved somewhat frustrating. Beneath the sandy surface of the shaft lurked a series of schist slabs and large stones, covering a smaller east to west oriented shaft, lined in places with mudbrick. After photographing, leveling, planning and sectioning the stones, I excitedly removed the layer of huge stones, anticipating what lay beneath.
This turned out to be another layer of stones. After documenting this layer, and removing it, a third layer was revealed. In some ways this was frustrating. In other ways, the effort enhanced the anticipation.
When a fourth layer of schist slabs was removed, we finally discovered chambers extending to the east and west, nearly two metres in each direction.
My initial peek into the western chamber revealed disarticulated human bones and a few large ceramic vessels: an osteoarchaeologist’s dream!
The excavation and recording of the bones has just begun, making the 5.30am starts much easier.