Things I Create Besides Images

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I’ve had an Etsy store for a while now, and I’ve been really enjoying making art and jewelry from bones. Most of the bones were from animals that died naturally or were, sadly, roadkill that friends of mine brought me. I enjoy taking something sad and turning the beauty of bone into art. I’ve always loved bones, they’re like biological sculpture, and I just make them a little more……..unique and sparkly 🙂
https://www.etsy.com/shop/Peacheserratica

So This Is Archaeology – Part III

At last, the long-awaited conclusion to our field school adventures (Here is Part I, Part II, and the Birthday addition). What a great four weeks, and an awesome crew. I can’t wait for next year 🙂

So as I think I’ve mentioned before, archaeology happens in all kinds of environments and conditions. Sometimes you’re going to get very, very wet….
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And sometimes you will get very, very muddy.

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Here’s a collection of some of the lovely bits of chert we found scattered in the sand along the river bank we were exploring (Including the lovely point I found on my birthday). These have clearly been worked by human hands, and a couple of pieces appear to be broken bits of completed tools, but we never did find exactly where they were coming from. We suspect that the area may have been looted, possibly multiple times over the years, and the bits we found were the pieces that looters dropped on the beach as they worked, but we will probably never know for sure. Looting is unfortunately common in many areas, and there simply isn’t the money or manpower to keep watch over everything.

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After spending a good few days in the muck and heat, we took an afternoon to tour around Fort Vancouver. Many of the original buildings have been re-created according to historical records and archaeological evidence in order to make them as accurate as possible. Here we’re talking to a volunteer in the Blacksmith’s Shop. I believe he’s demonstrating how one of the old handmade beaver traps worked.

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Every summer there’s a field school at Fort Vancouver, and they have never yet run out of places to excavate. The fort has a relatively long history with multiple different eras of occupation, so there are sites galore here. If I remember right the students here had just dug down to the floor level of a cabin from the early 1800’s. It’s fun to talk to students from other field schools and trade war stories.

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For the last day of the school a group of us went out to a small island that we’ve been wanting to explore for years. We didn’t excavate, but we did screen the dirt from mole hills (Sometimes moles will dig up bits of charcoal or flint flakes as they tunnel). We didn’t find any evidence of human activity, but it was still a beautiful place and a fantastic day.

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All around the edges of the lakes and rivers we were finding these bizarre clear jelly blobs. Nothing visible inside of them, very firm, no odor. Couldn’t figure out what on earth they were! Then when I posted a picture on Facebook a friend knew immediately what they were: Bryozoans!

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Some sites are just plain difficult to get to when you’re doing field work. We needed to get to the other side of the island, so the kids took the water route, slipping and sloshing through mud and goo. I took the overland route, which ended up being me plowing through Thorny Bushes Of Doom with my face. We all made it to the other side alive (And didn’t drop any of the equipment) and that’s what matters 🙂

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As we were breaking for lunch I spotted a little pile of very dry coyote poop. Now, some people want nothing to do with any kind of poo, but in archaeology waste can sometimes be a fantastic source of information (And it was VERY dry. I’m not messing with fresh poo. Yuck). Here are the crunched-up bits of bone from a single coyote poo. I think I see rabbit and baby deer in there, but I’m not up on my animal bone identification (I always did horribly in that class).

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And the final day is done. Back to the lab to clean and store all the gear. This really was a great season and I miss this group a ton. I hope some of them come back next year for more mud, mosquitoes, heat, dirt, and exploration 🙂

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Another bryozoan colony, because they are TOO COOL!

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A-Wandering Up The California Coast

I just got back from a road trip to San Francisco to attend a friend’s wedding, and I wanted to share some of the shots I got on the drive home. I just didn’t have the time to stop at every wonderful place I saw along the way, and oh there were SO many, but I managed to squeeze in a few choice stops. I’m not totally happy with the editing on some of these, but I’m nursing an old back injury that has been aggravated by three nights on lousy hotel mattresses, so it’ll just have to do. Enjoy! 🙂

My friend’s wedding was held at a palatial villa on a forested hilltop, and it was just stunning. I haven’t had a chance to ask him if he’d be alright with sharing pictures from the wedding, so I will leave those out. I can, however, share a photo of this awesome birdhouse city that was in a tree on the front lawn the villa. I need one of these in my yard!!

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Once I got out of San Francisco I headed for the coast and highway 101. I haven’t driven the coast in a few years, so I was eager to see what I found. One of the places I stopped briefly (in part because I desperately needed a bathroom) was Fort Ross. There’s a reconstructed Russian fort and some lovely trails to walk. Here’s some info about the fort if you have an urge to visit some day.

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I walked around the trails near the fort for a little ways and got a few nice shots. Oh I love the California coast 🙂

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I have no idea what kind of flowers these are, but they’re gorgeous and I love them!

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Back on the highway, heading north. I can’t remember where I was, but somewhere along the way I saw this gorgeous little shed being devoured by nasturtiums, just sitting there and glowing in the afternoon sun.

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I ended up spending the night in Fort Bragg. The town itself isn’t overly exciting, but the views around there are beautiful.

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As I was driving along north of Fort Bragg I saw a vulture perched on a fence by the road. I’ve never been able to get close enough to a vulture to get a shot, they’re usually very shy, but this one didn’t seem to be going anywhere. Just as I raised my camera two more burst out of the grass. Darnit, if only I’d been pointing my camera a little more to the right! They were gone before I managed to take another shot, but I’m just happy I got what I did 🙂

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Farther north and into redwood country. I wandered along the Avenue of the Giants for a little ways, but I was so tight on time that I had to get back on the highway. Before I did, though, I enjoyed some lovely woods and stopped by the famous Drive-Thru Tree.

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After I left the Drive-Thru tree, I was driving up a large gorge and happened to see a little chunk of abandoned highway clinging to the side of the cliff. Since I absolutely LOVE old abandoned things, I couldn’t resist hopping the fence and exploring a little ways. I didn’t get very far, it was just too hot and I was running on only 3 hous of sleep (curse you, crappy hotel mattress!), but one of these days I’m going to go back and see how far that old highway goes.

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I happened to find a little lizard hiding on the cement railing along the old highway. He kept doing pushups at me. I think that’s lizard-speak for “Come at me, bro!!”. I reassured him that I was not interested in taking over his territory and went on my way.

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Heading north again I finally got back to Oregon, near Klamath, where you can stop and enjoy the gigantic and amusing statues of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Big Blue Ox. My friend Artie Groovebot wanted his picture taken. He’s such a tourist…

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So that was my trip. These photos represent only a tiny fraction of the wonderful things I saw along the way, but someday maybe I’ll get to go back and take my time exploring.

Transformations

I made a headdress to wear to Burning Man this year, and since I was in the mood for a drive I went out the the Maryhill Stonehenge Memorial to try it out. I have to confess, I hid in my car until the other sightseers left. I’m way too shy to be weird in public. Unless it’s at Burning Man, of course. Weird is a little more normal there 🙂

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