Today, July 14th, was the last day of excavation for the 2015 field season. Of our four trenches, all had excavation and profile mapping work to complete. Trench 16 work was completed, and the unit crew members backfilled. Trench 17 produced a plan view map and profile maps of the north, east, south, and west walls. Trench 15 reached 100 centimeters below surface, took sediment samples for flotation, removed features, and mapped the unit. Both Trenches 17 and 15 plan to backfill tomorrow, thus closing the units.
I am a crew member of Trench 14. Rain had started falling in the night through early morning, and we arrived at a muddy, wet trench. We removed mud, attempted to control the underground leak from the west wall, took the floor to 90 centimeters, hand-screened the sediment, and bisected the feature uncovered the day before. Identified by a marked change in soil color on a level surface, the feature seemed to be a pit dug into older surrounding sediment. We dug down on the bisected portion until we reached the sterile, yellowish, sandy soil. We also uncovered a leak at 129 centimeters and a small tunnel or hole near the depth of the sterile soil. After photographing the bisected feature and creating a profile map, we proceeded to take down the other half of the feature. We noticed a large potsherd projecting from the southern wall of the feature, and upon discovering additional closely-located, embedded potsherds, we concluded that these potsherds were in association and possibly indicated a whole pot close to the feature.
With the decision of a project director, we prioritized this potential new feature and concentrated efforts on exposing and removing it from the ground. With greater efficiency and rotation of crew members, we slowly exposed edges and rims of multiple pots. Additional crew members from other trenches came over to help, and by 1500, we had removed the associated potsherds in one clump and placed it in a wide basin to be transported to the house for further work. Several Save the Ifugao Terraces Movement volunteers carried the heavy basin over rock walls, through waist-high vegetation, across a river, and up slopes to the jeepney; I appreciate their commitment to the project and needed assistance.
Back at the house, the undergraduate crew members and graduate leaders began chores. On the chore rotation, my group of three undergraduate students was assigned to excavation for the evening. We catalogued potsherds, faunal remains, and other small artifacts according to the National Museum of the Philippines protocol. This work is a multi-step process with great importance to recording some of our findings. Our method of recording accession numbers on the artifacts is painting a strip of correction fluid on the artifacts, writing accession numbers on this strip, and applying clear nail polish over it. Thus, these additions are reversible and removable.