And so another field season begins. It hasn’t been too longs since I was on Island during Christmas to run the small-scale excavations at the coastal village of ‘Aoa. Lab analysis of the excavated materials is coming along well and will provide helpful information about early ceramic technology, stone tool use, and should help with a revised reinterpretation of the timeline of ceramic production on Tutuila. So that’s going well, I usually find that one month of field work turns into a year of lab work (cleaning, cataloguing, analysis, writing etc). Aoa is a fun and necessary project and I’m glad to be a part of it.
The two main objectives of this field season are to:
1). locate the the spot where ceramic-period inhabitants collected obsidian nodules for the production of sharp flakes about 3,000-2000 years ago.
2). Conduct a survey on Ofu Island to collect clays. When we analyze the samples it will create a geochemical library of clays that folks used 3000-2000 years ago.
This projects includes all the fun parts that I like about field archaeology, besides digging. I get to make new friends across new islands and villages, hike to places white people don’t go (ever really), climb mountains and find shiny things in a jungle with a machete! I’ll have the help of my Aoa friends while relocating the Tutuila obsidian source. Their help as translator and as a family connection to get into the village at the base of the mountain makes them a major help. It’s important for folks reading this to realize how much recognition local helpers deserve. Their excitement towards Samoan prehistory, their dedication to hard work and light hearted attitudes during hard days makes working in remote locations much more approachable.
Here’s to another productive and safe season
good to have you all along again!
PS to read the blog from the 2009 season you can go here: