Last week, Jason and I continued to excavate Feature 380ext. This is a very interesting feature because it contains a lot of Pike vessel sherds and animal bone. When Kallie and I started to dig it, we knew that there were a lot of deer bones in this pit. The actual amount of the bones, however, is more than I expected!
Now we are working on level 02 of the pedestal side of this feature. There is a concentration of bones in area A (one of the fill episodes) of this feature. The bones from the concentration are mostly the bones of deer, though a raccoon radius was also identified. Because of the jumbled nature of the bones in situ, it is not easy to take them out from the feature piece by piece. The bones are very fragile and complicated, so we need to be very careful. This is not an easy mission at all. Actually, it is very easy to break the bones using a trowel. So most of the time I am using a bamboo skewer to remove the dirt or surrounding matrix of the bone concentration. A trowel will be used when I am ready to to remove the dirt in the remaining area, which has a much lower artifact density. Patience is very important when removing the bones from this feature.
Some people may wonder why the bones are so jumbled together. I think this is related to the condition of the animal when the ancient people put them into the pit: the animals may have been put into the pit with some flesh still attached. After the muscles and other structures of the body decomposed in the soil, the remaining bones might have collapsed into the pile of bones we are now finding.