Nox is my approximation of the Salish word for “one.”
I FOUND AN ARTIFACT! Just a little tiny flake in my screen, but it is still exciting. It’s made of an almost translucent rock (a type of chert, I believe), and I found it in soil from disturbed Stratum III above humic material in Unit 68E 153N (my original unit).
Today was cooler (low – mid 70s) and cloudy all day but no rain (knock on wood) so it was actually pretty nice working conditions. We also did a short tour of the other groups’ housepits in the afternoon. Everyone else’s looks less bumpy and confusing than ours, but I suppose they have their own problems. The other groups also have features or possible features while we haven’t really even reached real Stratum III. Our “cultural depression” (Molly’s group/Housepit 8) continues to churn out artifacts, so it is certainly something significant though it is unclear whether or not it is a housepit yet.
I don’t think I’ve told you about all our names for our equipment yet. Most are just their brand or model name but some are also completely made up. Taskforce is our large, wheeled, plastic trunk. Stanley is our smaller, wheeled, temperamental, double-decker tool box. Timmy (a made-up name) is the water cooler. I want to call our lunch cooler “Cole,” short for “Coleman,” but it has yet to catch on. I also think our new wagon needs a female name to balance out all the males. In Housepit 7, our camera is named Carl, our Munsell (soil color) chart is called Fred (because it is written on the cover in faded Sharpie), and our root clippers are Eleanor Ann and Ace. Anna’s measuring tape also gained the name “Junior” later on.
I already cannot wait to get home for a proper shower and better skin and hair care. The shower trailer is pretty nice with its hot water but my skin is dried out from either all the bug spray or my Dr. Bronner’s, and my hair constantly just feels icky. I think the camping and the bugs are really the only turn-offs from archaeology so far, though.
Some lovely people from a Salish school in Spokane came to visit us today (Salish is the language spoken by the Sinixt and other tribes in the region). LaRae, the head teacher and matriarch of the family, gave us lessons in Salish including “Hello! How are you?;” “I am (good, tired, sick);” “Good morning, day, afternoon, evening, night;” numbers and “I am ___ years old;” “My name is _____;” and some foods. It was quite difficult with clicks and sounds unfamiliar to my English-speaking mouth. After lunch, we gave the whole family (LaRae, her husband, their son and daughter-in-law, and their 4-year-old granddaughter) a tour of the sire. Back at camp, we played a stick game that involved trying to guess which hand the unmarked “bone” was in while the opposing team chanted their song to help hide the “bones.” It seemed boring at first, but with the singing, we really got into it. In the evening, we had a “salmon feast.” They also introduced us to soapberry “ice cream,” which is nothing like my normal conception of ice cream. It was a frothy pink liquid and tasted so bitter!
They also brought their two little dogs, one of which is only three months old and called Schneermann (my approximation of the Salish word for “Buttercup”). The older one is Leempt (once again, my approximation) which means “Happy” and is short for “Happy Christmas” because she was a Christmas present. The two of them held most of our attention, honestly.