New Hampshire SCRAP A Graphic Essay By Katherine Russell August 2011
State Conservation And Rescue Archaeology Program (SCRAP) ofNew Hampshire SCRAP is a public archaeology program that focuses on the preservation of New Hampshire’s non-renewable cultural resources through public education and participation. SCRAP workshops and field schools provide avocational archaeologists with the rare opportunity of hands-on participation. http://www.nh.gov/nhdhr/scrap_about.htm
Field school participants obtain fundamental knowledge of artifact recognition, site excavation, data processing and archaeological ethics. They gain technical skills by participating in excavations. The SCRAP school’s hands-on approach is unique and highly conducive to learning.
SCRAP instructors possess a gift for teaching…and for listening. “It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken creative expression and knowledge.” – Albert Einstein
SCRAP appeals to a diverse group of people. Avocational, professional and student archaeologists form a team of equally important individuals, which in turn creates a pleasant and comfortable atmosphere for all involved. Many SCRAP school participants are avocational archaeologists with years of experience and a willingness to help beginners.
Archaeological field work requires specialized equipment. Whether laser level, measuring tape, trowel or shovel, it pays to keep tools sharp and protected. SCRAP students learn to use and care for field equipment.
Field school students have a rare opportunity to participate in excavations. They learn troweling techniques and patience!
During block excavations soil is loaded into buckets and sifted for artifacts through specialized screens onto underlying tarps. The remaining debris is collected from the screens, labeled, and stored for further sorting and analysis. When the block excavation is complete, the soil is returned to the ground.
Shovel test pitting (STP) is an easy and effective method of site survey. It helps archaeologists determine which areas to excavate, and is particularly useful on large sites.
Archaeological excavations are labor intensive and time consuming. A few square meters may take days, weeks, months, or even years to complete.
Meticulous documentation and repetitive entry methods produce accurate field records. They also familiarize beginners with data recording procedures. SCRAP participants record detailed information onto bag tags, excavation forms and field books.
N Every meter of a SCRAP site is carefully surveyed, measured and mapped. Each square meter unit has a specific coordinate number and location. Numbered flags mark grid units on the site. Excavated units are documented on the master grid map. Survey Information is applied to a Cartesian coordinate grid system. W E S
SCRAP participants secure their excavation blocks daily. The blocks are covered by weighted tarps which provide protection against harsh weather conditions and other natural disturbances. Weather in New Hampshire can change in a matter of minutes. The field crew must be ready to secure the site at all times. SCRAP participants learn to move fast!
Field work can be physically challenging. SCRAP training stresses safety precaution and procedure. Proper hydration, nourishment, sun and tick protection are imperative to the success of field school participants. Drink water!!!
Teamwork and group unity are among the most valuable lessons taught at the SCRAP school.
The SCRAP field school is a unique and satisfying experience. Participants gain knowledge, technical skill and the opportunity to form lasting friendships with amazing people! • The experience is educationally fulfilling…and a lot of FUN!
Thank you Dick Boisvert and the 2011 Jefferson VI team for a wonderful experience! Photographs and media by Katherine Russell SCRAP logo and NH map used with the permission of Dick Boisvert SCRAP general information retrieved from http://www.nh.gov/nhdhr/scrap_about.htm