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The People from the Top of the Land

Kevin Sinats Kevin Sinats (left) and crew work the optical transit
From s'mores to Go-gurt, a cross between custard and toothpaste

FORT ROSS, CA - Week Three: rabid reindeer trash our site by day, and a troop of marauding trolls take it upon themselves to run us out of camp by night. However, morale manages to remain high, and our merry band of archaeological addicts continues to grow. Last time I checked, our number had grown from 25 to at least 30. We're multiplying like rabbits.

Out in the field we continue to push on. Nothing can stop us now. We just finished mapping the new site that we found last week. I must say that I have a new appreciation for Rand McNally. This mapping stuff isn't as easy as you would first think. It takes lots of precision, patience and practice. Our first map of the new site was way too small. You could have fit that map on a 2-by-2 inch yellow Post-it. But we didn't get down. No, we got back up and KO'd the sucker in Round 2! We now have a map that looks more like the site than the site itself.

We're going to begin work on another new site. This time the spectacular name that we decided on is SU2-1. This stands for the first new site found in Sample Unit 2. Before you name your first-born child after this site, know that this is just a temporary name. It won't receive its official name until after we've gone through all of the site and recorded information. Already we have found several net sinkers and an exquisite obsidian arrowhead.

In other field news, I've found a couple of small chert flakes out in the field. I never knew that I could get so excited over finding a broken rock; now I'm downright ecstatic whenever I come across one of those little puppies. Not only do I get excited when I find one, but I also put it back where I found it after I'm done recording it. If I didn't, I would ruin the integrity of the site and prevent proper interpretations from being made.

Back at camp, life is hip and happening. We sing songs, like "Do Re Mi" around the fire, play Cranium 'til the sun goes down, and make s'mores at night (even when there's only mini marshmallows to be had. Oh yeah, we're hard core). Breakfast and lunch aren't quite French delicatessen fare, but they're not bad either. We have recently experimented with this pseudo yogurt, called Go-gurt. It seems to be some sort of crossbreed of two-week-old custard and toothpaste. Jim is still trying to figure out whether to eat it or use it for sunscreen. (We will also be conducting experiments to see if it can cure acne. Test volunteers are welcome.)

Dinner is great. Our two cooks, Violet and Vivian, are members of the Kashaya Pomo tribe; they not only cook our wonderful dinners, but share stories of their history. Every day is a learning experience when hanging out in the kitchen.

As parting words, I'd like to quote a few lines from Professor Kent Lightfoot followed by a response from the Quotable Tsim, one of our four graduate student instructors.

Professor Lightfoot: "All right, let's stop and wait for everyone here. [Pause.] So as you can see we have some bioturbation here. [Pause.] So you know something's coming. [Pause.] All right. Would you like to say anything to the crews right now?”

Tsim: "No, I'll get'em pumped up on the way over."

— Kevin

Kevin Sinats is a second-year undeclared major.