Posted by: thedirtybaker | May 28, 2011

Birds, beads, and fish knees

Yesterday, my legs objected to running after 2 or 3 km.  I’m not used to running two days in a row, especially with the new minimalist shoes.  I was noticing some cool-looking birds, and I totally blame the Tucson bird folk for this. 😉  I’ll bring a camera and take pictures sometime soon.

I worked through part a storage box of beads (for about 10 hours).  I made it through between 1/2 and 2/3 of the first box, just listing numbers that I need for my personal database from the site one.  There are some very pretty beads in there.  There is also no consistency in recording, despite an attempt at standardizing the tags and entries into the database system.  I’m now waiting on document delivery at the U of A to send me a copy of the one and only article in existence that gives the proper terminology for beads and pendants..

So I spent the day sitting at the big lab table with other specialists: the zoarchaeologist, or specialist in animal bones (actually, she’s writing a dissertation on Nehemiah, but she’s also trained on the animal bones), and the ground stone specialist (another historian, who will be a square supervisor when the season starts).  A few archaeologists, especially specialists, are really dry, boring people who have no interests outside their subfields, and who forget that the materials they’re studying had something to do with people.  Some of those people appear to have Asperger’s.  Most, however, are somewhat odd, personable, and often very funny, very interesting people.  Bone people are among the oddest – as one pointed out, you have to be a bit odd to look at the bones of dead domestic animals all day.  And if you aren’t odd to begin with, it’ll make you odd. (Note: I picked jewelry as a subfield because it wasn’t the ubiquitous pottery, and because it could be pretty.  That’s not as odd, though I won’t claim complete normalcy.  Normalcy would be boring.)   They talk to the bones.  “Hello, little piggy!”  It’s sometimes disconcerting for the person sitting across from you at a table to burst out with “You’re immature!”  Admittedly, I also talk to the jewelry (“You’re pretty!  I’d wear you!), and to the people who filled in the information about them.  (“Yellow?  You thought this was yellow?  Are you color-blind?”)

The bones include a lot of fish bones, since this site is right on the coast. “Bonette” decided to separate them out, so she has to teach the square supervisors to i.d. them.  She keeps showing them to the ground stone specialist for that reason.    Hence yesterday’s best conversation:

Bonette: This is exciting!  This is a patella!  (holds it up to show us) 

Beady (me): What animal is it from?

Stoney: Is it a fish?

And no, she was not serious.

There are a lot of (living) birds here.  Mostly, that’s fine, often pretty, but at 4:15 in the morning, the crows start up. I am NOT loving the crows.  I learned this morning that they visit their relatives up to 50 miles away.  I think the ones hanging out by this house should go for an extended visit, thereby NOT waking me up several times between 4:15 and 6:30, when my alarm goes off.

And that was my day yesterday.  Exciting, eh?



  1. What on earth is that fishy statue thingy?

  2. I don’t know – it showed up when I googled “fish legs” to go with the “is it a fish patella?” comment.

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