Sean Jubb

University of Montana

Fort Missoula Field School

“…the whole area is going to have to be cleared of vegetation and mapped in detail before we even think of excavation…” (Praetzellis 2003:58).

Clearing the invasive weeds is a tedious but necessary task.

Clearing the invasive weeds is a tedious but necessary task.

On June 18 we trimmed mustard, pineapple weed, common tansy, and cheat grass to clear the site for mapping and excavation. We learned to be careful when removing the plants—not pulling them out by the roots, but trimming them just down to the ground using either shears or a machete to prevent ourselves from prematurely pulling artifacts from below the ground surface, which would cause damage to the site.

Field School students working to clear the waist-high mustard from the site.

Field School students working to clear the waist-high mustard from the site.

Even though clearing vegetation was not what I expected to do today, I learned that it is a necessary part of archaeological fieldwork and that it can be rather difficult!  This was particularly challenging for anyone with allergies, as our weed trimming and clearing caused itchiness of the eyes, stuffy nose, and sinus headaches.

Praetzellis, Adrian (2003) Death by Theory: A Tale of Mystery and Archaeological Theory, Altamira Press.

Final clipping to clear the area for the excavation units.

Final clipping to clear the area for the excavation units.