Winston Zack and Peter Crislip, two M.S. students in geography, are currently digging deep at Dmanisi archaeological site with Dr. Reid Ferring. We asked them to tell us about their journey. Here is their reply.
“Our camp is nestled in a quiet, riverine valley. The village we are staying in, Dmanisi, feels like it is still in the medieval period, save for a few cars and fairly recently electricity. The pace of life is slow, and the villagers practice primitive agricultural and pastoral activities to support their families.
A 5 minute drive from our camp is the Medieval, Bronze Age, and 1,8 million year old Paleolithic archaeological site of Dmanisi. Our Monday through Friday schedule is very routine: at 8:00 AM we depart from camp and then excavate until 3:30-4:00 PM. About 20 people are working on the site at any given time, including ~8-10 villagers hired as seasonal excavators. There have been several excavations operating simultaneously this season ranging from tiny 1x1m test pits to very large >10x10m main excavation blocks. My (Winston) two test pits have already yielded a very large quantity of bones and some stone tools, both of which are very exciting. Excavating for 6+ hours a day is generally quite exhausting depending upon how much you excavate and how hard the sediment; fortunately the sun (and heat) aren't too much of an issue because all the excavations this season are shaded with either natural vegetation or man-made coverings. Everyone is enjoying the experience here so far.
The food is also pretty good. We generally have tea and bread with jam or cheese for breakfast; lunch on the site is also bread with meat, cheese, cucumbers, tomatoes, and cookies. Georgian tomatoes are said to be the best in the world...they are quite delicious. And dinner includes much the same but usually includes soup, meatballs, potatoes and/or an eggplant dish with mayonnaise.”
Interested in pursuing a degree in geography with a focus in environmental archaeology? If so, then visit http://geography.unt.edu/research/environmental-archaeology/center-environmental-archaeology
Winston Zack digging deep in Dmanisi.
Peter Crislip and Dr. Reid Ferring.
Dr. Reid Ferring explaining stratigraphic work conducted at Dmanisi.
Winston Zack in the beautiful Republic of Georgia.