Bucket! It’s a common cry on an archaeological site, usually from the excavation unit, impatient to keep on digging.
Buckets are essential to an excavation. They have to be well made, tough, and preferably quite light. These metal buckets fit that bill – so much superior to the typical domestic plastic bucket that is only good for a day or two before it comes apart. And better than surplus commercial restaurant buckets – the big white ones – as they are too big and too easy to overfill, becoming impossible to lift to the screens without help. Besides that their handles come off.
These metal buckets are the right size (Kilgii Gwaay sediments are mostly water and minerals so these buckets, when full, can weigh 50, 60 or 70 lbs), you can sit on them to take notes when a boulder is not conveniently placed and if they get thrown down or kicked aside, they dent but don’t break.
Buckets are just another tool. But like so many tools, from hammers to cameras, the casual observer sees nothing special in any one type while to the experienced practitioner they are the correct balance of competing interests to suit the purpose. At Kilgii Gwaay they are most often empty or full of dirt. Sometimes they were filled with fresh water beside the unit for washing artifacts. In the evenings they were stacked, often upside down to keep rain water out. Sometimes they held bagged samples for transport to the boat, or to a backpack down the beach. They were sat upon, stood upon, tripped over, used for bailing wet units and carried back and forth from the screens, over and over and over again.
They also contained the morning snack of urchins, eaten raw next to the screens, or out at the low tide line while gathering a few for later in the day (this will be the subject of another post).
Versatile things, these metal buckets. Appreciate them – they are worthy.
This link catalogues my posts on the project. I was accompanied on this trip by one of the Quimper Hittys, Tansy (sometimes found on an overturned bucket), who is blogging about the trip from a doll’s view. You can find those posts here.
Canon 5Dii, Canon 50mm/f1.4 lens and SMC Takumar 100mm/f4 macro lens. EDIT: I notice that the gallery view is inserting some EXIF data now, which for the Takumar lens is not accurate as it cannot register the f-stop and thus always says one thing.