CART Field

Roots in the Test Unit – CART Field

In a test unit at Old Colchester Park & Preserve Jonathan digs out a root.

At Old Colchester Park & Preserve Jonathan digs out a root.

It is beautiful in Northern Virginia today. The weather is perfect. In the field at Old Colchester Park & Preserve, Jonathan Brisendine digs around a small root that invades his test unit. The area of the park that the CART field crew is currently working has mainly yielded scatters of lithics and prehistoric ceramics. Most of what has been found is flake scatters from making stone tools thousands of years ago. Even the tiny flakes provide information that will be analyzed to assess the type of activities that occurred in the distant past.

Right now, though, Jonathan concentrates on not allowing roots to disturb the archaeological test unit too much. It is common for archaeologists to figure ways to work around or with bioturbation such as roots or rodent burrows.

Jean Carefully Digging


Jean shovel skims her test unit on the Old Colchester Park & Preserve. Since the CART field crew is working in an area that has mainly prehistoric artifacts, the crew digs down in 5 cm levels. They also pay close attention and dig by changes in stratigraphy. The picture shows the soil color changes in the walls of Jean’s test unit. The change of color is one of the ways we identify a transition in stratigraphy. Soil texture is another indication of changing stratigraphy.