More Data, Please!

Well, for such a short month, a lot’s been going on!  I gave a presentation for the Honors Colloquium last week, wrote the paper I’m giving at the Middle Atlantic Archaeological Conference next month, and made a poster for the Science Symposium happening later this week.  So I’m getting lots of practice presenting my findings!  Which is good, I guess – just a little stressful all at once.

I’ve also been working a lot with my data.  I’ve found that the variability in the elemental concentrations increases drastically between the Middle Woodland I and Middle Woodland II periods, possibly indicating an increase in exchange – but unfortunately, the number of Middle Woodland sherds I’ve tested is tiny in comparison to the numbers from later phases, so it’s hard to say how legitimate that trend is.  There’s also an issue with shell temper, which is not preserved in the Chickahominy sherds, but is in the Kiskiak ones and seems to be driving concentrations down.  Basically, as I’m slogging through all of the data and trying to find patterns, I’m seeing how much more I want to have.  I want to test more sherds, from other test units, other sites, and older phases.  I want to calibrate the spectrometer to pick up more elements than just the 13 it’s set up for now.  I want to be able to compare the Kiskiak sherds to others in a similar state of preservation.  I want to collect more clay samples.  I do think that the XRF method is working and can be usefully employed to address archaeological questions in the Chesapeake area – I’m just not sure that I can address them with what I have now.  And that’s frustrating.  But on the bright side, I know where I can go from here!