Results: Finds

We found out that digging in our dig is only a very small part of being an archaeologist. Did you know that Andrea Richardson, our archaeologist, has to catalog every piece that we found? To help her, we collected the paper bags from our units and recorded the artifacts level by level on a spreadsheet. We put this into a group spreadsheet so that we could see patterns.

We found lots of artifacts, mainly nails and glass. When we did find something, everyone would say “Cool” or “Neat!” and then we’d say “Back to work” because we wanted to find more and dig to clay.

Then we put the unit number, level, date and the borden number on every single little artifact. The borden number is the number that is attached to all of the artifacts from our dig. We identified and organized each artifact with labels and zip lock bags.

A student commented, "Today we organized and recorded our artifacts which will be going to Edmonton to the government. Wouldn't it be nice if we could keep the artifacts here or in Calgary so we could see them and show them to our parents?"

Here are some videos of the things we found.

This is a metal object we think is a door latch (1.4 Mb Quicktime movie).

Here is a metal screw cap (2.9 Quicktime movie) .

We found a piece of layered fabric (2.7 Mb Quicktime movie).

We were almost fooled by a button (2.0 Mb Quicktime movie) on the dirt pile that turned out not to be an artifact.

The spreadsheet had some interesting connections. We had 405 items of metal from very large pieces to very small bits of wire that looked like it could have been barbed wire. We think that they used metal for most everyday things kind of how we use plastic for everyday things today. The big heavy pieces are rusted and that means that they were under the ground for a long time. It was heavier metal than we use today, and some of the metal finds were very heavy and we think were used in the oil industry instead of being used in a house.

One group said, "We found a huge stick of metal and it was half in our grid and half in the boys’ grid. I think it is from moving the people’s houses from here to the next oil boom place. We also found pieces of broken plates and they matched when we put them together."

"We found bullet shells, bottle caps and pieces of glass. Andrea thought it might be because the people who lived there didn’t pick up all the pieces of glass from broken windows but would perhaps pick up broken china to try to put it back together. Our group is sad that it is our last day to dig, but we are going to be on the web site."

Grade 4 student - Unit 8

On the first day, we found lots of fence staples and a bit of wood so we think there was a fence there. Mrs. Prestie told us that when she was little, she and her friends used to lift up the barb wire fence and toboggan down the hill right where we are digging.
(1.4 Quicktime movie)

We had 229 pieces of glass. Some shards were curved and looked like they were parts of bottles or jars. A surprising number of shards were clear, flat and thin much like what you would expect window glass fragments to be. There were only 33 pieces of pottery found. Andrea suggested that people would not attempt to repair glass but would try to repair ceramic or pottery. Pottery might not be as widely used because it was expensive to replace or maybe heirlooms and used only on special occasions.

This might have been a kitchen because we found a food can (2.3 Mb Quicktime movie) here.

There were 157 pieces of coal and unit 13 had the most coal. We weren't surprised that people used coal back then. For example, the group that was in unit 13 wrote, "In Level 3 we felt that we [found] big parts of a stove as we found bits of metal. It probably was in a kitchen. There was also several pieces of coal and that’s why we think we found parts of a stove. We thought we were in a kitchen because we found part of a tin can that had something in it."

Ms. Rosvold, the site supervisor at the Turner Valley Interpretive Centre, told us about people hooking their stoves up to the gas lines from the oil wells so that makes us wonder why they had coal around. We do know that there were coal mines all around Millarville (see our website about coal mining ) but we are still puzzled by the coal we found.

Units 12 - 16 seemed to have the larger pieces and 14 and 16 were the only units that had whole bottles. Units 9 to 16 had double the count of glass and metal. If we were going to dig again in another year, we would explore further south.

"We started digging the first level and found barbed wire, some white glass, probably from a Pond’s cream jar, and a sharp metal object that looked like a rod with a hook in the end."

In Level 2 ,we found a piece of blue glass with a goldy color inside it. All the time we were digging, we were hoping that we would find a large post that would be the biggest artifact of the dig. Each little piece of wood was just about 10 cm in length and kept falling apart because it was so rotted.