Archaeological carpentry?? by Chris Byron


Chris Byron

I am a carpenter. I am not an archaeologist. I knew nothing about archaeology when I arrived, but somehow my skills were useful on this dig in a few different situations. First off, the sunshades, which are metal pipes held together by elbow joints, nuts, and bolts with a tarp in the middle to provide shade, are very good at falling apart by dropping out of the elbow joints so I constantly had to fix them. However a brilliant plan was hatched (ed. note, a plan hatched by Chris) to stop them from falling apart. I took the sunshades apart and then drilled holes (for the bolts to go through) in them so that the elbow joints could properly hold the pipes stopping them from just falling out of the elbow joints.

sunshades and Arma

Now this was brilliant until the wind showed up. The wind decided that the sunshade would look better closer to the cars so the sunshade was taken by the wind and flew about 50 feet before crashing to earth and getting completely destroyed (ed note – only once). I’m talking pieces of metal at 90 degrees when the should be straight (ed note – okay, it was dramatic). Had I left the sunshades as they were it probably would have just fallen apart in the wind but hey, they worked well before that.


Now the (second) big problem was this wooden closet made of particle board. For those of you who don’t know, particle board is the worst quality of wood you can buy so the fact this has survived 4 seasons is a miracle. But this door and the wind wasn’t going to make life easy for me. It had ripped of its hinges no less than 5 times over this trip. I have fixed this door so many times that we had to take it to a wood shop and get new holes put in it cause the board was ripping. I’m talking I had to chisel a new hole in the door cause only one hinge ripped out. This door is Frankenstein at this point. But the point is I fixed and mildly improved certain things on this dig that I was only able to do because of my training as a carpenter. All in all being a carpenter on a dig was awesome because I was able to use my experience in a way that helped people on this dig while still learning how to archaeology.

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