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March 6th, 2006

we don't need no water ...

As I was walking home this morning I noticed grey smoke coming from the street that leads up to our house. The road is on a steep hill so my initial thought on glancing up and seeing the smoke was that it came from someone's fireplace, but after advancing further I saw that it was actually rolling down the street rather than rising into the sky as I had expected. It turns out that the smoke was coming from a car parked not that far from the front door of our house - the hood and one door open as fire danced across the engine block and down onto the street below. The angle was such that I was even able to watch as small flames dropped into a puddle underneath the car, quite possibly from burning oil. Not expecting an experience like that to start my day I stood and looked at the automobile before hearing someone in the background shouting about how I shouldn't be so close because the car could explode at any moment. Good point. However, with two fire trucks and plenty of foam soon on the scene the fire was brought under control before flying shrapnel became a problem.

Today also marked the start of the second phase of our archaeology dig, and it's turning out to be a very dirty process. By the end of the hour the five people in our group were covered in dust from head to foot, and I'm sure it was much the same for everyone else in the class. I went around taking photos of the excavation squares for our final report but unfortunately my camera's memory card ran out of space halfway through the site. N5E3, which is where we've been working, had everything from dried reeds and sticks with bark removed to the lower mandible of an ungulate and a couple of other bones, as well as obsidian cutting tools clustered together in the center of the square. I'm still trying to find a decent picture of a pig skull on Google Images, but that seems to be our most likely candidate for the mystery bones we've uncovered.

I have two papers due on Thursday with a six page minimum that I haven't even started writing yet. Heck, one of them is a response based on a 60 page packet that I only bought yesterday. The first is about the role that Native American oral traditions should play in contemporary archaeological work, while the second involves a comparison of the nomadic pastoral ecologies of Chukchi reindeer herders in Siberia and Turkmen & Uighur horse pastoralists in Mongolia, Turkmenistan, and the Uighur Autonomous Region of China - although this one might grow to encompass a few of the other Central Asian Republics depending on which information I use. I think these would be a lot easier to discuss in an oral format rather than as written pieces, but neither professor has solicited my opinion yet, and I doubt either will before the deadline arrives.

The good news is that our archaeology exams were handed back today, and instead of failing like I had originally thought my score was an 88% - and the letter grade is even better due to our professor grading the tests on a curve. Maybe this is a good sign for those two papers?