Finished off our first Aleipata test pit today. First time I used a pump as well. I must say the pump mechanics and generator worked really well, but it is difficult to pump out a 2 x 1 meter unit in sand and still successfully excavate. We were able to get about 20 cm below the water table fairly easily, but after that…the problem was not enough water to keep the pump running all the time.
We went down through several layers onto silty sands with evidence of human occupation (a nice fire feature), but no other artefacts to speak of. These deposits were on top of culturally sterile beach sand.
Now there could be cultural deposits beneath this (anything’s possible), but I really doubt it. I think in Aleipata we have a sparsely occupied coast in the post-ceramic period in Samoa and perhaps even lower density (any?) occupation prior to this. Chip (Charles) Fletcher and his team from the University of Hawaii are coming to visit next week to investigate just this idea of an inhabitable coast. More on this later…
We begin excavation in new area next week.