Saturday, November 24, 2007

Husband Hunt Big Mammoth

I can't believe I've been desperate for rain for so long, then today, the day I invited three sets of friends on a mammoth hunt with my husband, it poured rain. When we arrived at Jesse's site, he and his crew of volunteers were tying tarps up to protect themselves and us from the rain while in the bone bed. Archaeologists have some quirky behavior that I can't wrap my brain around, but their ability to deal with extremes of weather and large amounts of soil inspires awe.

Whereas we couldn't help, but could greatly hinder the efforts, my friends and I set off with our children down the wash to the river. We romped in the San Pedro with the most fantastic Labrador who happens to be a member of my very own family. Once the cold and wet, by desert standards, beat us down, we walked back up the wash to Jesse's mammoth site. He oriented us to the river and pointed out that the site elevation topped the cottonwoods that had just loomed over us.

Sitting on dirt buckets in the bone bed, Jesse showed us the mammoth tusk (and the scapula) as well as artifacts associated with the mammoth. He discussed the prehistory of the area, first Americans, megafauna extinction, and so forth. Then Jesse took us to a cut bank with an eroding mammoth tooth on display. Nearby was evidence of pot hunting, broken screens left behind by people who indiscriminately tear up these sites for personal profit. Rather than focusing on that, Jesse used the wall of the bank to demonstrate how archaeologists "look through the windows to the past" using marks like the black mat. Our finale took place at the Moson homestead, which retained its full foundation, including some of the ORIGINAL adobe brick that the rain slowly washed away.

We were cold and wet, but the snow covered Sierra Vistas were beautiful. Meanwhile, back in Tucson, everything is dry as a bone and all that once lived in my yard now crackles brown. But for a few glorious hours, it rained upon our heads ensuring continued growth.

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