Monday, October 26, 2015

Digging: The Right Tools

My first dig was scary.  See that post from Friday.

I went in fairly blind to the dangers of digging deep into hardened soil. Fortunately, God so filled with grace had equipped me with years of tools.  Tools I had yet to fully understand or utilize.
Any good archaeologist would have the following:

Trowels: For archaeology, the trowel is probably the most iconic and most-often used tool. It is the same tool that masons use to apply mortar to brick walls, though in archaeology it is used to excavate in a unit when the space no longer allows for the use of a shovel.

Shovels: Shovels, either rounded or squared, are used as the primary excavating tool, most especially in units where very few or no features or artifacts are discovered. They are used because they allow for more soil to be moved in a shorter time, as opposed to only ever excavating with trowels.

Screens: Screens are used to sift the soil that comes from each unit in order to search for and better spot artifacts. Soil is poured into the screen from either a bucket or a shovel, then shaken back and forth to allow the lighter soil to fall through the screen mesh, while heavier artifacts will stay inside the screen box.

Handbrooms/Dustpans: Used while excavating a unit in order to more effeciently move the soil out. Handbrooms help to keep the "floor" of a unit clean, especially before a photograph is taken of it. Dustpans help to move soil out of the unit at a faster pace when archaeologists have begun only using their trowels.

Tape Measures: Tape measures are used to make sure that the size of the unit and the depth of each level are as exact as possible according to our field manual's regulations. They are also used when creating maps of units, as knowing the distance between artifacts or layers of soil will make the map much more accurate.

Line Levels/Plumb Bobs: Line levels and plumb bobs are primarily used in mapping features and excavation units. Line levels are attached to the strings that are used to outline the units and the diagonal string in order to be able to better measure the depth of each level and any artifacts that may be found. Plumb bobs are used in conjunction with the measuring tape while mapping in order to provide a precise location for any feature boundary or artifacts that may be in the walls or floor of a unit.

Cameras: Film and digital cameras are used at New Philadelphia in order to take official images of the floor and walls of each level of each excavation unit, artifacts, and occasionally candid shots of the crew.

Transit/Total Station: This equipment is used to create a map of the site, using GPS and spatial data which records exact locations and heights of specific points.

Soil Cores: A basic soil core is a small metal tube with a handle at the top that is used for probing specific areas in the soil in search of buried artifacts or features. Once a specific spot is marked for coring, the archaeolgist pushes the core into the ground using their body weight, then pulls it back out to inspect the soil within it.

Tongue Depressors/Dental Picks: These small tools allow for the removal of soil in very tight or small locations in a unit, or can be used to clean off larger or more sturdy artifacts.

So looking at this list, I found some good parallels worth mentioning. I mean the trowels and the shovels are obvious tools, but the one that struck me was the SOIL CORES.  Look at these words, "the archaeologist pushes the core into the ground use their body weight, then pulls it back OUT to inspect the soil within it".

Replace a couple of words and you've got my first visit with Janet, my therapist:

"Heather pushes the tube down into the cracks of her soul with all she has (OUCH!), then pulls it back out (OUCH!!!) to inspect the contents within it"


I say this from experience. Counseling has such a bad wrap. I mean seriously, it does. Like when I was a kid, if you went to a counselor, you were crazy. Like asylum crazy. No ONE goes to a counselor, and if you did, you sure didn't announce it.

That misnomer sadly still floats about the world of therapists and psychologists, or gasp, psychiatrists! It's all garbage.

The best thing you could ever do for yourself, your spouse, your kids and the rest of the people that are in your world is find a good therapist/counselor/mentor/spiritual director.  Someone who can be truthful with you and objective to you.

I have had three different counselors/therapists over the past decade.  Each brought a unique perspective and teaching to me, though each different in style and approach.  All three were good therapists.

Janet is my most recent therapist.  She has been the one that has helped me the most, along with some series of circumstances that I call divine intersections. You can read in my other blog posts about the fun we've had together. But though challenging and sometimes infuriating, our visits always invite me to dig deeper. To find the core of the real me, to get at the truth that lies underneath all the junk I, and other people, have dumped all over me.

Digging into the hardened sediment of our souls is hard work. I need Janet to help me. She gives me perspective, honesty and objective viewpoints about my behavior and attitude. I need an expert. By the way, she is not the only person that functions as an expert objective witness in my life. Spiritual Directors, Mentors, Pastors, Life Coaches, etc. can often play a first role in being an expert objectivity witness to you and your own dig.

No matter who, an expert is critical to successfully beginning your first dig.

NOTE: Therapists are not all equal. I strongly recommend getting suggestions from a pastor, friend or doctor.  Your pastor, friends and doctors know you, and they know your needs the best (if you've shared with them.)

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