I just today finished a week-long archaeological field school at Elden Pueblo, just North of Flagstaff, Arizona.
This was my second full week at the Arizona Archaeological Society field school, directed by Peter Pilles. He is the staff archaeologist for the Coconino National Forest, and is the director of the Elden Pueblo Archaeological Project.
Elden Pueblo is a 65-room pueblo with trash mounds, smaller pueblos, kiva, a large community room, and numerous pit houses that both pre-date and are contemporaneous with the main pueblo. It is the type site for the Elden Phase of the Northern Sinagua tradition (A.D. 1150-1250).
I spent the entire week finishing off work on Pithouse 8, a masonry-lined, rectangular pithouse which had been abandoned , burned, and filled. Later, an above-ground pueblo was constructed on top of the filled pithouse.
Our objectives were to clean out fill which had accumulated since last season, attempt to excavate in search of the South pithouse wall, and expose a bit more of the profile on the East side of the 8-foot deep excavation.
We were able to clarify the stratigraphy of the East side of the pit, but never located the South wall. We found hundreds of large pottery sherds, a few pieces of worked obsidian, and some animal bone.
It was a great experience. Due to the importance of identifying and analyzing all the levels in the pithouse, Peter Pilles spent several hours in our unit, guiding us through the identification of the strata. He can see things I would never have found on my own, yet were obvious once he pointed them out.