Bill Paley (mycroftca) wrote,
Bill Paley

Assignment two from archaeology class

Option 2:

Artifact 1: A cardboard box, rectangular, partially filled with soft papers folded in such a way as a new piece rises as each is pulled out. The box has some writing on it including a logo, and a gray and white design. There is an opening on the top out of which the papers extrude. This opening is partially filled with a cellophane material slashed in the middle. Organic.

Artifact 2: A green glass bottle 750ml capacity with paper labels and an aluminum screw cap. A small amount of sparkling mineral water remains in the bottle. Inorganic.

Burial in Egypt would cause a breakdown of artifact one, leaving little more than powder. What little might be found would easily be buried under sand. There is a question as to whether or not there would be any remnants of the cellophane. Artifact two would survive fairly well unless crushed by pressure; even so the shards should be in proximity of each other, and might be able to be recombined. Note that there would be variations of survival depending on the positions of the artifacts with respect to the proximity to the Nile River. In addition, there are fault lines not far from the region which would cause some diffusion of artifacts.

Burial in my neighborhood in the Inland Empire of Southern California would rapidly destroy artifact one between intermittent rains and occasional wildfires. On the other hand, artifact two might be destroyed by debris flows that occur in response to rains in the mountains. Pieces under those circumstances would likely to be spread over a wide area, as we live in an alluvial fan several miles from the foothills of the local mountain chain. In addition, these artifacts presently sit only a dozen miles or so from the San Andreas fault, not to mention dozens of other faults in the area that could slip, causing earthquake activity which could cause liquefication of the underlying ground, spreading remnants of the artifacts in terms of stratification as well as in surface area.

Were the items to be left on a glacier in Alaska, first of all, both artifacts would be in constant motion. The surface of the glacier is in constant flux, cracking and melting. This would likely lead to artifact two slipping into a crevasse, falling underneath the ice sheet and then being crushed and powdered by its weight, and unlikely to be ever found. I doubt that paper would be any more likely to survive. This leads me to ponder what sorts of artifacts we are unable to find from thousands of years ago due to the effects of the Ice Ages. Finally, any remnants of the artifacts would be dragged to the shoreline, to be washed out to sea or left at the terminal moraine.

I would have to say that both of these artifacts are fragile, but the bottle is more survivable than the box.
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