All Hands on Deck! Cataloging begins for the Hubbard Park Project

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015
by Anson Kritsch, University of Iowa Office of the State Archaeologist
 
Now that all the artifacts recovered from Hubbard Park are clean, it’s time to start cataloging. Cataloging is a process of identifying, organizing and recording artifacts. Cataloging is done for several reasons. First, it creates a preserved record of all the things found during excavation. Second, the record of artifacts will be used to help date the features and determine what activities occurred on site.
 
The process starts by assigning a unique catalog number to each bag of cleaned artifacts. 
 
Bags of clean artifacts ready to be sorted.
Bags of clean artifacts ready to be sorted.
 
Bag of clean artifacts dumped out and ready to be separated.
A bag of clean artifacts dumped out and ready to be separated. All of the artifacts are then separated by their artifact types. 
 
Artifacts sorted into their types.
Artifacts sorted into types. After the artifacts have been separated, each group has to be counted and weighed.
 
Blue transfer print.
A piece of blue transfer print ceramic being weighed. Once all the artifacts have been counted and weighed, they are recorded on a paper form.
 
Paper form for cataloging artifacts
Filled out form for one bag of artifacts. Finally, the paper records are entered into a computer database. 
 
Heidi Lack entering the paper forms into the database.
Volunteer Heidi Lack entering the paper forms into the database. As you can see, cataloging is a lengthy process, so we have enlisted the help of several employees and volunteers. 
 
separating and cataloging artifacts
From left to right: archaeologist Alan Hawkins, volunteer Robert Lepcin, volunteer Emma Baxter, and archaeologist Maria Schroeder separating and cataloging artifacts. 
 
separating and cataloging artifacts
Archaeologist Cindy Peterson separating and cataloging artifacts. 
 
Dan Horgen and Bryan Kendall picking soil samples
Archaeologists Dan Horgen and Bryan Kendall picking soil samples. 
 
UV light is used to find lead-based glass
A UV light is used to find lead-based glass. The lead in the glass glows under UV light. Just one of the cool tools used to help sort artifacts!

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