Day 12

08 August 2017

To start this day off, Amy, Michael, Nick and I had a really deep convo about politics before we had even left the morning traffic behind. The rest of the drive was completed in almost silence as each dealt with their fears and realisations in private.

Arriving at Deanofontein, it was a wonderfully clear day with blue skies and a light threat of sunburn for those of us with a weaker skin (a hat and good sunblock are key).
En route to the main site, the calcreters once again abandoned us to fulfil their ever calling destiny of digging the most impressive Shovel Test Pit and in the process creating their Game of Sandbag Thrones. and Stairs (we know the title doesn’t yet roll off the tongue as it should, so any suggestions are welcome).
After dealing with this early abandonment we arrived at Louisa’s bakkie. Feeling fairly confident in my balancing and walking skills, I decided that today was the day that I will take the risk of carrying the Total Station (keep in mind that this piece of equipment costs at least R10 000). I started the walk to the pit. It was the longest walk that I have ever experienced. The weight of the TS disrupting my balance, the pressure of coordinated walking weighing down on my shoulders. I ran out of breath. I was overheating. My shoes were filling with sand as I shuffled along the sandy road, curving through fynbos. The usual sand dunes seemed to have grown larger overnight.
And then I was there. I was relieved of this extremely important duty. As I put the TS down, I felt an extreme sense of relief wash over me.

It was quite a slow setup. Everyone was a bit tired and there was a bit of confusion on the main site. As part of our practical experience, we all had to work with the TS. It had been organised that calcreters would systematically take turns to join us on the main site to have their go. The first to do so was Dani. In exchange for their valuable services, we had to send two of ours. The tributes were Ruan and Ruben.

Since Ruan had been chosen to go, I was the lucky winner of his block. Before he left, he walked me over to the square and then continued to introduce us. He said that he trusted me with the square and wished me many happy finds. He then proceeded to tell me not to be intimidated by Gizelle’s pro excavating skills in the neighbouring square. I then reminded him that my previous neighbour had been Nick and that I had already realised that I can never adhere to these extremely high standards. I had already worked through the trauma and was now at a peaceful place where I avoided comparing myself (read my square) to others.

The rest of the day was fairly uneventful if you consider finding a couple of extraordinary bone fragments and lithics as uneventful. After lunch, Kamo (the second calcreter to join the main squad) manned the TS like a boss.
Not long after this, Nick and Merwin disappeared. Whether this was because of the lack of testosterone on the main site or the pit-talk getting too boring we will never know.

And that concludes today.

Mabeth Crafford


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