Sunday, December 23, 2018

Did She Not Taste It?

Back in April, I had the honor to be present and help out with burial excavation. I just happened to get in contact with the right person at the right time and was very excited. I was there with the property owner, a representative from the Kansas State Historical Society, a former Kansas Bureau of Investigation officer from Wichita State, and anthropology students from Washburn University working on forensic field work. The purpose of the excavation was to give the students some hands-on experience, do an exam on the remains, if possible, and reinter the remains with the family in the nearby cemetery. We all went into this knowing the probability for actually finding anything was next to none. But was excited nonetheless mainly for spending an entire day on the property and watching the students work.

The morning was filled with them just getting the area ready to be dug. Basically, it was things that typically get cut out of, or are part of a quick-paced montage, in episodes of Bones or the CSIs. It was still interesting to watch and a lot of hard work that has to be as precise as possible. A lot of work went into preparing the small grave site for excavation. After they got the dig site set up, we broke for lunch at a neighbor's house where we talked about the history of the area. We then drove to the cemetery to look at the family plot and where the remains, if any, would be reinterred. After the cemetery, we were back at the dig site and work began.

I wandered around the property and talked with the property owner for most of the afternoon, occasionally watching the students work while trying to stay out of their way. Work at the dig site started at about 1 and lasted until a little after 5 or so. They dug about a foot down in a space about a foot and a half where a gravestone had rested. They hadn't found anything dating back as far as the dates on the stone. Heavy machinery was brought out and the search widened slightly. We dug to the top of a limestone layer. Still, nothing dating back to the date of the gravestone was found. The space they had dug was about three feet wide and two feet deep.

Despite nothing of note being found, it was still an educational experience for all involved. It was, by far, my favorite thing about 2018 and I'm hoping 2019 has similar experiences.
A view of the hole dug from inside the nearby home.
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Gladys, they already have a coffee flavor that captures the essence of the holidays. It's called peppermint. Right after Thanksgiving, coffee shops toss out their pumpkin spice to make room for peppermint. It's like drinking a hot liquid candy cane.