In the morning I surveyed the wall site and collected the loose pottery shards. I photographed them in place before collecting them; they would have soon fallen into the stream and been lost. Then we drove to the switchback road on the way to Sirsenk and drove the Humvee into the river to wash it. I was trying to keep dry but Corrigan demolished that plan. She threw a tub of water onto the roof and most of it hit me. I spotted live crabs in the stream but couldn't get close enough for a good picture. (After returning home, I looked it up and found that fresh-water crabs are widely distributed in warm regions of the world, but there are few in North America.) The river is full of fish up to a foot long. We've seen Kurds with them; they're silvery things, my guess is shad or alewife.
We spent the afternoon mostly relaxing, Haney and I having a lengthy bull session. Then we got a lukewarm shower; the British finally have a shower point. It was my first warm shower in a month.
There are mines about. Not many, but enough to keep people on their toes. Here are a few current stories from the past few days:
1. At Kani Masi, a US EOD team put an explosive charge on a mine, then retreated behind the nearest large rock, which was also mined. All four of them were hurt. Haney called this "the oldest trick in the book".
2. A French EOD man was setting out a charge to blow up a small scatterable mine. He knelt down on a second mine, which blew him backwards onto yet another mine, this one a Bouncing Betty. He was killed, three others hurt.
To pre-was our Hummer before starting back home, we resorted to this. On a hot day it was pleasant.
SSG Dennis Kieltyka figured that since I was a geologist, that made me sort of like Indiana Jones, so he took to calling me "Indy." I took that as a compliment. So it was fitting that I spotted some pottery fragments in the stream bank near the British camp.
The knife above has its blade resting on a large shard. Below, some of the dirt has been brushed away to expose it.
Since the shards were falling out of the bank anyhow and about to be lost, I collected them. Here's what they looked like assembled. We turned the shards in and reported all this. I have no idea what happened next.
Backing off a bit, I recognized some buried walls. The stump where the pottery was found is on the right, one wall is very plain beneath the large boulder on the left, a second wall is less distinct a couple of meters to the right.
Slightly more distant views.
Further downstream, in an otherwise rock-free stream bank, were several clusters of large stones, some with charcoal. I collected some of the charcoal and turned it in also.
So what does it mean? I suspect not very much. I doubt if you can dig a hole anywhere in Iraq without finding some kind of artifact. Given the shallow burial I doubt if this stuff is more than a few centuries old.
Created January 10, 2000; Last Update 14 December 2009
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