Sunday, June 19, 2011

This week we are sharing some of the prehistoric artifacts students recovered during the first half of their field school.

One of the first artifacts recovered from a shovel test this summer was this small lithic point.
The item is a small stemmed biface with a reworked tip (point is oriented with tip facing down). The non-local material is Tallahatta Sandstone, which occurs in south central Alabama, just north of the Florida state line.

Lauren Walls found another small biface point made of a chert that is likely from northeastern Alabama, northwestern Georgia, or southeastern Tennessee. 

Judging by how thin the carefully flaked point is, the raw material was likely a very rare commodity and used very conservatively.

Discovered in close proximity to an intact shell midden, this interesting artifact is a stone plummet or possibly a pendant. The hole exhibits drill marks on both sides, and other abrasive tool marks are visible on the opposing faces of the object.  

An exciting find from one unit is three mendable sherds that form a large part of an aboriginal pottery vessel. The vessel fragments are decorated with a check-pattern produced by stamping the exterior of the vessel with a carved paddle while the clay is still damp.  
Additionally, a mend-hole is present on the lower left side of the picture. The prehistoric user of this vessel tried to extend its use by stringing some kind a fiber through a holes drilled on either side of a crack. As the fiber dried it might have pulled the crack closed enough for the vessel to be used again.

Will Wilson recoverd a Middle Woodland Period (100-500 AD) sherd in his test unit.

A close-up of the artifact shows a complicated-stamp typical of the Santa Rosa/Swift Creek culture.

This week we are half way finished with the combined field school. The first group of students completed their Phase I and II training. They did a great job and we would like to wish them “good luck” out on the water. Next week, we look forward to working with our second crew for the remainder of the summer!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Shovel Testing

The lowly shovel test is one important component of the archaeological survey. This form of prospecting is the most common method of discovering archaeological resources, as well as for ground-truthing site location prediction models. As it is usually the first part of the field component of a project it is referred to in CRM as "Phase I Survey." A shovel test can vary in size depending on the State in which we're working. Florida regs require one of the largest shovel tests, weighing in at 50 x 50 cm and to a depth of a meter or more below the ground surface! Part of the reason for excavating such a large test is because of the long history of human occupation in Florida on shifting and rapidly accumulating sandy soils. Sites were quickly and deeply buried, and so we must dig quite deeply to find them. Another reason for the large size of the tests has to do with the logistics of pulling shovelfuls of sand from a meter or more below surface. If the tests were any smaller, the shovel would be held too vertically to keep the materials on the spade!

Will uses a screen to get an approximation of 50 cm before cutting the root mat.
Richard excavates a shovel test as Amanda screens and looks for artifacts.
Mike pulls soil from an ever-deepening shovel test.

Students learned how to orient their shovel tests with the compass directions. If any artifacts are found in a shovel test, we place additional tests around it at tighter intervals than used along the normal transect. Should the site prove to be a significant one (meeting National Register of Historic Places standards), we would prefer our shovel test be neatly oriented relative to the future excavation units to follow. Keeping transects, shovel tests, and test units tightly controlled on a grid helps maintain valuable locational information, just one part of an artifact's context.

Brittany learns the art of tossing soil.

Munsell color charts are consulted as part of the note-taking process.

Student Bios

These are the last of the bios for the students who will be switching from the terrestrial portion of the field school to underwater on Monday. We will be getting a new crew too, so in a couple weeks you will be introduced to them, as well as our two students that are staying with us for the full 10 weeks.

 Trevor Duke

In grade school I remember learning about the Calusa Indians in Florida, which spurred my interest in archaeology. I am a terrestrial archaeology major at UWF, and chose to take the combined field school in order to experience both the underwater and terrestrial realms of archaeology. After graduating in the fall, I plan on working in CRM.  Some of my interests include historical Indians of Florida, Paleoanthropology, as well as the early civilizations of Egypt and the Middle East. However, anything over 200 years old is likely to interest me!

Brittany Motley

I am a senior majoring in cultural anthropology with a minor in early childhood education. I am participating in the archaeology field school to gain a more rounded perspective of how anthropology can be applied. I am most interested in ethnoarchaeology and enjoy the process of connecting modern lifestyle patterns to past practices. My favorite part of field school so far is being close to nature, working in a hands-on environment, as well as pushing my limits and opening new doors for my future.

Michael Byrd

I graduated from the University of Memphis with a B.A. in anthropology in 2009. I worked for a CRM firm in Memphis, TN, for the last year. I’ll be starting as a graduate student at UWF this fall, majoring in Historical Archaeology. I’m taking the combined field school because I want to pursue maritime archaeology. However, if there’s anything I learned in CRM, there’s always more to learn, so I’m glad to be on the campus survey.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Student Bios

Bob Pitts

"I am from the west side of Pensacola and have always been fascinated with the diversity of our local history. Participating in the combined field school is extremely fulfilling. With the Cultural Resource Management (CRM) expertise of Dr. Gougeon, lessons from the terrestrial portion are invaluable. No effort has been spared to expose us to all applicable protocols and procedures."

Nicole Bucchino

"I graduated with a B.A. in Anthropology and a B.A. in History from UCF in 2010; I am now a historical archaeology graduate student at UWF.  I have studied abroad in Croatia, as well as being a historical research assistant at NASA's History Division and worked at the Maya site of Caracol in Belize, and I currently work at FPAN as a public history assistant.  My interests include maritime history, remote sensing in marine environments, identity in contact and colonial-period communities, and the impact of transatlantic trade.  During this year's combined field school, I hope to identify a thesis topic related to Pensacola's maritime cultural heritage."

Mike Doyle

"I am a student of both history and anthropology. I am also a park ranger and world traveler. My daddy told me I needed to go to college so I don’t end up digging holes for a living. So I chose to study archaeology."

Friday, June 10, 2011

Student Bios

Andrew Derlikowski

"I am going into my senior year at UWF. I choose the UWF Archaeology program because of its great reputation as one of the best in the country. I felt in taking the combined field school I would gain hands-on experience that I need, and I wanted to dive on the 1559 fleet. Most of my free time is spent with my wife Connie and our two Boston Terriers, Allie and Murphy. My other interests are military history, reading, running, traveling, visiting museums and historical sites."

Jenn Jay

"I am in my senior year, working towards a B.A. in Maritime Studies with a minor in anthropology.  I am from the Orlando area and spend most of my time at the beach and working in the conservation lab at UWF."

William Wilson

"I received my B.S. in anthropology from Kennesaw State University. I’ve done fieldwork in the Southeast as well as a Preclassic/Classic Maya site in Belize. I am starting UWF’s anthropology graduate program in the fall with a focus on maritime archaeology. My main interests include trade during the Golden Age of Sail, site formation processes, and lithic debitage analysis."

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Student Bios

Lauren Walls

“I am a graduate student in the Anthropology Department UWF. I got my B.A. in anthropology/archaeology from the College of Charleston in 2007. I have been working cultural resources management for about 4 ½ years. My interests include prehistoric Southeastern archaeology and I plan to pursue a career in CRM. I’m in the field school at UWF because I love digging and so next year I can participate as a supervisor.”

Bryant Lewis

“I grew up in northern Maine, and from summer vacations to Bar Harbor I gained a love of the ocean. I have always enjoyed history more than any other subject. These two interests led me to pursue a degree in Marine Archaeology. I am now in my senior year, having already obtained a B.S. in Marine Science. I plan to continue on to the masters degree program.”

Cassie Vesper

“I am currently going into my senior year at UWF, majoring in anthropology (with a focus on archaeology) and minoring in Maritime Studies. I am originally from California and moved to Oregon in 2006 where I discovered my love for archaeology. I chose to move to Florida and go to UWF because of the maritime archaeology program, which is also why I am doing the combined field school this summer.”

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Orienteering and Pacing

An important part of conducting an archaeological survey involves knowing where you are going (orienteering) and maintaining a proper distance between shovel tests. We are using standardized intervals of 25 and 50 meters between shovel tests, with tests spaced along parallel transects also evenly spaced. Professional archaeologists may use hand-held GPS units to locate predetermined shovel test locations, but before you can run you must learn to crawl. Therefore, one of the first exercises the students performed was learning how many steps they take along a 25 meter path, as well as seeing how that number changes when moving through thick vegetation or along sloping terrain, all while carrying shovels, screens, and other survey equipment!

A few orienteering basics, including back-sighting.

Getting the pacing down-pat on level terrain.

Practicing pacing along a slope.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Student Bios

Just as important as knowing what we are working on during this field school is knowing who is participating. We will be introducing each of the students participating in this year's field school, so readers can learn about our crew. Here are the first few:

Bill Lott

“I am a Florida native who found the perfect match for my interest in early American history in UWF’s Anthropology program. After attending a public lecture on the first Emmanuel Point shipwreck, I knew that archaeology was the instrument to pursue my passion for Florida’s rich cultural past. The maritime program provides a bridge to my hobbies of sailing, scuba diving, and travel. I am a senior majoring in archaeology and plan to enter the Masters program at UWF, eventually seeking employment as a National Parks Service interpreter.”

Zach Harris

“I am entering my senior year at UWF, seeking a B.A. in Anthropology with a focus on Archaeology. I enrolled in the combined maritime/terrestrial field school in order to experience a broad spectrum of archaeology. My interests include battlefield archaeology, military history, the first inhabitants of North America, piƱa coladas and getting caught in the rain.”

Amanda Schultz

“I am a senior majoring in Maritime Studies, and minoring in general Anthropology, and this summer is my last semester. I am taking the combined field school because I felt it would be helpful when looking for a job in the future. Some of my favorite things to do are reading and hanging out at the beach.”