-post by Carrie D. and Dr. Peres
This week is devoted to shovel test survey of the site to determine how big it is. Yesterday and today we shovel tested on the exterior of the known shell ring. To date we finished 72 shovel tests, most to a depth of 1 meter (just over 3 ft.). Several of them ended when water seeped into the bottom from the water table. Doing the shovel tests at various points around the site allows us to better map and visualize the area where we will excavate. It is important to test the outer edges of the site as well to determine where it ends or continues on. There are only a few more shovel tests to be completed tomorrow before the full scale excavation can begin.
Today we had a number of visitors to the site. Colleagues from the University of South Florida stopped by on their way through the area. That was a nice (though brief) visit. In the afternoon a number of staff with the National Wildlife Refuge came out to see the site, learn about our survey and excavation plans, and discuss future research and management issues. We are very fortunate to have great collaborators on this project. Everyone is excited to see what we find and learn about this site that was built nearly 1400 years ago.
Dr. Mike Russo and Jeff Shanks, archeologists with the National Park Service, talk with staff of the St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge.