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Week 1 – done!

-post by Dr. Peres, Alison B., and Brady

On the drive to the site this morning we discussed the importance of meeting the goals set for us this week – namely finishing all of the flagged shovel tests. We needed to hit the ground running this morning as we faced a 50% chance of rain in the afternoon. As of 3:00 pm today we had completed all of the shovel tests that were pinned in by our project collaborators with the National Park Service’s Southeast Archeological Center. They had previously excavated 56 of them and we excavated 93 for a total of 149. The majority of these were located 20 meters (just over 65 1/2 feet) apart, though approximately 25 were closer together at 10 m (approximately 33 ft.) apart. As mentioned previously, the goal was to dig them to a depth of 1 m (3.3 ft.), though we encountered the water table at a much shallower depth in several of them. The past two days we have been in the thickest part of the site and have seen a lot of marine shell, especially oyster. Judging by the size of some of the shells, the people that lived here nearly 1400 years ago loved oysters, especially big ones.

IMG_6300Oyster shells, fragments of turtle shell, and a small piece of pottery are clues to the meals enjoyed here nearly 1,400 years ago.

While the students have been learning a whole new set of skills, one of the most important, and to me (Dr. Peres) rewarding skills they practice is teamwork. That they understand the importance of coming together to work as a group is evidenced in the students’ writings this week:

As one group would finish, that team would separate to go help another group, with a threat of rain on Friday we were very concerned with finishing all shovel tests that were underway before we left; a goal we were able to meet by pulling together. – Alison B.

We all make a great team; as groups finished their test pits they joined other groups to help them finish. – Brady

Next week we start opening excavation units. With this comes a whole new set of skills the students will be expected to master. Judging by their enthusiasm and hard work this week, the next four weeks will be a wonderful educational and research experience for all involved. We are off for the weekend to rest and hydrate. Look for updates next week!






Associate Professor of Anthropology at Florida State University Zooarchaeologist Awesome dessert maker

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