Author Topic: Help plan an archaeological excavation  (Read 3743 times)

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Offline snedeker

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Help plan an archaeological excavation
« on: March 26, 2008, 11:23:40 am »
I'm writing the plan to excavate a site in southern Delaware on the Murderkill River, not too far from Dealware Bay.  Big 7 acre area on slightly higher ground above the marshy river margin.  Testing showed it was occupied repeatedly from 2,000 BC -AD 1600, likely by small groups for short periods for what we call "resource procurement and/or processing tasks"    Pretty light density of stone artifacts, but a fair number of tools (projectile point/knives, scrapers, flake tools, abraders, shaft shaft straighteners, flake tools, bifaces.  Also, lots of problematic features - pits, visible as stains under the plowzone.  Not clearly hearths or storage pits, etc.  Quite a few ceramics too, groundstone, and steatite.  Steatite was used in these parts for bowls prior to intro of ceramics about 1000BC.  eight diff. ceramic styles. 

Usually, when you have lower densities of stone tools, wtih some points, you don't see the density we have of other tools, features, adn ceramics.  What were they doing?  they guy that wrote the testing report (another company) wrote that the clusters of flakes, with densities of 20-50 per meter square around the feature stains were "lithic redution stations"   I think thats pretty silly.  Jamie, how many little pieces of stone do you get around you when you are banging rocks? 

The area to be impacted by a new highway inerchange is smaller than the 7 acres, actually about 7800 square meters.  To find out whats up I figure to dig 272 meter square excavation units and then strip the topsoil off most of the site to get the features.  thenn specialized studies like C14 dating, microscoping use wear analysis of the tools, protein residue analysis, starch grain analysis, lithic sourcing (mostly jasper - from where?)

Any ideas?

Dave

jamie

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Re: Help plan an archaeological excavation
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2008, 10:05:14 pm »
dave, sounds awesome. depending on the work im doing and how bad i screw up the point im working on the amount of debitage varies. if im percussing out bifaces for another day id say id have a good hand ful of dime to quarter sized flakes, some larger and some smaller but the coin sizes give a good idea of size. making the actual point from a biface will usually give me a small hand full of flakes. maybe an 1/8th cup of miniscule chips . next time i sit down to knap ill pay better attention to the waste so i can give you a better account of whats on the ground.

im pretty whipped from work so i keep reading the post over to get a full grasp of all the info. is the site on the river or away from it. was wondering if the jasper isnt local could it of been delivered via the river as a trade route and knocked down to a more portable size for transport . i know jasper is in penn. not sure of deleware

Offline snedeker

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Re: Help plan an archaeological excavation
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2008, 02:14:35 pm »
The southern boundary of the site is less than 100 feet from the Murderkill River.  In between is marsh with 7 foot high fragmytes reeds.  Jasper is available from what is called the Newark sources, and some pebble jasper may be available near the site.  Lots of the other artifacts are quartz and quartzite from right there, which people of the early and middle woodland in these parts really liked to use for expedient tool - pick up a pebble, knock off a flake and scrape some wood.  Paleoindian and Earlier Archaic people made much less use of quartzite.  Lots of the diagnostic artifacts and some of the other raw materials suggest lots of connections with other regions.  Acokeek pottery from northern Maryland Piedmont, rhyolite from South Mountain in S. Cenral PA.  Argillite from near Trenton NJ.  I'm curious to see if some of the jasper is from Reading PA or Flint Run VA sources.

Thanks for looking jamie

Dave

Offline John K

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Re: Help plan an archaeological excavation
« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2008, 02:42:35 pm »
Boy sounds like fun. I would love to do some digging around there. Please keep us posted !

John
The only way to fail is to never start !

Offline redwasp

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Re: Help plan an archaeological excavation
« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2008, 09:38:27 pm »
do you need some help? I'm in northeastern PA pretty close to ya.  If you dont mind the company of a Mississippi Redneck,  I would love doing that. let me know time date ect. if you dont mind the company. ;D
If one man can do it, another man can do it. Richard......Northeastern PA.