Kicking off the SMASH 2017 field season

The Singer-Moye Archaeological Settlement History (SMASH) field season for 2017 began Monday, June 2. We have a great group of students from the University of Georgia, one high school junior, and two graduate students from the University of Illinois and the University of Michigan working with us.

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Field School students, L to R: Mara Holandez, Tiffany Yew, Julie Stephens, Flynn Vogt, and Eli Huszagh

Our goal this season is to investigate a possible Mississippian structure encountered in the field in 2016. Last year’s excavations revealed a hearth feature and a line of post molds. Read see Adam Coker’s post summarizing this work here.

Our first week in the field was a wet one. Heavy rain kept us back at the field house on Tuesday morning, where students organized field equipment and learned how to take measurements using line levels. In the afternoon, we got out for a tour of the site before the rain chased us away again. That evening, some very heavy thunderstorms rolled through Lumpkin, which made for a very soggy Wednesday morning. While the road to the site dried out enough for us to get out there, students sketched the site plan and the local grid where we will be excavating this summer into their notebooks. By mid-morning we were able to get out to the site and begin setting up excavation units. Students used the total station to find the corners of 2×2 meter units which will form our block excavation this summer.

Around lunch, heavy rain chased us out of the site once again, though not until everyone had been thoroughly soaked to the skin. A field school rite of passage! That afternoon, Stefan Brannan gave students a lesson in ceramic analysis.

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Soggy field clothes drying out in camp

Thursday dawned bright and finally dry, so we were able to get in a full day of work at the site. We finished stringing units and started excavating! Students used flat shovels to remove the first strata of organic material from two 2×2 meter units placed adjacent to the 2016 excavation units. Our hope is to open up a block that encompasses the north side of this potential structure. On Friday they continued this work, excavating levels within the plowzone. Stay tuned for more updates throughout the field season as our work continues.

Posted by Jennifer Birch

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Stringing units for the excavation block. Our 2016 excavation units are in the foreground. These were covered with black plastic and 3/4″ plywood at the end of last season to protect them so we could continue opening up this area this year.

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Students screening. We are already finding a large volume of material in the humus and plowzone. More details to follow once we start processing finds in the lab.

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About Dr. Jennifer Birch

I am an archaeologist who specializes in the Archaeology of Eastern North America. Conceptually, my interests are underpinned by the desire to understand how the lived experiences of individuals and communities articulates with long-term, large-scale processes of social and cultural change. My current research is concerned with the development of organizational complexity and diversity in eastern North America. Ongoing projects in Northeastern North America include: - Geophysical investigations of Late Precontact Iroquoian Villages - Regional synthesis of data on Iroquoian settlement patterns, including intra-site patterns, interregional interaction, and geopolitical realignment Ongoing projects in Southeastern North America include: - Multi-scalar investigations of the Late Woodland to Mississippian transition in the Deep South - Household and community archaeology at the Singer-Moye site
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