My name is Callie Lopeman (that’s me in the red hat holding the auger) and I will be a Senior at Middle Tennessee State University in the fall. I am majoring in history with a minor in archaeology, which is why I was so eager to join the field school this summer to get experience. Yesterday, Ryan Robinson, the project Geoarchaeologist, taught us how to auger and identify soil types, colors, and structures from the samples taken. We also were able to lay in several grid lines yesterday, so today we were able to really begin taking soil samples since we now knew how and where to auger.
This morning, we broke into six groups of two to continue the auger survey. Dr. Peres gave us a goal of 20 total augers by the end of the day. Each auger would need to be as deep as 2 meters (6.56 feet) and possibly deeper if we found artifacts at that depth. Each team set off to test the soils in different areas for changes in soil types and evidence of human occupation.
These samples produced several small lithics (the waste produced from making stone tools), and we were able to identify many types of soil structures and colors. By lunch, each group had sampled two or three locations and we had around fifteen locations total sampled. Although my group did not find any evidence of human occupation before lunch, it was really interesting and informative to actually be doing the sampling without immediate supervision, although Dr. Peres was of course available for questions.
My group, and probably every other group too, became very efficient and better at identifying the soil. After lunch, because most of the points plotted yesterday for sampling had already been tested, we plotted new points for the groups to sample today and likely tomorrow. On the last auger of the day my group began recovering a number of lithic artifacts (not spear points, arrowheads, or knives, but the waste from making and sharpening them). It is exciting to begin to see evidence of where people were once on the landscape. Today was a beautiful day, and I really enjoyed being able to apply what we learned yesterday for the first time!
We leave you today with a picture of this little fella’ that was found during the survey.