MCAP Field School, Day 13: Augers, units, & storms, oh my!   2 comments

– post by Dr. Peres

I was up at 4 a.m. to watch the weather forecasts and get caught up on some tasks before heading to campus at 6 a.m. (the glamorous life of the archaeologist begins well before the early bird). Different local news stations had slightly different predictions for the timing of the severe storms that are supposed to come through Middle Tennessee, but the one that caught my attention had us slated for storms by 2 pm. No archaeologist ever wants to call it a rain day when the sky looks like this:

The sun before the storm.


However, no professor ever wants to put their students in harm’s way (Safety First!).  Severe weather predictions + 43 mile commute in a 12-passenger van + 18 students that are my responsibility = packing it up early! With this plan in mind, we agreed to work really hard through lunch then head back to campus around 1:00. I have to give the kudos to the crew — they did not disappoint.

  • First we had some housekeeping to tend to. We are not using wheelbarrows at the site so are carrying the dirt to the screening station in 5-gallon buckets. The screening station works out nicely since we can cover the area with a canopy to provide shade for the screeners. We have moved enough dirt that the backdirt pile was getting a bit unruly. Today was the day to corral it in. We put up a silt fence to contain any slump, and the students practiced a little experimental archaeology by moving the dirt to one end to make a large platform mound.

MTSU Field School students doing some preventive maintenance on the back-dirt pile.

  • We were able to finish a deep auger test that went over 8 meters deep (that’s over 26 feet)!

MTSU Field School student Sean McKeighen assists Ryan Robinson with the extended bucket auger.


  • We used an Oakfield soil probe to test for the presence and depth of the shell deposits in two of our open units (we still have a ways to go).
  • Every unit in active excavation today was taken down another level.

From Unit 1, we recovered these two projectile points

Projectile points recovered from Unit 1, likely Woodland Period. Apologies for the dirt, these are “field photos” not “publication photos.”

  •  We triangulated in two more units, in search of the elusive edge of the shell deposits.
  • In one of the new units, this little do-bob showed up at ground surface of Unit 7.

    Do-bob from ground surface of Unit 7. It is likely an artifact of the 2010 flood.


Tomorrow we have a full day planned with lovely weather topping out at 70 degrees F!  Check back for the round-up of our final day of Week 3!



2 responses to “MCAP Field School, Day 13: Augers, units, & storms, oh my!

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  1. Thanks so much for the updates, I love your blue canopies, high dollar dig there I see!!!

    • Thanks Laura! Canopies are a nice luxury — one I appreciate more as I get older! No high dollar dig here — we owe a lot to the generosity of colleagues and friends! 🙂

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