Sunday, June 20, 2010

Week 4 Wrap-Up: Postmolds and Fire-Cracked Rock

Last week was the second-to-last week of the field school, and as our time in the field is winding down, we're starting to uncover more and more exciting archaeological finds.

In Block 1, Elsbeth Dowd and her crew reached the full extent of horizontal exposure in the Caddo house area and started to concentrate on working their way down through the burned timbers to the floor of the house and below.  They have now been able to identify one of the center support posts from the interior of the structure, an area of burned soil that likely represents the hearth, and several wall posts.  Next week, the pressure is on as they must finish taking units down, mapping in post molds, and excavating house-related features!

 Elsbeth Dowd trowels over the burned soil in the structure hearth.

In Block 2, Mike Carlock and his crew, along with professor Patrick Livingood, powered through 20 cm of sterile clay to end their western portion of their unit at approximately 90 cmbd. They then started excavating the Caddo domestic refuse feature in the eastern portion of the unit.  They recovered numerous sherds from several vessels, and found a large, flat, fire-reddened rock in the base of the pit.  Elsbeth Dowd was so excited to see the sherds that she got them out and started sorting them the minute we brought them in from the field!

Elsbeth is excited about the pottery from Block 2!

Finally, in Block 3, we made a very exciting, much older discovery.  As we took both units down in 10 cm levels, we dug through about 40 cm of Caddo deposits, went through a stratum where there was no discernible soil change but a much higher percentage of small, water-sorted rocks, and then, at approximately 55-60 cmbd, began recovering strictly lithic debitage and Archaic points.  On Thursday, we recovered a Dalton point in the northern unit, which could be as much as 10,000 years old.  Later that day, in the southern unit, as we continued to expose a large cluster of fire-cracked rock, we recovered a second Dalton point, sitting on the very western edge of the feature.  These are some of the few artifacts of this age that have been recovered from intact soils context in southeastern Oklahoma.  We also have taken two charcoal samples from the feature, and will be submitting them for radiocarbon dating.  The rock cluster is large and extends well beyond the walls of the units.  Using an auger, we have been able to estimate that it may measure as much as 2 m east-west by 2 m north-south!

Next week is going to be very hot and very busy as we attempt to finish all of the features located around the Caddo house in Block 1 and the rock cluster in Block 3.  Check back for updates on our progress during the last week.

Amanda Regnier
Oklahoma Archeological Survey

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