Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
MAA 2009 Summer Dig at the Carson Mound Complex near Clarksdale, Mississippi
In the picture above Dr. Johnson is on the right, John Connaway is in the center and bio-archaeologist Jenna James is seated. Jenna is a graduate student at the University of Mississippi. Bryan Haley was also at the dig. He is a research associate and coordinator of remote sensing application at Ole Miss. Bryan is also a member of the new PBS series "Time Team America".
The top left photograph above shows John talking with Christian Roesler and Katie King, from Memphis, about this important archaeological site. The colored flags were placed by John in the center of old post forms and other structures. Wooden posts were used in building houses and other structures by the Native Americans who lived at the site. In the bottom left photo John is excavating a trash pit that contained a variety of artifacts and deer bones. The picture at the right shows Dr. Johnson and Christian screening material from this pit.
Above left are examples of the shell tempered pottery found at this site. The shard in the lower center picture has line decorations. The picture on the right shows two pieces of the types of stone used to make tools by the early inhabitants.
I spent most of the day at the site in an excavation pit with Jenna, Bryan and Katie and enjoyed every minute of it. The results of these archaeological excavations will be published sometime in the future. I would like to thank archaeologist John Connaway and Dr. Jay Johnson for allowing me to participate in this very important archaeological dig.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Special guests will be members of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians who will dance and give basket weaving and beadworking demonstrations.
Archaeologist at a dig site in Mississippi
Saturday, September 8, 2007
I did a blog post in November 2005 about this important archaeological site. I have since located some of the artifacts I collected while there. They were surface collected in the cotton field in the background of the first picture. These artifacts include pottery, stone tools and mud daub.
Native American pottery during this period is usually shell tempered. Shell, from freshwater shellfish, was used as a tempering agent in the clay so it would hold together and be a useful device for storage after firing. Directly below are good examples of shell tempered pottery. The shell is the small white parts in the pottery. Most pottery I found at the site is not decorated. Two examples of line decorations are below rignt.
Their square houses were constructed using mud daub. This was a mixture of clay and plant fiber packed within and around a framework of wood or cane. The roofs were made of straw. Below are examples of mud daub that were preserved at the site.
The stone artifacts, or lithics, consist of tools made from gravel that is located near the site. The gravel found in Mississippi was transported there during one of the last ice ages by glaciers for the north. Below are examples of stone tools I found while collecting in the cotton field that was once a large village.
This prehistoric Native American site is owned by the Archaeological Conservancy. The University of Mississippi Center for Archaeological Research has conducted their archaeology summer field school there for several years. The University of Mississippi link has an excellent description and pictures of each of these summer digs.
Friday, August 3, 2007
Native American Tallahatta Quartzite Quarry Site
I recently visited an important archaeological site in east central Mississippi with some of my professional archaeologist buddies. I had first gone to this rare stone quarry site around 15 years ago and this was my first time to come back since then. Tallahatta quartzite has been quarried there for over 10,000 years. In this area of east central Mississippi most of the Native American stone artifacts are made from this material.
This archaeological site is important because it is both rare and extensive. Tallahatta quartzite is only found in the tallahatta formation in east central Mississippi and southwest Alabama. This site covers a large area because there is not only the outcrop but also the locations around it where the stone was worked. Most of the artifacts found near the outcrop are not finished tools but preforms and small flakes that were used to make other tools.
The TQ outcrop here is a horizontal tabular layer within a sedimentary claystone formation that is along and above a small creek. Worked pieces of this stone can be found on the ground for some distance from the outcrop itself. In creek profiles these stone artifacts extend down to a depth of several feet. TQ generally has a white sugar-like appearance but can come in many colors such as grey, black or red. It was the only stone is the general vicinity that could be used to make stone tools because it exhibits a conical fracture which is necessary for knapping. TQ was used in trade throughout the Southeastern US.
For more information about tallahatta quartzite check out Tallahatta Sandstone . This page is published by the University of South Alabama and they call the material Tallahatta Sandstone.
Knapping Tallahatta Quartzite is a link to a YouTube video of TQ being worked into a projectile point.