22PE679 - Passport in Time

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Excavation and Artifact Analysis at 22PE679

De Soto National Forest, Mississippi, 1999
by Robert Reams, FS Archaeologist

Wow! This was our biggest and best PIT project yet. We had more visitors and volunteers than we have ever had, with many more “locals” and young people participating, and we had our first school group during the second week, which was also Mississippi Archaeology Week.

Throughout the three weeks of the project, we excavated 41 1-by-1-m units. Each week, we concentrated on a different section of the site. During the first week, we were on the main ridge. The second week, part of the group moved to a side ridge, with mixed results. Finally, the last week, the group moved down to a side ridge overlooking the nearby spring.

The weekend before the PIT project, a small group of Mississippians participated in the first Mississippi Archaeological Association Certification Excavation. 

We didn’t find much, maybe a total of 10 flakes in each of the four 1-by-1-m units. By Sunday night, I was worried that I might have picked out the wrong site for a three-week project.

We met at Lake Perry State Park on Monday afternoon. T-shirts and information were passed out to the volunteers. They all gathered around and individually shared with the group why they had decided to come to Mississippi. Then we went to the site. We walked around, discussing the past weekend’s results and the site in general.

We started work Tuesday morning. By the time the lunch trowel was rung, we had recovered more than we had all the previous weekend. Things were looking up. Although we didn’t recover artifacts as old as I had hoped or even features that I expected, we found enough (see next story). The artifacts dated between 5000 B.C. and A.D. 1100. Most artifacts were Middle Woodland in date (A.D. 1–500); pottery recovered included Marksville Incised and Baytown Plain sherds that fit together to form several different-sized pots. The analysis continues.

Related story: Digging Mississippi Mud
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