This is my third year working with the CAA as a specialist in archaeological geomatics, and second time leading the module in geophysical testing at the ASU field school in Kampsville. For the next two weeks, I’ll be guiding students in the field as we use several geophysical sensors to map buried archaeological deposits without actually disturbing them. The data we collect may be used by some of the students in final projects for the course which may be developed further with Jason King and Duncan McKinnon, and will contribute to the CAA’s long-term research program.
In past years, we have used multiple near-surface geophysical methods to create a map of archaeological deposits at the Mound House site, where excavations will continue this year following my two-week stint. This year, we will be exploring how the ground-based remote sensing techniques can serve us at mound sites in Lower Illinois Valley outside of the valley bottom, specifically on the ubiquitous bluff-top mounds that line the valley rims. We will be focusing on using ground-penetrating radar (GPR) to create three-dimensional images of small mounds at two bluff-top sites, starting with a small mound located in the Hardin Cemetery. Our work this year will not only serves as a sort of proof-of-concept trial that will contribute to the long-term research goals of CAA, but, perhaps more importantly, provides an opportunity for students in this field program to collect, process, and interpret GPR data.
Working with the CAA at Kampsville is a sort of homecoming for me. While my primary focus as a PhD student and professional has been on the archaeological landscapes of the Middle East, I cut my archaeological teeth here in the New World and began my career as a professional archaeologist as a field technician on projects in the region. As a lover of the river valleys of the Midwest, I’m grateful for the opportunity to contribute to ongoing research in the region and to help to develop new projects.