We have shovels in the dirt here at the Mound House site! After a day of field school orientation and lectures on the archaeology of the region, three new 1m x 2m excavation units (Sq 619, Sq 620, and Sq 621) were opened up just to the west of our 2011 and 2012 units. Using data collected from both previous magnetometry surveys and excavations conducted at the site, we have strategically placed our new test units in the hope of uncovering further evidence of prehistoric structures along with artifacts and debris related to seasonal occupation and distinct activity areas.
Last year, we identified and excavated a possible post mold (PM 1056) in one of our test units, Sq 616. A post mold is a unique archaeological feature (i.e. non-portable artifact) that is first identified as a roughly circular stain in the floor of an excavation unit. The soil color difference can be due to either the decay of the original wood used for the post or to the refilling of the hole left behind after pulling up a post with soil that is different from the surrounding matrix. Rodent runs and tree roots can also cause changes to the soil that very closely resemble the changes caused by actual post molds. It is important to carefully excavate any possible post molds in order to determine their legitimacy.
Over the next week, not only will we be continuing our excavations at Mound House, but we will also be working in the lab on archaeological GIS applications with Dr. Jason Herrmann from Dartmouth College.
Check back for more dispatches from the field!