Week three brought us our most students yet. This diverse group, hailing from all over the United States and Mexico, was fortunate to come to TBGOK at an especially exciting time. This past week, we reopened the northern most units, SQ1057 and SQ1058. Students were able to excavate in Archaic (8000 B.C – 600 B.C.) deposits a meter below the surface. These units are close to completion, and students helped a great deal to reach soil devoid of cultural material. In SQ 1055, staff members completed excavations and started preparing the unit walls to be profiled by our Advanced Field School students next week.
In SQ1062, students worked in the dense midden deposition that is present throughout the site. In SQ1064, students successfully closed out 2 levels. Though still within historic plow zone, we began to encounter artifacts indicative of the Middle Woodland occupations. Compared to previous levels, level 05 exhibited greater densities of various pottery types, including a piece of Hopewell zoned pottery. While troweling, field school student Nate Bartosch made an exciting discovery: “While in the middle of scraping, a shiny reflective stone caught my eye. I gently uncovered [it] with my trowel… [and] showed it to Alison, who quickly declared that it was obsidian. We showed Dr. Carol and all the others in the field. We then returned the flake to where it was found, and we piece plotted it. That was a good day”
This find was incredibly significant because obsidian is an exotic material to the Lower Illinois River Valley, with its nearest source hundreds of miles away. Even two thousand years ago, people were interacting and somehow cooperating across great distances. In light of these recent developments at TBGOK, we look forward to the last week of High School Field School, and the potential for new discoveries. Advanced Field School students will learn important professional skills such as shovel scraping and profiling. Stay tuned!