Monday, September 27, 2010

Student Colleen Westmor at Fort Ancient, OH

Colleen (left) with shovel.
This summer I had the opportunity to participate in Wright State University’s field school at Fort Ancient in Warren County, Ohio with Dr. Robert Riordon. Despite its name, Fort Ancient is actually an Ohio Hopewell hilltop enclosure that overlooks the Little Miami River. Geophysical data from a 2005 magnetometry survey first showed a wooden circle 200 feet in diameter with possible interior structures. For seven weeks this past summer, the team continued to excavate Moorehead Circle in the North Fort of Fort Ancient. In previous summers the team discovered a large fired soil pit in the center of the circle surrounded by ritually broken pottery, which led to the suggestion that the site was being used for ritual purposes.

Laboring in the heat, the team uncovered numerous postholes (up 150 cm deep), alternating rows of limestone pavement and gravel trenches, stone-filled pits, and a large number of artifacts ranging from imported chert and mica flakes to burnt deer bones to shell beads. Thirty-five excavation hours a week gave me ample time to meet and network with archaeologists from local dig sites, CRM firms, and even an employee at the British Museum. The team was close and worked well together despite our diverse backgrounds and interests. I have to say, I miss every hot, bug-ridden, back-breaking, muddy second.

Colleen is a senior Archaeology and Classical Studies double-major at UE.

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