Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Student Korine P. at Fort Ouiatenon, IN

For four weeks in summer 2013, I participated in an archaeological field school sponsored by the University of Southern Indiana at Fort Ouiatenon in West Lafayette, IN. This field school was originally scheduled for May 15-June 15, but due to the flooding of the Wabash River, our excavation was delayed until May 20. At first, I was a little nervous because this was to be my first field school experience, but after my first day in the field, I knew that I would be just fine.

The focus of the 2013 season was to excavate in the vicinity of Fort Ouiatenon, a French fort constructed in1717. Our investigations focused on areas just outside the fort perimeter where a number of Native American villages were located. Previous excavations at this site focused on the fort itself and not in areas outside the fort where the Indian houses were located; thus, there are hardly any data at all about the Native Americans who lived there. We knew that there were Kickapoo villages on the side of the river where our site is located, so an anomaly that appeared in the magnetometry reading was most likely a Kickapoo structure of some sort. In addition, we took a trip to the Tippecanoe Battlefield Museum to look at the artifacts that were found through previous excavations at the fort. To think that you can learn all of this through research!

Flooding near the site.
I learned a great deal from my field school experience. I learned how to read and interpret a magnetometry map, conduct pre-excavation research, draw maps and features, screen soil, fill out different types of paperwork, and dig using correct excavation techniques. While excavating, we were able to support the hypothesis that this circle anomaly was a Kickapoo structure due to the mass amounts of charcoal and post holes. We did not have enough time to excavate the whole structure, but we did uncover about a quarter of a structure some 20 feet in diameter. Additional experience that we did not expect to get was canoeing back and forth to our site! In the last two weeks of the field school, the Wabash River flooded again, so we had to get a canoe to reach the site. This was an experience that I will never forget and it made me fall even more deeply in love with my major: archaeology.

No comments:

Post a Comment