Friday, September 5, 2008

Summer 2008 LCHA Archaeology Camp News

This year the Lincoln County Historical Association hosted the very first Archaeology Camps in Lincoln County. This is a great achievement for the county, in addition to the LCHA. Two sessions of archaeology camps held this summer implemented two types of archaeological research methodologies. The first session was held from July 14 to July 18 and was completed at the Ramsour’s Mill Battlefield Site. The area chosen for study lies in the floodplain area beside Clarke’s Creek, just below the two log structures that were relocated to the site. A grid was established in the bottom area with measuring tapes and oriented to magnetic north. The grid was created using compass bearings and placing survey flags every 10 meters. This allowed for a hole to be dug every 10 meters in order to complete an archaeological survey of the property. This method is known as shovel testing and is useful in determining feature locations, areas where people manipulated the landscape.

The people involved with Session one included Tristan Griffith, Tina Guffey, Jason Harpe, Edward Little, David Edwards, Karyna Miller, and Aleshia Clippard. An Appalachian State University student, Katie Earl, who was interning with the Schiele Museum of Natural History located in Gastonia, NC, also assisted with the survey. We had many visitors throughout the week, and the week was considered a success. The findings throughout the week included a few fragments of undecorated coarse earthenware pottery made by the Native Americans in the area. In addition, a few gunflints, and flake debris from Native American stone tool manufacture.

The Session two archaeology camp predominantly consisted of rising eighth graders from the surrounding area of Lincoln County, in addition to a rising seventh and twelfth grader. The students who participated in Session 2 include: Ashton Johnston, Seth Van Derwerken, Caleb McMillan, Cati Hambrick, Shelby Barkley, Danny Miller, Georgia Johnson, and Aleshia Clippard. The site location chosen for the camp was at the eighteenth century historic Woodside Plantation, located in Lincolnton, NC. The strategy at Woodside consisted of creating a grid on the property and actually laying out two 1-meter by 1-meter square excavation units. The fieldwork consisted of half days for the week of July 22 to July 25. Fieldwork consisted of laying out excavation units, shoveling and troweling, learning to use a line level to determine soil depths, soil screening for artifact recovery, and artifact washing and identification. The students were able to learn a significant amount of information about the process and details involved with performing archaeology. The artifacts recovered include various objects such as cut nails, animal bone, a coin, ceramics from utilitarian vessels, bottle and window glass, and toy fragments (such as a gun and marbles). The artifacts all date from the early to late nineteenth century and illustrate an ideal record for the occupation at Woodside.

This past summer was just the beginning of what is to come in Lincoln County and I was proud to be able to implement the archaeology camp program for the Lincoln County Historical Association. The work completed through the camps will aide in future research initiatives for the LCHA, and will lead the way for a successful archaeology program in Lincoln County. I look forward to our next projects and will definitely keep the public posted on future research projects and archaeological investigations.