Surveying Poverty Point

The beginning of our field school this summer started in Louisiana, Poverty Point to be precise. We were all tasked with digging shovel tests and bagging any artifacts (which meant any and all concretions) that we came across. The first few days were did not render many artifacts (other than concretions which we later had to size grade).
Cheyenne Bennett and I arrived about two days late. Our first few days we kind of laid low and tried to get a feel for how everything worked, but it wasn’t long until we were prepared to work with the others. While digging one of the last shovel tests of our first site we discovered a plummet! The plummet was a standout moment in our entire crew’s dig in Louisiana, but it was far from the only one. There were several funny moments we experienced such as the “interesting” tour guide we met in Marksville, the dancing maneuvers around trees that Dr. Peacock performed while running tests on the new mound that was discovered, and the crazy shenanigans that we pulled each night.

Image Daniel Shawl in Zone 1 with plummet

In addition to digging with each other, we of course lived with each other for the two weeks of our dig. We were staying in a dorm behind the park manager’s house in Poverty Point; the boys stayed in one room and the girls in another, with a kitchen and lobby in between us all. Each night two people were assigned to cook dinner for everyone, and I can honestly say that everyone actually cooked really well. Every other day or so two people were also assigned to clean the entire dorm, which was not quite as fun as cooking but still equally appreciated. On the weekends we would usually have a choice of fun things we could do, such as canoeing or seeing a movie in the town of Monroe. One of the only problems we faced while at Poverty Point was the poison ivy which most of us got pretty much everywhere. Overall though, the two weeks in Poverty Point were great: we all got great experience in archaeological survey from two of the best in the business, we found some very interesting artifacts, and we all made some great memories. The digging wasn’t over yet though; two and a half more weeks of shoveling in the hot Mississippi Delta were waiting for us back home.

Image  The crew at Poverty Point

– Daniel Shawl
MSU Anthropology Undergraduate


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