Friday, December 21, 2007

Revised Analysis of Indian Sites

This, the last posting for the next several days, is a bit of an omnibus.

First, on behalf of April, Scott, Pete, and myself, we wish all of our readers a wonderful holiday and a healthy and rewarding new year.

Second, for anyone who has had a problem with the main website (, Dionisios (Dio) Kavadias has effected repairs. Dio created the website prior to leaving the company for graduate work at the University of Chicago. He happened to be in town when Scott informed me of some problems with the site. Hopefully it will function satisfactorily.

Third: the draft report for our first phase of work at Port Tobacco is finished. It has to wend its way through some channels, but I expect to send copies to property owners and partners in the next week or so.

Finally, since we now have some preliminary analysis completed, I offer the following observations on some of our findings. Many of our upcoming postings will draw from the draft report. To start, let's take a second look at the prehistoric finds. Now that we have corrected the catalogue, our analyses will be more accurate. In the image above you see contour lines that represent the simulated distributions of aboriginal stone tools and the waste flakes created as a byproduct of stone tool making. You will recall from a previous posting that we use a computer program to project, or simulate, distributions based on the finds in our shovel tests.

Overall, the distributions haven't changed too much...they are just clearer. There are several clusters of material that indicate the presence of Native American sites. They form an arc that extends eastward from the river, possibly suggesting that the river bank similarly curved to the east during the Woodland periods, 500 to 2000 years ago. Each concentration of material warrants additional study, preferably with series of excavation units, perhaps 5 ft by 5 ft squares. Perhaps over the winter we will conduct a more exhaustive study of the materials we have already collected from the shovel tests in each of these clusters.

So what do Indian sites occupied centuries before European colonization have to do with our study of a Colonial town? Well, first off, Native American cultures are no less important than those of Europeans: they deserve the same attention, and the same respect. Secondly, we are very interested in learning how the landform now occupied by Port Tobacco has been changing, both before and with the onset of European settlement. The distributions of aboriginal materials relative to the river, existing topography, and various types of sediments could prove very useful in reconstructing the recent geology of this portion of the floodplain.


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