24 Photos - Jul 13, 2012
Photo: Salt Springs, Marion County.  Excavations supported by US Forest Service and National Park Service.  Summer of 2009.Photo: Water screening sediments from archaeological strata.  Note the tarp/support system holding the spring water back.  Pretty effective, essentially portable system.Photo: Strata with differing amounts of snail shells were very distinct.  U. Florida and FSU students and faculty were involved in parts of the project.  Two FSU MA theses came from the excavations.Photo: Wet sites like this, Salt Spring in Marion County, Florida, have  incredible plant preservation of all sorts of species that help us reconstruct diet and environment.  Seeds preserve really well.Photo: A little shoring and drainage work are required in most wet site excavations.Photo: There is a little leakage through the system but the smaller portable pumps do a good job of keeping the area relatively dry and allow excavations.Photo: Water is the key to the saturated sediments that can provide amazing preservation of organic materials - bone,antler, wood, woven items, baskets, etc. that normally perish in a typical terrestrial archaeological site.Photo: Lots of material coming from wet sites requires lots of specialists and a serious attention to documentation. Thadra Palmer Stanton (left) did her MA thesis on the lithics from Salt Springs. Organics are largely being studied by faculty at Pennsylvania State University (Dr. Lee Newsom and her students). http://www.anthro.psu.edu/faculty_staff/newsom.shtmlPhoto: Collection of organics ready for shipment for floral and faunal analysis.  Lee Newsom, Pennsylvania State University, is the specialist called in to to examine much of the floral material.  This is a small part of the inventory from Salt Springs, Marion County, Florida.  The older levels date to about 6,000 years ago.  It was a cooperative project between the  US. Forest Service and National Park Service.  UF and FSU faculty and students also assisted in excavations.  We have two recent theses based on the materials from this site - bone tools (Julie Bryd) and lithics (Thadra Stanton).Photo: Organics being packed for shipment to Penn State.  Yes, the women's restroom was appropriated as the field lab?Photo: Excavations were triggered by the construction of a new 'sea wall' to minimize erosion of the  spring bank.  An FSU alumni back in the 1970s first identified the site during a  Forest Service Survey.Photo: Pumps are critical in controlling the water.Photo: Looking down the spring run into the open water of the St. Johns River.Photo: Dr. Jack Rink taking a soil sample for OSL dating (optically stimulated luminescene dating).  Basically dating quartz sand crystals.  Rink (FSU Geology Ph.D.) is faculty at McMasters University in Canada but has done, and continues to, work in Florida on beach ridge evolution and on several Paleoindian sites.Photo: Sample being taken for OSL date.Photo: Sometimes the water gets away from you.  Stops work but you simply pump it out and get back to work.  Usually the damage is minimal.  More an irritant than anything.Photo: Pumps are pulling the water down.  You can clearly see the high water mark.Photo: Grayal Farr (FSU Anthropology MA alumni) and Dr. James Dunbar (to his right) a recent FSU Anthropology Ph.D. volunteered at Salt Springs.Photo: Farr troweling  through 6,000 year old sediments.Photo: Thadra Palmer Stanton filling in sample logs.Photo: Chris Lydick (FSU Anthropology MA alumni) watching the water rise from a particularly deep 'water event'.  These things can happen in wet sites and you just take them in stride.Photo: Panoramic view when the water was at its maximum.Photo: Construction and archaeology are halted till the water is removed.Photo: National Park Service schematic of excavations. To read more about the work check out the NPS page http://www.nps.gov/seac/saltsprings02.htm or the two FSU Anthropology Masters by Thadra Palmer Stanton and Julie Byrd.