This July, seven Washburn anthropology students will work at an archaeological site for 10 days as part of the archaeological field school. To prepare, the students successfully completed the archaeological methods course this spring learning the basics of setting up excavation units and documenting artifacts in place (first picture). They also had a chance to work with GPS surveying equipment by systematically mapping items on campus (second picture).
We were able to use initial funds from your gifts to purchase equipment students used to work on archaeological samples from a rockshelter site in northwest Kansas. We practiced the flotation method – a standard method to recover charcoal and lightweight remains such as seeds, shells and bone fragments from soils and sediments (third picture).
For the field school in July, we will first travel to the Ozarks National Scenic Riverways near Van Buren, Missouri, where we will team up with the Odyssey Archaeological Research Program at the University of Kansas, the Center for Archaeological Research at Missouri State University, and the National Park Service. We will open several test units near a large spring – a great location for prehistoric hunter-gatherers! In late July, we will travel to Meade, Kansas, also with the Odyssey Program, to begin initial survey, mapping and excavation at a potential mammoth or mastodon site. At both localities, we plan to collect samples for radiocarbon dating and paleoenvironmental analysis that the students will analyze during the fall semester. Our goal is that each student who conducts laboratory analysis will present their research at Washburn’s annual Aperion event or other local and national conferences.
In order to achieve this goal, we are continuing to raise funds for the proper laboratory equipment to analyze our samples from our excavations. Your funding will help provide research opportunities not just for these students, but for archaeology students in the future. If you already helped support this project, I thank you. I encourage you to share this update with your friends, family and colleagues to help our fundraising efforts continue.
Thank you for helping our new archaeology program grow, and I look forward to providing updates from the field!
Dr. Laura Murphy, Assistant Professor of Anthropology