Archeology Dig at the Whipple Store
I am pleased to announce an archeological survey the entire month of April right here at WCS&M (Whipple Company Store and Museum.) The research will involve scholars from UC Berkeley, Stanford, Appalachian State University, Marshall University and other colleges both nationally and locally. This research project is designed to involve community members, from school kids to retirees, in a major research project.
We invite all those who are interested in archeology, West Virginia history, coal miners’ heritage and other aspects of our culture to join in the dig! This especially is a chance for school-age children, high-school students, and university students from the area to participate in a major research in order to further their educational journeys. We will be using cutting-edge equipment from both Berkeley and the Smithsonian Museum, so local communities will have the opportunity to gain valuable technical skills, research experience, and to work with nationally prominent scholars.
The fun begins April 5th, and will run through the first week of May. This work is the first part of a larger project, and will involve survey work and some limited excavation (large-scale excavation will occur in a second phase planned for a later date). There are a number of different tasks we will be undertaking at various points in the project, and so a schedule and description of tasks is given below. Please look it over, and then go to our registration form: https://spreadsheets.google.com/viewform?formkey=dHd5ZzY3OWU2T1d2Qkk4VlJsZmNqYnc6MQ fill in the days that you would like to attend.
Each day’s maximum participants is 20 people, so sign up today! If we get an overwhelming response, we may have to limit the number of days a participant can join in the work, but unless that happens, feel free to sign up for as many days as you want to come out! If you are a university student from the area with archaeological experience, and if you would like to volunteer as a staff member, we invite you to fill out the section on the registration form for volunteers, and we will get in contact in order to do a quick, informal interview. Food and lodging will be provided for staff volunteers. Each day will begin at 8:00, with a half-hour description of the overall project and overview of the work up to date. Another half-hour will be spent going over the basics of archaeological research, and then familiarization with the equipment and techniques being used that day. Work will then proceed to 5:00, with a one-hour lunch break. Participants will keep a field journal for the day, and will turn that in at the end of the day, and this will become part of the record of the dig. Rainy days will consist of artifact sorting, cataloguing and analyzing – all of which is a very crucial part of archaeological research. There will be some work done in the evenings to make a robust record of each day’s events, and so there will be opportunities for evening work that consists of cleaning and storing artifacts, making maps, etc. Get ready to get outside, play in the dirt, and explore our wild and wonderful history! SCHEDULE Beginning Date: April 5, 2011 End Date: May 5, 2011 Schedule: [Please remember that these dates are somewhat subject to change due to weather or adaptation to on-the-ground circumstances. Please see these dates as a little flexible, and we will notify everyone if there is a change. Mondays are given as off-days, but will be reserved for make-up days]. April 5, 6 7
Task: Preparation and Basic Introduction to Archeology Description: During these three days, volunteers will be preparing the site for the archaeological survey, including clearing some areas of brush. A workshop on the fundamentals of archeology will be given each day before work begins (8:00-9:00), in addition to informal discussions throughout the day.April8, 9,10,11
Task: Surveying the Whipple Property and producing a topographic map Description: This part of the archaeological research will consist of a topographic survey using state-of-the-art surveying devices. Each day will begin with a workshop on the fundamentals of topographic survey, and then hands-on-learning through participation in the survey. The final afternoon or evening will be spent creating the topographic map in computer software, and so volunteers will be learning the full process in topographic survey, from collection of field data to the production of maps.
April 12, 13,14, 15, 16
Task: Controlled Surface Collection (CSC) Description: Volunteers coming for this part will learn a skill set that is fundamental to archaeological research -- controlled surface collection. This involves using metal detecting equipment to walk along controlled lines on the property, and marking (but not excavating) any detection. Each point will be recorded with the surveying equipment, and at the end all points that are picked up during the CSC will be plotted on a map, and that map will be overlaid with the topographic map made in the previous part. Volunteers will be introduced to the basics of fieldwork, surveying, map-making, and spatial analysis.
April 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 26, 27
Task: Non-Intrusive Testing (Geo-physical Survey) Description: This part of the survey will consist of using highly sensitive equipment to test for subsurface features at the Whipple Site. Volunteers will gain experience using an Electrical Resistivity machine on loan from UC Berkeley, and a Ground Penetrating Radar from the Smithsonian. The first machine uses electrical currents sent through the ground to test for any anomalies in the ground. The second machine uses radar to also look for anomalies as a back-up for the ER machine. Volunteers will gain experience operating this equipment under the supervision of professional archaeologists. The data collected will be digitized, and a map will be made of the findings to be overlaid with maps made in previous parts, and so volunteers will gain experience in the whole process of geo-physical testing.
April 28, 29, 30 --- May 3, 4, 5
Task: Intrusive Testing/ Limited Excavation Description: The final part of this survey will consist of limited excavation in order to do gain basic knowledge of the Whipple site and its underlying stratigraphic layers. Volunteers will learn the basics of archaeological excavation including an introduction to excavation techniques, recovery of artifacts, and the fundamental mechanisms of recording an archaeological site. In other words, this is the part where you get your hands dirty!!
hope to see ya'll here,
Funding for this research project is provided through a grant given by the
Appalachian Community Services and Friends of Blair Mountain