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Re: Archaeologists unearth riverside village site in IA

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  • Susan
    Thank s, Chris for the link. I ve a request for a scan of the article, as follows (without the YouTube video of site work, and comments):
    Message 1 of 2 , Feb 15, 2009
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      Thank s, Chris for the link.  I've a request for a scan of the article, as follows (without the YouTube video of site work, and comments):

      http://www.muscatinejournal.com/articles/2009/02/11/news/doc4992f40c29d22064788442.txt

      MuscatineJournal.com > News

      Archaeologists unearth surprisingly pristine site in Louisa County By Melissa Regennitter

      [See web link for YouTube video of site work)

      OAKVILLE, Iowa — What's left of a ring-shaped American Indian village discovered in Oakville has been labeled as a rare site in pristine condition by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

      "It's certainly one of the nicest sites I've ever run into along the river," said Dave Benn, research archeologist from Bear Creek Archeology Inc. of Cresco. Since the 1980s, he has been working for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,S which is in charge of the project.

      "There is good info about the prehistory of the area, which is not ordinarily available."

      The Oak Village site, located off County Road H22, was discovered because the Two Rivers Levee was scheduled to be realigned after it was topped in the June 2008 flood. The flooding destroyed portions of the levee.

      During a study required by the National Historic Preservation Act and National Environmental Policy Act, the site was labeled as historically significant. The goal of the study is to assess the impact of federally funded projects on cultural resources.

      The site is eligible for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places.

      A greenhouse was constructed in late December 2008 to protect the site, which is scheduled to be completed later this month.

      Benn said the site is too old to tell exactly which tribe lived there but the remains represent village habitation by prehistoric people of the Weaver culture (A.D. 300-450) of the transitional middle-late woodland period. Seven houses have been identified.

      The Weaver culture was initially defined as being located in the Central Illinois River Valley because of distinct pottery and projectile points discovered there. The Oak Village site is one of only three known ring midden villages associated with the Weaver culture. 

      Tribe members dug storage pits and middens, or trash deposits, inside the floor of their homes. There have been 60 those pit features uncovered and the archaeologists will examine the contents. Like other Weaver sites, this one produced fishbones, but also a fair quantity of turtle shells.

      Though artifacts such as points for stone tools and awls made of bone have been found, the archaeologist are looking at the vague remains of cache pits, house basins and paleobotanical  remains (plant products and seeds). Most of those remains are barely visible to the untrained eye, but archaeologists can tell where structures and pits were by variations in the color of the soil.

      The archaeologist have dug a trench through the ring from one side of the village to the other in order to examine the remains of the culture. Along with nine others, archaeologist Branden Scott, 26, of Cresco knelt on the ground, scraping away 10 centimeter layers of dirt at a time in a well-documented grid pattern on the ground. Each layer or significant area is marked with flags.

      "I have never seen such density of remains. The amount of trash in the pits at this site is unique compared to other sites I've seen," Scott said. He added that usually the land has been tilled through farming practices over time so that the under layers are disturbed, but that Oak Village has been preserved.

      Items collected from the site will be preserved. The site will be buried and the levee will be rebuilt. The Corps is expecting to begin work on the levee in the spring.

      Field work is ahead of schedule and expected to be complete by the end of this month.

      "The Corps have really moved quickly to get this contracted and funded," Benn said.

      If the weather stays warm and ice continues to melt north of the site, Benn said the trench is sure to flood and work will be put off for a few weeks.

      The work contract for the Oak Village project was $538,000 and the total cost for the Two Rivers PL84-99 repairs are estimated at $12 million. A temporary levee constructed of rock is protecting Oakville and construction of the new levee should begin this spring.

      At A Glance

      Archaeologists from Bear Creek Archaeology Inc. typically spend about seven hours a day at the Oak Village site. Bear Creek will devote nearly 9,000 man-hours to this project, not including the time of consultants such as a geomorphologist, a paleobotantist, and a paleozoologist. 

      archaeologist anticipate recovery of more than 150,000 artifacts that will need to be cleaned, cataloged, and analyzed in detail as well as curated, said Dave Stanley, director of Bear Creek Archeology Inc.

      Hundreds of soil samples will be water screened and run through a flotation device to recover botanical remains. Researches will spend nearly 4,300 hours in the field on this recovery project.

      Comments14 comment(s)

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      --- In ancient_waterways_society@yahoogroups.com, "Chris Patenaude" <yacrispyubetcha@...> wrote:
      >
      > >
      > http://www.muscatinejournal.com/articles/2009/02/11/news/doc4992f40c29d2
      > 2064788442.txt <
      >
      > location coordinates
      > > http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oakville,_Iowa <
      >

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