GIS and Archaeology are the Perfect Find at Leone Hall Price Park

Evan Lofton

Starting in August of 2019, I got an internship where I was tasked with performing archaeological research at Leone Hall Price Park. The purpose of this research was to establish a timeline of occupation for the park, as well as make maps showing where artifacts and features have been found in relation to the existing trail system. Throughout this blog, I will discuss what I did during my internship so that you can know what to expect when you finally get your own.

Starting the Research: Fieldwork

Starting thWorking in the field is a great, yet physically demanding opportunity. It allows you to get out and see where the people lived and find amazing artifacts first hand, it really lets you feel closer to the people who lived at the site you are studying. Always keep in mind however that all fieldwork has its difficulties. You can get caught in the rain, have to wade across a body of water, or be stuck in the cold. Even in the picture above where it looks beautiful, the temperature was in the mid-90’s and it was extremely humid. At times, discovering artifacts is as easy as walking along a riverbank. After a heavy rain, artifacts such as this could be washed downstream and left in plain sight. This is not to say that you don’t need to pay attention however, as many artifacts are small and difficult to see. Other times, finding artifacts requires you to get dirty. This fragment of a projectile point was found by climbing down into a pit near by the river created by an uprooted tree. Although more difficult to get to, artifacts like these have the advantage of being closer to where they were originally left than those found in the river.

Figuring it All Out: Labwork

            Between the days working in the field, I was in the archaeology lab sorting and typing artifacts. This process is among the most time consuming, yet vital steps in understanding a site, it allows you to get a rough estimate for the age of a site, as well as gain an understanding of role of the site in trade if you find items originating form far off. Be aware however that working in the lab takes multiple hours of looking at artifacts and referencing books to make any progress. It is often said that an hour of fieldwork produces enough artifacts for a week of labwork. Some seemingly unassuming artifacts can be the most fascinating. Prior to analyzing this artifact, the oldest artifacts from Price Park were from the Early Woodland, 3000 years ago. Now the time for earliest human occupation at the site has been pushed back to 7500 years ago. At other times, the information offered by an artifact is limited. Alkaline glazed pottery such as the artifact pictured above became common in the South starting sometime in the 1800’s and is still produced today in some areas. Although this piece can tell us that the park was occupied by Americans sometime between the 1800’s and when the property was granted to Cobb County, what period it is from cannot be determined.

Last Step: Making the Maps

            Although most people with an anthropology internship will not have to do any mapping, those who are also getting a certificate in GIS would be wise to combine the two internships to make the workload easier. Collecting data with ArcCollector can show where artifacts and features are concentrated. This can then be used to for a number of different things, such as where people are likely to have lived within a certain site. This will require hours of sitting at a desk and adjusting the map to make it look good, but the information you gain from it is worth it. Below is the official trail map, made by the Friends of Price Park.

Field School in Archaeology Pays Off in CRM

Samuel Sims

My very last act as a Kennesaw State University undergraduate was to fulfill my internship requirement. I chose to intern as a field technician at Edwards-Pitman Environmental Inc. (EPEI) over the summer. It was exactly the hands on experience that I was hoping to gain.

Edwards-Pitman is a cultural resource management (CRM) firm that works mostly in Georgia. Being in archaeology class you often hear about CRM and if you have Dr. Terry Powis, it comes up often, due to his background in the field. Dr. Powis’ field school is even CRM based and that gave me a small taste of what it is like. But I must advise you, doing actual CRM work is like Dr. Powis’ field school but in overdrive and turbocharged! This internship allowed me to see first hand what all the hoopla was about.

Being a CRM field tech can be very fast paced and is almost always rugged. You may be walking behind sound barriers which haven’t been visited by a human being since they were erected. Or maybe it’s rural Georgia and you must trudge through thick vegetation only to run into a stream you must fjord. Or perhaps you are walking along a noisy interstate, feeling the full force of the sun for several miles. I say all this not to scare anyone away, but to give a real sense of what the hardest parts of the job entail. On the flip side, there are easy days. Often, large portions of shovel test are in paved, developed areas and those are simply written off as undigable. Other times you have ample time to do all the shovel tests for the day and you take frequent long breaks. Regardless of the work situation, the crew chiefs are very considerate of your well being and take environmental conditions into account.  This summer was freakishly hot with regularly high humidity, so the crew chiefs were regularly checking in with their techs, taking regular breaks and making sure everyone was hydrated.

The vast majority of my time was spent in the field, but I did get a small amount of time to work in EPEI’s highly equipped lab. My work there solely consisted of labeling and inventorying artifacts from past projects. This is pretty tedious work, but it’s essential that it is done correctly to ensure that the artifacts are curated properly. Though lab work isn’t my cup of tea, so to say, but I enjoyed doing it as it gave me a greater appreciation for the work. It also is a bug free, air conditioned work space which was a nice break from the field!

One of the coolest things about working in CRM is that you are actively doing preservation work. I truly believe that work itself is of utmost importance and the folks at Edwards-Pitman share that value. It is nice to work in a crew of like minded people and have an accomplished feeling that you’ve done work towards the greater good. I really enjoyed working with people of vastly higher skill level than me. I had a suitable, albeit amateur, skill level coming into this, but it gave way to so many learning opportunities. It seemed like at every turn I had a question and there was always someone there with a good answer. There is also a decent amount of commingling of people with varying levels of experience and/or education in the field. Being around these people gave me hands on experience that is inherently lacking in a classroom.

When I changed my major to anthropology I envisioned myself doing work that looks very similar to being a CRM field tech and I must say I couldn’t be more satisfied with my experience, bugs, heat and all. Since my internship was the very last class I took, it felt very much like a
culmination of all my past experiences at Kennesaw State. My internship with Edwards-Pitman was the perfect, pretty ribbon to wrap up my college experience.

KSU Anthro Goes to the Georgia Academy of Science

March, 2019- KSU Anthropology gave five presentations this year at the annual Georgia Academy of Science meeting at the University of North Georgia, Gainesville. This conference is a great opportunity for students to present their research in a low-stress environment. Students can also submit manuscripts for publication to the Georgia Journal of Science. This is a fantastic way to build your CV and get started on your academic journey. Congratulations to all!

EVALUATION OF MISSISSIPPIAN PERIOD HUNTING PRACTICES IN GEORGIA**, Bryant C. Long*

PATTERNS OF SWIFT CREEK INTERACTION IN THE CHATTAHOOCHEE RIVER VALLEY, Gary Owenby*

ENERGY EXPENDITURE ACROSS THE ETOWAH CHEIFDOM: TESTING A HUMAN MODEL AGAINST ESTABLISHED ALGORITHMS**, Alice F. Gooding, Joseph Eleam*, and Patrick Wilborn*

TESTING ANCESTRAL HOMOGENEITY OF ANATOMICAL TEACHING CRANIA**, Christopher M. Goden, Alice F. Gooding

ENGAGING WITH THE PUBLIC: AN EXAMINATION OF AN ANTHROPOLOGY OUTREACH PROGRAM, Hannah D. Bauguess*

End of Anthropology section presentations on Saturday- what a great group!
KSU Anthro student Hannah gave a strong presentation about her efforts to engage Atlanta area communities with anthropology.
KSU Anthro senior, Chris, won the award for Best Undergraduate Anthropology Paper!

Archaeology at a Rich Site

Anne Marie Butz

Going into this experience I had only participated in one field school, with Dr. Powis, based off of CRM practices. Before my field school in Peru, Kennesaw State and University of North Carolina wanted me to be aware of common differences between cultures that often times can make people feel home sick or alienated by providing me with readings on what events I might face. While these readings were good and helpful; they could not have accounted for the difference in archaeological practices that I encountered. The field school was working hand in hand with Gabriel Prieto who works with National Geographic. We worked for a week at Pampas De La Cruz, and three weeks in a school yard in Huanchaco. At these sites they had found over 140 children sacrifices as well as llama sacrifices, pottery, textiles with copper ornaments, beads, and many more things.

Due to the amount of variety of artifacts and the high concentrating this was a great experience for me to learn the proper techniques for excavating different materials. Most of the artifacts that were recovered at the Dabb’s site were much more durable then the artifacts in Huanchaco. This caused for different tools such as brushes instead of trowels, as seen above. Other differences in technique involved the amount of sifting that we did. In Georgia sifting was a high priority because the concentration of artifacts was so low and without sifting we could not have pieced together a representation of the culture. In Peru you would sift every other bucket of dirt so that you were still able to see the small remains to keep an accurate representation of the civilization, but there was so much else that you could already understand the culture by.

In my experience in archaeology when you are digging you should celebrate every find, no matter how small it is, because a lot of time you are just sifting through dirt and rocks. This experience was very different, and I couldn’t help but to compare the two excavations. On the first day the group was all thrown into the field regardless of past experiences and it was captivating to see everyone’s reactions to finding artifacts. In my section we caught word that someone had found llama bones in another section, and everyone immediately wanted to go over and see them or try to help excavate that section in hopes that there would be one more. This seems to be a normal reaction that I saw in both of my experiences, and the response was the same. We still had to man our section and keep working. The difference was in Peru when we went back to digging our section we would come across something relatively quickly. In the first day I believe everyone was able to start excavating human or llama remains or some sort of ceramics. Due to how rich the site was it made it very easy for everyone to stay motivated and excited to go to the site every day.

All in all, it was fascinating to learn how archaeology is practiced in different places depending on the circumstances. I learned a lot about how archaeology can be done when the site is rich in artifacts, and I was able to see how that affected the archaeologists.  This was an excellent experience to broaden my horizon and expand my knowledge of archaeology.

Edwards Pitman Environmental, Inc., Smyrna, GA

Jeffrey Roberts

Interning at Edwards Pitman Environmental, Inc. was an enjoyable and rewarding experience. Not only did I have the opportunity to work and interact with archaeologists from different backgrounds and with years of experience, but I also had the pleasure of experiencing the field that I have been studying from a totally new perspective. The lessons that I learned from my time interning at Edwards Pitman were vital to my development as a student of anthropology and archaeology. Cultural resource management plays an important part of Edwards Pitman’s main mission. However, with the knowledge that I have gained from this internship, I am more confident and better equipped to become successful in whatever profession my education leads me to.

Cultural resource management includes associated lab work. The processes of cleaning, identifying, organizing and cataloging are just as vital to the overall mission as the field work is. Much of it is tedious work that requires an attention to detail and patience. A typical day in the lab may start out with washing artifacts that were collected in the field. Some days it may be a few artifacts, and other days it may be a few hundred. From there, each artifact needs to be bagged, labeled and organized in a way to make it easy to find. This step seems to take up the most time. I found the most rewarding part of the lab to be identification. Identifying artifacts, whether they be historic or prehistoric, requires investigation, research and occasionally an informed judgment call. Sometimes there is consensus on the identification of an artifact and other times there is disagreement. Each person brings unique insight and experience when attempting to identify some artifacts. On a few occasions, I was able to identify objects that other archaeologists were unable to identify. This brought to my attention the importance of a variety of viewpoints and opinions when it comes to archaeology as well as other fields in anthropology.

I spent a large amount of my time at the internship in the field, assisting field technicians find and assess archaeological sites through survey and shovel tests. Field work isn’t for everyone because much of the work associated with CRM takes place on roadsides, in deep woods and along river banks. Hazards we typically saw on a random day included snakes, spider webs in the face, impassible ravines and cliffs, and more briars and thorny vines than any person should every have to deal with in a lifetime. The work can be grueling and during much of my time in the field, I worked in temperatures above 90 degrees. That being said, my time in the field with Edwards Pitman was among the most beneficial experiences I have had since I began studying anthropology. There are some things that cannot be learned in the classroom; things that can only be learned by experiencing it firsthand and CRM is one of those things.

University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Philadelphia, PA

Elizabeth Massucci

Interning at the Penn Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology taught me a skill set that will help me be successful in the future. The Penn Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology is primarily a research facility which means that they emphasize conserving and studying objects. I worked in the Archaeological Ceramic Digitization Program which aims to create a database of ceramic sherds found during excavation. We processed images of ceramic sherds found in archaeological books or scholarly articles using GIMP, GNU Image Manipulation Program. First, I cut the images of the sherds to scale, and then I made them greyscale instead of color, to reduce the file size. After manipulating the images, I looked through the articles and copied the text pertaining to the ceramic. In Microsoft Access I entered a code so that the text and the image appear in the main form of the database. Then, I typed the information about the ceramic into the actual database itself. I also worked on a side project from my internship coordinator to create maps of archaeological sites in Turkey using Google Earth Pro. I copied maps from a journal, overlaid the images onto the satellite image of the region, and then marked the location of archaeological sites.

Every Tuesday and Wednesday the internship program provided a tour and a class at the Museum. We toured the various Museum departments and usually went into the collection storage area. The collection storage area has many objects that have not been displayed for the general public; some like the Oceanic Section, don’t even have a public exhibit at all. The classes were led by the various keepers and curators of the Museum. They discuss various topics relating to museum work to how they got into their field. The tours and classes were very informative and gave me an idea what I may need to do to get a career in the museum field.