EPEI tests possible Late Lamar Wolfskin phase farmsteads

Submitted by Phil Quirk (pquirk@edwards-pitman.com)

Tom Lewis and Jake Pitman with the backhoe at 9OG554.

Edwards-Pitman Environmental, Inc. (EPEI) has been busy conducting several small-scale transportation related Phase I surveys throughout Georgia. In December 2009 and January 2010, we conducted Phase II investigations for eight sites associated with the proposed US 78/SR 10 Crawford-Lexington Bypass project in Oglethorpe County. Special thanks to everyone who participated in the fieldwork through all of the cold and rain.

The sites consist of seven possible late Lamar (late Mississippian) Wolfskin phase farmsteads (9OG551, 553, 554, 557, 558, 559, and 561), and one late nineteenth-early twentieth century domestic site (9OG552). Investigations included geophysical survey conducted by Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) staff archaeologists consisting of magnetic gradiometer and ground penetrating radar (GPR) surveys at five sites. The gradiometer work was conducted at four of the prehistoric sites and the historic site, and GPR was used at one of the prehistoric sites.

Following the geophysical work, Phase II investigations consisted of backhoe trenching, additional close interval shovel testing, and test unit excavation. Work at the historic site located the remains of a stone foundation and a stone chimney base, and recovered artifacts associated with the turn-of-the-century occupation. Backhoe trenching was performed at four of the prehistoric sites, and found Lamar features at 9OG551 and a Lamar-associated midden at 9OG561.

Shovel testing and test unit excavation at the seven prehistoric sites found evidence of Lamar occupation at all locations. Post and pit features associated with Lamar occupation were discovered at sites 9OG551, 9OG557, 9OG558, and 9OG561. Most of the pit features were small, and little could be determined regarding their function. A portion of a bell shaped storage pit was excavated at 9OG551, but no artifacts or faunal/floral remains were recovered from it. A possible dog burial was encountered at 9OG561, but excavation was ceased upon the identification of bones. Sites 9OG551 and 9OG558 possessed post patterns indicative of structures. Pit features associated with a Cartersville occupation were found at 9OG554.

This project provided a good opportunity to study a series of closely-grouped Wolfskin phase sites. It is hoped that further study of these sites can provide information regarding site type and layout for Wolfskin phase sites. There is some speculation that the Wolfskin phase can be divided into early and late based on ceramic attributes. Analysis of the assemblages from the Phase II investigations is ongoing, and it is hoped that some additional data to support this idea can be gleaned.

Click on one of the thumbnail pictures below to see other photographs from this archaeological project.
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