ArchaeoBusOnline news

SGA makes an impact at the 2013 Social Studies Conference

The day dawned bright and early for the volunteers at the ArchaeoBus at the Social Studies Conference in Athens. As the bus backed into the location at the Classic Center the New South Associates team sprang into action. I should have set my stopwatch because the set-up took less than ten minutes. The guys had it down to an art.

Teachers enjoyed the opportunity to explore the hands-on potential for their students. Many were thrilled with the colorful informational packet that provided photographs of students experiencing the ArchaeoBus. It was a great marketing tool that answered the question of, “How do I get this bus to my school?” Educators were also provided the Archaeology: What is It educational CD, featuring images from Frontiers in the Soil and the Fort Daniel site, as well as other related educational resources.
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Despite the rain showers, the event was a success thanks to the participation of the anthropology students of Dr. Jennifer Birch at the University of Georgia. These students were great at providing visitors with the information needed to explore the hands-on activities. These activities included pottery, a phytolith and seed matching game, and mending ceramics. One UGA student commented on this unique opportunity to put what he had learned in class into good use by sharing it with others.

This educational outreach would not have been possible without the support of Nick Joseph, Scott Norris, and Alex Smyk, the students in Dr. Birch’s class, and SGA President Tammy Herron. Thank you for supporting the Society for Georgia Archaeology at the annual Social Studies Conference!

This is just one example of how you can volunteer with the Society for Georgia Archaeology. It is a great way to build your confidence in public speaking, develop friendships, and meet other professionals and avocational archaeologists across the entire state of Georgia. There are opportunities for writing articles for the website (interesting topics from class, a field school, your club’s activities) and consider publishing your work in the professional journal of Early Georgia. SGA is just the place to explore your potential!

Online news

Student reflects on the 2013 Georgia Southern field school

Submitted by Amanda Shively, Georgia Southern University undergraduate

My field school experience this past summer was an invaluable lesson in Georgia archaeology, Native American history, and archaeological field techniques. Led by Dr. Jared Wood of Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, our group of ten set out on a five-week-long adventure to learn the tricks of the trade. Every morning we commuted from the Georgia Southern campus to our nearby destination along the Savannah River in Screven County, Georgia. The weather was nice in the beginning, but quickly became hot, humid, and full of mosquitoes. The first couple of weeks performing shovel tests were difficult, but not unbearable. Once I became accustomed to the physical exercise and the copious use of bug spray, I was able to take in the beauty of my surroundings, appreciate the wildlife that inhabited our neck of woods, and enjoy the work we were doing.

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Our field school was focused on completing a systematic survey of about 30 acres along the banks of the Savannah River. We learned orienteering and pacing skills, how to dig shovel tests, how to record soil profiles, and the difficulties of screening wet clay. It wasn’t until we were almost done with our survey that we started to come across positive shovel tests. However, as Dr. Wood would say, even negative shovel tests tell an important story. We were especially interested in a cluster of positive shovel tests with Middle Mississippian Hollywood phase pottery (A.D. 1250 – 1350) that should tie in to Dr. Wood’s other work at several nearby mound sites.

Once we had our excavation area planned out, we prepared test units. We split into two groups, filled out the appropriate paperwork to begin excavations, and practiced many parts of the process: Total Station mapping, planview and profile recording, depth measurements, and photography. I had done this kind of work before when I volunteered for Georgia Southern’s project with Time Team America at Camp Lawton, but it was much different participating in all parts of the excavation process. It felt good when we started to see artifacts appear after all of our hard work. We were lucky enough to find broken projectile points and many late Woodland and Mississippian period pottery sherds. Some days the rain would keep us from our work, and we had to protect our test units with plastic tarps. When we weren’t in the field we spent our time in the lab washing, analyzing, and categorizing the artifacts we found. I learned so much about how native peoples lived by examining the tools they made and used.

This may sound like hard work, but our field school wasn’t all work and no play! We visited and helped at other sites, including the salvage of a small mound on the Savannah River and the investigation of a Clovis period site on the Ocmulgee River. We learned so much by visiting with other seasoned archaeologists who specialize in Georgia archaeology. We had fun getting to know local landowners, and made lasting friendships. I had an amazing learning experience that will stay me for many years to come!

Online news and researchThe Profile

Ten essential mobile apps for the archaeologist

Submitted by Amanda L. Morrow

After reading the article posted earlier this summer about the release of the Digging Savannah app for Android systems, I began compiling a list of helpful apps for those involved with archaeology and history in Georgia. I am an iOS (Apple) user, so I can only vouch for those particular versions of the apps listed below. In those situations where an app is a platform exclusive, I have tried to find an equivalent app from the other side. Most of the apps listed below will work on either your Android or iOS device! Click your device below each app to go to the store.

Billion Graves (Free)
iOS Android
This app connects you to the powerful cemetery database of Billion Graves and allows you to upload headstone photos with embedded geographic information from anywhere. You can also use it to locate cemeteries near your current location and view records others have posted. You need an account with the website to use the app, but this is free to set up.

Georgia Historical Markers (Free)
Android
This app shows you historical markers near your current location. When you select a marker, you find a photograph of it and a transcription of what it says. No more missed drive-bys! You can also get directions to and search for particular markers by keyword. It was developed by Georgia Southern University in partnership with the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.

Mesh Lab (Free)
iOS Android
This fantastic app allows you to examine 3-D models of objects in complete rotation. Many museums are beginning to use 3-D models of artifacts in their interpretation. Some wonderful models of prehistoric artifacts that can be viewed in Mesh Lab are available for free downloaded from the University of Arkansas’s Virtual Hampson Museum.

PreSize Ruler (Free)
iOS
This useful little app allows for quick caliper measurements in a pinch. Place two devices end-to-end to double the measurement capacity. While this app is iOS only, there are several similar apps on the Android marketplace.

SoilWeb (Free)
iOS Android
The SoilWeb app references your current location agains USGS soil survey data to generate an average soil profile you can expect to encounter in an are. You can also click on the series name for a complete soil taxonomy.

Earthtones ($2.99)
iOS
While we’re on the subject of soils, Earthtones is a pocket-sized Munsell book for your iPhone. You can generate color names, RGB and CMYK color conversions for your Munsell data. Soil Color Chart for Android has similar functionality.

Jot Not Scanner Pro ($0.99)
iOS
This app turns your device into a pocket scanner. Photograph any paper with the app and select the corners and the app does the rest. It processes the image to look flat and straight with readable contrast. This is perfect for conducting documentary research or saving colleague’s business cards at conferences. You can also export your scans as high quality PDFs. The app Mobile Doc Scanner for Android has similar functionality.

Clinometer ($1.99/$0.99)
iOS Android
The Clinometer is a bubble level that also allows for precise slope measurements.

Theodolite ($3.99 currently on sale!)
iOS
Theodolite is an augmented reality overlay app that displays real time GPS, compass, azimuth, bearing, range, and inclination right over the camera input for your device. You can also save geotagged camera images directly from the app. There is also an optional add-in datum pack for an extra purchase which includes such widely used datums as NAD-27 and NAD-83.

Offline Topo Maps ($9.99)
iOS
This app allows you to bring USGS topo maps with you wherever you are, even if you are too remote to have a cell signal. You can also record GPS waypoints which can later be exported and brought into mapping programs like ESRI ArcGIS. The Android app Archaeology Sample Collector has some similar functionality.

Do you have any apps you use regularly in your work? Tell us in the comments below.