The field team used a special technique to recover small artifacts, bones and plant remains from the wet dirt they dug out of the site. Using a hose, they sprayed water on the soil, trapping the artifacts, bones and shells in a series of mesh screens. The screens were 1/4 inch, 1/8 inch and 1/16 inch, with the biggest grid screen at the top and the finest at the bottom. This system caught artifacts of all sizes. For example, the biggest screen held larger shells and pieces of pottery, while small bits passed through. The finest screen trapped tiny plant remains and fish bones. The careful water screening of the soil was slow, but it led to recovery of far more bones and artifacts than expected.
Because of the wet conditions, the archaeologists were not able to excavate as much as they planned. They were only able to dig down about 9 feet below the surface by the end of the season. They did not reach the bottom of the site. Today, the site is preserved below the water next to the highway.
Water screening using multiple screens of varying sizes has become a common technique for recovering artifacts at some archaeological sites. Credit: LSU Museum of Natural Science.
|© 2015 Louisiana Division of Archaeology - click here to return to Discover Archaeology's Interactive Exhibits.|