In 1940/1941, the WPA workers excavated almost all of Midden A and the rest of Midden B. In most of the squares, they reached the bottom of the site. It was hard to go that deep because water seeped in the units. The men dug the levels below the water table on days when the tide in Lake Pontchartrain was low, and a north wind was blowing. These conditions lowered the water table at the site enough that the workers could continue digging to the bottom of the site. As was usual at that time, the crew did not use screens to recover small artifacts.
After the WPA project, a few small areas of Midden A remained for future study. In 1986, an archaeologist from Tulane University supervised a small group from the Louisiana Archaeological Society. Although they dug only one 3-x-3-foot square, the results provided important information. First, the project proved that parts of the site were still intact. Second, it showed that the site still held more information. The crew used water hoses to wash all of the dirt through ¼-inch mesh screen, capturing all artifacts bigger than that size. This technique gave information about what people ate, as many animals have small bones that the earlier crews did not see.
The Works Progress Administration (WPA) was formed in 1935 and was renamed the Work Projects Administration in 1939. Various WPA work relief projects put a lot of unemployed people to work during the Great Depression. Some of the WPA projects included excavations of archaeological sites, like the Tchefuncte site. Courtesy of the Library of Congress, LC-USZC2-1018.
|© 2015 Louisiana Division of Archaeology - click here to return to Discover Archaeology's Interactive Exhibits.|