Rain, Rain, Go AWAY!

Rain, Rain Go Away!

 — post by field school student, Taylor L.

We got lucky with that storm. It passed to our west/northwest.

We got lucky with that storm. It passed to our west/northwest.

This week we have spent just as much time dodging the rain storms as excavating at Magnolia Valley! We were in the lab all day on Monday, washing and sorting artifacts from another site, Black Cat Cave.

Rain day = washing artifacts from Black Cat Cave.

Rain day = washing artifacts from Black Cat Cave.

Tuesday saw us on-site bright and early (we arrive by 7:30 am to set up all of the equipment and get going). We made the most of the morning before the storms rolled in. Even though we did not accomplish what we wanted to do, I can say my partner, Clacey and I are excited about the new unit that we opened and were able to get all the top sod off of. Through this new unit we may be able to piece the puzzle together a bit from the data we collected from remote sensing.

As the storms began to roll in we packed up and decided to relocate to the lab in Peck Hall. We had a brief delay as the MTSU van got a flat tire. Fortunately, Field Assistant Joey Keasler, was able to get it changed and us on the road before the sky really opened up!

Field Assistant Joey Keasler changes the flat tire on the field school van (with help from the students). Thanks guys!

Field Assistant Joey Keasler changes the flat tire on the field school van (with help from the students). Thanks guys!

Since we could not be outside learning hands on we had to resort to some good ole fashion learning in a class room with two mini-lectures/workshops. We had washed and sorted all of artifacts and had to wait for them to finish drying before we can re-bag. Co-director Jesse Tune gave us a crash course on lithics. After begin out in the field for the past four weeks it was nice to refresh our skills on identifying worked rock versus natural broken rock and identifying bifaces,cores and flakes.

Jesse Tune prepares to talk to the field school students about lithic analysis.

Jesse Tune prepares to talk to the field school students about lithic analysis.

Through this project we are trying to bring the past back to life, but as we lose ourselves in the past we sometimes forget about what lies for us in the future. Following Jesse’s lecture, Dr. Peres presented on the basics of the types of professional  and learning activities, outside of regular classes, we might engage in to better prepare us for life after graduation. We learned what a Curriculum Vitae (CV) is (it is a document that lists — and sometimes explains — a person’s education, research/job interests, special skills, publications, field and lab experience, etc., and is longer than a standard resume) and how to construct one. This lecture put a lot of things in perspective for me and what direction I want to go in with archaeology. Hopefully we can dodge the rain and spend the rest of the week out on the field!

 

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Safety first!

— post by field school student Jared T.
The Archaeological Field School isn’t only about digging in the dirt and learning about the lives of people long gone. Much of the course is designed to train us to be professional archaeologists –which means we need to know how to act on-site and how to respond to a classmate/future co-worker that might have an emergency.

On Friday we arrived on site a full hour earlier than usual to make up for spending that afternoon on campus. Dr. Peres arranged for us to have instruction in CPR and First Aid, as there is always potential for accidents in the field, as in any work place. It is essential that we are all prepared to act should an accident happen.  We learned the kew CPR rule of 30:2;

 

Field school students practicing  CPR.

Field school students practicing CPR.

 

how to help a choking person;

Helping a (pretend) choking person.

Helping a (pretend) choking person.

and how to wrap up a bleeding wound:

Field Assistant Joey wraps a (pretend) gash on Dr. Peres's forearm. The students are amused.

Field Assistant Joey wraps a (pretend) gash on Dr. Peres’s forearm. The students are amused.

 

However, we can prevent most accidents in the first place if we are prepared and use common sense. Here is a quick checklist of prevention that we follow daily:

  • drink plenty of water to stay hydrated;
  • sun block is a must (Dr. Peres actually requires sunblock use as part of the course);
  • always do a tick check when you get home;
  • handle tools  with care;  shovels should always be placed on the ground parallel to the excavation unit with the blade down.
  • do not run with a trowel in your hands.

Being safety-minded goes a long way in preventing most accidents, but we should still be prepared anyway.  The first aid class prepared us on what to do in many non-life-threatening situations, so now we know how to act if an emergency happens. It also taught us when a situation may be more than we are trained to handle, and when it is best to call in the professionals.

 

Meet the Field Assistants

The MTSU Archaeological Field School at Magnolia Valley has two resident field assistants, Kate McKinney and Joey Keasler. Both have completed a previous MTSU Archaeological Field School and have experience on numerous field and lab projects. Learn more about Kate and Joey here.

 

Kate McKinney at Glass Mounds site, 2013.

Kate McKinney at Glass Mounds site, 2013.

 

Kate McKinney

is a graduating Anthropology senior at MTSU. Kate’s experience working in the field consists of the 2012 MTSU Field School at the 40DV7 (directed by Dr. Peres); Glass Mounds site (directed by Aaron Deter-Wolf), Phil Stratton site (directed by Jesse Tune), and Black Cat Cave (part of the MTSU RCARP). She has training in zooarchaeology and is a paid lab assistant on several projects with Dr. Peres. In addition to her role as field assistant for the 2014 MTSU Field School, Kate will be working on a grant-funded research project analyzing the ceramics from 40DV7 and the Magnolia Valley sites. Kate will start the Applied Anthropology graduate program in the fall at Mississippi State University.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joey Keasler

Joey Keasler, field assistant, coaches the field school students on their schnitting techniques.

Joey Keasler, field assistant, coaches the field school students on their schnitting techniques.

  • Graduated Summa Cum Laude from MTSU in December of 2013 with a B.S. in Antropology and minors in Archaeology and History.
  • Did an internship with the Tennessee Division of Archaeology in 2010 under the supervision of Aaron Deter-Wolf.
  • Worked on the Picket Chapel Archaeoloy Project in 2013 under the direction of Phillip Hodge from TDOT.
  • Worked on the Stratton Project in 2013, which was led by Jesse Tune.
  • Was a field assistant for the Middle Cumberland Archaeology Project at 40DV7 in 2012 for Dr. Tanya Peres.
  • Was a crew chief at the Castalian Springs Summer Field School (40SU14) in 2011under the direction of Dr. Kevin Smith.
  • Worked at the Coats-Hines Mastodon Site (40WM31) in 2011with Aaron Deter-Wolf and Jesse Tune.
  • Worked on the SSRG Cumberland River Emergency Archaeological Survey with Dr. Tanya Peres and Aaron Deter-Wolf following the May 2010 flood.
  • Had a paper titled “An Evaluation of the Alcohol Consumption Patterns of Tailgaters at Greenland Drive and Walnut Grove” published by Scientia et Humanitas in 2011.
  • Completed two URECA Scholar research projects while attending MTSU.
  • Received numerous scholarships.
  • Made numerous paper and poster presentations on campus, at local meetings, and national conferences.
  • A current member of the Forensic Anthropology Search and Recovery (FASR) team under the direction of Dr. Hugh Berryman.
  • Have a strong interest in Zooarchaeology, Bioarchaeology, and Battlefield Archaeology.