Madison Square

Madison Square
Savannah Under Fire archaeologists work in Madison Square, Savannah, GA, surrounded by visitors and citizens interested in our dig.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Windshield Survey

We officially started our fieldwork today with a windshield survey. This is only slightly less lazy than an armchair survey. We do a windshield survey by scouting our possible dig locations and assessing their potential. At each site, we look for modern disturbances such as utilities, trees, and landscaping and search for hints about the eighteenth century topography. We also look for areas of bare dirt, which we comb for artifacts that have eroded, such as in the picture below.

Sometimes we get extra lucky. Near one of the redoubts (mini forts) there was a gaping hole in West Boundary Street that allowed us to see the soil layers beneath the street. Normally, archaeologists cringe at gaping holes dug into archaeological sites. We decided to turn this into an archaeological advantage. By examining the soil layers and the artifacts within them, we were able to date the layers of soil. Two meters below the surface, the soil only dates to the mid-1800s. This tells us that in order to find the 1779 battle, we need to dig very deeply!! We concluded that ground penetrating radar would be the best tool on this site.

We were very pleased with the results of today because we saw lots of potential for intact archaeological sites. Within the next few weeks, we will begin to dig and use ground penetrating radar to explore these sites further.

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