Field Projects: 2005-2011

A cooperative project of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Middle Tennessee State University, the Bledsoe's Lick Historical Association, and Tennessee Division of Archaeology.

Project Directors: Kevin E. Smith and Emily L. Beahm

Results from June 6, 2011

On June 7, we held an all-day orientation meeting on the MTSU campus. Fieldwork will commence on June 8.

Results from June 7, 2011

After an orientation session on campus yesterday, we started our first day in "The Field" today -- although sunny and warm, a nice day with a good breeze most of the time. We have our largest crew ever on this project this summer -- a total of 25 including students and staff.

This summer we are focusing our efforts on what we hope will prove to be one of the most important public buildings at Castalian Springs. We started investigations of this feature of the site briefly at the end of last summer's work -- pursuing the results of our magnetometer and ground-penetrating radar work. If the results of those surveys pan out, we will be investigating a circular building 50-60 feet in diameter.

Our brief investigations of this structure last summer -- three excavation units crossing the western portion of the wall -- revealed a striking pattern suggesting this was indeed a large major building on the northeastern corner of the town plaza or center.

The different soil colors (outside and inside) as shown below, were very promising when we closed up our investingations last summer.

This morning, our first task was to transport our equipment and supplies to the site to prepare for our five weeks of work here.

Then we shifted to laying out seven new units for our crews -- these units will start at the edge of our three units from last summer and proceed eastward. This set of units should completely cross the large building -- revealing the easternmost wall of the circle and the features in the very middle of the structure. We anticipate a large central fireplace or other type of feature to be there.

As others worked on the new units, most of the crew took the dirt out of our three excavation units from last summer. These were lined with plastic and filled with dirt last July to protect the unexcavated features from the elements.

After removing the plastic, the features from last year showed up in an even more spectacular fashion than before. Last summer, during the drought, the soil was very dry -- this summer, after our torrential rains of the past few weeks, the soils were moist, which enhances the differences in soil color.

After lunch, we had opened seven new excavation units and we had finished stripping the sod from these -- ready to begin exposing what we hope will prove to be a remarkable and important building over the next five weeks.

Tomorrow morning, we will start bright and early to work our way through the plowzone to see what appears!