GRP Archaeology Summer of 2017

By Green River Preserve

What an Amazing summer of digging in the dirt at Green River Preserve. Throughout the summer I was able to work on an archaeological survey with the campers down at the GRP Farm. The campers were involved in the entire process, from marking out the site grid, to digging the shovel tests, to screening the dirt for artifacts and labeling with provenience. Each shovel test was added to the site map.

Over the course of the summer we were able to excavate over 30 shovel tests, with artifacts found in all shovel tests but three. We found flakes and tools. It appears that the entire GRP Farm is an archaeological site. We had fun talking about what a Native American village would have been like- their homes, their clothes, their tools and daily activities.

I shared with the campers what types of animals would have lived in the area 10,000 years ago. The campers had wonderful insights on the reasons why these people were making tools for defense and food procurement. They understood the process and the materials needed to make these tools. Some of the campers even made tools themselves, grinding down a stone to make an axe and attach it to a stick.

The campers even brought up the idea of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, which led to conversations about whether these ancient people could indulge in creating art. I mentioned the petroglyphs at Long Rock and the Gorget fragment as such examples of creating art.

Next summer we will be excavating a unit down at the GRP farm. I look forward to working with the campers again to open up a larger area and expose some post holes and fire pits, tools, maybe a cache of nutting stones. The campers will get to experience the next phase in archaeological excavations. They will learn how to dig a 1 meter square hole down in 5 cm levels. Not your average hole. It has been a real pleasure working with the GRP campers again this year. I look forward to future excavations, and learning more about the ancient culture that has lived at Green River Preserve for over 10,000 years.

Martha Wallace