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MAA Summer Digs

As a member of the MAA you will have the opportunity to take part in a wide variety of archaeological investigations conducted under the supervision of some of the state's professional archaeologists.

MAA Digs 2016 - Camp Shelby and Winterville Mounds

We have scheduled two MAA summer digs for 2016. The first will be with archaeologist Rita McCarty who is the Cultural Resources Program Manager at Camp Shelby near Hattiesburg. It will be held Saturday, April 23rd and Sunday the 24th. Those who wish to go can contact Rita (601-558-2596) or MAA President Tony Payne (601-672-7955) for times and directions to the site. The dig will be on a historic antebellum site that dates from 1838 to around 1865. Equipment will be provided. Bring a sack lunch.

The second dig this summer will be at the Winterville Mound site near Greenville. It will be held June 18th and 19th. Dr. Edwin Jackson, professor of Anthropology at the University of South Mississippi, will be conducting the dig. USM has been conducting investigations at the site since 2005. Those planning to attend can contact Tony Payne for more details.

MAA Digs 2012 - Camp Shelby and Hollywood Mounds

Come join us for a fun three days at Camp Shelby from June 22-24. We will be excavating on a prehistoric lithic workshop called Morning Delight. The site dates to the Middle Woodland and has produced an abundance of lithic manufacturing debris. Volunteers should wear cool clothing and bring a packed lunch. Tools will be provided. We will meet at Dandy Dan's truck stop on Hwy 49 at the 98-49 over pass at 8:00 AM and then drive out to the site. The site is outside of the Cantonment Area gate so you will not need a permit to come onto the camp. If you would like directions to the site or need additional information, please contact Rita McCarty (ritadmccarty@yahoo.com).

The Hollywood Mound excavation will take place on July 21 from 8 am -3 pm. Please contact Bryan Haley for more particulars at bshaley@olemiss.edu. Also, you may contact Bryan for suggestions about accommodations. The site is in close proximity to the Tunica casinos, Memphis, and Clarksdale is less than half-hour away. Directions can be found here on Google Maps. Information on previous work at the Hollywood site can be found by clicking here.

MAA Digs 2011 - Carson Mounds, Winterville, Parchman and Hollywood

Work at the Carson Mounds is on-going and year round; however, a special weekend dig is schedule for July 23 and 24, 2011. Carson Mounds is a Late Mississippian Site (ca. AD 1400). Excavation has revealed stockade trenches, stockade post rows, houses, and countless pits and postmolds. The map that the Smithsonian made in the late 1800s showed 89 mounds, but only six remain today, four of which belong to the Archaeological Conservancy. The site is a mile long. The area of current excavation, however, covers only about three acres, just a small percentage of the entire site but enough to give a glimpse of prehistoric life at Carson Mounds. Since the temperatures are pretty hot in the afternoon, John will open the site for volunteers at 7:30 a.m., but you can arrive at any time. Gnats have been a bit of a problem, and John suggests that people bring a bottle of vanilla extract and a cotton ball to apply it to keep the gnats away. Hopefully they won’t be so bad by July. Off hasn’t been too helpful. If you happen to have any of the following equipment, John asks that you bring them along: flat shovels, trowels (square end is good, but pointed is ok too), notebook/pen/pencil, metric ruler, string and line level and two long nails to stretch the string on. If you don't have these, no need to rush out and buy anything. John will have extras. The main item to bring if you have it is a trowel, and maybe the shovel. Jessica Crawford and George Lowry of the Archaeological Conservancy will host a weiner roast for lunch on Saturday. So we will need a tally of the people who will be attending. If you plan to come, please let us know. Email me at barbara.hester@eagles.usm.edu or John at connaway@qmi.net.

The Hollywood Mounds excavation is scheduled to begin about June 14 and end July 27, 2011 and Bryan Haley of Tulane University seeks your help. He will begin with remote sensing and then site excavation guided by the results. He anticipates doing about 15 one-by-one-meter units and a trench on a variety of elements of the site. Bryan seeks to gain a better understanding of how and why the site developed over time, as well as the chronological sequence of the mound, plaza, and house construction. He will explore the relationship of the mounds to kin groups and competition between those kin groups, the function of structures, and the range of day-to-day activities at the site. Please contact Bryan for more particulars at bshaley@olemiss.com. Also, you may contact Bryan for suggestions about accommodations. The site is in close proximity to the Tunica casinos, Memphis, and Clarksdale is less than half-hour away. Directions can be found here on Google Maps. Information on previous work at the Hollywood site can be found by clicking here.

Erin Stevens, PhD student at the University of North Carolina, is conducting an excavation of the Mississippi Parchman site. She will be accompanied by several UNC students between June 27-July 22, and she welcomes anyone who would like to volunteer. Erin and her crew will be doing some geophysics (magnetometer survey) to identify additional prehistoric residential areas, as well as some additional surface collections. Also, they will be excavating test units in a few of the “house mounds” mapped by Phillips, Ford and Griffin in the 1940s. Parchman is minutes away from Carson, and since the Carson excavation is July 23-24, we can have a breakaway group, like we did last year, that goes to Parchman to work with Erin. Erin plans to be wrapping up her dig in late July, so any help in that regard would be much appreciated. Erin says there are affordable places to stay in Clarksdale, as well as in Helena. For additional information, please contact Erin at elsteven@email.unc.eu

Work at the Winterville Mounds site will take place on June 18 and 19, 2011. The University of Southern Mississippi’s summer field school at Winterville Mounds, directed by Dr. Ed Jackson, will be held at this time. The goal of this summer’s archaeological investigation at Winterville is to expose summit architecture on Mound C and possibly Mound B and to determine whether the mounds served different functions, such as public versus domestic, or whether both were residential mounds. If both were residential, then the status of the two families was likely to have been quite different, based on mound size. USM is currently beginning to expose the remains of possibly three superimposed structures atop Mound C. For further information, please contact ed.jackson@usm.edu.

MAA Summer Digs 2009

This summer MAA members will have the chance to participate in two archaeological excavation projects that will be occurring in the Mississippi Delta. The first will be June 20-21 at the Winterville Mounds site. This will be in conjunction with USM's field school. The second will be held at Carson Mounds on July 11-12 in conjunction with a project supported by Ole Miss and the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. Hotels for Winterville are available in Greenville and for Carson in Clarksdale. Everyone should pack a lunch, wear cool cotton clothing, tennis shoes or something with a flat sole (no boots, no sandals, no flip-flops, no barefeet), a hat, bug spray, and sun screen. Tools will be supplied. For more information please contact MAA President Rita McCarty at 601-558-2596 or 601-517-1490.

MAA Summer Dig 2007

The MAA will have its volunteer dig in conjunction with Dr. Ed Jackson and the University of Southern Mississippi Field School. The dig will take place at Winterville Mounds, located at 2415, Highway 1 North, Greenville. Click here to download Dr. Jackson's 2006 Interim Report for information on previous archaeological investigations at the Winterville Mounds site. All MAA members are invited to attend the dig. The weekend is free, but attendees are responsible for a place to stay and for providing their own water, breakfast and lunch on Friday and Saturday; however, supper will be provided on those evenings.

The dig will officially begin on Friday, June 22, so some people may want to come into town that Thursday night. We are reserving a block of 10 double rooms at the Days Inn in Greenville for the nights of Thursday, Friday and Saturday (June 21st-23rd) at the rate of $60.70 a night. The rooms have refrigerators and a complimentary continental breakfast is included. The Days Inn is located at 2701 Highway 82 East, the phone number is 662-334-1818 or 1-800-329-7466. The rooms will be under the name Mississippi Archaeology. There are also cabins and campsites at Leroy Percy State Park, which is located 5 miles west of Hollandale, which is near Greenville. You can contact the park at 662-827-5436. You will be free to come and go whenever you wish, but please try to let me know in advance which days you plan to attend so we will know how much food to have, and so I can send you some background information on the Winterville Mound site and the excavation techniques we will be using.

MAA Summer Dig 2005

The MAA Summer Dig moved south in 2005 to the Raymond Bass Site in the moss-shaded back bay of Biloxi. MAA Gulf Coast chapter president Edmond Boudreaux located the site in 1986, after a centuries-old oak tipped up by Hurricane Elena exposed extensive Indian shell midden.

The goal of the MAA Dig at the Raymond Bass site was to examine the extent, contents, and stratigraphy of the Mississippi Period, Pensacola culture, shell midden located at the site. The dig recovered a large amount of prehistoric artifacts including over 2000 pieces of pottery! It was determined that the midden represents the Singing River phase which dates to A.D. 1350-1550.

About 30 MAA members and volunteers participated in the three day dig which wrapped up with an excellent Biloxi-style seafood feast featuring boiled shrimp and famous Bass family-recipe seafood gumbo.

Photos from the MAA 2005 Dig:


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