Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Ya dig?!

A group of student researchers at Texas A&M are currently working and living together Monday thorugh Friday in a mini tent city a few hundred yards away from their excavation site in Central Texas. They are dedicated to their archaeological dig in search for more “early-man-in-America” artifacts.

Their dig is enhanced by having Dr. Michael Waters as their leader. Waters is the director of the Center for the Study of the First Americans, the Texas A&M-based entity that operates in various locales throughout North America and, perhaps, eventually in South America. Texas A&M University Press publishes books for the center, including Clovis Lithic Technology: Investigation of a Stratified Workshop at the Gault Site, Texas, which will be available in October of this year.

Clovis Lithic Technology includes research and findCentral Texas, near the banks of Buttermilk Creek. These early hunter-gatherers camped, collected stone, and shaped it into a variety of tools they needed to hunt game, process food, and subsist in the Texas wilderness. They left thousands of pieces of debris, which have allowed archaeologists to reconstruct their methods of tool production. Along with the faunal material that was also discarded in their prehistoric campsite, these stone, or lithic, artifacts afford a glimpse of human life at the end of the last ice age during an era referred to as Clovis. Clovis Lithic Technology provides the technical data needed to interpret and compare this site with other sites from the same period, illuminating the story of Clovis people in the Buttermilk Creek Valley.

The area where these people roamed and camped, called the Gault site, is one of the most important Clovis sites in North America. A decade ago a team from Texas A&M University excavated a single area of the site—formally named Excavation Area 8, but informally dubbed the Lindsey Pit—which features the densest concentration of Clovis artifacts and the clearest stratigraphy at the Gault site.

Now, students are working together to excavate more artifacts and important information lying in the walls of their dig. Watch this exclusive segment featuring Waters and students at the excavation site.

“The students are learning archaeological skills that they will later need and have the opportunity to see and discuss the artifacts as they emerge from the earth. At the same time, the time depth of the human presence in North America is pushed back, with all this learned from the tip of a trowel.”

– Michael Waters, Student Researchers At Texas A&M-led Dig Search For More Early-Man-In-America Artifacts, Aggie Hotline

Want to know more about the dig? Read this article featured on Aggie Hotline!

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