Glen Dornoch Field Activities Overview

Glen Dornoch Archaeology Block Site for Field ActivitiesField investigations conducted at 38HR475 and 38HR476 were similar. Data was collected from numerous midden loci scattered across both sites, and from detailed excavations at specific locals within each site. A minimum of 100 square meters were to be excavated in large blocks at each site. For additional control over excavations, each block was subdivided into 1 by 2 meter unit collection proveniences.

Glen Dornoch Archaeology - midden2As suggested by data from shovel tests, test units, and machine scrapes, these two sites consist of numerous discrete, but sometimes overlapping, shell middens. Data recovery field investigations indicate that middens most commonly range between approximately 2-3 meters in diameter and about 10-25 cm thick. Although a number of shell middens were at least partially excavated in the large blocks during data recovery efforts, we also sampled a number of other discrete middens located beyond the excavation blocks.

Glen Dornoch Archaeology - midden3Nineteen shell midden deposits were identified outside the excavation blocks using an iron probe. Shell middens were easily distinguished in the sandy soil when the metal probe made contact with the harder shell zone. At each midden identified in this way, a single 50 by 5 meter unit was excavated to collect artifact samples and to elaborate on midden characteristics. Additional probing around the midden perimeters indicated that most middens have a diameter between 2-3 meters. Also, the 50 by 50 cm unit profiles revealed that shell middens consistently range in thickness between 10-25 cm.

Shell middens targeted for sampling varied considerably in content. Some had almost nothing but clam and oyster shell, while others yielded a variety of artifacts: animal bones, pottery fragments, and stone tools and debitage.


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