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Geophysical exploration of a suspected native American earthlodge, Sheridan County, Kansas


, : Geophysical exploration of a suspected native American earthlodge, Sheridan County, Kansas. Abstracts with Programs - Geological Society of America 34(6): 110

Near surface, non-invasive field geophysics was used to investigate the presence of cultural remains at an archaeological site in Sheridan County, Kansas. Previous archaeological investigations in 1990 produced the remains of two Middle Ceramic Period (1000-1500 AD) earthlodge structures at the site. The site is located on a floodplain terrace near an intermittent creek, which has never been cultivated. The site is susceptible to erosion by strong wind, rain, or the presence of livestock. The study was designed to produce geophysical data to aid in the archaeological excavation of the site, which took place during June of 2002 by the Kansas Archaeological Training Program field school. A Geometrics G-858 MagMapper portable cesium magnetometer and Geometrics OhmMapper capacitively coupled resistivity meter were used to measure 13 profiles in a 60x60 m grid with readings taken at every 5 m. Post-processing of the data revealed anomalies, both in the magnetometer and resistivity data. The anomalies from the magnetometer data, when ground-truthed, revealed the presence of former excavated test pits. Data from the resistivity meter displayed anomalies on a downslope of the terrace. One resistivity anomaly was ground-truthed by digging a test pit, thus revealing no diagnostic archaeological materials that would indicate the presence of an earthlodge. The anomalies in the resistivity data set may indicate storage/trash pits or the presence of a paleosol.

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