Paper No. 12
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM
EXPLORING THE GEOARCHAEOLOGY OF SUNWATCH INDIAN VILLAGE AND ARCHAEOLOGICAL PARK: USING GPR (GROUND PENETRATING RADAR) AND RESISTIVITY VOLUMES TO DELINEATE LIMESTONE SLABS ABOVE BURIALS
Sunwatch Indian Village / Archaeological Park is a fort ancient culture (~1200 A.D.) village site that has been partially excavated and reconstructed since the mid-1960s. The village site is located in the Great Miami River Valley just southwest of downtown Dayton, Ohio (Montgomery County). An on-site educational museum hosts thousands of visitors every year and self-guided walking tours are available at the Sunwatch site. Being located in the floodplain of the Great Miami River resulted in the village site being inundated by flood waters throughout the past 800 years resulting in a 1.5 foot thick overbank deposits of clay and silt. Also, the well-drained wea type soil has helped to preserve the artifacts and features on or under the original village surface. The layout of the village can be broken down into four areas: an outer perimeter stockade or fence, an area of houses and storage/trash pits, an area of shallow limestone slab covered burials, and a central complex with a genome for solar alignments. Walking around the village site, it is obvious what has been excavated and what has not because a higher terrace demarcates what has not been excavated. Limestone slab covered burials and excavated trash pits can be observed around the village site on the original village surface.
Since there are undoubtedly unexcavated trash pits and burials underneath the higher terrace, Sunwatch has been an excellent site for testing the geophysical detection of archaeological features. A previous 2-D geophysical study has shown that trash pits and burials can be detected using ground penetrating radar (GPR) and resistivity. This geophysical and modeling study utilized 3-D GPR and resistivity data to further confirm that anomalies exist in one of the suspected locations of a limestone burial slab. The dimensions of the anomalies are generally consistent with those described in a previous 2-D geophysical study. The 3-D GPR and resistivity data provide much better resolution than the 2-D data. Resistivity modeling has also revealed that imaging geoelectrical contrasts beneath high resistivity anomalies is probably complex due to artifacts of the process of inversion. Modeling has also supported the idea that resistivity images can provide clues about the number of limestone slabs and the orientation of the long axis of limestone slabs.