2008 Joint Meeting of The Geological Society of America, Soil Science Society of America, American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies with the Gulf Coast Section of SEPM

Paper No. 7
Presentation Time: 3:00 PM

Coring Methods to Assess Buried Landscapes during Intertidal Cultural Resource Management Surveys

LEACH, Peter A., JMA, 535 North Church Street, West Chester, PA 19380 and CHADWICK, William J., JMA, 535 North Church St, West Chester, PA 19380, pleach@johnmilnerassociates.com

Cultural resource management (CRM) archaeological surveys often require rapid, large-scale testing of project-impacted areas. Time and budget considerations generally demand field-interpretation of data and rarely allow for in-depth laboratory analysis of sedimentologic data, thus sampling strategies and field methods become essential for accurate yet efficient assessment of archaeological site potential. Through our field research at numerous tidal-freshwater and salt marsh locations in the Middle Atlantic and New England regions methods have been developed for minimizing field time and maximizing scientific data collection. Major methodological considerations include sampling instrument selection, sample spacing, and the efficient recording of sedimentologic and stratigraphic information. The employment of gouge augers to extract non-compressed core samples in saturated sediments is the preferred method in tidal wetlands. Our field research regarding the spacing of cores has shown that an 8m grid is an ideal compromise between data collection and the speed at which cores are collected. Field recording of core stratigraphy emphasizes the major facies changes in marsh units, and is specifically focused on identifying buried upland landscapes that could potentially contain archaeological resources. The soils of buried landscapes are screened through 1/4” mesh to identify archaeological materials. This type of sampling strategy facilitates high-resolution paleogeographic reconstruction of transgressed upland landscapes and allows an assessment of whether cultural materials are in primary or secondary (eroded) contexts.