2015 GSA Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, USA (1-4 November 2015)

Paper No. 150-3
Presentation Time: 2:05 PM


HERRMANN, Edward W., Department of Geological Sciences, Indiana University, 2420 Canada Dr, Bloomington, IN 47401, WILSON, Jeremy J., Anthropology, Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis, Indianapolis, IN 46202, MONAGHAN, G. William, Indiana Gelogical Survey, Indiana University, 611 N. Walnut Grove Ave, Bloomington, IN 47405 and PIKE, Mathew, Anthropology, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, edherrma@indiana.edu

Undergraduate students are often asked to understand basic archaeological and geological concepts in classroom environments where few opportunities exist for active learning. As concepts become more complicated and nuanced, students can develop a deeper, more comprehensive knowledge of geoarchaeological theory, method and practice via hands-on field experiences. Researchers from Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis and Indiana University Bloomington recently completed a three-year field program focused on geoarchaeological theory and methods. The program integrated traditional instruction with practical field-based learning at two Mississippian-era archaeological sites in the Midwest. Program participants from across the country studied these archaeological sites, as well as the paleoenvironments, site formation and taphonomic processes and geomorphology. To examine these topics, students obtained practical experience with magnetometry, GPR, solid-earth coring, excavation stratigraphy, and a suite of laboratory techniques and methods. The laboratory portion provided students the opportunity to engage with data obtained during the field season, and incorporate geoarchaeological concepts into student-driven research agendas. Participants were better able to grasp concepts related to geomorphology and site taphonomy after struggling with complicated subsurface stratigraphy and geophysical data in the field. Integrating traditional classroom teaching with field and laboratory analysis provided students with an intensive geoarchaeological experience resulting in broad-based accelerated learning.