Topic ID #22664 - posted 8/27/2012 2:36 AM

PIT volunteer project: Examinations along the Old Federal Road, De Soto NF, MS

Jennifer Palmer

De Soto NF
Examinations along the Old Federal Road

October 15-19; 22-26, 2012

Must commit to one entire session; may participate in both

The De Soto NF is hosting an initial examination of a portion of the historic Old Federal Road in southern Mississippi, and we invite PIT volunteers to join us! The Old Federal Road began as one of many horse paths in the area, originally formed by local native populations and in use for hundreds of years. Over time, it became a major component of the network of trails that connected various communities throughout the region. Congress formally commissioned the path as a road in 1806, and it was subsequently widened and developed for use as a postal route. In 1811, along with several other roads of its kind, the Old Federal Road was widened again to accommodate troop movements. It continued to be a major thoroughfare until around 1850 when it began to be supplanted by other routes. Little used thereafter, segments of the road were largely lost, though traces can still be seen today.

During this PIT project, volunteers and Forest staff will relocate and map segments of the Old Federal Road that pass through the De Soto. Examinations will focus on pedestrian survey, and will include the use of GPS equipment, metal detectors, associated surveying equipment, and good, old fashioned detective-work. Additionally, part of the group will conduct shovel tests on a small, prehistoric (ca. 1300-2700 B.P.) site encountered during earlier archaeological exploration of the road. Its proximity to the trail may indicate the occupants' use of the road for travel, and may provide insight into and evidence of a richer and much deeper history of this important pathway. We hope you will join us this fall for a hike into Mississippi's past!

Volunteers who own and can bring a metal detector and/or who have experience in the use of same will be given selection preference for this project. Please clearly indicate on your application if this applies to you. While this is not a requirement for participation, it certainly helps, as the number of detectors available will be limited.

Number of openings: 30 (15 per session)

Special skills: Must be physically capable of hiking for long periods each day over often difficult and uneven terrain; must able to listen to (and laugh at!) bad jokes told by the archaeologists; previous experience on the De Soto NF is desirable, but not necessary for participation; previous archaeological excavation, survey, site mapping, and/or use of GPS and/or metal-detecting equipment helpful, but not required

Minimum age: 18 years old

Facilities: Developed RV and tent camping available at no charge at nearby Turkey Fork campground; water, RV hook-ups, bath house/showers; Ovett, Richton, and Laurel are full-service communities with hotels/motels, restaurants, and full range of other amenities; volunteers responsible for own lodging/personal camping equipment, food, and transportation

Nearest towns: Ovett, 5 miles; Richton, 10 miles; Laurel, 20 miles

Applications due: August 27, 2012

More info here.


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