Topic ID #22665 - posted 8/27/2012 2:38 AM

PIT volunteer project: Drake Salt Works, Part III: Continued Explorations, Kisatchie NF, LA

Jennifer Palmer

Kisatchie NF
New! Drake Salt Works, Part III: Continued Explorations

September 28-October 6, 2012 (including weekends)

Must commit to minimum of 5 days

Drake's Salt Works Complex (16WN30) is located near the town of Goldonna. The site consists of multiple activity areas of various sizes within the natural surface areas of salt deposits, locally referred to as "licks." The salt works were in use by human populations from the prehistoric period (ca. 8000-6000 B.C.) through the time of U.S. Civil War. By 1890 the area was largely abandoned. Through an internship with Northwestern State University (NSU), research and condition surveys have been completed for several sites in this important area. One site was the focus for a Heritage Resource Technician Training practicum in 2008. In 2010, PIT volunteers and FS staff analyzed the artifacts from the practicum and, during survey work at the site, encountered a large feature referred to as "briquettage." The feature consists mainly of an ash layer - approximately 15 centimeters thick - littered with broken ceramic sherds. While we were not able to formally determine the temporal boundaries of the feature, we do know that the Caddo people (ca.14th-century A.D.) mined and processed salt - a resource important not only for village subsistence, but also as a trade item - in this area of the complex. Earlier this year, we processed, cleaned, and catalogued a large assemblage of artifacts from the site and prepared the materials for long-term curation.

We will return to the Drake complex this fall to continue our exploration, and we need your help in order to find additional clues that will give us a clearer picture of this important site. Mr. Paul Eubanks, a doctoral student from the University of Alabama who specializes in prehistoric saline sites in the American southeast, will be joining PIT volunteers and FS staff as we conduct formal excavations of test units, do some site survey, and set up and operate a field laboratory - in other words, volunteers will have the chance to participate in several different aspects of archaeology! There is still a lot to see and do at this important site, so join us again this year as we explore Drake Salt Works and glimpse Louisiana's cultural past!

Volunteers will apply for this project through the PIT Clearinghouse as usual, but applications will be submitted to the project leader upon receipt. We will only accept applications until slots are filled, however, so apply today!

Number of openings: 20

Special skills: Patience, perseverance, and practicality

Minimum age: 18 years old

Facilities: Developed tent and RV camping at no charge at Gum Springs; water, restrooms, some hook-ups (limited availability and subject to fees); Winnfield is a full-service community with motels, restaurants, and a range of other amenities; volunteers responsible for personal camping equipment/lodging, food, and transportation

Nearest town: Goldonna, 10 miles; Winnfield, 25 miles

Applications due: Ongoing until filled

More info here.


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