The Apalachicola Ecosystems Project


In April 2005, Dr. Thomas Foster led an excavation at the eighteenth century town of Cussetuh as a part of ongoing research at that and other Creek Indian towns.  The purpose of the 2005 project was to combine a suite of remote sensing techniques to help refine the remote sensing methods and to learn about the layout of the town.  Dr. Foster and a team of archaeologists from the University of Arkansas, Dr. Ken

Kvamme and Eileen Ernenwein, and Dr. Michael Hargrave from the Corp of Engineers Research Laboratory conducted remote sensing at the site using a variety of techniques.  Remote sensing techniques such as ground penetrating radar and photon-magnetometry allow archaeologists to see below the ground without digging.

Part of the purpose of our excavations was to ground-truth the experimental remote sensing techniques.  By refining our remote sensing techniques, we will be better able to strategically excavate at future archaeological sites and to better preserve them.  During our excavations we discovered approximately three houses and six burials.  House remains consist of the postholes of the structural posts in their houses.  Their houses were rectangular and made of vertical posts set a few feet apart with wattle and daub in between the posts.  Burials were usually inside the houses.   

The map on the left shows the synthesis of the excavations at Cussetuh to date.  The analysis of the town layout included a reconstruction of Gordon Willey's excavation (green) and the 2001 mitigation of a section of the town (blue) as well as the 2005 excavations (red). 

Modern Creek Indians who were the descendants of the people who lived at Cussetuh consulted with us on the excavation so that we

 would not disturb burial remains that are religiously important to them.  Research is ongoing and is part of a larger research project that is designed to help us understand how the Creek Indians adapted to their physical environment and to the new social environment of the colonial frontier during the eighteenth century.  The 2005 excavations were conducted by a team from Northern Kentucky University, the University of Arkansas, the Construction Engineer Research Laboratory of the Corp of Engineers, Archaeophysics, and BHE Environmental, Inc.  The research was funded by the Strategic Environmental Research Development Program of the Department of Defense (SERDP).



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