Thursday, June 30, 2011

Update - Geophysical and Maritime

The field school has reached its half-way point, with our scope of Area A expanding to four blocks and five trenches with a combined total of over 75 test units. The search for architectural remains continues, and we are adding some crushed brick piers to our map that line up well with known geophysical anomalies and the results of our predictive models.

We are interested in carrying our excavations to the south and east next, so we had our first geophysical survey of the summer in the freshly cleared area. Soil Resistivity has been an effective tool at Arcadia in past years, and Sarah Mitchell came down to show our students how to operate the device.

The soil resistivity meter reads electrical impulses sent from a pair of metal spikes stuck in the ground several meters away. The current travels through the ground to be measured by the machine that the operator walks with and sticks in the ground at prescribed points. High resistivity in one area can mean a number of different things, such as compacted or artifact-laden soil. If present, foundations can also be detectable as well.

In addition, our field school has begun its maritime component. We now have some of our crew in Pond Creek every day mapping the shape of the channel and the structural remains of pilings, rocks, and beams that have lain there since Arcadia was abandoned. UWF was able to get some underwater video of the mill foundation beams in the early 1990's, but this recon survey will give us a more complete idea of how these structures are situated and how well they are withstanding erosion. In addition, part of understanding community organization at Arcadia comes from knowing where roads used to be, so one of the other goals of the underwater survey is to find bridge-related features that would help us locate any roads that crossed Pond Creek.


  1. Good article. I didn't know the soil resistivity meter detects compacted or artifact-laden soil. Thanks for the great information.

  2. Great post. I didn't know this information about resistivity meters learn something new every day!