Week 1 (6/7-6/11)

Howdy everyone! I’m Joe Evans, a grad student in the MAHR program and a research assistant in the Cultural Resource Office at Northwestern State University.  I’m very interested in archaeology so I wanted an internship that would give me not only field experience, but laboratory experience as well. I also wanted to work within the Federal government to learn its working. Therefore I decided that the perfect place for to gain all of this would be an internship at the Southeastern Archaeological Center in Tallahassee, Florida. I was fortunate enough to get placed within the Section 106 Compliance department, and I’m super excited to tell you all about it.

For those not familiar with what Section 106 compliance is, here’s a little overview. In 1966, Congress passed the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) to acknowledge and preserve places that are significant to America and her history. Within the Act is…you guessed it…Section 106 which states:

“Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (NHPA) requires Federal agencies to take into account the effects of their undertakings on historic properties, and afford the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation a reasonable opportunity to comment. The historic preservation review process mandated by Section 106 is outlined in regulations issued by ACHP. Revised regulations, “Protection of Historic Properties” (36 CFR Part 800)”.

This means whenever the government or entities that have received funding from the Federal government, go about doing things that may adversely effect both above and below ground resources that could be included on the National Register of Historic Places, things must be done.

SEAC and the I&E Department (Compliance) come into play when there is below ground, or other archaeological resources that need to be handled.

Take for example this week. Last Saturday, the 5th, the majority of SEAC itself–not just my department–was needed out at Gulf Islands National Park(specifically Ship Island) because of the encroaching oil disaster. The job of everyone was to do Phase II–Eligibility, and Phase III–Mitigation and Recovery, on the island. Basically they were looking to see if the oil would be adversely effecting unknown sites on the National Park.

I started off my week by helping out those who were still in the office, which were the folks in curation, check and label artifacts from the Ocmulgee site. This consisted of my learning the labeling station, reading up on what I was using (B-72 Acryloid) and the site report of the Ocmulgee site, and then I got to it. I labeled many types of artifacts, but the most prevalent was the Bibb Plain type of ceramic.

Once my department returned from the field there was a ton of artifacts to wash, process, analyze, and check. I used the wet laboratory to clean the field samples (FS)–the results of both shovel tests and excavation units, as well as started to analyze them.

There’s always something to do or help with at SEAC. It seems the plans for next week are to be in the field for two weeks at a site in Alabama. I cant wait!

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