The Spiro Landscape Archaeological Project (SLAP), begun in 2011, is a joint effort between researchers at the University of Oklahoma and University of Arkansas. Briefly put, SLAP’s goals are to more fully understand the nature and extent of non-mound habitation at and around the Spiro Mounds site in eastern Oklahoma through geophysical survey and targeted archaeological excavations.  More photos can be found here.

 

remote sensing from Craig mound

Geophysical survey looking roughly west from the top of Craig Mound

To date, we have surveyed over 30 hectares at and around Spiro Mounds state park with gradiometers.  Selected areas have also been surveyed with electrical resistance, magnetic susceptibility, conductivity, and ground-penetrating radar.

Gradiometer survey revealed the presence of at least 70 structure-like anomalies in the areas surrounding Craig Mound.  Several of these were corroborated by multiple technologies.  Four of these anomalies were at risk of erosion from the man-made creek that runs through the site.  In cooperation with the US Army Corps of Engineers, the Caddo Nation, the Wichita and Affiliated Tribes, and the Oklahoma Historical Society, we entered into a Memorandum of Agreement to excavate these features and obtain valuable archaeological data.

Post molds (red) overlain on gradiometer data

Post molds (red) overlain on gradiometer data (darker=increased magnetism)

A total of eight weeks of excavations took place in October 2013 and through the University of Oklahoma archaeological field school during the summer of 2014.  All four anomalies are most likely the remnant of hastily-built prehistoric buildings, although our analysis is ongoing.

 

IMG_3369

2014 OU field school in front of Craig Mound

Project Personnel:

Scott W. Hammerstedt, Patrick C. Livingood, Jami J. Lockhart, Tim Mulvihill, Amanda L. Regnier, George Sabo III, John R. Samuelsen