Excavating in the American Bottom – Morgan Gill at Cahokia

For two months, I did field work at Emerald and Pfeffer Mounds in the town of Lebanon, Illinois. These pyramidal mounds and the surrounding structures are associated with Cahokia (600–1400 CE), the largest pre-Columbian settlement in North America (north of Mexico). At field school, I was trained in grid establishment for plan and profile mapping, I learned how to interpret soils for indications of geological and climatic phenomena as well as human activities, I acquired experience with the tools and techniques of large-scale excavations, and I gained knowledge of the artifacts and features characteristic of an early Cahokian site. Above all, I gained the assurance that archaeology is something that I truly want to pursue as a career. I encourage any students interested in this intellectually and physically demanding discipline to attend an archaeological field school. You certainly will not regret it!

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