The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

Natural history museum hosts featured speaker

Carley Nail

ULM’s Museum of Natural History hosted featured speaker Erlend Johnson on Thursday as he gave a presentation titled “Hurricane Salvage and Public Archaeology” in celebration of National Archaeology Month. 

A few months ago, a team of researchers from the University of Louisiana-Lafayette excavated many artifacts at a site in the Fort Johnson area of Kisatchie National Forest. 

Johnson, the project director of the excavation, explained some of the research that ULL is doing in collaboration with the U.S. Forest Service. 

The team worked on two sites in the forest. Johnson presented the audience with information on the excavating process, what was found and what the team is focused on now after the dig. 

According to Johnson, the evidence at the site suggests a long history, dating back almost 12,000 years in some instances, of mobile foragers living in the area. 

He said that the team found “a couple of projectile points that were from the places seen from the last ice age.”

Projectile points, pottery sherds and some historic glass were among the over 30,000 artifacts uncovered. They found Clovis, San Patrice and Evans points, which could be used for making arrowheads or short spears.

There was also evidence of posts, suggesting that there might have been a permanent structure at the site as well. 

Johnson also discussed hurricane damage and how it affects Louisiana archaeology. 

He said that uprooting trees can disturb and damage sites, along with creating issues to access. 

When trees that have been here for thousands of years fall, older artifacts can shift to the top, while newer artifacts fall deeper into the soil. This can have negative effects on the archaeological dating process.

Johnson closed out his presentation by answering questions from the audience.

Director of the Museum of Natural History Kim Tolson said that the museum started the tradition of having a speaker visit in October last year when they first opened their archaeology exhibit. 

As part of the exhibit, an augmented reality sandbox that contains a reconstruction of the mounds at Poverty Point was displayed at the event.

The archaeology exhibit is in the Museum of Natural History’s STEAM room on the east end of Hanna Hall’s first floor.

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