Over the past two days graduate student Jennifer Moon has begun using ground penetrating radar at Viola Mitchell’s homestead. This exciting technology allows archaeologists to take a look at what is happening beneath the surface of the earth with a radar signal that identifies holes, structures, artifact clusters, and more. With this equipment, we are able to get a better sense of what is happening at the site, and make more informed decisions about where we will excavate.
On Monday Jennifer’s advisor from the University of Denver, Larry Conyers, paid a visit to The Dry. He helped the team set up the ground penetrating radar (GPR) equipment and assisted with the day’s activities. Today Jennifer began directing the use of GPR on the site. The task typically involves two people working together – one to pull the antenna along the surface of the ground, and one to read the monitor, saving files of data as they go. To collect information the two must walk carefully along the straight lines of a grid laid out on site. During this process the monitor will show what the antenna picks up, but most of the information becomes visible when the files are viewed on a computer later.
After Jennifer collected data on Monday, she was able to process her findings and determine what areas merited further study. Today Dores used that information to begin excavating a small area, while Jennifer used more precise radar to investigate a part of the site which had produced interesting results. The use of this technology has been a great asset to the project, and we look forward to seeing what else Jennifer is able to locate using ground penetrating radar!