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Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Archaeologists and Geoarchaeologists Studying Carolina Bays

According to the March 2010, “Newsletter of the Archaeological Geology Division of the Geological Society America, there is an ongoing research program concerning the Carolina Bays. This newsletter states:

“Over the last year, the Savannah River Archaeological Research Program (SRARP) has initiated a volunteer‐based research program investigating Carolina bays. The proposed research of Carolina bays involves utilizing dedicated avocational archaeologists and the interested public in an ongoing and systematic study of Carolina bay archaeology, geoarchaeology and geomorphology. This long‐term Carolina bay study by the SRARP addresses four basic research objectives. These are: 1) determining the age, origin, and evolution of Carolina bays;
2) delineating prehistoric cultural activities and site formation processes on Carolina bay sand rims; 3) determining the role of Carolina bays in prehistoric settlement systems; and 4) exploring linkages at Carolina bays between climate change, depositional processes, and prehistoric adaptations.”

For three Carolina Bays, they have already examined the archaeostratigraphy of the bay rims. Part of this examination include sampling for “grain size, soil chemistry, biogenic silica,
sediment bulk density, LOI, field water content, micromorphology and magnetic susceptibility. They are also delineating the internal stratigraphy of the bay rims using Ground Penetrating
Radar (GPR) surveys. Also, they sampled sediments comprising the rims of these Carolina Bays, including the basal bay rim deposits and archaeologically stratified deposits comprising the upper meter of the sand rims for high‐resolution single‐grain luminescence (OSL) dating.

Given that they are using single‐grain luminescence (OSL) dating, they will be able to unequivocally determine whether the OSL dates are apparent dates or true dates and provide definite dates concerning the age(s) of the Carolina Bays that can be used to reconstruct the geochronology of these Carolina ‘Bays.

Finally, the announcement states:

"Preliminary results will be presented at the upcoming joint Northeastern/Southeastern Geological Society of America Conference in Baltimore, Maryland."

The 2010 Newsletter can be found at:

Best Wishes

Paul H.

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