Recently ISAS staff and University of Illinois graduate students participated in a collaborative reinvestigation and geophysical survey of the Hunze-Evans, or Hunze, site near Cape Girardeau, Missouri. The site is Late Mississippian and probably dates around AD 1300-1400. Nearby mining is damaging the site and prompted this investigation.
This survey was a result of a volunteer collaboration between Tamira Brennan of Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Jennifer Bengtson of Southeast Missouri University (SEMO), and Robert McCullough, who coordinated the ISAS effort. McCullough gave a lecture on geophysical survey techniques to SEMO students on March 21, and the geophysical survey was conducted on March 22 and 23. Other participants included 15 SEMO students, two SIU graduate students, Jacob Skousen and Marie Meizis of ISAS, and two U of I anthropology students, Adam Coker and Caitlyn Antoniuk.
The main survey was conducted with a magnetometer, which was successful in providing an image of the site’s extent and subsurface features. The magnetometer results for the south side of the field surveyed show an impressive level of detail (Image 1). In the upper portion of the image provided there are numerous features and possible communal architecture—probably not as clear to someone not familiar with these kinds of images (Image 2). The lower half of the image is more distinct, showing numerous Mississippian structures in a nucleated pattern (crammed close together) (Image 3).
This interinstitutional collaborative investigation not only provided a hands-on learning experience for students from three universities, but also demonstrated the utility of geophysical survey in documenting an archaeological site’s extant resources and the threats to them without an expensive and time-consuming full-scale excavation.