The Great Oasis Culture: an overview
The Broken Kettle West archaeological site was the Great Oasis field school for the summer of 1999. This year the University of Iowa's American Indian and Native Studies Program and Department of Anthropology field school may be found at http://www.uiowa.edu/~ainsp/fschool/.
The Cowan site was discovered during a Phase I cultural resource survey conducted for the proposed U.S. Highway 75 bypass around the east side of Sioux City, Iowa (Anderson 1993). The site is situated on a low terrace adjacent to the Floyd River. Phase II testing at the Cowan site revealed a substantial, single component Great Oasis culture component. One definite and two possible pit features were discovered through the Phase II testing and a variety of lithic and ceramic artifacts were recovered along with floral and faunal remains (Anderson 1995). Based on these results, the Cowan site was recommended eligible for the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP).
Phase III archaeological excavations were conducted at the Cowan site in the spring and early summer of 1998 by the General Contracts Program of the Office of the State Archaeologist. Fieldwork started on 7 April 1998 and was completed on 15 July 1998. Toby Morrow was the project archaeologist and John Doershuk was the project director. Ronald Mayer and Eduardo Vega served as field crew chiefs, Timothy Reed served as administrative assistant for the project.
The field crew consisted of Bob Brandon, Scott Braunschweig, Bonnie Bruce, Jo Deaton, Tim Dutcher, Jennifer Goehring, Damita Hiemstra, Chris Kinneer, Mary Ellen Komnath, Heidi Lack, Steve Martin, Kara Milford, Dave Moffatt, Cindy Nagel, Timothy Reed, Aaron Rucker, Charlotte Sisler, Andrea Torgerson, K. Shane Vanderford, Kim Verdeck, and Jason Weinrich.
Rolfe Mandel conducted a geomorphological examination of the site and its setting. The remote sensing survey of the site was done by John Weymouth. Mark Anderson employed GPS (Global Positioning System) equipment to map the site and further evaluate the applications of this technology for archaeological fieldwork. Mary Ann Bacho, Wendy Combs, Chris Kinneer, Heidi Lack, Corazon Mayer, Ronald Mayer, Cindy Nagel, Timothy Reed, Aaron Rucker, Charlotte Sisler, Andrea Torgerson, K. Shane Vanderford, Kim Verdeck, and Jason Weinrich worked on the initial laboratory processing of the materials recovered from the site. Timothy Reed compiled the spatial and artifactual data from the site into a comprehensive GIS format that was then used to generate most of the site maps included in the report.
Toby Morrow analyzed the chipped stone materials from the site and he along with Ronald Mayer and Cindy Nagel worked up the other lithic materials.
Richard Fishel analyzed the ceramics from the site with assistance from Jason Weinrich. Mary Ann Bacho and Corazon Mayer did much of the ceramic refitting.
Toby Morrow, K. Shane Vanderford, and Charlotte Sisler identified the faunal remains with assistance from John Cordell.
Andrea Torgerson and Jason Weinrich analyzed the worked bone and bone tools.
Michael Dunne, Aaron Rucker, and Andrea Torgerson sorted and identified botanical materials from the flotation samples and Michael Dunne prepared the chapter on Cowan site archaeobotany.
Heidi Lack and Wendy Combs entered the data. Chris Kinneer drew the artifact illustrations included in the report.
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