Archaeological Discovery Through Erosion

Created by Portland State University Student Heather Alley

With Special Appearances from Caidenn Alley and Katelynn Alley

Project Details:

  • Create an Erosion Table
    • Stratigraphy
    • Artifacts
  • Purpose
    • To help identify how erosion uncovers archaeological
      sites.
  • Materials
    • ½ – Bag of Top Soil 3$
    • ½ – Bag of Play Sand 6$
    • 1 – Bag of All Purpose Wet Sand 5$
    • 1 – 2 foot x 3 foot tote 24$ (New)
    • Hose and water access

Creating the Erosion Table

  • Step 1:
    Create stratigraphic layers with artifacts placed in them.
plastic bin full of soil
Layer 5
plastic bin full of soil and toys
Layer 4
plastic bin full of soil and toys
Layer 3
plastic bin full of soil and shells
Layer 2
plastic bin full of soil and small toys
Layer 1

Step 2: Stand up the erosion table and fill in any holes that may have appeared if the stratigraphy layers shifted.

plastic bin full of soil
Before
plastic bin full of soil
After

Step 3: Using a hose, with the water running low, have someone start to drip water down from the top, have someone else look to spot artifacts as they appear from the river as it erodes the stratigraphy away.

Attempt 1

plastic bin full of wet eroding soil

Artifacts Found During Attempt 1

plastic bin full of soil
plastic bin lid with soil and shells

Attempt 2

plastic bin full of wet eroding soil

Artifacts Found During Attempt 2

plastic bin full of wet eroding soil
plastic bin lid with soil and shells
plastic bin full of wet eroding soil

Attempt 3

plastic bin full of wet eroding soil

Artifacts Found During Attempt 3

plastic bin full of wet eroding soil
plastic bin lid with soil and shells
plastic bin full of wet eroding soil

Attempt 4

plastic bin full of wet eroding soil

Artifacts Found During Attempt 4

plastic bin full of wet eroding soil
plastic bin full of wet eroding soil
wet eroding soil
Beautiful picture of stratigraphy and soil formations caused by erosion

Attempt 5

plastic bin full of wet eroding soil

Artifacts Found During Attempt 5

plastic bin lid with soil and shells

Erosion Doesn’t just reveal objects, in can move them too. Check out the objects that were found in the run off piles after the river’s were made

shells, marble, and toys on a deck speckled with mud
  • Erosion and stratigraphy is fun to play with as an experiment, and it is great to look at if you notice it in forests along rivers, streams, ponds or other bodies of water.
  • But it is important to never disturb an archaeological site.
  • If you see an archaeological site, report to a person of authority immediately, like a park ranger.
  • https://www.oregon.gov/oprd/OH/pages/archaeology.aspx
    • This link is a great resource and explains exactly what should be done in case an artifact is found.

Video Editing Software Used:
https://app.clipchamp.com

Music Acquired From:
https://www.epidemicsound.com/music/featured

Music:
Gravel in my Shoe
By: Harry Edvino

Permission was given to the creator of these videos for Caidenn and Katelynn to appear in them as well as for these videos to be posted online.

  • Erosion and stratigraphy is fun to play with as an experiment, and it is great to look at if you notice it in forests along rivers, streams, ponds or other bodies of water.
  • But it is important to never disturb an archaeological site.
  • If you see an archaeological site, report to a person of authority immediately, like a park ranger.
  • https://www.oregon.gov/oprd/OH/pages/archaeology.aspx
  • This link is a great resource and explains exactly what should be done in case an artifact is found.
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