Welcome to the 2014 Odyssey Field Season

This summer, we will be aiding excavations at the Mahaska Mammoth Site near Oskaloosa, Iowa, and we will be returning to two sites in Kansas: the Coffey Site (14PO1) in Pottawatomie County, and the Scheuerman Mammoth Site (14SC327) in Scott County (see map and photos below).

Map of Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, and Iowa showing location of field sites.


Researchers search for evidence of earliest inhabitants of Central Great Plains--see more at KU News Service.

Field Update 6, The Coffey Site; Aug. 28, 2014

Odyssey excavations have wrapped up for the summer, and fall semester has started at the University of Kansas. Due to inclement weather, excavations set for the Mahaska Mammoth Site near Oskaloosa, Iowa, were cancelled; the Odyssey team hopes to work there at a later date. At the Coffey site, excavations continued into the Severance Formation. Within the Severance, a buried soil, or former stable land surface, is visible within the upper 30 cm of the profile (Photo 1). Chipped-stone was recovered from within and below the buried soil. On the last day of excavations, a KU film crew came out to record an interview with Odyssey director Dr. Rolfe Mandel. The video shows a little bit of the day-in-the life of the Odyssey team, which typically includes breakfast and a mid-morning break at the site (Photo 2), and teams of diggers, a mapper (Photo 3), and a person to "shoot in" artifacts with the total station (Photo 4). All of the test units for the summer were completed on schedule (Photo 5). Stay tuned for updates throughout the fall as we compile data and prepare for next summer!

Photo 1. Wall of an excavation unit showing the Severance Formation (rubified sediment) with a buried soil visible in the upper 30 cm (darker color).

Excavated block into Severance Formation showing buried soil.

Photo 2. The Odyssey crew takes a mid-morning break at camp.

Workers at picnic tables in shade.

Photo 3. Chris Hord records information and maps his excavation unit.

Research observations being recorded.

Photo 4. Jeff Shelton working at the total station.

Total station (electronic theodolite with distance meter) used to precisely locate samples.

Photo 5. The completed excavation units.

Photo of all of the rectangular excavation units.

Text by Laura Murphy, Photos by Kale Bruner


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