Resistivity profiling to delineate a Mississippian culture trail at the Emerald site, southwest Illinois

Timothy Larson, Jacob Skousen, Michael DeLucia, Timothy Pauketat, Susan Alt

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

High-resolution resistivity profiles support photographic evidence of a narrow, linear feature east of the Emerald site, a pre-Columbian Native American (Mississippian Culture) ceremonial site in southwest Illinois. Part of the Cahokia society, the Emerald site consists of one large and eleven smaller earthen structures built on a Quaternary-aged glacial ridge. A nearly kilometer-long resistivity anomaly stretches across 3 different farm fields, crosses 2 roads and is evident in both upland and lowland parts of the site. We conclude that this feature is man-made and pre-dates historical settlement. The most likely explanation is a trail constructed to bring pilgrims to the Emerald site. We acquired ten high-resolution shallow dipole-dipole earth resistivity profiles in farm fields immediately east of Emerald Mound. Short (150 to 160 m long) lines imaging the upper 2 m of soil were aligned at approximately 100-m intervals crossing lineaments which appear on air-photos of the site. Resistivity values are typically between 10 and 35 ohm-m but increase to 200 ohm-m on the sandy ridge slope. We expect that soil compaction associated with the ancient trail will result in localized increases in resistivity. After calculating 2-D inversions, we extracted normalized resistivity values at 43 cm depth on each profile. When aligned, a narrow high-resistivity anomaly can be traced from line to line across the array of profiles within the area of one of the lineaments evident on the air photos.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication26th Symposium on the Application of Geophysics to Engineering and Environmental Problems 2013, SAGEEP 2013
PublisherEnvironmental and Engineering Geophysical Society (EEGS)
Pages295-300
Number of pages6
ISBN (Print)9781627483810
DOIs
StatePublished - 2013
Event26th Symposium on the Application of Geophysics to Engineering and Environmental Problems 2013, SAGEEP 2013 - Denver, CO, United States
Duration: Mar 17 2013Mar 21 2013

Publication series

Name26th Symposium on the Application of Geophysics to Engineering and Environmental Problems 2013, SAGEEP 2013

Other

Other26th Symposium on the Application of Geophysics to Engineering and Environmental Problems 2013, SAGEEP 2013
CountryUnited States
CityDenver, CO
Period3/17/133/21/13

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geochemistry and Petrology
  • Environmental Engineering

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