8 research outputs found

    Chapter 11 Research by Occupation

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    Characterization of Soil Shrink-Swell Potential Using the Texas VNIR Diffuse Reflectance Spectroscopy Library

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    Shrinking and swelling soils cause extensive infrastructure and economic damage worldwide. Shrink-swell soils are of great concern in Texas for two reasons, 1) Texas has the most acreage of shrink-swell soils in the United States, and 2) yearly evapotranspiration rates exceed those of precipitation creating optimal conditions for soil wetting and drying cycles. This study was conducted to determine if visible near infrared diffuse reflectance spectroscopy (VNIR-DRS) can be used to predict the coefficient of linear extensibility (COLE) of soils. If successful, VNIR-DRS would provide a means to rapidly and inexpensively quantify a soil’s shrink-swell potential real-time. Using soils that have been previously analyzed and archived in the Texas Agrilife Research Soil Characterization Laboratory, our objectives were to: 1) predict the coefficient of linear extractability (COLE) using spectroscopy, 2) predict COLE using measurements of total clay and cation exchange capacity (CEC), and 3) compare the two models. A total of 2454 soil samples were scanned to create the Texas spectral library. Of these samples, 1296 had COLE measurements. Seventy percent of the COLE samples were randomly selected to build a calibration model using partial least squares regression. The remaining thirty percent were used to validate the calibration model. The coefficient of determination (R2), root mean square deviation (RMSD), and relative percent difference (RPD) were calculated to assess the prediction models. The COLE prediction using spectroscopy had an R2, RMSD, and RPD of 0.61, 0.028, and 1.6, respectively. Using stepwise regression and backward elimination, we determined that CEC and total clay together were the best predictors of COLE with R2, RMSD, and RPD of 0.82, 0.019, and 2.3, respectively. According to the RPD, using spectroscopy to predict COLE has some predictive value, while using CEC and total clay is more effective and stable. However, spectroscopy data collection is more rapid and has fixed costs

    Watson Brake, A Middle Archaic Mound Complex in Northeast Louisiana

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    Middle Archaic earthen mound complexes in the lower Mississippi valley are remote antecedents of the famous but much younger Poverty Point earthworks. Watson Brake is the largest and most complex of these early mound sites. Wry extensive coring and stratigraphic studies, aided by 25 radiocarbon dates and six huninescence dates, show that minor earthworks were begun here at ca. 3500 B.C. in association with an oval arrangement of burned rock middens at the edge of a stream terrace. The full extent of the first earthworks is not yet known. Substantial moundraising began ca. 3350 B.C. and continued in stages until some time after 3000 B.C. when the site was abandoned. All 11 mounds and their connecting ridges were occupied between building bursts. Soils,formed on some of these temporary surfaces, while lithics. fire-cracked rock. and,fired clay/loam objects became scattered throughout the mound fills. Faunal and floral remains from a basal midden indicate all-season occupation, supported by broad-spectrum foraging centered on nuts, fish, and deer All the overlying fills are so acidic that organics have not survived. The area enclosed by the mounds was kept clean of debris, suggesting its use as ritual space. The reasons why such elaborate activities first occurred here remain elusive. However some building bursts covary with very well-documented increases in El Nino/Southern Oscillation events. During such rapid increases in ENSO frequencies, rainfall becomes extremely erratic and unpredictable. It may be that early moundraising was a communal response to new stresses of droughts and flooding that created a suddenly more unpredictable food base

    A Mound Complex in Louisiana at 5400-5500 Years Before the Present

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    An 11-mound site in Louisiana predates other known mound complexes with earthen enclosures in North America by 1900 years. Radiometric, luminescence, artifactual, geomorphic, and pedogenic data date the site to over 5000 calendar years before present. Evidence suggests that the site was occupied by hunter-gatherers who seasonally exploited aquatic resources and collected plant species that later became the first domesticates in eastern North America
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