Southeast Archeological Center a
  • 3D Rendering of Shiloh Mound

    Southeast Archeological Center


    Cultural Resources National Park Service

Shiloh: 1933-1934 Frank H. H. Roberts CWA Excavations


Shiloh Mounds Archeological Project

While there was no concentrated effort to excavate Shiloh Mound A during the Depression-era archeological investigations up and down the Tennessee River Valley, a team of scientists working under the banner of the Civilian Works Administration (CWA) conducted archeological investigations in some of the smaller mounds and the main plaza at Shiloh Mounds National Historic Landmark in 1933-1934.  Here are some of the remaining still photos from that excavation.  Thanks to Paul Dee Welch for his help with identifications.

The Tennessee River from atop Mound A in 1934, before reservoir construction. The lowlands to the east are farmed, as today. Web.Neg-79-12,641-copy.jpg (31741 bytes) The Tennessee River from atop Mound A in 1934, before reservoir construction. The lowlands to the east are farmed, as today.
Barge traffic on the Tennessee in 1934. Modern barge trains are ten times the size. Web.Neg-79-12,640-copy.jpg (28277 bytes)Barge traffic on the Tennessee in 1934. Modern barge trains are ten times the size. Web.Neg-79-12,642-copy.jpg (30163 bytes) Barge traffic on the Tennessee in 1934. Modern barge trains are ten times the size.
(left) Moreau B.C. Chambers and (right) Frank H. H. Roberts (?), the excavation directors at Shiloh in 1933-1934. Fig-010.jpg (31812 bytes)(left) Moreau B.C. Chambers and (right) Frank H. H. Roberts (?), the excavation directors at Shiloh in 1933-1934. Web.Neg-79-12,900-copy.jpg (37327 bytes) (left) Moreau B.C. Chambers and (right) Frank H. H. Roberts (?), the excavation directors at Shiloh in 1933-1934.
Frank Roberts (?), or at least members of his crew, mapping atop what we would like to believe is Mound A, since the plane table tripod is shown on the mound in another view. The actual location shown here may be on another part of the site, however, since the slope appears too gentle. Fig-008.jpg (28020 bytes) Frank Roberts (?), or at least members of his crew, mapping atop what we would like to believe is Mound A, since the plane table tripod is shown on the mound in another view. The actual location shown here may be on another part of the site, however, since the slope appears too gentle.. 
Crew members working with shovels. Web.Neg-79-12,638-copy.jpg (31053 bytes) Crew members working with shovels.
The 1933/34 crew was all male, and dressed somewhat differently than the 2001-2003 crew.  Fig-011.jpg (25438 bytes)The 1933/34 crew was all male, and dressed somewhat differently than the 2001-2003 crew.  Web.Neg-79-12,678-copy.jpg (40767 bytes) The 1933/34 crew was all male, and dressed somewhat differently than the 1999-2003 crew. 
Trench 1 west of Mound D excavated in 1934, showing stepping like that used in 2001-2003. Web.Neg-79-12,656-copy.jpg (23598 bytes) Trench 1 west of Mound D excavated in 1934, showing stepping like that used in 2001-2003..
Views of fire hearths. Web.Neg-79-12,663-copy.jpg (23917 bytes)Views of fire hearths. Web.Neg-79-12,658-copy.jpg (24307 bytes) Views of fire hearths, note the similarity to Mound A fire features such as Feature 75.
Access to sensitive excavation areas was controlled during both the 1933-1934 and the 2001-2003 projects. Web.Neg-79-12,660-copy.jpg (32083 bytes) Access to sensitive excavation areas was controlled during both the 1933-1934 and the 2001-2003 projects.
The Shiloh Hotel where Roberts and Chambers may have stayed during the excavations. Web.Neg-79-12,665-copy.jpg (19574 bytes) The Shiloh Hotel where Roberts and Chambers stayed during the beginning of the  1933 field season at Shiloh Mounds, finding the quarters to be "poor accommodations." Roberts and Chambers soon moved their base of operations to a better hotel. This historic structure had unfortunately fallen into severe disrepair and was razed during the 2003 field season.
Deep and narrow excavation trenches such as this, with no escape, are not permitted during the 2001-2003 excavations for reasons of safety. Web.Neg-79-12,672-copy.jpg (23009 bytes)Deep and narrow excavation trenches such as this, with no escape, are not permitted during the 2001-2003 excavations for reasons of safety. Web.Neg-79-12,676-copy.jpg (17612 bytes) Deep and narrow excavation trenches such as this, with no escape, are not permitted during the 2001-2003 excavations for reasons of safety, as such all SEAC excavation trenches are 'open' trenches where only one profile wall is exposed leaving an escape route for excavators should the unthinkable occur.
Features in one of the 1933/1934 excavation trenches. Web.Neg-79-12,674-copy.jpg (21315 bytes) Features in one of the 1933/1934 excavation trenches.
Excavations into the apron south of Mound A. The 1999 and 2001 excavations located some of these trenches. Web.Neg-79-12,680-copy.jpg (52840 bytes)Excavations into the apron south of Mound A. The 1999 and 2001 excavations located some of these trenches. Web.Neg-79-12,681-copy.jpg (47875 bytes) Excavations into the apron south of Mound A. The 1999 and 2001 excavations located some of these trenches.
Use of wheelbarrows to move fill was common in 1933/1934. Web.Neg-79-12,682-copy.jpg (41174 bytes) Use of wheelbarrows to move fill was common in 1933/1934.
Postholes were marked with small poles or sticks in 1933/1934. Web.Neg-79-12,687-copy.jpg (40389 bytes)Postholes were marked with small poles or sticks in 1933/1934. Web.Neg-79-12,689-copy.jpg (32998 bytes) Postholes were marked with small poles or sticks in 1933/1934.
A broken pottery vessel cleaned and photographed in situ. Web.Neg-79-12,693-copy.jpg (25808 bytes) A broken pottery vessel cleaned and photographed in situ.
Cane matting or house wall material construction material photographed in situ. Web.Neg-79-12,710-copy.jpg (47180 bytes) Cane matting or house wall material construction material photographed in situ.


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