The Louisiana Division of Archaeology has developed and will continue to update a database for all the sites within the state that have been professionally excavated. . For this database, an excavation is defined as a minimum of one 1x1 m test unit. In addition, a report of some kind must be available, or the collections must be available for further research. Sites which are known to have been excavated, but have no report and for which the collections are not readily available, are not included. This database includes sites excavated to comply with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (1966), as well as research oriented investigations, such as WPA excavations, field schools, academic research and Regional Archaeology projects. This database is not meant to present details learned from excavations at sites. Rather it has been constructed to enable researchers to quickly determine site types and their ages of sites that have been investigated, and what data are available to address their particular question(s).
The majority of the reports of excavations done in Louisiana are found in reports filed with the Louisiana Division of Archaeology. Copies of these reports are physically on the shelves in the Division's office in Baton Rouge, LA and are available online to researchers as pdf copies of these reports. Abstracts for all of these reports are also available in the Cultural Resources Management Bibliography database available on this website. Site reports that are only presented in journal articles, books or other published sources are not available at the Division website.
All excavated sites within the state are meant to be included in this database with the exception of the Poverty Point site (16WC5). The extent of research there far exceeds the parameters contained within this database. Researchers interested in learning about the research that has been thus far conducted at Poverty Point should contact Dr. Diana Greenlee, the State's Archaeologist at the Poverty Point State Historic Site. Her email address is email@example.com
There are currently over 1000 excavated sites in Louisiana. This number will surely rise and the amount of data gathered by these excavations will increase accordingly. Undoubtedly, there are errors of commission and omission within this database and the Division welcomes corrections from the archaeological community working in Louisiana. Please contact State Archaeologist Dr. Chip McGimsey at firstname.lastname@example.org
Archaeologists have reported sites during monitoring projects throughout Louisiana. This procedure usually involves the presence of archaeologists at the scene of earth moving activities to report any unearthed sites or artifacts. If monitoring led to no report of an archaeological site, then that report is not part of this database. If, however, monitoring led to the report of a site and the eventual excavation of cultural remains, it is included.
Fort Polk, Louisiana in portions of Vernon, Sabine, and Natchitoches Parishes in Louisiana is the scene of more that 600 excavated sites in Louisiana. The overwhelming majority of these excavations were test units excavated and reported by Prentice Thomas and Associates of Ft. Walton Beach, FL with reports dating between 1992 and 2007. The materials recovered from these tested sites are curated at Fort Polk.
As of 2012, Vernon Parish had 469 excavated sites in the Louisiana Excavated Site Database. That is far and away the largest concentration of archaeological investigations involving excavations in the state and most are associated with Fort Polk. Conversely, Assumption, Beauregard, Evangeline, Lafayette, and St. Bernard Parishes have no reported archaeological sites that have been excavated, while all other Louisiana parishes do have excavated sites. Database Entries back to top Site Number, Site Name, Parish, Regions
- These categories are self explanatory and designate reported archaeological sites in Louisiana. The names of the sites are those used on the archaeological site forms. Please be aware that some names are duplicated in the Divisions site file list and many different names are often used popularly to indicate the same site. Please check site numbers and locations to avoid confusion. The Regions designation includes the four management areas Louisiana is divided into as part of the Regional Archaeology Program (i.e. Northwest, Northeast, Southwest, & Southeast). Sites in the New Orleans area are in the Southeast Region.
Report Reference Numbers
- This category reflects the site's National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) status as defined in the Division's NRHP database. Please note that it is possible for only a portion of a specific site to be determined eligible or ineligible.
- The first listing of report numbers in this database includes all reports of a site as they are filed at the Louisiana Division of Archaeology. Some excavations, however, are not in these reports, but appear as articles in Louisiana Archaeology, or other publications. These references are usually given by the name of the author(s) and the year of publication. Consulting the references sections of Archaeology of Louisiana, ed. Mark A. Rees, (2010 LSU press) or Introduction to Louisiana Archaeology, by R.W. Neuman (1984 LSU press) may provide the citation. If there are questions concerning a particular reference, please contact the Division's office.
- Comments in this portion of the database generally include information about when and who investigated a particular archaeological site.
Level of Effort
- This category presents the report numbers for only those reports that involve subsurface investigations at a particular archaeological site.
- Louisiana archaeological sites are in this database if they have been investigated by a minimum of one meter square excavation unit. Smaller excavations such as shovel tests or 50cm by 50cm units are not included. Additional excavation efforts recorded in this database are block excavations (at least two meters square), feature excavations, and trenching. Trenching is used in this database to indicate any mechanical excavation, including trenches, scraping or plow zone removal.
- Archaeological excavations have (and are increasingly) informed by other techniques as part of an archaeological investigation involving excavations. These include coring or augering, as well as remote sensing. Remote sensing as a general term indicates a number of techniques: aerial photograph interpretation, magnetometer, metal detectors, ground penetrating radar (GPR), and gradiometry. Individual reports should be consulted to learn about the particular techniques used at a site and their results.
- This category replicates the categories in the LCAD form that accompanies a site form or site update form filed with the Louisiana Division of Archaeology. Sites are frequently more than one type. Site types are: Artifact Scatter (either historic or prehistoric) Prehistoric Earthworks, Historic Earthwork, Shipwreck, Historic Midden, Shell Midden, Midden, Cemetery, Standing Structure, and Historic Ruins.
- This category also replicates the categories in the LCAD form. Many sites are multicomponent within the excavated site database. Cultural affiliations include: Prehistoric Unknown, Paleoindian, Archaic unknown, Early Archaic, Middle Archaic, Late Archaic, Poverty Point, Woodland Unknown, Tchefuncte, Marksville, Issaquena, Baytown, Troyville, Coles Creek, Plaquemine, Mississippian, Caddo Unknown, Early Caddo, Middle Caddo, Late Caddo, Historic Unknown, Historic Indian Contact, Historic Exploration (1541-1803), Antebellum (1803-1860), Civil War & aftermath (1860-1890), Industrial Era (1890+) -
- A type is included here if there is a specific description/discussion of this material class in the report. This category includes general material types such as: ceramics, lithics, fired clay, poverty point objects, daub, and subsistence remains. Consult individual reports to learn about specific and temporally diagnostic artifacts recovered from a particular site.
- A type is included here is there is a specific description/discussion of this material class in the report. This category includes general material types such as: ceramics, glass, metal, bricks, subsistence remains, and wood. Consult individual reports to learn about specific and temporally diagnostic artifacts recovered from a particular site.
- This category reports the presence of human remains at an excavated site, even if they are not discussed in detail in the report, with the categories of "none", "single burial", or "multiple burials." The reports should be consulted for details. Human remains, whether historic or prehistoric, are subject to procedures administered by the Louisiana Division of Archaeology. Details about these procedures are available in other portions of the Division's website.
- Some sites have yielded materials that are curated at more than one facility. The information in this database reflects both the information given in the reports, as well as the records of the curation facility of the Louisiana Division of Archaeology. The Louisiana Division of Archaeology would appreciate any information about the locations of artifacts and other material that may have been recovered from an excavation at a particular site that does not appear in this database.
- There are currently over 800 radiocarbon dates from archaeological sites and materials in Louisiana. If C14 dates resulted from a particular excavated site (and most did), they are linked to the Division of Archaeology's radiocarbon database in this category.
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- The Comments section at the end of the database provides some of the high points within the reports of a particular site. Most commonly these are the number of excavations, considerations of NRHP eligibility, and other particulars.