Olde Oak Tree Survey 2023 - Passport in Time

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Mississipppi - De Soto NF
Closed! Searching around the Olde Oak Tree

22pe788_oak_tree2.jpg by US Forest Service
Live Oak Tree

October 11-18, 2023 (including Saturday)
Volunteers must commit to entire session

Welcome to another PIT project on the De Soto National Forest! This fall, we’ll be looking for the historic town of Agness. In records and on a local map, the town appears to have existed between 1895 and 1910, but seems to have simply disappeared – there isn’t proof of a town for creating the map label! What’s more, there is record of one Andrew Thomas who, in 1884, paid cash and bought the land where Agness was located, but there is no proof that he ever homesteaded the area. What is going on here? Curioser, and curioser…

To answer that question, we will be exploring Site 22Pe788, which is believed to be inside the boundaries of the mysteriously vanished township. The area (approximately 10 acres) has yielded surface scatters of Turn-of-the-20th-century ceramics and an early 20th-century “two-holer,” as well as intrusive modern items. The centerpiece of the site is a cluster of very old wisteria vines, several 100+ year-old crepe myrtle trees, and one of the oldest local live oak trees in the area. During the project, PIT volunteers and Forest staff will split into two teams: one to survey the area visually and with metal detectors, and the other to excavate around the large oak tree. We may tag-team and trade up throughout the week, and you will likely get to do a little of both types of archaeology, so come prepared to do both! Are you willing to help figure out who lived here? Join us in October so we can solve the mystery!

Please note that current COVID-19 protocols as recommended by the CDC and Forest Service will be followed to ensure the safety of volunteers and staff.

Number of openings: 25

Special skills: Volunteers must be physically capable of hiking moderate distances each day while walking through the undergrowth, and physically capable of repetitive motions such as kneeling, stooping, lifting buckets of sediment, etcetera; volunteers must also enjoy being outside in the woods, and must be able to laugh, have fun, and listen to bad jokes; previous experience on the De Soto NF is helpful and desired, but not required

Minimum age: 18 years old

Facilities: Dispersed and undeveloped tent camping available at no charge in nearby forest; developed RV, tent, and cabin camping/lodging available at Paul B. Johnson State Park, Flint Creek Water Park, and Lake Perry State Park; Parks have RV hook-ups, water, bathhouse, cabins, and very small convenience stores; fees will apply at Parks locations, and reservations are strongly recommended if you are selected to participate; Wiggins and Hattiesburg are full-service communities with hotels/motels, restaurants, and a full range of other amenities; volunteers responsible for own lodging/personal camping equipment, food, water during work hours, and transportation

Nearest towns: Beaumont, 8 miles; New Augusta, 11 miles; Brooklyn, 12 miles

Applications due: August 7, 2023

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