Mississippi - De Soto NF
Searching for the Old Federal Road, Part 2
November 12-15, 2019
Volunteers must commit to entire session
Please join us once again on the De Soto National Forest as we survey of a small section of woods along what was once the Old Federal Road! According to historic maps and other documentation, the Old Federal Road crossed a portion of Black Creek (a major drainage bisecting the De Soto NF) near recently acquired land. At the creek crossing, Mr. George Mims operated a ferry in the early 1800s.The Old Federal Road and its crossing were parts of some of the original roads connecting civilization to the newly purchased land of Louisiana and the bustling town of New Orleans. The road was utilized by the military, especially for the movement of troops during the later stages of the War of 1812 and the battle of New Orleans in 1815. Waves of settlers also used the road on their search for new lands in the Mississippi Territory, which included both the states of Alabama and Mississippi. In Mississippi, the Old Federal Road generally followed the 31st Parallel, which served as the border between the United States and Spanish Territory until the 1820s.
This season, we will survey using shovels, screens, and metal detectors in an effort to locate objects and features associated with the old road itself, traces of early 1800s travel, ferry remains, and structures associated Mr. George Mims and his family habitation. We'll be working on a wooded strip of Forest Service west of Highway 29, and we'll be walking long distances through the thick woods, not on permanent trails. It will be a tough hike in places, and supplies and equipment will have to be packed in, but it will all be worth it! The biggest aspect of this project will be the use of metal detectors, which are normally illegal to operate on Forest property. If you're able to laugh, have fun, and listen to bad jokes by the archaeologist (when he has a good one), then this project is for you – we hope to see you this fall for another unique opportunity!
Number of openings: 10
Special skills: Volunteers must be physically capable of hiking several miles over rough terrain every day, in fluctuating temperatures; previous archaeological survey, excavation, metal detection, artifact/feature identification, and/or hiking experience helpful, but not required
Minimum age: 18 years old
Facilities: Developed RV, tent, and cabin camping/lodging available at Paul B. Johnson State Park & Flint Creek Water Park; RV hook-ups, water, bath house; fees will apply; very crude facilities in nearby forest; 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 to designated meeting areas
Nearest towns: Brooklyn, 9 miles; Wiggins, 10 miles; Hattiesburg, 28 miles
Applications due: September 2, 2019