|A cross-section of the trench for the palisade wall. Orange spots on the floor and near the sides are stains from nails that held cedar posts in place.|
We have completed investigations of some parts of the site and opened new questions in others. I want to make it clear, however, that we do not plan to excavate large portions of Fort Tombecbe. Archaeology is, after all, a destructive process. As the students and volunteers, and hopefully our readers, have learned, it is a very careful, systematic, and well-documented destruction, because once these portions of soil are excavated, they cannot be put back or reassembled. Preserving the context of artifacts by keeping notes, measurements, photographs, and other records is critical to their value for informing us about the past. At this point, we have enough artifacts and records to assemble a a story about the construction and history of Fort Tombecbe that is not found in any library or archives. As with most archaeological projects, many of the big discoveries are yet to be made in the laboratory. We have many months of washing, labeling, and analysis.