As fisherman and wildlife continue to make headlines in the aftermath of the BP oil spill, Archeologist, Dr. Edward Jackson has a different story to tell.

He depends on fragile marshes resources along the Gulf Coast, already devastated by Hurricane Katrina, as a vital outdoor laboratory, to study subsistence patterns of past civilizations.

There are over 19,000 archeological sites recorded in MS, some holding some of the highest concentrations of prehistoric evidence in the world, dating back 10,000-12,000 years.

This four-minute video documents Edward Jackson and his team of students from the University of Southern Mississippi (USM), on a "search and rescue" mission to save archeological artifacts from contamination by oil that would make carbon dating impossible.

The group investigates shell middens in order to find clues to how human populations today, can subsist sustainably, based on solutions developed by prehistoric Native American communities.

Although the economic scale is one of subsistence in the past, versus commercial enterprise today, Dr. Jackson insists, that we must salvage lessons of the past in order to understand our options for the future.

The team's research sites, Kenny's Island and Crooked Bayou site, are located off the coast of Moss Point, on the border of Mississippi/Alabama, approximately 110 miles from the epicenter of the Deepwater Horizon spill, and comprise part of the Grand Bay National Wildlife Refuge and Grand Bay National Estuarine Reserv in Moss Point, MS.

As of September, "Archeology Month" in the state of Mississippi, the team is still at work, and the site is considered at high risk for contamination, despite the presence of booms.

Little archeological work has been done in the constellation of sites occupying Grand Bay.

There are opportunities for the public to learn more and/or volunteer.

Department of Anthropology and Sociology
University of Southern Mississippi
Hattiesburg, MS

Facebook Group: Mississippi Archeological Association (MAA)

Mississippi Archeology Month:

"Oil Threatens Native American Archeology Research on the Coast"

This video is part of a series, created by Alison Fast and Chandler Griffin, a husband-wife team, producing stories to give voice to residents of the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

More stories of local heroes will be posted shortly to the web site: (site in progress)


This video is available for broadcast. Please contact:

Producer/Director/Editor: Alison Fast
Camera: Chandler Griffin

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