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Student-faculty research in the Arctic

Physics major Jared Palmer scans for prehistoric burials in the Arctic

Senior physics major Jared Palmer and Dr. Rhett Herman worked on a major archaeological work at Point Barrow, Alaska. Dr. Herman was there due to an RU internal grant. Jared was there due to NSF funds. They worked with RU's ground penetrating radar equipment to expedite the search for the remains of the original human settlement near Barrow, Alaska. In nearly two weeks of work they were eventually able to scan an area about the size of 2 football fields. They were able to report to the archaeologists/anthropologists on the team the locations of anomalies that might be indicative of burials, as well as large areas where there were no anomalies at all. These "cleared" areas were crucial since these areas would not have to have "shovel test pits" to determine if there were any burials present. This saved the digging team critical time since the field season at Point Barrow is less than 3 months, and the Arctic Ocean was rapidly eroding the area containing any potential burials. Data analysis is ongoing after the trip to elicit more subsurface information that may lead to other important finds.

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Jul 19, 2011
Dr. Rhett Herman
(540) 831-5441
rherman@radford.edu