My name is Matt Tuttle and I work as an archaeologist in the historic Hampton Roads, Virginia area in the U.S. This region is a wonderful area to do such work because the land has been continuously occupied by humans for millennia. My hometown of Virginia Beach is the location of the first landing of the Virginia Company colonists in the New World before establishing themselves at Jamestown. Not only is the first permanent English settlement in America, Jamestown (1607), located here; but neighboring Williamsburg served as the colonial capital of Virginia after Jamestown until 1779. Under the layers of colonial occupation in Hampton Roads we also find a long prehistoric record of Native American sites. The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the United States and its shores have been densely populated since paleo-times.
What I do as an archaeologist can vary greatly project by project and season to season. I’ve worked for CRM (Cultural Resource Management) firms in the area for years; generally projects with these companies deal with salvage archaeology. This is where a plot of land which is slated for development or construction is surveyed and excavated to ascertain that no cultural material is being built upon or destroyed. Lately I have been digging as an independent contractor in the area and have gotten to work on some incredible sites. I am currently assisting in the excavation of a site in Jamestown dated to 1611; this is a fantastic project to be a part of. We have been excavating the site all Spring and Summer in 10′ x 10′ squares and are slowly uncovering a great story here. My job lately consists of recovering and documenting artifacts, mapping soil plans and profiles, and a lot of hand-troweling at the subsoil level to look for features or stains in the clay. I’m very happy and proud to take part in documenting America’s beginnings and hope to continue my work in the area for some time! [ I blog at: http://anthroprobably.wordpress.com ]