Geophysical surveying is a relatively new way to study archaeology under ground. Through her summer research project, Linh Luong, Luther College junior of La Crosse, Wisconsin, explored these prehistoric sites through geophysical surveying to provide a look into their structures without physically digging them up.
Luong, the daughter of Dac Luong and San Thoang of La Crosse, is a 2016 graduate of Central High School. She is pursuing a double major in neuroscience and anthropology at Luther.
Luong worked with Luther senior Anna Luber and Colin Betts, Luther professor of anthropology, on her project, "Multi-instrument geophysical survey of two prehistoric earthwork sites in Northeast Iowa."
Surveying two sites, the prehistoric Oneota site and Effigy Mounds, Luong described that her project, "studies the prehistoric Oneota site to provide a comprehensive map that both defines the locations of the previous excavations and also provides details on the size and shape of the enclosure, as well as its specific relationship to the occupations that are associated with it. The work at Effigy Mounds will provide an unknown view into the nature of their internal structure."
While raw data from the field was a large part of the research, interacting with other sources such as landowners and reservation specialists helped fill in gaps and make sense of the information. "This research teaches me to look at data in my future work in the medical field in more of a holistic perspective instead of as its own entity," said Luong. "If there is any subject that you are interested in, even if you are not planning to pursue it as a career, you can still do a research project on it and be passionate about it. There are no boundaries."
Luong, Luber and Bett's collaboration was one of 30 summer student-faculty research projects funded through Luther's College Scholars Program and Dean's Office. The Student-Faculty Summer Research projects provide students an opportunity to research topics of interest alongside Luther faculty. This program is one of a wide selection of experiential learning opportunities that are part of Luther's academic core and intend to deepen the learning process.
A national liberal arts college with an enrollment of 2,005, Luther offers an academic curriculum that leads to the Bachelor of Arts degree in more than 60 majors and pre-professional programs. For more information about Luther visit the college's website: http://www.luther.edu.