This Bureau of Mines report describes a field experiment involving the sinking two test shafts to directly compare the deformational behavior of circular and rectangular shapes. Results show that the circular shape is less sensitive to geologic discontinuities and applied stress field. Also, the rectangular shape is subject to a variety of behavioral modes, including beam bending and buckling. Geologic discontinuities around circular and rectangular shapes influence displacement significantly. Simple, two-dimensional elastic finite-element modeling, simulating circular and rectangular shapes in a biaxial stress field, shows that the structural response of a shaft is largely controlled by geologic structure. Consideration of anisotropy may be required for realistic analysis of a deep shaft.