|| about us | membership | where we work ||
As the only national non-profit organization that acquires endangered archaeological sites, The Archaeological Conservancy has preserved more than 465 sites across the country. Below are some of the Conservancy's most recent projects.
| California - Portuguese Bench | Ohio - Junction Group
| Virginia - Prince Edward Soapstone Quarry |
On March 18, 2014 the Conservancy attended a public auction in Chillicothe, OH with the hope of acquiring the Junction Group earthworks site. After having learned that the land would be available for sale just 20 days prior to the auction, the Conservancy joined forces with several conservation organizations in the area in an attempt to preserve not just the site itself, but the surrounding woodlands as well. The portion of the farmland we acquired is a 90 acre field encompassing the earthworks.
The earthwork complex is approximately 2,000 years old and has been the subject of intermittent archaeological research since 1848. Our involvement with the site started in 1980 when the preservation of Hopewell Culture ceremonial centers became a central focus of our activities east of the Mississippi. The site has been in the hands of private owners, and this public auction was the first opportunity for the site to be transferred to an organization with a plan for long term preservation.
Read more in this Columbus Dispatch article: Prehistoric mounds near Chillicothe saved from development.Back To Top
During the summer of 2013 the Conservancy was informed by Rich Talbot, the director of the Office of Public Archaeology at Brigham Young University in Cedar City, Utah, that the Smith family was interested in preserving 196 acres of land that contains a significant rock art site. Reva, Blake, Marlin, Scott, and their families represent the third and fourth generations of Smiths to use the property, and they decided to donate it to the Conservancy in honor of Adelbert Smith, who purchased the land in the 1950s.
In the fall of 2012, the Conservancy made arrangements with the Smith family to see the site. Blake Smith led Lane Richards from Brigham Young, rock art expert Charmaine Thompson of the U. S. Forest Service, and members of the Conservancy to one of Blake’s favorite petroglyphs, a human figure that appears to be donning an elaborate headdress. Other petroglyph styles included geometric shapes and animal forms, as well as abstract designs.Back To Top
The Prince Edward Soapstone Quarry is located on 12 acres of land near Farmville, Virginia. More than 150 piles of soapstone (also known as steatite) boulders and preforms span the length of the site. It was first documented by Jim Jordan, an archaeologist at Longwood University who uncovered stone axes and possible soapstone vessel fragments there. One particularly striking artifact is a soapstone boulder that has been carved with an image that appears to be a snake. The boulder piles were later mapped, and their linear pattern suggests that they sit on a seam of soapstone that runs along a ravine.
Preforms are steatite boulders that humans formed into an ovoid shape in preparation for making them into bowls. Creating the preform is the first step in soapstone vessel production, as the stones were more easily handled after they had been shaped into oval forms.
The quarry dates to the Late Archaic period (ca. 3000–1000 B.C.), the end of which was characterized by the production of vessels and other objects carved from soapstone. The vessels were generally shallow and oblong or rectangular with lug handles for carrying. The piles likely represent resource stockpiling.Back To Top
The Portuguese Bench site is a prehistoric village nestled on the eastern edge of the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range in southeastern California. The site contains an extensive midden deposit that was excavated from 1983 to 1986 by a UCLA field school under the direction of David Whitley. Researchers have also found fire hearths, living surfaces, possible storage pits, a petroglyph panel, stone tools, and other artifacts.
Using obsidian hydration and diagnostic projectile points, researchers have concluded the village was occupied on and off from roughly 3,000 to 800 years ago. The site lies near Sugarloaf Mountain, an important obsidian quarry. The large quantities of manufacturing debris indicate the obsidian was brought to the site, where projectile points and knives were fashioned.Back To Top
The Paul-Bauman site is the latest addition to an important network of nine Anasazi sites owned by the Conservancy between Cortez, Colorado, and Monticello, Utah. The Paul – Bauman Pueblo was named after Teri Paul and her husband Kyle Bauman, the archaeologist who purchased this land in 2006.
The site came to the Conservancy’s attention early last spring when an employee was informed by Madalyn Bills, the lead park ranger at the Edge of the Cedars Museum, that Paul, the museum’s director, had property for sale that contains significant archaeology. The site is located along a tributary of the San Juan River and may be part of a much larger prehistoric farming community. It has the potential to provide insight into the function of farmsteads along the San Juan’s tributaries. It may also contain information about how people farmed at such a high elevation, where an early frost or late snow could harm crops.Back To Top
Carter Ranch (Arizona)
The Cayadutta site is a large, isolated 16th-century Mohawk village located in the southern foothills of the Adirondack Mountains in Johnstown, a city in east-central New York. Its position on a hilltop adjacent to Cayadutta Creek provided its inhabitants with a resource-rich location that was naturally defendable. The site was discovered in 1892, and since then it has been studied by archaeologists and raided by collectors. Over 2,000 artifacts from the site can be found in a number of public and private collections.
Despite being disturbed by collectors, Cayadutta has intact features and an impressive artifact assemblage. The site was investigated by members of the New York State Archaeological Association, and later by Harrison Follette for the Rochester Museum and avocational archaeologist Vincent Shaefer. These early investigations explored middens on the site’s terraces and uncovered 47 postholes, some of which still contained original pieces of the wooden posts that formed part of a defensive palisade. Most recently, in 1988-89, the site was excavated by Pennsylvania State University archaeologist Dean Snow as part of his Mohawk Valley Project.Back To Previous Acquisition List
The Conservancy has entered into an agreement to purchase Backusburg Mounds, one of the most intriguing sites in Western Kentucky. A complex of at least eight mounds situated on the bluff overlooking Clark’s River, Backusburg has been known to professional archaeologists since the 1920s. In their seminal 1932 work Archaeological Survey of Kentucky, William Funkhouser and William S. Webb described the mounds and a floodplain site below it as “probably the most important prehistoric sites in the [western Kentucky] region.”
In spite of Backusburg Mounds obvious significance, professional archaeologists have been able to work there for only a single day of mapping and surface collecting. That work, conducted in 1981 by Murray State University (MSU) archaeologist Kenneth Carstens and his students, established the spatial dimensions of the site and clarified its placement in the regional cultural history.Back To Previous Acquisition List
Around 8,000 years ago near the east coast of central Florida, a group of Archaic people lived by a small pond. Eventually they died, and their remains were buried in the pond. Their existence was unknown until, in the early 1980s, a backhoe operator preparing the land for the construction of a subdivision, scooped up a human skull.
The discovery of the skull and other human remains initially resulted in the suspicion of a recent mass murder, but county medical examiners determined that the human remains were very old, and consequently they contacted the anthropology department at Florida State University. Under the direction of Florida State archaeologist Glen Doran, the excavation of the one-half acre pond, now known as the Windover site, was soon underway, and over the next several years discoveries were made that informed archaeologists about Florida’s ancient people. The shallow pond turned out to be an ancient burial site for these early people and the peat sediments and water chemistry was such that it preserved both human remains and grave goods.Back To Previous Acquisition List
Colorado’s Pitkin County Open Space and Trails Department and the Conservancy have agreed to jointly hold an easement to preserve the Sopris site, a very unusual high altitude site near the town of Basalt. Situated at an elevation of over 7,800 feet, Sopris was identified and documented by Metcalf Archaeological Consultants, a cultural resource management firm, and the Colorado Office of the State Archaeologist. The site could be more than 5,000 years old, and it was apparently occupied from the Middle Archaic to the Late Prehistoric periods. Of the 187 prehistoric sites recorded in Pitkin County, only nine date to the Archaic period.
Sopris’ age is based on the styles of projectile points and other lithic artifacts that were found there. Some of these items, which were not made from local stones, could have been procured from sources hundreds of miles away. These artifacts suggest a long occupation or multiple episodes of seasonal occupations over thousands of years.Back To Previous Acquisition List
Foxwood Farms, which sits in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains in northwest South Carolina, is a premier facility for hunter jumper horse training, as well as horse showing, breeding, and sales, that’s owned and managed by Michael and Jodi Robertson. In one of the fenced paddocks, looking a little out of place, is a metal carport. Beneath the carport are several very deep excavation units, which are part of the investigation of the site.
Several years ago, while pulling up a tree stump, Michael’s brother, Jesse, found a piece of 4,500-year-old fiber-tempered pottery. The discovery, which is unusual for this area, led to the investigation by Terry Ferguson, an archaeologist at nearby Wofford College. Ferguson is leading a team of archaeologists with the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology in Columbia, as well as scores of volunteers, who are excavating the site.Back To Previous Acquisition List
Through a fortuitous collaboration of agencies and organizations, the Conservancy has acquired Paragonah Mounds, a Fremont village in Utah’s Parowan Valley. Although, according to historical documents, the site had more than 400 mounds covering close to a square mile in the late 1800s, the largest remaining intact portion is a 12-acre site containing 28 mounds. Nonetheless, the site, which dates between A.D. 700 and 1300, is still one of the largest Fremont villages known in the state. While farming and residential development have destroyed much of the enormous site over the years, what remains is well preserved.
The site’s acquisition is a remarkable story of collaboration that began with the unfortunate 2008 disturbance of a site dating from the Archaic through Fremont periods by the Utah Transit Authority (UTA) during the construction of a light rail line in Draper, Utah. Consequently, the Army Corps of Engineers, the permitting agency for the project, issued a notice of non-compliance and a stop work order to the UTA, penalizing them with a substantial fine. A portion of the fine was allocated for the acquisition of another significant archaeological site in Utah to “replace” the one that was damaged. The UTA contacted the Conservancy for assistance in the identification of an appropriate site that could be established as a permanent archaeological preserve.Back To Previous Acquisition List
Imagine the rumbling of a volcano, then the roar of a mudflow that was altering all human, animal, and vegetal life in a 200-square-mile area. Approximately 5,600 years ago, the historic Oceola Mudflow followed an eruption of Mount Rainier that not only drastically changed the surrounding landscape, but also displaced the local indigenous groups that inhabited the area.
Thanks to the Jokumsen site, archaeologists have gotten a glimpse of life prior to that massive deposition of mud, rock, and debris. It is the only excavated archaeological site in this area that has yielded cultural material below the mudflow layer, thereby proving that people were living here more than 5,600 years ago.
The site was excavated several times in the 1970s under the direction of Gerald Hedlund of Green River Community College. Those excavations and landowner, Jeanne Jokumsen’s surface collection have resulted in the recovery of over 20,000 stone artifacts that include points, scrapers, lithic waste flakes, drills, beads, choppers, and millingstones. In addition to the artifacts, several features were unearthed including hearths, earth ovens, postmolds and evidence of a possible semi-subterranean pit house.Back To Previous Acquisition List
The Conservancy is in the process of acquiring a 1.33- acre prehistoric habitation mound and burial area located in the San Joaquin Valley in the town of Hanford, California. The site, known by the archaeological designation CA-KIN-4, was initially recorded in 1939 by archaeologists Gordon W. Hewes and William C. Massey, who noted obsidian and chert fragments, an abalone pendant, and fragments of human remains.
In late 2012, while an orchard of almond and pistachio trees was being planted, more human remains were discovered. This discovery stopped the tree planting while the tribe surveyed the area. They also found obsidian and chert flakes, several biface fragments, an olivella shell bead, fire-cracked rock, and a bowl mortar fragment.
Prehistoric habitation mounds, which were once common in this part of California, are now rare. Donald Souza, who owns the land the site sits on, hired archaeologist Alex DeGeorgey of Alta Archaeological Consulting to conduct an intensive surface survey to further establish the nature, extent, and condition of the site. Though CA-KIN-4 has been disturbed by decades of agricultural activities that have altered the size and height of the mound, DeGeorgey wrote in a report on his findings that “it is highly likely that significant intact deposits are still present within the mound area.” The age of the site is unknown. After surveying the site, DeGeorgey referred Souza to the Conservancy in order to preserve the mound.Back To Previous Acquisition List
North Elkhorn Creek snakes through the gently rolling hills of blue grass just north of Lexington, Kentucky. Small towns and large farms with long stone walls characterize this beautiful area, which also includes the remains of large Fort Ancient villages just below the surface. In 1997, archaeologists Gwynn Henderson and David Pollack, now of the University of Kentucky, documented the layout of Singer Village, a Fort Ancient site that archaeologists had known of for some time. They discovered that it consisted of two circular villages of different sizes and ages. The larger of the two continued onto the neighboring farm owned by the Hieronymus family. Two years later, they investigated the farm.
They documented the portion of the Singer Village that continued onto the Hieronymus farm, but discovered that there were two more villages that had never been professionally documented. They named this complex of circular villages the Singer-Hieronymus Site Complex. This complex, which dates from A.D. 1200-1550, is unusual because it is comprised of four villages aligned along a broad ridge overlooking North Elkhorn Creek. Like other Fort Ancient villages, the inhabitants of Singer-Hieronymus mainly relied on corn, beans, and squash agriculture and hunting. Thousands of artifacts were recovered from the Singer and Hieronymus villages including debitage, ceramics, and chipped stone tools. These villages consist of concentric rings of middens, residences, and burials around a central plaza.Back To Previous Acquisition List
Ross was a member of the Mississippi Colonization Society, which advocated “repatriating” freed slaves to what is now Liberia. Ross’ will decreed that Prospect Hill be sold and his slaves who chose to emigrate to Liberia be freed. Their resettlement was to be funded by the proceeds from the sale. However, his grandson, Isaac Ross Wade, contested the will in court, seeking to prevent the sale of the plantation and the freeing of the slaves. The case was tied up in litigation for a decade, during which time the house was burned during a slave uprising in April, 1845. A young girl died in the fire, and a group of slaves who were accused of orchestrating the uprising were executed on the plantation grounds.
Back To Previous Acquisition List
The love for archaeology motivated Norma Garrett to buy and protect Garcia Canyon Pueblito, perched atop a steep mesa in a residential subdivision. The Conservancy purchased the site with POINT-4 emergency acquisition funds.
Located in Frederick, Maryland, the Rosenstock site contains the remains of a Late Woodland period village that radiocarbon dating indicates was inhabited sometime between A.D. 1300-1450. Recently, Aldi Inc. (Maryland), the City of Frederick, and the Conservancy partnered to preserve the site. Aldi Inc. (Maryland) generously donated the land containing the site, the City of Frederick assisted in obtaining access to the property, and the Conservancy is taking care of the associated costs, ownership, and ongoing management of the property as a preserve.
The American Bottom, the approximately 175 square-mile expanse of Mississippi River floodplain opposite Saint Louis, Missouri, was the location of the greatest florescence of the Mississippian Culture. Scores of Mississippian towns were located there, many of them quite large. The largest, Cahokia Mounds, possessed over 100 mounds with the largest, Monks Mound, reaching 100 feet in height and covering 14 acres at the base.
Cary Ranch is a 160-acre property near Anza, in southern California, that contains three distinct occupations. It’s thought that as early as A.D. 1000 the Mountain Cahuilla tribe lived in a village on the property known as Pauki, and that they resided there for centuries. The village was situated in a small valley with rocky hills separated by a spring and creek. This picturesque place contains several hundred bedrock mortars, basins, and cupules. Pictographs, painted pottery, trade and shell beads, milling stone tools, and projectile points have also been found in abundance.Back To Previous Acquisition List
The Great Miami River Valley snakes through southwestern Ohio and eastern Indiana and boasts a large number of important archaeological sites. Some of the best-known sites in this area are associated with the Middle Woodland period from about 100 B.C. to A.D. 500, the time of the Hopewell Culture. Huge geometric earthworks, conical burial mounds, and earth and stone hilltop enclosures were constructed during this period and are still visible today as reminders of the people that once lived here. After A.D. 500 it seems that the Hopewell stopped building and using these ceremonial sites.
Culture and Time Period: Hopewell (100 B.C - A.D. 500)
Status: Threatened by development.
Acquisition: The Conservancy needs to raise $300,000 to purchase the 30-acre parcel. Ten additional acres are being donated.
How you can help: Please send contributions to The Archaeological Conservancy, Attn: Oberting-Glenn, 5301 Central Avenue NE #902, Albuquerque, NM 87108-1530.Back To Previous Acquisition List
The Carman site is a 16th-century Late Woodland period Cayuga Iroquois village situated in the Finger Lakes region of central New York, between Lake Seneca and Lake Cayuga. Carman is located near the Town of Trumansburg, and in close proximity to the Indian Fort Road site, another Late Woodland Cayuga village the Conservancy is attempting to acquire (See “Preserving An Unusual Village,” Spring 2012).
Culture and Time Period: Cayuga Iroquois (16th century Late Woodland)
Status: Conservation-minded owners want to preserve the site.
Acquisition: The Conservancy is raising $500,000 for its new Iroquois Preservation Project.
How you can help: Please send contributions to The Archaeological Conservancy, Attn: Iroquois Preservation Project, 5301 Central Avenue NE #902, Albuquerque, NM 87108-1530.Back To Previous Acquisition List
In signing the Treaty of Paris in 1783 to end the American Revolutionary War, Great Britain transferred all the land east of the Mississippi River to the new American nation. While the British did not consult with their former American Indian allies before this betrayal, neither did they abandon their Midwestern trading posts not reduce the trade that kept the tribes well supplied with firearms. Unsurprisingly, as American settlers moved into the Ohio county, armed conflict ensued.
Initially, the confederacy of Midwestern tribes oundly defeated two organized military expeditions against them. Consequently, President Washington reorganzied the army and placed it in the command of General "Mad" Anthony Wayne.
Larry Keller, a realtor who listed a wooded tract that encompassed the remains of Fort Adams, an obscure fort built by Wayne's army to help secure their route from Fort Washington to Fallen Timbers, contacted the Conservancy about purchasing it.
How you can help: Please send contributions to The Archaeological Conservancy, Attn: Fort Adams Project, 5301 Central Avenue NE #902, Albuquerque, NM 87108-1530.Back To Previous Acquisition List
Ft. Parker, the first Crow Indian Agency, was established under the terms of the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868. Located in Montana along Interstate 90 about 40 miles east of Bozeman, the land is currently part of a large cattle ranch owned by a family who has diligently protected the site for four generations. Although ranching is a family tradition, many family members are pursuing other interests and professions, some of them far away from the ranch. The family has a portion of the ranch adjacent to Ft. Parker listed for sale, a sign of changes to come.
Culture and Time Period: Crow Indian (A.D. 1868-1875)
Status: The site is privately owned and in need of permanent protection.
Acquisition: The Conservancy needs to raise $249,000 to purchase Fort Parker, including fencing, closing costs, establishment of a stewardship fund, and an educational program.
How you can help: Please send contributions to The Archaeological Conservancy, ATTN: Fort Parker, 5301 Central Avenue NE, Suite 902, Albuquerque, NM 87108-1530.Back To Previous Acquisition List
The Conservancy is in the process of acquiring the 42-acre Shavano Valley Rock Art site just west of Montrose, Colorado, on the eastern edge of the Uncompahgre Plateau. The site, which dates from the Archaic through the historic Ute periods (1000 B.C. – A.D. 1900), contains numerous petroglyphs as well as artifact concentrations that represent stone tool and resource processing and tool making. It has been at the center of western Colorado rock art research since the early 20th century, having been used to define rock art traditions and styles, and to interpret cultural continuity and change in the region.
Culture and Time Period: Archaic through historic Ute (1000 B.C. - A.D. 1900)
Status: The Conservancy holds an option to purchase the site.
Acquisition: The Conservancy received a Colorado Historic Fund Grant and needs to raise $30,491 in matching funds.
How you can help: Please send contributions to The Archaeological Conservancy, Attn: Shavano Valley, 5301 Central Avenue NE, Suite 902, Albuquerque, NM 87108-1530.Back To Previous Acquisition List
The Blanchard site is located in northwestern Mississippi, not far from the Mississippi River. Blanchard, named for the family who owned it when it was first recorded in 1940, consists of four mounds in a rectangular arrangement on the bank of a bayou. This part of Mississippi is known for its rich soil, and in addition to the mounds the site also contains a family farm with various barns, storage buildings, a home, and a family cemetery. Since these structures date to the early 1900s, they, too, could be archaeologically significant.Back To Previous Acquisition List
A 1.3-acre triangle of land near Camp Verde in central Arizona was recently donated to the Conservancy by the McDonald family for permanent preservation. For decades the small parcel has served as the trailhead for pedestrian access to the Clear Creek Ruin Complex, which is owned by the U.S. Forest Service.
Clear Creek is the largest Tuzigoot-phase Sinagua settlement (A.D. 1250 to 1450) in the region. It’s located on a limestone mesa with commanding views of the Verde Valley and the West Clear Creek drainage, and it consists of one main pueblo and a handful of other contemporaneous structures spread across three levels of the mesa. The ground floor of the settlement had at least 48 rooms and may have stood several stories high.Back To Previous Acquisition List
Situated in Utah near the Colorado border, Carhart Pueblo is the northernmost outlier of Chaco Canyon. The 67-acre site contains a Chacoan great house, a great kiva, road fragments, and a number of associated structures and features.
Culture and Time Period: Chaco and Mesa Verde Anasazi (possibly A.D. 1030-1280)
Acquisition: The Conservancy needs to raise $188,000.
How you can help: Please send contributions to The Archaeological Conservancy, Attn: Carhart Pueblo, 5301 Central Avenue NE, Suite 902, Albuquerque, NM 87108-1530.Back To Previous Acquisition List
The Herd Village Preserve is a late Basketmaker III- early Pueblo I-phase settlement (A.D. 750-900) located in San Juan County, in northwestern New Mexico. Archaeologist Alex Wesson brought the site to the Conservancy’s attention in June of 2012, and with the gracious cooperation of the landowners Peggy and George Herd, the Conservancy surveyed the property’s archaeological remains.
After returning from World War II, in which he served as a bomber pilot and was a war prisoner, Gordon Redtfeldt took an intense interest in California archaeology and Indian culture. He painted reproductions of Native American rock art and participated in amateur and professional archaeological excavations, becoming a member of the Archaeological Survey Association.
Culture and Time Period: Southern Valley Yokuts, A.D. 300-1500
Status: The Conservancy acquired the site.
Acquisition: The Conservancy needs to raise $60,000.
How you can help: Please send contributions to The Archaeological Conservancy, attn: Redtfeldt, 5301 Central Avenue NE, Suite 902, Albuquerque, NM 87108-1530Back To Previous Acquisition List
The Conservancy has reached an agreement to purchase the Croft Archaeological Preserve, its first preserve in Idaho. Located on the eastern portion of Idaho’s Snake River Plain, roughly 19 miles northwest of Idaho Falls, the preserve consists of three caves that were created by collapsed lava tubes. The most extensively studied of the three is Owl Cave, which was first recorded in the 1960s by Helen and Richard Gildersleeve of the Upper Snake River Prehistoric Society (USRPS).
The Mexican colonizer Juan de Oñate named the Piro Indian pueblo of Teipana Socorro—meaning aid or help—in 1598. He chose that name because the residents gave the Spanish colonists food and other needed items. In 1626, Franciscan fray Alonso de Benavides founded the mission of Nuestra Señora del Socorro at Pilabó Pueblo, located about six miles away from Teipana. The former Pilabó Pueblo became the modern town of Socorro, but the location and fate of Teipana, the original Socorro, was for many years a mystery.
Separated from the Atlantic Ocean by North Carolina’s Outer Banks, the Albermarle Sound is a large estuary at the confluence of a group of creeks and rivers, the largest of which are the Chowan and Roanoke. In addition to its scenic beauty, the abundant wildlife and natural resources of the sound have made it a great place to live for thousands of years.
Carter Ranch Pueblo is located east of Snowflake, Arizona, along the Hay Hollow Wash. It is related to both the Chaco and Mogollon cultures. The site was occupied between A.D. 1050 and 1250. These dates, which are based on 19 tree-ring samples and the analysis of ceramic styles, indicate that Carter Ranch had one of the longest spans of construction and occupation in the Mogollon region. The site also has the most complex structure of any of the excavated great kiva sites in the Mogollon region.Back To Previous Acquisition List
|| home | contact us ||