American Archaeology Magazine Winter 2016 is Here!

AA winter 2016-17 Cover. Rediscovering the Alamo

The most recent issue of American Archaeology Magazine, WINTER 2016, is now available!

  • COVER: A researcher operates a ground-penetrating radar machine at the Alamo in search of buried artifacts and features.
  • Credit: Reimagine The Alamo

Articles:

REDISCOVER ING THE ALAMO BY RICHARD A. MARINI
An archaeological project is playing an important role in an effort to make this iconic site more interesting to tourists.

A SENSE OF PLACE BY MIKE TONER
A Hohokam rock art study takes the unusual approach of examining not only the images, but also their surroundings.

A NEW VIEW OF MOUNDVILLE BY ALEXANDRA WITZE
For years this Mississippian site was thought to be a political capital, but recently some researchers have arrived at a different conclusion.

FINDING LUNA BY TAMARA J. STEWART
Archaeologists have recently discovered the first permanent European colony along Florida’s Gulf Coast.

HOW WERE THE AMERICAS COLONIZED? BY DAVID MALAKOFF
Experts are struggling to develop a plausible colonization model from the latest archaeological and genetic evidence.

New Acquisitions:

EARLY LIFE IN THE AMERICAN BOTTOM
The McCarty Mound could offer a glimpse of the American Bottom’s prehistory.

MAKING MEYER POTTERY
The Meyer Pottery Kiln contains information about nineteenth- and twentieth-century ceramics production.

Get your Copy of WINTER 2016 Now! Receive a subscription to American Archaeology Magazine with a $30 annual donation. Please visit our Membership page for details on how you can become a member.

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Browse Articles Summaries from our last issue, FALL 2016.  Explore Back Issues. Back issues, 2 years old or older, are available online to search and download.

Teapot Dome (Wyoming)

U.S. Department of Energy representative Todd Stribley (left) and Conservancy President Mark Michel met last year to inspect the property. Credit: The Archaeological Conservancy.
U.S. Department of Energy representative Todd Stribley (left) and Conservancy President Mark Michel met last year to inspect the property. Credit: The Archaeological Conservancy.

The Conservancy has established a new preserve in Wyoming, located about thirty-five miles north of Casper, on a portion of the Teapot Dome Oilfield, which is named after a local rock formation called Teapot Rock. In 1915 Teapot Dome became a U.S Navy petroleum reserve, and in the early 1920s it was the subject of the infamous Teapot Dome Scandal, a Washington D.C. bribery scandal during the Warren G. Harding administration that sent former Senator and Secretary of the Interior Albert B. Fall to prison. Fall was convicted of accepting a bribe to lease lucrative oil production rights in the Teapot Dome reserve to a private oil company without going through a formal bidding process.

Federal petroleum reserves were created through a series of presidential executive orders in the early 1900s. The reserves were to provide a supply of crude oil to fuel U.S. naval vessels in times of short supply or national emergencies. The Teapot Dome Oilfield remained mostly undeveloped until the 1970s, when the U.S. began looking for new domestic oil supplies. In 1976, Congress passed the Naval Petroleum Reserves Production Act, authorizing full commercial development of the reserves. Petroleum products produced from the reserves were sold in the open market by the Department of Energy and the revenues were deposited to the U.S. Treasury. Through the years the Teapot Dome oilfield has produced over twenty-two million barrels of oil.

The cultural history of the Teapot Dome preserves extends back 12,000 years from the Paleo-Indian period into historic times, with most of the occupations attributed to the Late Archaic and Late Prehistoric periods between 5,000 and 1,600 years ago. The archaeological sites consist of hearths, rock shelters, open and sheltered camps, lithic scatters and workshops, stone circles, rock cairns, and petroglyphs. The 9,500-acre field is fenced and closed to the public. Stranded’s employees have agreed to serve as site stewards.

Summary. Read More in our SPRING 2017 Issue of American Archaeology. Browse the article excerpts in our last issue WINTER 16-17 Issue.

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Taylor Mound (Mississippi)

Small Mississippian-style arrow points have been found around Taylor Mound. Credit: The Archaeological Conservancy.
Small Mississippian-style arrow points have been found around Taylor Mound. Credit: The Archaeological Conservancy.

Taylor Mound is largely a mystery. It hasn’t been professionally excavated, so all that’s known about it is that it stands approximately ten-feet tall and it’s surrounded by a midden that stretches for an acre. Mississippian-style pottery and arrow points have been found around it, so it’s assumed the mound was built sometime during the Mississippian period, which extended from roughly A.D. 800-1600.

Taylor’s location was ideal for supporting a large number of people. The mound is situated on an old Mississippi River channel that was abandoned by the river when it changed course hundreds of years ago, leaving in its place a slower moving stream that eventually became what is known as an oxbow lake. Here fish, amphibians, birds, mussels, and deer were found, providing food for Taylor’s inhabitants. The fertile soils created by periodic flooding of the local rivers were also ideal for cultivating maize, a staple of the Mississippian’s diet.

The landowners have chosen to donate an archaeological easement that will allow the Conservancy to protect the mound and the surrounding acre of land. Taylor Mound has not yet begun to reveal its information about the lives of its inhabitants or their roles in the surrounding prehistoric landscape. Thanks to the foresight of the landowners, researchers may some day solve the mystery of Taylor Mound.

Summary. Read More in our SPRING 2017 Issue of American Archaeology. Browse the article summaries in our last issue WINTER 16-17 Issue.

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American Archaeology Magazine is available on newsstands and at bookstores. Subscriptions are available by becoming a Member of the Archaeological Conservancy for an annual Donation of $30 dollars

American Archaeology Magazine Spring 2017 is Here!

COVER: A feather bundle (upper right), a pair of tapestry-woven yucca sandals (below) and a woman’s yucca-cordage apron with human-hair waistcord are some of the artifacts researchers have reexcavated. Credit: Courtesy of the American Museum of Natural History cat. # H-13338; the Museum of Peoples and Cultures, Brigham Young University cat. #1992.30.1 and .2; the Field Museum of Natural History cat. #165246/Laurie Webster

The most recent issue of American Archaeology Magazine, SPRING 2017, is now available!

  • COVER: A feather bundle (upper right), a pair of tapestry-woven yucca
    sandals (below) and a woman’s yucca-cordage apron with human-hair
    waistcord are some of the artifacts researchers have re-excavated.
  • Credit: Courtesy of Credit: Courtesy of the American Museum of Natural History cat. # H-13338; the Museum of Peoples and Cultures, Brigham Young University cat. #1992.30.1 and .2; the Field Museum of Natural History cat. #165246/Laurie Webster

Articles:

REEXCAVATING THE COLLECTIONS BY WAYNE CURTIS
Researchers with the Cedar Mesa Perishables Project are calling attention to thousands of ancient perishable artifacts.

LIFE IN THE GREAT DISMAL SWAMP BY DAVID MALAKOFF
Archaeologists are studying how escaped slaves lived freely in a vast wetland in the Southeast.

A STORY OF SALT BY ELIZABETH LUNDAY
Submerged saltworks are revealing information about Maya trade, their wooden material culture, and climate change.

REMEMBERING HISTORIC ACHIEVEMENTS BY JULIAN SMITH
Archaeologists are learning about the lives of thousands of Chinese workers who endured racism and other hardships while helping to build North America’s great railroads in the nineteenth century.

ARCHAEOLOGY UNDER ATTACK BY TAMARA STEWART
A variety of threats confront archaeologists.

New Acquisitions:
ANOTHER MOUND SAVED
The Conservancy obtains an easement to protect an ancient mound in northwest Mississippi.

THE ARCHAEOLOGY OF THE TEAPOT DOME
The cultural resources of this famous oil field are now
protected by the Conservancy.

Get your Copy of SPRING 2017 Now! Receive a subscription to American Archaeology Magazine with a $30 annual donation. Please visit our Membership page for details on how you can become a member.

Also available at Newsstands and Bookstores near you.

Browse Articles Excerpts from our last issue, WINTER 16-17

Explore Back Issues. Back issues, 2 years old or older, are available online to search and download.

Archaeology Under Attack

Newspaper Rock is one of Gold Butte National Monument’s amazing petroglyph panels. Gold Butte, located in Nevada, was recently designated a national monument to protect cultural resources like Newspaper Rock, but some people opposed the designation. Kurt Kuznicki/Friends of Nevada Wilderness
Newspaper Rock is one of Gold Butte National Monument’s amazing petroglyph panels. Gold Butte, located in Nevada, was recently designated a national monument to protect cultural resources like Newspaper Rock, but some people opposed the designation. Kurt Kuznicki/Friends of Nevada Wilderness

Spring 2017: By Tamara Jager Stewart.

In the late 1980s, while working in Wisconsin, Lynne Goldstein, now archaeology professor and director of the Campus Archaeology Program at Michigan State University, served on a panel working to assess Wisconsin’s historic preservation laws. “A wide range of changes were proposed and passed—with bipartisan support—and Wisconsin had some of the best overall preservation laws and policies in the country,” recalled Goldstein. The state adopted a highly effective and innovative burial law.

Nearly thirty years later, when a politically-connected developer proposed building on land containing documented burials, the governor and others pushed to change the state burial law. “Fortunately, enough people—including Native American tribes—pushed back, and the changes were halted, at least temporarily,” Goldstein said, though a study committee continues to review the law.

Nationwide attempts to weaken historic preservation and burial laws have been accompanied by funding cuts for archaeology programs, museums, and historic sites, as well as state and federal archaeological positions. “We are already losing a huge amount of institutional knowledge about the archaeological record, and now we are losing the positions and any possible transfer of that knowledge,” said Lynne Sebastian, the former director of historic preservation programs with the non-profit SRI Foundation and the former New Mexico State Archaeologist.

 “There have been budget cuts in most state offices across the Midwest, leaving staffing of preservation offices at a bare minimum,” said Goldstein. She noted a trend in the last five to ten years toward government officials and the public devaluing archaeology and historic preservation, and resisting state and federal mandates that protect cultural resources.

Excerpt.

Read More in our SPRING 2017 Issue of American Archaeology, Vol. 20 No. 4. Browse Content of this Issue: SPRING 2017. Browse Articles Excerpts from our last issue, WINTER 16-17.

American Archaeology Magazine is available on newsstands and at bookstores.  Annual Subscriptions are available by becoming a Member of the Archaeological Conservancy for a Donation of $30 dollars .

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Reexcavating The Collections

COVER: A feather bundle (upper right), a pair of tapestry-woven yucca sandals (below) and a woman’s yucca-cordage apron with human-hair waistcord are some of the artifacts researchers have reexcavated. Credit: Courtesy of the American Museum of Natural History cat. # H-13338; the Museum of Peoples and Cultures, Brigham Young University cat. #1992.30.1 and .2; the Field Museum of Natural History cat. #165246/Laurie Webster
COVER: A feather bundle (upper right), a pair of tapestry-woven yucca sandals (below) and a woman’s yucca-cordage apron with human-hair waistcord are some of the artifacts researchers have reexcavated. Credit: Courtesy of the American Museum of Natural History cat. # H-13338; the Museum of Peoples and Cultures, Brigham Young University cat. #1992.30.1 and .2; the Field Museum of Natural History cat. #165246/Laurie Webster

Spring 2017: By Wayne Curtis.

 In the mid-1890s, a rancher and avid amateur archaeologist from southwest Colorado named Richard Wetherill stood accused of fabricating an entire culture. Digging for artifacts in and around newly discovered cliff dwellings in the Four Corners region, Wetherill announced that he had found evidence of a heretofore unknown people who predated the Native Americans who built the elaborate cliff dwellings. These predecessors were not pottery makers, Wetherill concluded, but they were highly adept at making objects of perishable materials—wooden implements, feather blankets, baskets, woven sandals, and cords. Wetherill had turned up numerous examples that were miraculously preserved for centuries in caches in rocky alcoves protected from the weather.

Much of what is known today about the Basketmaker culture—a term coined by Wetherill—can be traced back to him and other ranchers, cowboys, and adventurers who set off on weeks-long expeditions, mining artifacts as if they were veins of silver, seeking items to resell to Gilded Age collectors. Once unearthed, these artifacts, some dating as far back as 500 B.C., traveled in boxes and barrels via mule, and then by rail to the cities, where the collectors gathered them up and often put them on display. (One of the more notable collections “premiered” at the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago, which also displayed meteorites and wooly mammoth models.) In subsequent decades, the collections were later sold or donated and ended up at a handful of museums, including Chicago’s Field Museum, which arose out of the Columbia Exposition.

In all, about 5,000 artifacts were unearthed and shipped out of the Grand Gulch region of southeast Utah during the 1890s—a practice that would be vilified today, but at that time was not unusual. Remarkably, the majority of these artifacts are still well preserved, but they are not often displayed and are largely unknown to the public. These collections are housed in the storerooms of six museums, and though researchers have access to them, they are generally poorly documented and rarely cited in scholarly published works. Nonetheless, the artifacts have stories to tell about the Basketmaker (500 B.C.-A.D. 700) and Ancestral Pueblo (A.D. 700-1300) periods in this region, and Laurie Webster is determined that those tales be told.

Excerpt.

Read More in our SPRING 2017 Issue of American Archaeology, Vol. 20 No. 4. Browse Content of this Issue: SPRING 2017. Browse Articles Excerpts from our last issue, WINTER 16-17.

American Archaeology Magazine is available on newsstands and at bookstores.  Annual Subscriptions are available by becoming a Member of the Archaeological Conservancy for a Donation of $30 dollars .

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Life In The Great Dismal Swamp

By around 1680, African American Maroons established communities on islands in the swamp. The woman pictured here is fashioning a tool while keeping an eye on her children. Credit: Carolyn Arcabascio
By around 1680, African American Maroons established communities on islands in the swamp. The woman pictured here is fashioning a tool while keeping an eye on her children. Credit: Carolyn Arcabascio

Spring 2017: By David Malakoff.

“I sometimes ask myself why I didn’t do one of those projects where the dig is right next to the parking lot.” Archaeologist Becca Peixotto wasn’t complaining, but she sounded a bit wistful on a cool, cloudy day last December as she caught her breath, brushed some mud off her hip waders, and dropped a heavy pack at her excavation site deep within the Great Dismal Swamp, a vast wooded wetland that straddles the Virginia-North Carolina border near the Atlantic coast.

To get to the site, which was perched on a forested hummock barely higher than the surrounding water, we’d taken a jolting drive down a dirt road pitted with yawning potholes, and then lugged a pile of gear nearly half-a-mile under fallen trees and through thick reeds, sharp brambles, boot-sucking mires, and deep pools of icy water. Still, we’d had it pretty easy, Peixotto informed me and two volunteers. We hadn’t needed the machete she often used to slash a path through the tangle, nor the insect repellent or leg chaps she uses in summer to defend against the swamp’s voracious bugs and venomous snakes. And our 45-minute trek was nothing compared to the hardship endured by the people who journeyed here centuries ago to build new lives in a landscape that one Colonia-era writer considered so dangerous and inhospitable that “not even a turkey buzzard will venture to fly over it.” Given such a reputation, “to live in the Dismal, you really had to want to be here,” said Peixotto, who is pursuing a doctorate at American University in Washington, D.C.

They wanted to. Historians know that, in the decades after the first enslaved Africans arrived at the colony of Jamestown in 1619, some slaves escaped from plantations and workshops and sought refuge in the dense swamp, where Native Americans had already pioneered small settlements and bounty-hunting slave catchers were loathe to venture. The escapees were known as Maroons, a name derived from a Spanish word used to describe untamed or feral livestock.

Now, thanks to more than a decade of sloshing, slashing, and digging by archaeologists, the wetland is yielding insights into the lives of the Maroons. Since the early 2000s, a project led by archaeologist Daniel Sayers of American University has excavated five sites within the swamp.

Excerpt.

Read More in our SPRING 2017 Issue of American Archaeology, Vol. 20 No. 4. Browse Content of this Issue: SPRING 2017. Browse Articles Excerpts from our last issue, WINTER 16-17.

American Archaeology Magazine is available on newsstands and at bookstores.  Annual Subscriptions are available by becoming a Member of the Archaeological Conservancy for a Donation of $30 dollars .

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A Story Of Salt: Ancient Maya Saltworks

The researchers have found several clay figurines, most of which, like this example, depict women. These figurines have hollow areas, mouthpieces, and holes that enabled them to serve as whistles. They were primarily imported from Lubaantun and other inland sites. Credit: Heather McKillop.
The researchers have found several clay figurines, most of which, like this example, depict women. These figurines have hollow areas, mouthpieces, and holes that enabled them to serve as whistles. They were primarily imported from Lubaantun and other inland sites. Credit: Heather McKillop.

Spring 2017: By Elizabeth Lunday.

Salt is a substance so ordinary and inexpensive today that its ready supply is often taken for granted. Yet salt is essential: humans need salt to live and also crave it as a flavoring and rely on it as a preservative. For the ancient Maya residents of Nim Li Punit, Lubaantun, and other inland cities in Belize’s southern lowlands, there was a paucity of nearby sources. So archaeologists assumed they imported their salt from distant flats on the north coast of the Yucatan Peninsula

But Louisiana State University archaeologist Heather McKillop appears to have disproven that assumption. McKillop has uncovered evidence that the Maya produced salt on a large scale in workshops on Belize’s southern coast and transported it to the cities. McKillop has found pottery vessels that were used to collect salt from evaporated brine as well as the remains of workshops where the salt was produced. “Heather McKillop’s contribution, a major one, is that she has enhanced our understanding of the methods that the Maya used for exploiting marine resources,” said archaeologist Jaime Awe, the former director of Belize’s Institute of Archaeology and now a professor at Northern Arizona University. “Her research is contributing to the understanding of the complexities of trade before the arrival of the Spanish.”

McKillop began working in Belize as a graduate student in 1979 excavating coastal and island sites. In the 1980s, while working at Wild Cane Cay, an island on the coast of southern Belize, she discovered the Maya village she was excavating was partly submerged because the sea level had risen in the last millennium. McKillop decided to survey nearby lagoons for further evidence of sea-level rise. She immediately found artifacts littering the seafloor—vast quantities of thick jars and clay supports used to hold the jars above a fire. She identified the materials as the remains of salt-making equipment, based on their similarity with historic and ancient salt production artifacts. The Maya filled clay jars with brine, raised them above a fire, and heated them slowly until the water evaporated and salt remained.

Excerpt.

Read More in our SPRING 2017 Issue of American Archaeology, Vol. 20 No. 4. Browse Content of this Issue: SPRING 2017. Browse Articles Excerpts from our last issue, WINTER 16-17.

American Archaeology Magazine is available on newsstands and at bookstores.  Annual Subscriptions are available by becoming a Member of the Archaeological Conservancy for a Donation of $30 dollars .

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Remembering Historic Achievements: Chinese Railroad Workers in America

Chinese crews lay track for the Central Pacific Railroad along the Humbolt Plains in Nevada in this historical photo. Credit: alfred hart / library of congress, LC-1s00618v
Chinese crews lay track for the Central Pacific Railroad along the Humbolt Plains in Nevada in this historical photo. Credit: alfred hart / library of congress, LC-1s00618v

Spring 2017: By Julian Smith.

On May 10, 1869, a crowd cheered as former California governor Leland Stanford hammered home a ceremonial golden spike at Promontory Point, Utah, marking the completion of the First Transcontinental Railroad. Linking the Central Pacific Railroad and Union Pacific Railroad lines was one of the most important civil engineering projects in American history, turning a six-month journey into a six-day trip. But there is something missing from the most famous photo of the event: amid the engineers shaking hands and workers standing on locomotives with bottles of champagne, there is not a single Chinese face.

Chinese laborers made up the vast majority of the workforce on the major rail lines that were laid across the U.S. and Canada in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Tens of thousands of men, mostly recent immigrants, helped lay thousands of miles of track. It was dangerous, backbreaking work, involving cutting roadbeds across cliff faces and blasting tunnels through solid rock in the far reaches of a foreign country with strong xenophobic tendencies.

“The railroad story is a foundational element in Chinese-American history,” said Gordon Chang of Stanford University. “As a fourth-generation Chinese-American, I’ve been interested in it from my earliest days.” Yet today little is known about the Chinese workers’ experience, how they adapted to their new environment and lived day to day while laboring to create something that would change North America forever. They left virtually no written records behind, at least that historians can find. Archaeologists have only looked at a few of the hundreds of sites rail workers left along the lines, and until very recently there was no concerted effort to organize what is known on the topic.

Stanford made his fortune investing in the railroad before he founded the university that bears his name, so it’s fitting that Stanford University was where Chang and literary scholar Shelly Fisher Fishkin launched the Chinese Railroad Workers in North America Project in 2012. The interdisciplinary effort aims to collect and study the existing historical and archaeological research, with the goal of helping to plan future efforts and making the work more accessible to scholars and the public both here and in China.

Excerpt.

Read More in our SPRING 2017 Issue of American Archaeology, Vol. 20 No. 4. Browse Content of this Issue: SPRING 2017. Browse Article Excerpts from our last issue, WINTER 16-17 .

American Archaeology Magazine is available on newsstands and at bookstores.  Annual Subscriptions are available by becoming a Member of the Archaeological Conservancy for a Donation of $30 dollars .

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Touring The French & Indian War – Photo Blog

State Archaeologist Dr. Kurt Carr explains the excavations being done by the State Museum of Pennsylvania at Fort Hunter north of Harrisburg, PA.
State Archaeologist Dr. Kurt Carr explains the excavations being done by the State Museum of Pennsylvania at Fort Hunter north of Harrisburg, PA.

The French and Indian War Tour

This Fall the Eastern Regional Office of the Conservancy wrapped up its French and Indian War Tour. For the tour we traveled across New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland to explore the rich history and archaeology of the French and Indian War. This epic struggle involving Native Americans, the English and French Empires, and Colonial forces, was one of the first global conflicts and a defining moment in American history.

After a severe storm during our opening reception in Buffalo the skies cleared and we had perfect weather for visiting some of the most important sites associated with this conflict in New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. Here are just a few of the highlights. For a full overview of all the amazing locations and sites visited on this trip please see our website. We had an excellent group of participants, and thank everyone for making this a very memorable trip!

The reconstructed Iroquois longhouse at Ganondagan National Historic site. Photo The Archaeological Conservancy.
The reconstructed Iroquois longhouse at Ganondagan National Historic site. Photo The Archaeological Conservancy.
The group at Fort Stanwix National Monument in Rome, NY.
The group at Fort Stanwix National Monument in Rome, NY. Photo Archaeological Conservancy.

The site is a magnificent reconstruction of Fort Stanwix, an 18th century fort used in both the French and Indian War and the Revolutionary War. Now a National Monument and Park, the area containing the fort was extensively excavated in the 1970s.

Fort Ticonderoga which was originally built by the French in 1756.  The British made two attempts to capture the fort, the first ending in defeat in 1758 and a second successful siege in 1759. The fort is also the site of the first American victory during the Revolutionary War. From Fort Ticonderoga we traveled to the site of Crown Point which contains impressive ruins of French and British forts which once occupied this strategic peninsula on Lake Champlain and has been subject to extensive archaeological research by the State of New York.

A monument honoring Major Robert Rogers, who is known for training the infantry force known as Roger’s Rangers and writing the Rules of Ranging.
A monument honoring Major Robert Rogers, who is known for training the infantry force known as Roger’s Rangers and writing the Rules of Ranging.
During our visit to the Iroquois Indian Museum Mike Tarbell spoke about his Mohawk ancestry and the important role played by the Iroquois during the French and Indian War.
During our visit to the Iroquois Indian Museum Mike Tarbell spoke about his Mohawk ancestry and the important role played by the Iroquois during the French and Indian War.

Roger’s Island at Fort Edward was the site of the largest British military complex during the French and Indian War.  The complex included Fort Edward, the Royal Blockhouse (now a Conservancy Preserve) and Rogers Island, which was the base for Roger’s Rangers and the birthplace of the U.S. Army Rangers. Dr. David Starbuck, archaeologist and French and Indian War scholar, discussed the history of the area and the archaeology of Rogers Island. We then traveled to the Iroquois Indian Museum, near the town of Howes Cave to help gain a Native American perspective on the conflict.

The reconstructed Fort Frederick, said to be one of the best preserved stone forts from the period, guarded the Cumberland Valley and Potomac River from Native American raiding parties.

The view at Old Fort Niagara overlooking Lake Ontario. The large stone building was a French fortification known as the French Castle.
The view at Old Fort Niagara overlooking Lake Ontario. The large stone building was a French fortification known as the French Castle.
Our stalwart tour group. Thank you everyone for an excellent excursion!
Our stalwart tour group. Thank you everyone for an excellent excursion!

Standing on a bluff above Lake Ontario, Fort Niagara has dominated the entrance to the Niagara River since 1726. The fort played an important role in the struggles of France, Great Britain, and the United States to control the Great Lakes region of North America, and also helped shape the destinies of the Iroquois (Six Nations) peoples and the nation of Canada.

~Kelley Berliner, Eastern Regional Field Representative.

For upcoming tours please visit our tours webpage.

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Kipp Ruin (New Mexico)

A reconstructed polychrome bowl recovered from the Kipp Ruin. Photo The Archaeological Conservancy.
A reconstructed polychrome bowl recovered from the Kipp Ruin. Photo The Archaeological Conservancy.

The Conservancy was gifted an 80-acre parcel containing the Kipp Ruin, a multi-component prehistoric community located on the floodplain of the Mimbres River,  in Southwest New Mexico. The site was first recorded by archaeologists in the early 1900s.

Kipp is located at the eastern edge of the Mimbres region, the northern edge of the Casas Grandes region, and the western edge of the Jornada Mogollon region, and the site has a post A.D. 1200 component that appears to have evidence of all three cultures, including Salado polychrome pottery. Saving A Multicultural Site The Kipp Ruin contains evidence of several Southwest cultures. Kipp also has pithouse structures that appear to date from 100 B.C to A.D. 1000. The site’s long occupation span may help archaeologists better understand the development and interaction of these three Southwestern cultures.

William Walker of New Mexico State University conducted field schools at Kipp beginning
in 2006. Most of the site’s cultural deposits have been buried under mud and silt deposited by Mimbres River flooding through the years. Walker believes the thick layer of mud and silt has preserved major portions of the Kipp Ruin and that a majority of its structures and features may still be intact. The site was donated to the Conservancy by Rexann Kipp Leary, who inherited the property from her father, Rex Kipp, a prominent New Mexico rancher.

Summary. Read More in our Summer 2016 Issue of American Archaeology, Vol. 19 No. 3. Browse the article summaries in our Fall 2016 Issue.

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