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.

Also available at Newsstands and Bookstores near you.

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.

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.

Explore Other Featured Conservancy Sites!

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

Meyer Pottery Kiln (Texas)

Jug handles give Meyer pottery its distinctive character. Photo: Jim Walker/The Archaeological Conservancy.
Jug handles give Meyer pottery its distinctive character. Photo: Jim Walker/The Archaeological Conservancy.

After emigrating from Germany to Texas in 1884, William Meyer began working in a pottery workshop in Bexar County. After marrying the daughter of a fellow worker, Meyer and his new father-in-law, Franz Schultz, began searching for the perfect clay source to begin their own workshop. In 1887, Schultz and Meyer began producing pottery on a five-acre lot they bought for $25.

They built two homes and a pottery shop on the property, mining clay by hand from a source located on adjacent land that they leased, and later purchased. When Schultz died in 1898, Meyer continued producing pottery. During the early years of operation, the workshop supplied glazed utilitarian stoneware to much of the surrounding area of southwest Texas, from San Antonio to the Rio Grande.

The Meyer family has agreed to donate the two-acre tract that contained the kiln and associated residences and manufacturing facilities to the Conservancy. The lot is covered with glazed bricks and building blocks that formed the foundations and walls of the buildings. The tallest standing structure is the kiln’s chimney stack. Many of the bricks for the buildings were made on the property. There is also a large debris field containing the fragments of thousands of misfired and broken pieces of Meyer stoneware. Future research at the site can tell us more about early American manufacturing and crafts development as well as what life was like in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in south Texas.

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

Explore Other Featured Conservancy Sites!

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

Economics & Archaeology: My Road to The Archaeological Conservancy

Gordon Wilson, TAC Chairman of the Board, visiting the Conservancy's 501st Saved Site with fellow board members, William 'Bill' Lipe and Carol Condie (left), and Dorinda Oliver (right). Photo: The Archaeological Conservancy.
Gordon Wilson, TAC Chairman of the Board, visiting the Conservancy's 501st Saved Site with fellow board members, William 'Bill' Lipe and Carol Condie (left), and Dorinda Oliver (right). Photo: The Archaeological Conservancy.

I was first exposed to Native Americans and ancient cultures in grade school during the early days of black and white television, when the shows were mostly about cowboys and Indians. And, my sixth grade teacher, fresh from WW II and the G.I. Bill’s college opportunities, included ancient Greece and Rome in history class, probably an experience that many of today’s children don’t have. As a prolific reader, I supplemented this exposure with whatever was available in school libraries.

At the University of Illinois, College of Liberal Arts and Culture, as a freshman, my intention was to become an archaeologist, until I noticed that there were no jobs for anthropology graduates. Since work and compensation would eventually become a necessity, my major shifted to geology as a sophomore, history as a junior, a B.A in economics, and an M.S. in finance, followed by an entry level job at the First National Bank of Chicago as a security analyst. Back then U. of I. tuition was only $100 a semester, and since I worked at the Illinois State Geological Survey for 24 hours a week for almost three years during my college time, I could manage the expense.

Economics and finance are actually fascinating subjects which usually explain most world affairs, if taught by a non-Keynesian. My 29 year career with Kemper Financial Services (KFS), a large firm in Chicago, included devising and adopting newer tools of security analysis, such as cash flow forecasting, present value, and querying corporate financial officers;  and development of new products such as high-yield bond, option-income, alternative money market mutual funds, and international investing, as, in succession, analyst, Research Director, Chief Investment Officer, director of several company subsidiaries and President of Kemper Murray Johnstone International.  In 1996 and 1997, I taught investments at Northwestern University’s University College.

Trying to understand U.S. and world economics and finance, and make rewarding investment decisions is difficult but extremely interesting. But forget the usual definition of economics as the allocation of scarce resources. Economics is the social science (an interesting way of saying that results will vary) of incentives and productivity, and their results. Recently the new term “unintended consequences” has helped to focus on the realities of any action or legislation which ignores economic principles. Basic principles are easy to understand; when you increase the price of a product or service, usually the demand for it will fall (read entry level jobs); or increase the demand for health care but don’t address supply and keep prices low (read shortage of health care providers).

I remember the continuous economic, profit, inflation, currency and interest rate forecasting necessary for sound investment decisions and the stress from interjection of unforeseen events. I remember an urgent telephone call during a Christmas party when my futures and options manager told me “the Japanese market was crashing” and then the time I was in Australia giving a speech to brokers on the markets, when the television announcer said “the world is different today. The New York market has crashed”(Oct. 1987).  Then he went to commercial as I pondered, what he meant by “crashed.”

How does this relate to my involvement with The Archaeological Conservancy? Archaeology is, simply put, the physical record of thousands of economic and social experiments, from the size of a single pueblo to empires. And, we get to see if the experiment thrived or failed.

As archaeologist Scott Ortman wrote, “…shouldn’t we …have a goal of learning what works and what doesn’t, for the benefit of all? One of The Conservancy’s primary purposes is to permanently save important archaeological sites for future research.

Archaeologists Steve Copeland and Caitlin Sommer document features on the floor of the great kiva.
Since 2011, researchers with Crow Canyon Archaeological Center have been investigating Dillard, an ancient community near Cortez, Colorado. Courtesy Crow Canyon Archaeological Center.

In 1984, my wife Judy spotted an ad in the Smithsonian magazine for a week excavating an ancestral Puebloan site near Cortez, Colorado, under the professional guidance and scrutiny of Crow Canyon Archaeological Center and their esteemed staff. Since I could use a break from the world of investments and renew my interest in archaeology, I signed up and excavated at two sites over three years; then joined their Board for fourteen more.

By 2004, I had retired and was anxious to spend more time delving into archaeology- this time without having to sit in the dirt. The Conservancy provided me with the opportunity to help prepare site management plans for newly acquired sites. These plans involve gathering all interested parties; archaeologists, state officials, local interested individuals, neighbors, and site stewards, to formulate an ongoing plan for preservation, educational opportunities and research activities for the site. I have participated and mostly written some 25-30 site management plans since. Apparently, The Conservancy was pleased, and I was invited to join the Board of Directors in 2004 and became Chair in 2007.

Gordon Wilson, TAC Chairman of the Board (right); Tamara Stewart, SW Special Projects Coorindator, and volunteers surveying a ranch in the Galisteo Basin about 6 years ago. Photo: The Archaeological Conservancy.
Gordon Wilson, TAC Chairman of the Board (right); Tamara Stewart, SW Special Projects Coorindator, and volunteers surveying a ranch in the Galisteo Basin about 6 years ago. Photo: The Archaeological Conservancy.

I have always been impressed with the tight financial management of the Conservancy.  With annual donations which rarely exceed $4 million, our roster of saved sites grows by 15 to 20 new additions per year, now total over 505 sites in 45 states. Some important site acquisitions are projects requiring effort over many years. Others are the result of emergency auctions to save an important site. Expenses are carefully controlled.

Years ago, I was traveling with the Southwest Regional Director, Jim Walker, to do a site management plan outside of El Paso. I always pay my own way. We flew into El Paso, rented a car for $19. I don’t remember getting lunch. About four that afternoon, we were done meeting and heading back to the airport when Jim said he had forgotten to fill the gas tank back up. So we zipped past the airport to find a gas station. We were running late for our flight, but Jim went right by the first two stations to fill up for 3 cents a gallon less at the third station. On the way back, I could not resist, so I asked Jim if I should write a letter to Mark Michel commending him for saving The Conservancy fifteen cents. Fortunately he smiled. This frugality permeates all activities. Members of The Conservancy and donors can be assured that every penny is carefully considered.

Looking forward, our regional offices continue to be very busy with the business of “Saving the Past for the Future”, the Conservancy is running on all cylinders and our mission is only constrained by our funding- The need is always there!

~ By Gordon Wilson

Gordon Wilson at Crow Canyon in 1984; Mesa Verde in the background. Photo Courtesy Gordon Wilson.
Gordon Wilson at Crow Canyon in 1984; Mesa Verde in the background. Photo Courtesy Gordon Wilson.

Gordon P. Wilson (Chairman of the Board) is a retired investment and mutual fund manager.  He served as chief investment officer and president of Kemper-Murray Johnstone International in Chicago.  Wilson is a former member of the board of directors of the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center and Futures for Children.  He holds a Masters degree in finance from the University of Illinois and lives in Santa Fe.

Read More about Our most Recent Acquisitions and Updates from the Field

Learn More about What The Archaeological Conservancy Does

Become A Member Today and Support Saving America’s Archaeological Treasures!

 

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Two Archaeological Sites in New Mexico to be Protected Through National Grant

National Trust for Historic Preservation Awards The Archaeological Conservancy a Preservation Grant Towards The New Mexico Archaeological Fencing Project

Albuquerque, New Mexico —The Archaeological Conservancy is proud to announce an  awarded of a $8,772.75 grant by the National Trust for Historic Preservation from the Bonderman Southwest Intervention Fund. These grant funds will be used toward the New Mexico Archaeological Fencing Project.

The Archaeological Conservancy will fence two extraordinary sites in northern New Mexico – the Holmes Group site and Garcia Canyon Pueblito. Fencing the cultural material is a crucial part of the preservation process. This provides protection from looters, prevents wildlife and livestock from entering the site, and blocks access for off-highway vehicles and other motorized equipment.

Jim Walker, the Conservancy’s Southwest Regional Director, stated: “We are grateful for the generous support given to our New Mexico preservation projects by the National Trust’s Bonderman Southwest Intervention Fund. Our partnership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation began in 1982 when the Trust provided an emergency loan to purchase Mud Springs Pueblo near Cortez, the Conservancy’s first acquisition in Colorado. When preservation groups collaborate to achieve common goals, our collective vision of leaving a legacy for future generations to enjoy can become a reality.” By protecting the Garcia Canyon Pueblito and Holmes Group sites, the Conservancy will prevent damage to the irreplaceable cultural material on both sites.

“Organizations like The Archaeological Conservancy help to ensure that communities and towns all across America retain their unique sense of place,” said Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “We are honored to provide a grant to The Archaeological Conservancy, which will use the funds to help preserve an important piece of our shared national heritage.”

Grants from the National Trust Preservation Funds range from $2,500 to $5,000 and have provided over $15 million since 2003. These matching grants are awarded to nonprofit organizations and public agencies across the country to support wide-ranging activities including consultant services for rehabilitating buildings, technical assistance for tourism that promotes historic resources, and the development of materials for education and outreach campaigns.

For more information on National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Preservation Fund grants, visit:

www.PreservationNation.org/funding

About The Archaeological Conservancy

The Archaeological Conservancy, established in 1980, is the only national non-profit organization dedicated to acquiring and preserving the best of our nation’s remaining archaeological sites. Based in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the Conservancy also operates regional offices in Mississippi, Maryland, Ohio and California. The Conservancy continues to be rated a 4 star charity by Charity Navigator. The Conservancy has preserved over 500 sites across the nation, ranging in age from the earliest habitation sites in North America to a 19th-century frontier army post. Learn more about the Conservancy.

About the National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation is a privately-funded nonprofit organization that works to save America’s historic places to enrich our future. The National Trust for Historic Preservation is committed to protecting America’s rich cultural legacy and helping build vibrant, sustainable communities that reflect our nation’s diversity. Follow NTHP on Twitter @savingplaces.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit organization, works to save America’s historic places.

 

Also Reported in the Ruidoso News http://www.ruidosonews.com/story/news/local/2017/01/27/two-archaeological-sites-new-mexico-protected/97156354/

Why Does The DAPL Matter in the Southeast? Or Anywhere?

Example of Projectile point from Mississippi Prehistoric Site.
Example of Projectile point from Mississippi Prehistoric Site.

To of my friends here in the Southeast, and across many parts of the country, the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) issue and protests may seem a bit far away- like something that’s happening to other people who are just trying to get attention and keep Americans from getting jobs. There are certainly many aspects to the situation, but I thought I’d try to bring just one important archaeology one home.

I recently met a wonderful lady from a community in northeast Mississippi, whose family owns land where that county’s first county seat was located. Her property contains the rubble of a courthouse, a jail, a blacksmith’s shop, hotel and other buildings. It’s a very early historical Mississippi settlement that has yielded some very interesting artifacts. I’m sharing a few images of those artifacts here.

Broken Projectile Point from Mississippi Prehistoric Site
Broken Projectile Point from Mississippi Prehistoric Site

This site also has earlier Native American sites on it- some dating back as long as 8,000 years ago. It’s truly worthy of several historic markers. This lady grew up collecting these artifacts with her brothers and parents. They kept them in labeled boxes. Her parents loved the history of the area and spent a lot of time researching and documenting it. They wrote books and worked with historians from all over the place to share information, records and write stories of the people who lived there. Her most precious memories are of exploring this history with her parents. She recently sent me a letter she received about plans for a high voltage transmission line that has a proposed route through her property, including this old settlement. She’s worried that it will destroy some of the site and of course, she doesn’t want a big ugly power line going through her property.

A few years ago, a clay pit was proposed for that area. The company was required to hire archaeologists to do a cultural resource survey-in other words, they had to check the whole area both in state archives and on the ground, to make sure no significant historic or prehistoric sites would be affected and if so, to what extent. Because that survey was required, this already widely known site was further documented. It was at that time determined to be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.

 Chinese Porcelain sherd from Mississippi Historic Site.
Chinese Porcelain sherd from Mississippi Historic Site.

Now, with this transmission line possibly coming through, this company will also have to check for significant cultural resources. This site is now officially documented. The company doing the transmission line will have to either avoid it, or pay to have it excavated so that as much information as possible can be saved before it’s destroyed. This whole process, when it works as it should (and it usually does) is not unreasonable and is not intended to stop projects that have economic benefits. In fact, it assists them in moving forward.

We must have laws and regulations that help protect our cemeteries, our battlefields, the footprints of forts, our prehistoric Indian villages and extinct towns. This process also employs the majority of young archaeologists (more mature ones, too!) who work for the Cultural Resource Management firms who do this pre-project work. They often refer to themselves as shovelbums and it’s how they hone their skills and pay off student loans. They go all over the place and stay in crappy hotels, work in the worst weather, eat cheap food and drink lots of beer.

Their work is often the first line of defense that saves very important sites, that we might otherwise never even know existed. A lot of this archaeological ‘clearance’ work also ends up in our history books. The CRM archaeologists are also often the people who speak to your kids, teach them how to flint-knap or throw a spear at your local museum or school.

TxDOT archaeologist Waldo Troell (right) examines an excavation unit with TxDOT environmental managers Christine Crosby (left) and Jay Tullos. Credit: Michael Amador, TXDOT
TxDOT archaeologist Waldo Troell (right) examines an excavation unit with TxDOT environmental managers Christine Crosby (left) and Jay Tullos. Credit: Michael Amador, TXDOT

Because of the Federal laws and agencies that are responsible for protecting our resources, the same process I just described above, would take place when something like the Dakota Access pipeline, a power transmission line or other project is proposed here in the Southeast or in your own back yard. When you drive by a construction site and see people in the distance with massive poles and lines, it’s important to know that archaeologist are recording our history and archaeology, and studying it. In development done right, that has archaeology ‘clearance’ laws, we aren’t losing part of our past to move into the future.

Elizabeth Irwin of the University of Alabama Museums, Jessica Crawford, Southeast regional director for the Conservancy, Matt Gage, director of the Office of the University of Alabama Museums, and Howell Poole, Jr., president of the Bank of Moundville, discuss the significance of the Asphalt Company Mound during a recent site visit.
Elizabeth Irwin of the University of Alabama Museums, Jessica Crawford, Southeast
regional director for the Conservancy, Matt Gage, director of the Office of the University
of Alabama Museums, and Howell Poole, Jr., president of the Bank of Moundville,
discuss the significance of protecting the Asphalt Company Mound during a recent site visit.

Economic progress and environmental, historic and prehistoric preservation do not have to be mutually exclusive. In fact in recognition of this country’s commitment to preserving our history and archaeology – one of these essential laws, the Historic Preservation Act, was reauthorized in December for 8 years with bipartisan support in Congress. They can coexist, and we shouldn’t take the laws, regulations and the people that give us that assurance for granted.

When a big project comes through your backyard, through a place that has meaning to you and gives you solace, through your home place and family cemetery, remember why it is that our country has archaeological and historic protections in the law. I know I’ve simplified a complex situation like DAPL but here I’m trying to illustrate one of the vital ways this affects us all, all across the country.

-Jessica Crawford, Southeastern Regional Director

TAC Southeastern Regional Director Jessica Crawford at work in the field.
TAC Southeastern Regional Director Jessica Crawford at work in the field.

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Standing My Ground for Archaeology & Preservation

The Author, Tamara Stewart, hiking Moon Mtn in the foothills of Santa Fe.
The author, Tamara Stewart, hiking Moon Mtn in the foothills of Santa Fe.

Introducing Our Assistant Editor of American Archaeology Magazine and Southwest Regional Coordinator: Tamara Stewart

Looking down the barrel of the 12-gauge shotgun, the tiny but intimidating Billie Russell was aiming at me, I feebly tried to explain our unannounced presence on her ranch in the Galisteo Basin south of Santa Fe, NM. My colleague hid behind a nearby juniper as I explained that we were doing an archaeological clearance survey for the road project through the area, and she was supposed to have been notified by the highway department…

Ten years later, now working with The Archaeological Conservancy as Southwest Regional Coordinator, I helped bring Billie together with the Conservancy to set aside the sites on her property as an archaeological preserve. We share laughs about our first encounter: “Sista, you stood your ground with nothing but a metal clipboard!” she fondly remembers.

Billie Russell (hat) signing the plat for the Conservancy to acquire Lodestar Ranch, working with Land Title company representative.
Billie Russell (hat) signing the plat for the Conservancy to acquire Lodestar Ranch, working with Land Title company representative.

I had received a BS and MA in archaeology from the University of New Mexico and was conducting cultural resource management (CRM) work throughout New Mexico, particularly in Santa Fe County and often in the Galisteo Basin about 20 minutes south of Santa Fe.

While working on my graduate degree, one of my professors told me about a job opportunity she’d seen listed by the Conservancy for someone to conduct a feasibility study for a possible membership magazine. Knowing nothing about starting up a magazine, but always up for a challenge, I applied and was hired for the temporary position. Once approved by the Board of Directors, American Archaeology magazine was born and I stayed on to help. I chuckled to myself the other day in coming across the post-it note mock-up I had created of the prospective magazine, complete with membership insert – not so far from the layout of today’s magazine, now in its 19th year!

Young Class enjoying reading American Archaeology Magazine after a Class Archaeology Presentation.
A Young Class enjoying reading American Archaeology Magazine after a Class Archaeology Presentation.

Wow, I’ve worked with the Conservancy a long time! Most of us here have, bringing our infants to work, now teenagers, hard to believe! It has been exciting to be a part of the Conservancy team. As Assistant Editor for the magazine, I get to research, write about, and often visit fascinating archaeological sites in such diverse settings as Blackwater Draw and Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, the Four Corners region of Colorado, Vero Beach in Florida, Rock Art Ranch in Arizona, Yellowstone National Park (see feature on Ice Patch Archaeology, which won the 2016 Gene Stuart Award for writing that brings awareness of archaeology to the public eye from the Society for American Anthropology), and Pensacola Bay, Fla (to check out the newly discovered Spanish Colonial Luna settlement & shipwrecks.) to name a few recent ones.

As Southwest Regional Coordinator, I often write National Register nominations for Conservancy preserves in the Southwest, as well as cultural resource management plans, educational handouts/posters, and grant proposals. I love going out to rarely seen sites that are often incredibly well-preserved, often protected by landowners for generations. To the landowner who has so carefully guarded a site for years but perhaps has no heirs or none that are preservation-minded, the Conservancy can offer options for establishing their treasure as an archaeological preserve. To the developer who usually doesn’t have an expensive excavation/data recovery project in the budget, the Conservancy can help set aside a significant portion of the property as a preserve while still allowing for some development.

Galisteo Pueblo Archaeological District, NRHP nomination
Galisteo Pueblo Archaeological District, NRHP nomination

As long-time resident of the Galisteo Basin of north-central NM, it has been particularly exciting to see preservation efforts in this culturally rich region gaining momentum. In 2004 Congress passed the Galisteo Basin Archaeological Sites Protection Act, recognizing and calling for the preservation of 25 highly significant sites in and around the basin. Written by the Conservancy’s president Mark Michel and colleague archaeologist John Roney, the Act has spurred much interest and documentation in the basin.

a Bajada Mesa marks the southern end of the Galisteo Basin and was an important area prehistorically.
La Bajada Mesa marks the southern end of the Galisteo Basin and was an important area prehistorically.

The Conservancy just recently acquired a portion of Manzanares Pueblo, one of the sites included in the Act, bringing TAC holdings in the greater basin to eight sites included in the Act, as well as other important sites such as those on Lodestar Ranch.  A Multiple Property Documentation Form I had prepared for the greater Galisteo Basin (supported by a grant from the BLM and State of NM) was listed in the National Register, with individual nominations for each of the sites coming up for review. Involving a tremendous amount of collaboration with tribal representatives, agencies, landowners, archaeologists, and historians, seeing this project coming to fruition after years of effort is truly heartening.

recording a mining site this past fall at the SF County's recently acquired San Pedro Open Space in southeastern SFCounty, which contains portions of the historic San Pedro mining townsite.
Recording a mining site at the SF County’s recently acquired San Pedro Open Space in southeastern SF County, which contains portions of the historic San Pedro mining town site.

The Conservancy’s preserves, now numbering over 505, are key pieces to many important archaeological puzzles across North America, truly a treasury. (Read Tamara’s piece celebrating TAC preserving over 500 sites “Five Hundred and Counting”.) We’re all making a difference and its working! Site by site.

~ By Tamara Stewart

Assistant Editor of American Archaeology Magazine & Southwest Regional Coordinator, TAC

Doing an outreach educational day at a local Santa Fe school.
Doing an outreach educational day at a local Santa Fe school.

Check out Tamara’s most current American Archaeology piece “Finding Luna” in our Winter 16-17 Issue, and  another recent piece “Seeing Archaeological Wonders in our National Parks” from our Summer 2016 Issue.

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Biesterfeldt Earth Lodge is A New National Historic Landmark

The Biesterfeldt Site Archaeological Preserve, North Dakota. Lush grass, few neighbors, no problems.
The Biesterfeldt Site Archaeological Preserve, North Dakota.

WASHINGTON – As the National Park Service enters its second century of service and strives to tell a more inclusive and diverse story of America’s history, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today announced the designation of 24 new National Historic Landmarks.

The Archaeological Conservancy is proud to join in announcing that the earth lodge village of the Biesterfeldt Site, North Dakota, originally protected and preserved by the Conservancy, is among this new group of National Historic Landmarks.

Copy of Lewis 1890 map of the Biesterfeldt site. Adapted from a copy available at the State Historical Society, Bismarck.
Copy of Lewis 1890 map of the Biesterfeldt site. Adapted from a copy available at the State Historical Society, Bismarck.

The National Historic Landmarks Program recognizes historic properties of exceptional value to the nation and promotes the preservation efforts of federal, state, and local agencies and Native American tribes, as well as those of private organizations and individuals. The program is one of more than a dozen administered by the National Park Service that provide states and local communities technical assistance, recognition and funding to help preserve our nation’s shared history and create close-to-home recreation opportunities.

“These 24 new designations depict different threads of the American story that have been told through activism, architecture, music, and religious observance,” said Secretary Jewell. “Their designation ensures future generations have the ability to learn from the past as we preserve and protect the historic value of these properties and the more than 2,500 other landmarks nationwide.”

If not already so recognized, properties designated as National Historic Landmarks are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

“As the National Park Service kicks off its second century of stewardship of America’s natural and historic treasures, we look forward to connecting new generations of Americans to the places and stories recognized as National Historic Landmarks today,” said National Park Service Acting Director Michael T. Reynolds.

The Biesterfeldt Site in Ransom County, North Dakota, is an earth lodge village site culturally identifiable as having been occupied by the Cheyenne Indians ca. 1724-1780. As the only known representative of that relatively brief period in their history during which they pursued a horticultural way of life, the archeological site has the potential to yield critical information on the history of that tribe and various neighboring tribes.

Biesterfeldt site view to the southwest.
Biesterfeldt site view to the southwest.

The Biesterfeldt site is the only sizable village site on the Sheyenne River, and the trade goods recovered from it date it to the mid- to late eighteenth century, the time when ethnographic and documentary evidence place the Cheyenne there. The preserve was an important settlement of the Cheyenne during their transformation from a settled horticultural society of the Eastern Woodlands to a society of equestrian bison-hunters of the Plains.

Biesterfeldt site has the potential to inform us about the development of Plains Indian culture during a period of intense and dramatic change.

Resistance survey, Biesterfeldt site. The data have been despiked, edge-matched, and a high pass filter (X and Y radius = 10 with uniform weighting) has been applied.
Resistance survey, Biesterfeldt site. The data have been despiked, edge-matched, and a high pass filter (X and Y radius = 10 with uniform weighting) has been applied.

The Archaeological Conservancy is the only national, nonprofit organization that identifies, acquires, and preserves the most significant archaeological sites in the United States. Since its beginning in 1980, the Conservancy has now preserved over 505 sites across the nation, ranging in age from the earliest habitation sites in North America to a 19th-century frontier army post. Learn about our amazing 500th Site. We are building a national system of archaeological preserves to ensure the survival of our irreplaceable cultural heritage. Learn More about The Archaeological Conservancy.

Topographic Map with Location of Houses, Pits, Ditch, Lewis Entrance.
Topographic Map with Location of Houses, Pits, Ditch, Lewis Entrance.

https://www.doi.gov/pressreleases/interior-department-announces-24-new-national-historic-landmarks , Contacts: Interior_Press@ios.doi.gov , Thomas Crosson thomas_crosson@nps.gov

 Examples of Fine-line Incised Ceramics from RM-215 (Schultz) and RM 210 ( ) that anticipate some of the styles found on Biesterfeldt ceramics.
Examples of Fine-line Incised Ceramics from RM-215 (Schultz) and RM 210 ( ) that anticipate some of the styles found on Biesterfeldt ceramics.

Help Support The Archaeological Conservancy into 2017

Holmes Group LiDAR Image By Richard Friedman
Holmes Group LiDAR Image By Richard Friedman

This past year has been a tremendous success with the help of generous donors like yourself. Because our amazing Conservancy members, we have preserved more than 23 sites from damage and destruction in 2016 – sites that otherwise might have been dug up by looters, razed for development, or simply damaged by neglect. Please GIVE so we can continue this important preservation work. 

Since 1980, we’ve permanently protected over 505 sites in 45 states. We’ve established long term relationships with archaeologists, tribal leaders, and landowners.

Even though we’ve achieved so much, there is still a lot of work to be done. Help support us begin 2017 with the resources to meet these challenges! Today, we face many more challenges than we did 36 years ago. Development continues to grow, demand for artifacts on the black market increases every year with the rise of internet sales, and environmental threats continue to endanger sites that aren’t properly stabilized.

That’s why today I’m asking you to give a special year-end contribution to our General Fund. Your tax-deductible year-end gift of $25, $50, $100 or more will help provide us with the resources to identify, negotiate and acquire sites throughout the country.

This year, the General Fund was instrumental in the preservation of many invaluable sites, including:

  • Steel Earthworks, located in south central Ohio, contains the highest concentration of small earthworks so far discovered in Ohio. This 73-acre site is the Conservancy’s sixth large Hopewell preserve in the area. From about 100 B.C. to A.D. 500, the Hopewell produced massive earthworks. Unfortunately, many sites in the region have been destroyed by modern farming and urban sprawl. Steel Earthworks is unusual in that one circular earthwork remains visible despite decades of plowing. It measures 300 feet in diameter with an interior ditch and earthen wall. In addition to the visible earthwork and one known from a 19th century map, a 2007 magnetometer survey revealed nine more earthworks with little in the way of surface traces.
  • The Conservancy preserved two Chaco sites in New Mexico this year, the Holmes Group and the 500th Site Pueblo. Holmes Group, our 501st site saved, is considered one of the largest and most complex of all the Chaco-period occupation sites. In 1984 archaeologists conducted a survey that identified and mapped 127 surface features at the site. Today, rubble mounds conceal a series of structures and features built from dressed sandstone and river cobbles that include two great houses, two great kivas, and two cobble masonry structures. Prehistoric roads leading to the settlement are clearly visible in LiDAR images of the site, and aerial photos show a 1,000-foot diameter artificial swale enclosing the community center.
The landowner (left) and Mr. Lawrence (center) look on as Hannah Mattson of the University of New Mexico analyzes ceramics found in a midden at the Conservancy’s 500th site. Photo Credit: Chaz Evans
The landowner (left) and Mr. Lawrence (center) look on as Hannah Mattson of the University of New Mexico
analyzes ceramics found in a midden at the Conservancy’s 500th site. Photo Credit: Chaz Evans
  • The 500th Site Pueblo, a 45-acre Chaco outlier occupied from A.D. 1050 to 1130, is located on a ranch near Grants. The site has a cluster of about a dozen or more dispersed masonry roomblocks, trash middens, and an abundance of ceramics including Puerco black-on-red and Gallup black-on-white. Despite more than a century of excavation and study at Chaco, archaeologists still differ over exactly what Chaco was. More questions than answers exist about the path that took Chaco from a vibrant cultural center to total abandonment. Research at both of these sites may shed some light on the mysteries of Chaco and the Chacoan phenomenon.
  • The Legend Rock site in Wyoming is an approximately 1,600-yard-long cliff that contains more than 330 prehistoric petroglyph panels and over 900 petroglyphs. Dating from 7,000 to 1,500 years old, the site was not only a spiritual place, but also a habitation site as evidenced by a bison processing area. There also appears to be red ochre processing pits. Red ochre was used in the caching of lithic material, burials, and pictograph production. Some of the images include complex human, animal and geometric forms as well as bows, arrows, eagles, and horses. The landowners generously offered to donate the site to the Conservancy. Accepting the donation is just the first step in ensuring Legend Rock is preserved. Using the General Fund, the Conservancy covers the closing costs, develops a management plan, and funds all the steps necessary to protect the site from vandalism, looters, and the environment.

Next year, we hope to save even more. Help Support the Archaeological Conservancy into 2017 !

In the Northeast, we continue our efforts to preserve sites of Native cultures. This region has a rich heritage of occupation, including the various tribes of the Iroquois, Algonquin, and Ritwan language groups.

In the Southeast, we’ve stepped up our efforts to save mound sites threatened by looters and modern agricultural practices.

In the Midwest, we’re aggressively pursuing sites built by the mysterious moundbuilders. Because urban sprawl is an increasing problem here, we spend a lot of time negotiating with developers.

In the Southwest, we continue our 36 years of acquiring important Anasazi, Hohokam, Caddo and other sites.

In the West, while most of the coast is already developed, we are hard at work on the many sites that remain in the interior regions.

It’s your generosity that keeps our cultural legacy alive. I know that the Conservancy is just one of many organizations asking for your help. That’s why I hope that as you consider your year-end giving, you’ll feel that the preservation of this great nation’s past is one effort that merits your support.

With my best regards and wishes for a happy and prosperous New Year,

Mark Michel, The Archaeological Conservancy President

Steel Earthworks Clipping

McCarty Mound (Illinois)

McCarty Mound, an unusual Woodland Period Mound, Lies in East St. Louis
McCarty Mound, an unusual Woodland Period Mound, Lies in East St. Louis

The American Bottom is located across the Mississippi River from Saint Louis, Missouri, and it’s the largest expanse of floodplain on the river. Though it has a long history of human occupation, it’s been overshadowed by nearby Cahokia Mounds, the largest prehistoric settlement in the United States and a World Heritage Site. The McCarty Mound, the Conservancy’s latest acquisition in the American Bottom, is a first in this area to predate the late prehistoric Mississippian period, the time of Cahokia. A single projectile recovered from the mound dates to the Middle Woodland period, perhaps 1,000 years before the rise of Cahokia and the East Saint Louis Mound Group.

The McCarty Mound is located at the western edge of East St. Louis, Illinois. In the mid-nineteenth century, local dentist and antiquarian J.R. Patrick produced a map showing McCarty to be one of three mounds lying between Cahokia and the nearby East Saint Louis Mound Group. Today The other two mounds have apparently been obliterated, and the top of McCarty was removed, reducing it to a rectangular platform approximately three-feet high.

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

Explore Other Featured Conservancy Sites!

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