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.

Remembering The Public: Connecting Archaeology & Outreach

Working on excavations at the Burch House site at Port Tobacco. Photo Courtesy Kelley Berliner.
Working on excavations at the Burch House site at Port Tobacco. Photo Courtesy Kelley Berliner.

Introducing Our Eastern Regional Field Assistant: Kelley Berliner

As a kid, historical markers, antique malls, flea markets, steam engine tractor shows, and just about anything else that had to do with old things were mandatory stops on road trips with my dad, so it did not come as much of a surprise that I developed a fondness for history from an early age. Growing up in Maryland with its extensive native, colonial and Civil War history meant there was never a shortage of places to explore.

Flash forward to the week after graduating with a B.A.in Anthropology from the University of Toronto. I found myself on a volunteer excavation run by the Archaeological Society of Maryland. The site was Port Tobacco, an early colonial port town located in southern Maryland. It is also the likely site of Potobac, a Native American village associated with the Piscataway Indian Tribe. The work consisted of sorting through a myriad of prehistoric and historic artifacts while uncovering some of the foundations of the early town. My enthusiasm for working in the dirt landed me a job with the archaeologist supervising the excavation who ran a small cultural resource management firm that focused on archaeological testing in central and southern Maryland.

After learning skills in both the field and lab, not to mention how to deal with tick bites and other less-than-pleasant parts of the job, I decided archaeology was the line of work for me and headed to the College of William and Mary in pursuit of a master’s degree. As I narrowed my research I realized that one thing really stuck with me: the importance of making archaeology accessible to the public. This was certainly not a marvel conclusion—many archaeologists have been arguing for more public and collaborative archaeology for decades—but it did help determine how I wanted to engage with the discipline. I returned to Port Tobacco for my M.A. research where, instead of spending my time excavating, I interviewed the residents to see how they felt about the work being done. The resulting conversations revealed a mix of enthusiasm and frustration. Some of the town residents felt like the archaeologists ignored their input, and many disagreements came down to biases inherent in historic locally-produced maps and the problems of memory and nostalgia. While no simple solutions to these disagreements exist, my experience lead to greater insight of how people engage with the past and how archaeological research, grounded in fact-based evidence, had the potential to generate serious conflict within parts of the community.

Learning how to use a total station to map coordinates of shovel tests during survey work. Photo Courtesy Kelley Berliner.
Learning how to use a total station to map coordinates of shovel tests during survey work. Photo Courtesy Kelley Berliner.

This experience was useful during a summer working as the Public Outreach Coordinator for the Fort St. Joseph Archaeology Project in Niles, Michigan. This amazing site was thought to be lost under the river until archaeologists from Western Michigan University began testing along the banks and revealed intact deposits. The fort dates to the 1690s and has associations with the French, English, Spanish, and United States armies (which is how the City of Niles earned the nickname ‘City of Four Flags’). At this site I assisted with excavations, tours, and event planning, including making arrangements for the annual Open House. I regularly worked with residents of Niles, some of who sat on an advisory council for the project. The more I spoke with residents the more I learned about the challenges presented when archaeologists and residents have somewhat differing visions for the future of a public archaeology project. These issues are still being navigated during ongoing excavations of the fort. This experience reinforced how I wanted to participate in the discipline: while I thoroughly enjoyed excavation and research I wanted to continue to find ways to connect people to archaeology.

The author with Niles resident Barbara Cook (here in period garb), a longtime supporter of archaeology and public outreach at the Fort St. Joseph Open House. Photo Courtesy Kelley Berliner.
The author with Niles resident Barbara Cook (here in period garb), a longtime supporter of archaeology and public outreach at the Fort St. Joseph Open House. Photo Courtesy Kelley Berliner.

Moving to Montreal after finishing my degree offered yet another perspective. Here the communities of First Nations peoples face difficulties in having their stories heard against the backdrop of both English and French exploration and settlement.  After spending a few years working with various departments at the University of McGill, I headed back south to my Mid-Atlantic homeland after taking a job with the Archaeological Conservancy. Canada is full of fantastic sites (check out our upcoming Canadian tour!) but I was happy to move back into territory that was more familiar.

Looking at site maps with Conservancy President Mark Michel and Maine State Archaeologist Art Spiess at the Dresden Preserve in Maine. Photo The Archaeological Conservancy.
Looking at site maps with Conservancy President Mark Michel and Maine State Archaeologist Art Spiess at the Dresden Preserve in Maine. Photo The Archaeological Conservancy.

Working for the Conservancy has given me the opportunity to visit some of the most amazing archaeological sites in the region, sites that I never imagined I would have an opportunity to see, much less help preserve and maintain. While it would be difficult to choose a favorite site, I particularly enjoyed working on the Footer site which became a Conservancy preserve in 2015. This site is dear to me as the first acquisition that I was a part of from the very beginning, being responsible for finding the site in museum records, collecting information on the excavations that had been conducted, and then working with the landowner to see it permanently preserved.

The Footer site came to by attention while doing research at the Rochester Museum and Science Center, which holds the files for the archaeological sites in that region of New York. Research conducted in the 1950s resulted in the identification of several pre-Iroquoian sites in the region, one of which was the Footer site. It was identified as a pre-Iroquoian habitation site that dates to between AD 1300 and 1500. After reviewing the excavation notes the site seemed like a good fit for preservation and the Eastern Office reached out to the landowners, Joe and Janet Green.

The Footer Preserve in New York State. Photo The Archaeological Conservancy.
The Footer Preserve in New York State. Photo The Archaeological Conservancy.

History lovers themselves, Joe and Janet kindly welcomed us into their home and happily entertained our visits to the site. They had been excellent stewards of the site, and agreed to a bargain-sale to charity to have the Conservancy permanently protect the resource. Given the Green’s interest in the site we were able to arrange a behind-the-scenes tour at the Rochester Museum. Kathryn Murano Santos, the Senior Director for Collections and Exhibits, and George Hamell, Curator of the Rock Foundation Collection, helped pull some of the artifacts from the Footer site. It was great to have the opportunity to share these resources with the Greens. Working with landowners is a big part of the job, and this is a critical type of public outreach as we explain sites and the importance of protecting them on a case-by-case basis. Each time we contact someone about a site there is an opportunity for engagement and collaboration. Working with the Greens was made easy since they were already aware of the site’s importance and were eager to collaborate.

George Hamell discussing the Footer site at the Rochester Museum. Photo The Archaeological Conservancy.
George Hamell discussing the Footer site at the Rochester Museum. Photo The Archaeological Conservancy.

The Archaeological Conservancy has shown me yet another way of conducting public outreach in archaeology. After all, the sites we are preserving are places where this land’s most important history took place, and they deserve to be protected for the education and enjoyment of future generations. Working with researchers and landowners on such a personal level had emphasized this importance, continuing to remind me of the necessity of engaging the public in order to continue to garner support and interest for ongoing archaeological research and preservation efforts. On that note, a gracious thank you to all of our members and tour participants who recognize the value of archaeology and support the Conservancy’s efforts!

~By Kelley Berliner

Bio: Kelley Berliner has served as the Eastern field representative since 2013. She holds a BA in Anthropology from the University of Toronto and an MA in Historical Archaeology from the College of William and Mary. Prior to joining the Conservancy she spent time working as a cultural resource management archaeologist and was involved with the Port Tobacco and Fort St. Joseph Archaeology Projects. Her efforts in these projects kindled her interest in working with property owners and promoting archaeological outreach.

Read Kelley’s Recent Update “Touring The French & Indian War – Photo Blog

An incised pot from the Footer site, at the the Rochester Museum.
An incised pot from the Footer site, at the the Rochester Museum.

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

Learn More about What The Archaeological Conservancy Does

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

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Saving Places: Prospect Hill Open House

After the welcome, guest were treated to musician William Ross, a student in Jackson State University’s Classical Music Program, playing “Amazing Grace.” (Photo H.P. Lail Photography)
After the welcome, guest were treated to musician William Ross, a student in Jackson State University’s Classical Music Program, playing “Amazing Grace.” (Photo H.P. Lail Photography)

While most Conservancy preserves in the Southeast Region are prehistoric Native American earthworks, we do have a few more recent historic sites such as Colonial Era forts, Civil War earthworks, and we have one plantation that dates back to the early 1800’s. The plantation, Prospect Hill Plantation, is located in Mississippi and was established by a veteran of the Revolutionary War who moved there from South Carolina named Isaac Ross. By the time of his death in 1836, Isaac Ross owned nearly 3,000 acres and there were approximately 250 enslaved individuals on the plantation. This part of Mississippi was known for its large plantations and the concentration of wealthy planters, and that was not unusual. Prospect Hill has a more interesting aspect to its history because Ross left instructions in his will that allowed his slaves to emigrate to a colony that had been established by the American Colonization Society on the west coast of Africa in what is now Liberia.

A grandson challenged the will and during an extended court battle of nine years, there was an uprising at Prospect Hill. The original house was burned and a six-year-old girl died in the fire. Some of the slaves who were believed to have been responsible for the fire were executed on the plantation by the overseer and locals. The will was later upheld in court and although 200 of the enslaved workers chose to embark on the difficult and dangerous journey to Africa, some slaves did stay and went to other family plantations. Those slaves who were freed and left Prospect Hill found life in their new home difficult. The Ross estate was supposed to have used proceeds of the sale of one cotton crop and all the land, livestock and tools of the plantation to furnish the emigrants with supplies they would need to build houses, farm and even a school, once they arrived in Africa, but the long lawsuit had depleted its funds. Regardless, those who left Prospect Hill and survived the voyage across the Atlantic to a settlement named Greenville (after a town in Mississippi) persevered and many of their descendants became the most prominent leaders of Liberia.

Prospect Hill Gardens. Photo by HP Lail Photography.
Prospect Hill Gardens. Photo by HP Lail Photography.

The grandson who challenged the will did end up with the site of the original house and built the house that stands there now in 1854. This house, along with 23.4 acres is now The Conservancy’s Prospect Hill preserve. The site is unique for many reasons. Although only the house and one outbuilding are still standing, the foundations of many outbuildings are still easily visible, as are the remains of early to mid-1900’s tenant houses that are in the area where the slave dwellings were. There are also remains of the cotton gin.

Remaining Foundations of the Kitchen Laundry Building. Photo The Archaeological Conservancy.
Remaining Foundations of the Kitchen Laundry Building. Photo The Archaeological Conservancy.

There has been very little ground disturbance on the property and when The Conservancy purchased it, it had been neglected for many years and literally had to be “cut out of the surrounding woods” so to speak. Unlike many preserved antebellum sites in Mississippi, Prospect Hill was an actual working plantation, unlike the famous restored town houses of nearby Natchez. Prospect Hill also dates to 1808, which is a little earlier than some of those around it.

The Main House at Propect Hill Plantation. Photo by HP Lail Photography.
The Main House at Propect Hill Plantation. Photo by HP Lail Photography.

As the field of Plantation Archaeology has grown in other areas and at famous houses like Jefferson’s Monticello House: Plantation and Slavery research, and his Poplar Forest Home, and the Slave Plantation Community. Prospect Hill has its own contributions to make to learning about the lives of those who were enslaved there.  There is also the Mississippi to Liberia connection, and the possibilities of recognizing traces of their lives in Mississippi at sites at the colony in Liberia.

Photographers and visitors look on as SE Regional Director, Jessica Crawford, and a descendant of the Prospect Hill family welcome everyone to Prospect Hill. (Photo Duke Beasley)
Photographers and visitors look on as SE Regional Director, Jessica Crawford, and a descendant of the Prospect Hill family welcome everyone to Prospect Hill. (Photo Duke Beasley)

We recently held an open house so those who have supported Prospect Hill and followed its progress could visit and see what we have done. Descendants of the Ross family and descendants of the enslaved mingled side by side and shared stories and photos. To begin that the day Reverend Sam Godfrey, 5th generation grandson of Captain Isaac Ross will bless the house and our new roof. Afterward, we will be treated to music from William Ross, descendant of those enslaved and freeed at the Ross Plantation, who is from Natchez and is in the Classical Music Program at Jackson State University. William is also featured on the soundtrack for the documentary “Mississippi Madam: The Life of Nellie Jackson” and has his own solo projects. James Belton, descendant of those who were enslaved at Prospect Hill was there with information about his ties to Prospect Hill and African American genealogy. Mary Belton, was the sister-in-law of Captain Isaac Ross and was visiting Prospect Hill when she died and is buried in our cemetery. Mr. Belton’s ancestors were originally part of the Belton Plantation back in South Carolina. Locals who are interested in sharing the story of Prospect Hill attended and friends who have volunteered on clean up days came and archaeologists with interests in the site were there, too.

James Belton, a descendant of the enslaved at Prospect Hill discusses his genealogical research and his ancestors. (Photo Duke Beasley)
James Belton, a descendant of the enslaved at Prospect Hill discusses his genealogical research and his ancestors. (Photo Duke Beasley)

The house is still standing, but after years of neglect, it needs lots of work. In 2011, Prospect Hill was included in the Mississippi Heritage Trust’s list of of Mississippi’s 10 Most Endangered Historic Sites. Because the Conservancy purchased it to preserve the archaeology of Prospect Hill, we are hoping to find someone willing to purchase the house and land from us, while we retain a protective easement on the archaeology. (Help support our efforts Saving Prospect Hill)  Its location near Natchez, Mississippi, a place known for its beautifully restored antebellum mansions, will hopefully result in a buyer. (Interested in becoming a partner? Contact us!)

Local officials have taken an interest in the preservation of Prospect Hill and met at the Open House to discuss the significance in saving the history of the area. (Photo Duke Beasley)
Local officials have taken an interest in the preservation of Prospect Hill and met at the Open House to discuss the significance in saving the history of the area. (Photo Duke Beasley)

Until last November, there was a resident peacock at Prospect Hill who moved in the house 12 years ago, when the last owner abandoned it. He was more than happy to be photographed by visitors and was like a pet to me. Then, suddenly, he disappeared. We named him Isaac.

While it is not typical of the Conservancy’s projects and it has required a lot of extra time and work, it has brought together an extraordinary and diverse group of people who care about it. In order to stop some of the deterioration of the house, the Conservancy recently put a new roof on the house. We applied for and received a $50,000 grant from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History and raised another $64,000 through individual contributions specifically for the roof. We’ve received support from locals, historians, Historic Preservationists, and descendants of the Ross family and descendants of the enslaved at Prospect Hill.

A refreshment table beneath the 200 year old cedars was stocked with donated sweets from our supporters. The open house began with a “blessing of the new roof” by a descendant of the Ross family. (photo Jerry Bangham)
A refreshment table beneath the 200 year old cedars was stocked with donated sweets from our supporters.
The open house began with a “blessing of the new roof” by a descendant of the Ross family. (photo Jerry Bangham)
Well-known photographer, Butch Ruth, photographing Prospect Hill with an early 1900’s camera that could have been used when it was originally built. (Photo Duke Beasley)
Well-known photographer, Butch Ruth, photographing Prospect Hill with an early 1900’s camera that could have been used when it was originally built. (Photo Duke Beasley)

In 2004, a book about Prospect Hill, Mississippi In Africa: The Saga of the Slaves of Prospect Hill Plantation and their Legacy in Africa Today, and its author, Alan Huffman, who has become a great friend and supporter was there as well.

Mississippi in Africa by Alan Huffman. Book Cover.
Mississippi in Africa by Alan Huffman.

Just working on the acquisition of the site, trying to stop the house from falling into complete ruin has been a learning experience for me and as a Southerner, put me in the position of confronting some uncomfortable aspects of the place that is my home. Until just recently, I had never had an in-depth conversation about slavery with a descendant of someone who was enslaved. As an archaeologist, my research interests were in Archaic cultures of the Southeast. I’ve learned so much through my own research and contact with archaeologists working at sites related to enslaved Africans and those who work with descendant African American communities. I was able to take part in an overnight stay “Charles Towne Landing: Ground Zero for the Slavery that Existed in South Carolina” with Joseph McGill of The Slave Dwelling Project in Charleston, South Carolina and hope to host him at Prospect Hill. I’ve seen the descendants of enslaved people conducting excavations at slave dwellings and that’s important.

The Conservancy’s preserve at Prospect Hill has an important role to play in all of this. I’ve already seen it touch people very deeply. It has touched me very deeply. It’s an example of how as an organization, The Conservancy does much more than just protect archaeology. What we do touches lives and it’s far reaching. In this case, it reaches all the way to Africa. We’ve spent a tremendous amount of time and effort ensuring that Prospect Hill will endure to become a place for research and even reconciliation. It was obvious at this very special Open House Saturday, April 29th, that it is well on its way.

The open house began with a “blessing of the new roof” by a descendant of the Ross family. (photo Jerry Bangham)
The open house began with a “blessing of the new roof” by a descendant of the Ross family. (photo Jerry Bangham)

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Binghamton Field School Starts Work at Archaeological Preserve

Metal Detecting Work Underway at Queen Esther's Town. Credit: Binghamton University Fieldschool
Metal Detecting Work Underway at Queen Esther's Town. Credit: Binghamton University Fieldschool

The Archaeological Conservancy and Binghamton University  are very happy to announce the start of the 2017 Binghamton Field School investigating an 18th century Native American village site in northern Pennsylvania. The site, known as “Queen Esther’s Town,” is one of several sites on land preserved by the Archaeological Conservancy.  The Queen Esther’s Town Preserve is located in northern Pennsylvania. The site, which is more than 92 acres, sits along an expansive floodplain near the confluence of the Susquehanna and Chemung Rivers. After working for over a decade to acquire the property, the Conservancy was finally able to purchase this historic site.

The locale was home to a community of Delaware Indians and led by Queen Esther, a prominent woman of French and Native descent, during the American Revolution. Historic records describe the village as having 70 houses and cattle grazing lands, all of which were destroyed in September 1778 as part of the American campaign against British-allied Native American villages. The area was surface collected by collectors and avocational archaeologists during the 20th century, but little is known about the village layout and individual structures. This is the first controlled subsurface investigation of the village site, guided by the results of a geophysical survey this spring. The project is being led by Professor Siobhan Hart and Dr. Nina M. Versaggi of Binghamton University.

The five-week field school includes intensive training in Northeastern Native American history, archaeological survey techniques and excavation, laboratory methods and artifact analysis, archaeological interpretation, and other kinds of evidence integral to interpretations of the past, such as geology, oral history, and written records. As the work is being done on a site preserved by The Archaeology Conservancy many non-destructive techniques are being employed, and much of the site will remain intact. Students started with metal detecting surveys. Now test pit excavations are underway, as the field school completes their second week.

The Archaeological Conservancy and Binghamton University are excited to learn what may be discovered about the true extent and layout of the site during this summer’s field school on this truly historic site.

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 Nevada. 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 Archaeological Conservancy.

Press Contact:

Andy Stout, Eastern Regional Director, (301)682-6359

 

 

POINT-6 Emergency Preservation Program Begins

POINT 6 Logo Created by Artist Mathew Hanson-Weller featuring 6 hand drawn points.
POINT 6 Logo Created by Artist Mathew Hanson-Weller featuring 6 hand drawn points.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Albuquerque, New Mexico – June 14, 2017 – The Archaeological Conservancy is excited to announce the launch of the POINT-6 Program (Protect Our Irreplaceable National Treasures). This is the sixth phase of an emergency acquisition project intended to purchase and preserve significant sites in immediate danger of destruction.

POINT was introduced in 2000 with a $1 million dollar challenge grant the Conservancy had to match dollar for dollar in order to receive the funds. Through the support of members, foundations, and corporations, the Conservancy was able to raise the matching funds. The overwhelming success of the program prompted five additional phases of the project. Inspired by the past success of POINT and driven by the impact of the emergency funds on our preservation efforts, Conservancy board member, Leslie Masson and her husband Colin, have generously pledged a $1 million dollar challenge grant to launch the POINT-6 Program. Leslie is passionate about archaeology and preservation of our national prehistoric heritage.

The greatest obstacle in saving these sites is funding. Realizing this, Leslie and Colin made the challenge grant with the expectation of building on the success of past POINT Programs. The $1 million dollar gift must be matched dollar for dollar by June 2019. The funds will be used quickly to acquire highly endangered archaeological sites around the nation – sites that are in imminent danger of being destroyed or sold, as well as those sites for which a cash offer is required in order to make a purchase.

Mark Michel, the Conservancy’s President, stated, “Our POINT program has a proven record that enables the Conservancy to save eminently endangered archaeological sites.This new phase will build on that success.”

The POINT-6 Program will focus primarily on sites in five geographic regions, as well as the sites of one national culture, the Paleo-Indians, who were the earliest inhabitants of the Americas. Although any endangered site of national significance will be eligible for protection under the program, regional preservation will focus on the following areas: Great Basin archaeology of the West; Four Corners archaeology of the Southwest; Algonquian and Iroquois village sites of the Northeast; Mississippian sites in the Southeast; and Moundbuilder sites of the Ohio Valley.

To date, the Conservancy has protected 134 highly threatened sites throughout the nation through the POINT Program. This project makes cash immediately available to rescue sites that are in eminent danger. By taking a thematic approach, the Conservancy will ensure that endangered sites are preserved for posterity, saving phenomenal pieces of America’s prehistory.

Become Part of the POINT-6 Preservation Effort !

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 Archaeological Conservancy.

Press Contact:

Mark Michel, 505.266-1540, tacstaff@nm.net

American Archaeology Magazine Summer 2017 is Here!

Summer 2017 American Archaeology Magazine Cover
Summer 2017 American Archaeology Magazine Cover

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

  • COVER: In 1929, Charles and Anne Lindbergh photographed Pueblo del Arroyo, a great house in Chaco Canyon.
  • Credit: Lindbergh Collection, MIAC/Lab MIAC Cat. # 70.1 / 149

Articles:

CHARLES LINDBERGH’S LITTLE-KNOWN PASSION BY TAMARA JAGER STEWART
The famous aviator made important contributions to aerial archaeology.

COMITY IN THE CAVES BY JULIAN SMITH
Sixteenth-century inscriptions found in caves on Mona Island in the Caribbean suggest that the Spanish respected the natives’ religious expressions.

A TOUR OF CIVIL WAR BATTLEFIELDS BY PAULA NEELY
These sites serve as a reminder of this crucial moment in America’s history.

CURING THE CURATION PROBLEM BY TOM KOPPEL
The Sustainable Archaeology project in Ontario, Canada, endeavors to preserve and share the province’s cultural heritage.

THE FATES OF VERY ANCIENT REMAINS BY MIKE TONER
Only a few sets of human remains over 8,000 years old have been discovered in America. What becomes of these remains can vary dramatically from one case to the next.

THE POINT-6 EMERGENCY PRESERVATION PROGRAM BEGINS

New Acquisition
THAT PLACE CALLED HOME
Dahinda Meda protected Terrarium’s remarkable cultural resources for decades. Now the Conservancy will continue his work.

Get your Copy of SUMMER 2017 Now! Receive a subscription to American Archaeology Magazine with a $30 annual donation. 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, SPRING 2017

Explore Back Issues Online. Back issues, 2 years old or older, are available online to search and download. Order hard copies of Back Issues mailed to your home.

Charles Lindbergh’s Little-Known Passion

Canyon de Chelly’s White House Ruin is seen at the edge of the river. The Lindberghs’ pictures may have played a role in Canyon de Chelly being declared a national monument in 1931. Lindbergh Collection, MIAC/Lab MIAC cat# 70.1 / 197
Canyon de Chelly’s White House Ruin is seen at the edge of the river. The Lindberghs’ pictures may have played a role in Canyon de Chelly being declared a national monument in 1931. Lindbergh Collection, MIAC/Lab MIAC cat# 70.1 / 197.

SUMMER 2017: By Tamara Jager Stewart.

In 1927 an obscure U.S. Air Mail pilot named Charles A. Lindbergh completed the first solo trans-Atlantic flight from New York to Paris, thereby achieving word-wide fame. Virtually everyone knows about Lucky Lindy’s historic flight in the Spirit of St. Louis. But few people know that Lindbergh was also a pioneer in the field of aerial archaeology. Vocational historian and writer Erik Berg has extensively researched Lindbergh’s life and aerial archaeological surveys, bringing to light his efforts to help locate and document ancient sites and landscapes.

“Lindbergh always had broad and varied interests and his fame from the 1927 Atlantic flight opened a lot of doors for him to indulge those interests,” said Berg. “His interest in archaeology stems from spotting Maya ruins in the jungle while flying over the Yucatán in the winter of 1928-29, scouting possible air routes for Pan-American Airways.”

Shortly after spying the stone ruins from his plane, Lindbergh visited the Smithsonian Institution to find out more about them. He was sent to John Merriam, the director of the nearby Carnegie Institution of Washington (now the Carnegie Institution of Science), who described their ongoing archaeological investigations in the Maya region of southern Mexico, and at Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings and settlements in Canyon de Chelly in Arizona, and Chaco Canyon and the Pecos Valley in New Mexico. Lindbergh quickly volunteered to photograph these areas when flying nearby.

“Lindbergh was always looking for new uses for aviation, and since he was already flying through both these regions as part of his airline work, he volunteered his time and plane,” explained Berg. “For Lindbergh, it was both a way to indulge in a new interest, archaeology, and further the cause of aviation as a tool for science.”

Excerpt.

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

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 .

Click To Explore Our Online Bonus Images For The Story:

Comity In The Caves of Mona Island

An extensive panel of indigenous iconography. These finger-drawn designs span the entire ceiling of this chamber in Cave 18. The motifs and designs reflect the spiritual belief systems of the indigenous population. Credit: Photos by Jago Cooper and Alice Samson.
An extensive panel of indigenous iconography. These finger-drawn designs span the entire ceiling of this chamber in Cave 18. The motifs and designs reflect the spiritual belief systems of the indigenous population. Credit: Photos by Jago Cooper and Alice Samson.

SUMMER 2017: By Julian Smith.

When Christopher Columbus visited the Isla de Mona, located halfway between Puerto Rico and Hispaniola, in 1494, he found its indigenous residents fishing and farming, part of a thriving Taíno culture that spread across much of the Caribbean. At only twenty-two square miles, Mona is roughly the size of Manhattan. But beneath its surface is another world: an astonishing network of tunnels and caves that often made it easier to get around underground than through the dense vegetation above.

Mona Island is one of the most cavernous places in the world per square mile. Over time, erosion has carved out thousands of spaces, from large cathedral-like rooms to tight tunnels, between a hard lower layer of dolomite and a soft upper layer of limestone. Some of these caves have water, the only permanent sources on the island, and one has twenty-two miles of tunnels, making it the largest coastal cavern in the world. On other Caribbean islands, early inhabitants used caves to deposit bodies and carve or paint symbolic images. Taíno folklore includes accounts of the first human emerging from caves.

Mona, which is now part of Puerto Rico, is an uninhabited island that’s managed as a nature reserve. When Jago Cooper of the British Museum and his colleague, Alice Samson of the University of Leicester, arrived on Mona in 2013, they intended only to conduct an aboveground archaeological survey. “We kind of got sucked into the caves,” said Cooper. What they found quickly became the focus of their work: prehistoric people had left rock art in many of the caverns, usually by carving directly into the soft walls. With help from experts at the Puerto Rico Coastal Cave Survey and the Puerto Rico Department of Environment, Cooper, Samson, and team members from the U.K. and Puerto Rico pushed deeper into the “dark zone” beyond the reach of natural light. (The cave networks tend to be mostly horizontal, but getting to the entrances sometimes involved climbing up or down cliffs.)

Excerpt.

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

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Summer Travel: A Tour Of Civil War Battlefields

The remnants of Fort Stedman at Petersburg National Battlefield are seen here. Confederate forces captured this Union fort in the early morning of March 25, 1865, only to have Union soldiers reclaim it a few hours later.Credit: Buddy Secor.
The remnants of Fort Stedman at Petersburg National Battlefield are seen here. Confederate forces captured this Union fort in the early morning of March 25, 1865, only to have Union soldiers reclaim it a few hours later. Credit: Buddy Secor.

SUMMER 2017: By Paula Neely.

By 1860, after decades of discord between northern and southern states over economic policies, state’s rights, and the role of slavery, the United States had become a divided nation. Southern states, which relied heavily on slave labor, wanted to expand slavery to new states joining the Union, but northern states opposed this.

Soon after the election of President Abraham Lincoln, who pledged not to expand slavery, Southern states began seceding from the Union. The Union refused to recognize their secession, and the South fired the first shots of the Civil War at Fort Sumter, South Carolina, in April, 1861. The war took a tremendous toll. According to the National Park Service, Union forces suffered 642,427 casualties (killed, wounded, and missing), and the Confederates 483,026.

A considerable amount of the fighting took place on the battlefields featured on this tour, most of which are managed by the National Park Service (NPS). Many of the parks encompass a number of battlefields that are located throughout a large geographic area. This tour highlights some of the major battles and historic structures at each destination. (There are battlefields and other Civil War sites in this region that are not part of this tour.)

If you go:

1. Petersburg National Battlefield
2. Richmond National Battlefield Park
3. Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park
4. Manassas National Battlefield Park
5. Monocacy National Battlefield
6. Harpers Ferry National Historical Park
7. Antietam National Battlefield
8. Gettysburg National Military Park
9. Virginia Museum of the Civil War and New Market Battlefield State Historical Park
10. Appomattox Court House National Historical Park

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

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Curing The Curation Problem

A person wearing a virtual-reality headset can view this 3-D, sixteenth-century Iroquois longhouse created by SA Western. Credit: Michael Carter.
A person wearing a virtual-reality headset can view this 3-D, sixteenth-century Iroquois longhouse created by SA Western. Credit: Michael Carter.

SUMMER 2017: By Tom Koppel.

Tall white steel shelves are gradually filling up with green boxes in a new archaeological repository in Ontario, Canada. Each box is stuffed full of archival plastic bags containing artifacts, soil samples, animal bones, and other items from sites in the country’s most populous province. Many represent collections gathered decades ago. Radio frequency tags track the locations of boxes, so no box gets misplaced.

The repository has two facilities—one at McMaster University in Hamilton, and the other at Western University, in London—and together they can accommodate some 80,000 boxes, each box just over three-cubic feet in volume. With their labs and staff, the repositories are the heart of Sustainable Archaeology (SA), a project that is partnered with related initiatives like Digital Antiquity in the United States, Archaeological Data Service in the United Kingdom, and Ariadne in Europe.

SA aims at nothing less than a transformation in the practice and public face of archaeology in Ontario. By applying advanced technologies, its ultimate goal is to mine the archived collections for new kinds of information and to better disseminate that knowledge to the archaeological community and the public. SA Western specializes in digital imaging, including 3-D modeling and printing of artifacts, and x-ray-based CT scanning of object interiors, and virtual reconstructions of archaeological sites and structures. SA McMaster’s forte is microscopic work and analysis of excavated materials for chemical indicators like DNA or stable isotopes.

“The SA effort to pull together physical collections from past field work into centralized repositories at Western Ontario and McMaster is exemplary,” said Francis P. McManamon, the Executive Director/Research Professor for the Center for Digital Antiquity.  “The recognition by SA leadership of the necessity for proper care and curation of the digital data and information from these investigations is equally important.  We have appreciated very much his perspective and support.”

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The Fates Of Very Ancient Remains

Sarah Anzick (in red jacket) places dirt in the grave of the Clovis-age child who was reburied in a public ceremony. Credit: Michael Waters, Center for the Study of the First Americans.
Sarah Anzick (in red jacket) places dirt in the grave of the Clovis-age child who was reburied in a public ceremony. Credit: Michael Waters, Center for the Study of the First Americans.

SUMMER 2017: By Mike Toner

 To some Native Americans, the repatriation and reburial of very ancient human remains is simple justice. To many archaeologists and other scientists, it’s akin to reburying the Rosetta stone. “Every burial is a potential loss for science to learn about America’s past and for Native Americans to learn about their ancestors,” said Eske Willerslev, director of the Copenhagen-based Center of Excellence in GeoGenetics, where studies of ancient human DNA are reshaping what is known about the peopling of the Americas. “But science can no longer ignore the wishes of native communities. If we take a confrontational approach, science will lose. And so will they.”

Earlier this year 8,600-year-old Kennewick Man, whose remains were discovered more than twenty years ago in eastern Washington, was repatriated to the Colville, Yakama, Umatilla, and Nez Perce tribes, who claimed him as their ancestor. The tribes then reburied the skeleton at a secret location in the Columbia River Basin. The tribes had waged a long, costly, and highly-publicized legal battle to take custody of Kennewick Man under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), which they lost in 2004 when the court ruled they could not prove a connection to the skeleton.

But recent DNA analysis by Willerslev’s laboratory in Denmark showed that Kennewick Man genetically resembled today’s Native Americans more than any other living people. Consequently, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kennewick Man’s custodians, concluded that he was in fact Native American, and the Corps began the lengthy process of repatriating the skeleton. Wanting to hasten the process, Congress passed a law that expedited the transfer of the skeleton.

The Corps’ conclusion was sharply at odds with the conclusions of earlier studies of Kennewick Man’s skull and stature that showed him to be quite different from today’s Native Americans. Similar differences between DNA and osteological studies have marked other investigations of the most ancient remains.

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

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