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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.

Donkey Drama on Stallings Island

Donkeys and goats were introduced on this Conservancy site in 2008 to control plant overgrowth.  Recently, an ill-mannered male donkey had to be removed from the island – and it was no small feat.

Augusta, Georgia | Stallings Island is a National Landmark site in Augusta, Georgia that was occupied by Indigenous hunter-gathers for thousands of years.  When the Archaeological Conservancy acquired the property from Wyck and Shell Knox in 1997, the prehistoric archaeological site was the scene of frequent and aggressive looting.  The immense, brushy overgrowth that had formed on the island offered the perfect cover for looters to go unnoticed for many years. Between the efforts of the Conservancy and the staff of Stevens Creek Hydroelectric Dam, looting and trespassing was greatly reduced, but overgrowth was a continual problem.

Meet Buster, the offending “bad boy” of Stallings Island

In 2008, the Archaeological Conservancy launched a costly operation to clear the thick overgrowth, add sterile soil, and plant grass at the heart of the archaeological site.  The operation was conducted at the tune of around $50,000 and involved the construction of a special barge to transport equipment, dirt, and supplies to area.  A species of goat, that once roamed the island before being wiped out by predators, was reintroduced to combat the overgrowth between mechanical mowings, and donkeys were introduced to protect the goats from the menace of wild dogs.  This plan came with unforeseeable circumstances that had to be contended with as issues arose, such as inbreeding and fights caused by dominant males among the donkeys. As a result, local veterinarians and farriers volunteered to visit the site and care for the animals on a regular basis.  Food also had to be imported to supplement natural grasses in the winter.  Diminished plant growth on the island reduced trespassing and looting considerably, but not entirely.  Kayakers still frequent the island and the charming donkeys lure them in for carrot and apple treats.

Over the last two years, a couple of donkeys were killed and Southeastern Regional Director, Jessica Crawford, began to receive reports of an aggressive male donkey attacking and inflicting injuries on some of the juvenile donkeys.  The decision was made to relocate Buster, the offending male donkey, to a local refuge.  Local volunteers on the effort included a vet and farrier, the owners of two local outfitters, the Director of Savannah Riverkeeper, a member of Veterans for Clean Water, and staff members from Big Oaks Rescue Farm, who agreed to give Buster a safe and happy home.

Buster was attached to a rope and outfitted with a life jacket for his swim to the opposing shore.  This was a new experience for Buster, so it took some coercing to get him to the water. He was attached to a boat that helped him swim across the river.  Although the distance was short, the operation took some time, as Buster needed time to rest now and then.  Ultimately, he made it safely across and is now living a happy life at Big Oaks Rescue Farm.

While the donkey is no longer a threat, the Conservancy is now faced with a new problem, as the grass and weeds now growing on the island are undesirable to both the goats and donkeys who live there.  The prevailing problem ensues as the site has been consumed by overgrowth once again.  New conservation plans are being considered at Stallings Islands with a focus on preserving and protecting the precious archaeological resources and the safety of the animals that now call the site home.

About Stallings Island
Stallings Island played a pivotal role in the cultural landscape of the Southeast during the Late Archaic period (3000-1000 B.C.). Archaeologist speculate that the origins of the stalling culture began about 5,000 years ago in the Lower Savannah River Valley. The culture produced the oldest documented pottery in North America, the first local shell fishing, and the regions first settlements. The Stalling Island people lived in semi-permanent villages along the shoals of the Savannah and Oggeechee Rivers where they could have easy access to freshwater shellfish, producing large shell middens. People at Stallings Island lived in round houses made from bent saplings covered with skins or bark that are thought to be arranged around a circular plaza. They produced the earliest forms of decorated pottery, along with carved bone pins, banner stones, and stemmed projectile points.

The Stalling Island site has been the source of study and conjecture by archaeologists since 1873. The most recent work was conducted by Dr. Kenneth Sassaman, Professor of Archaeology at the University of Florida, in 1999.  Dr. Sassaman is the foremost expert on Stallings Island and Stallings culture, and author of the book “People of the Shoals: Stallings Culture of the Savannah River Valley’.  Through the Conservancy’s preservation and protection efforts, researchers continue their research into the site’s prehistoric past.

Listen to the recent Radio Interview on the Arbuckle’s Fort Campaign

The Archaeological Conservancy’s Eastern Region Director, Kelley Berliner, as well as representatives from the Greenbrier Historical Society and West Virginia Land Trust, discuss the importance of preserving the Fort Arbuckle archaeological site in West Virginia. 

Learn more about each of the organizations’ roles in the acquisition and preservation of the site, and how they plan to maintain a balance between preservation, research, and public outreach once the site is acquired.

WRON-103.1: Radio Interview with The Archaeological Conservancy, the West Virginia Land Trust, and the Greenbrier Historical Society (Audio Only).
Eastern Regional Director, Kelley Berliner speaks at around 9:00. 

Please consider donating to this conservation effort at https://give.archaeologicalconservancy.org/holdthefort, to support the protection of this extraordinary site. Each $30 donation will give you a 1-year membership to The Archaeological Conservancy.

 

THE CROWDFUNDING PARTNERSHIP
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, Wisconsin, and Nevada. The Conservancy has preserved over 550 sites across the nation. More information can be found at www.archaeologicalconservancy.org.

About the West Virginia Land Trust
The West Virginia Land Trust is a statewide nonprofit dedicated to protecting special places, focusing on projects that protect scenic areas, historic sites, outdoor recreation access and drinking water supplies by protecting land that borders rivers and streams. Since 1994, the organization has protected more than 10,000 acres of land statewide. More information can be found at www.wvlandtrust.org.

About the Greenbrier Historical Society
Founded in 1963, the Greenbrier Historical Society is dedicated to community enrichment through education and preservation of the history and culture of the Greenbrier Valley. A regional organization, we serve the West Virginia counties of Greenbrier, Monroe, Summers, and Pocahontas. We own and manage three properties, the North House (our offices and headquarters), the Barracks, and the Blue Sulphur Springs Pavilion. The mission of the Greenbrier Historical Society is to share the diverse history and culture of the Greenbrier Valley. More information can be found at https://www.greenbrierhistorical.org.

 

The Archaeological Conservancy | 2020

The Arbuckle’s Fort Crowdfunding Campaign is Gaining Momentum and Media Attention

The recently launched crowdfunding campaign to acquire and preserve Arbuckle’s Fort in West Virginia is gaining momentum and the attention of the local media.  | Updated 8/10/20 

West Virginia | The Archaeological Conservancy, the West Virginia Land Trust, and the Greenbrier Historical Society launched a crowdfunding campaign at the end of June for the acquisition of the Arbuckle’s Fort archaeological site located in Greenbrier County, West Virginia. The goal of this project is to establish the Revolutionary War era fort as a preserve where the site can be adequately maintained and the public can learn about the heritage and history of the settlement.

CROWDFUNDING UPDATE
As of August 10, 2020, the crowdfunding campaign has raised $8,288 of the $60K goal, and the project has gained the attention of the local media.  Below are links to article, videos, and radio interviews about the campaign and the project.

There is still plenty of time to make your contribution to the #HoldTheFort campaign.  Your donation brings us that much closer to preserving this important piece of history for future generations to enjoy.

ARBUCKLE’S FORT IN THE MEDIA
The Archaeological Conservancy: Original Press Release

 

The Register Herald: Nonprofits join forces to preserve pioneer historyAdded 8/10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WVNS Fox News: Organizations looking to buy, preserve site of colonial fort in Greenbrier County

 

WRON-103.1: Radio Interview with The Archaeological Conservancy, the West Virginia Land Trust, and the Greenbrier Historical Society

 

Charleston Gazette-Mail: Effort underway to preserve Revolutionary War-era fort site in Greenbrier County

 

CBSN Pittsburgh: Effort Underway To Preserve Arbuckle’s Fort, Revolutionary War-Era Fort Site In W. Va.

THE CROWDFUNDING PARTNERSHIP
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, Wisconsin, and Nevada. The Conservancy has preserved over 550 sites across the nation. More information can be found at www.archaeologicalconservancy.org.

About the West Virginia Land Trust
The West Virginia Land Trust is a statewide nonprofit dedicated to protecting special places, focusing on projects that protect scenic areas, historic sites, outdoor recreation access and drinking water supplies by protecting land that borders rivers and streams. Since 1994, the organization has protected more than 10,000 acres of land statewide. More information can be found at www.wvlandtrust.org.

About the Greenbrier Historical Society
Founded in 1963, the Greenbrier Historical Society is dedicated to community enrichment through education and preservation of the history and culture of the Greenbrier Valley. A regional organization, we serve the West Virginia counties of Greenbrier, Monroe, Summers, and Pocahontas. We own and manage three properties, the North House (our offices and headquarters), the Barracks, and the Blue Sulphur Springs Pavilion. The mission of the Greenbrier Historical Society is to share the diverse history and culture of the Greenbrier Valley. More information can be found at https://www.greenbrierhistorical.org.

Please consider donating to this conservation effort at https://give.archaeologicalconservancy.org/holdthefort, to support the protection of this extraordinary site. Each $30 donation will give you a 1-year membership to The Archaeological Conservancy.

 

The Archaeological Conservancy | 2020

Trespassers ignite a wildfire at Smith Family Archaeological Preserve

UTAH | On the evening of June 28, 2020 a fire started on Utah State land north of the preserve and traveled northward toward Saratoga Springs. The preserve was not in danger until two trespassers (for reasons yet to be determined) illegally gained access to the preserve in a vehicle. The heat from the vehicle started a secondary fire on preserve land. This fire consumed 95% of the vegetation around preserve petroglyph’s. Emergency fire personnel operating a bulldozer then entered the property creating a one mile long fire berm, fortunately missing significant rock art panels.

The Utah County Sheriffs office is investigating the trespassing incident.

More investigation will be done with the states SHPO office, the Preserve Manager, and Stewards to determine if and to what extent petroglyph’s and other cultural resources on the preserve were damaged due to the trespassers and subsequent bulldozing activities. .

Extensive reclamation work will need to be done for erosion control to this fire line. It is unlikely that we will receive any restitution from the trespassers, even if offense-related restitution is court ordered we will likely not see those funds for a very long time.

For this reason it is essential that we call upon the public for donations.
In order to donate to the Smith Family Archaeological Preserve please follow the instructions below.

1. Visit https://donate.archaeologicalconservancy.org/
2. Click on the “Designation” box,
3. Choose “Smith Family Preserve”from the drop down on the designation box.

These sites are maintained by donations from supporters like you.  Please consider a donation to help us mitigate further damage to this important archaeological site.

The Archaeological Conservancy | 2020

PRESS RELEASE | The Archaeological Conservancy, West Virginia Land Trust, and Greenbrier Historical Society announce the launch of a crowdfunding campaign to save Arbuckle’s Fort

Funds raised during the campaign will be used to acquire and preserve this colonial-era site that is currently without protections from development and destruction.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | June 29, 2020

Alderson, West Virginia | The Archaeological Conservancy, the West Virginia Land Trust, and the Greenbrier Historical Society are excited to announce the launch of a crowdfunding campaign for the acquisition of the Arbuckle’s Fort archaeological site located in Greenbrier County, West Virginia. This project is an opportunity to preserve a site dating to the Revolutionary War and early settlement period in the state, as well as protect the important natural resources located on the property. These resources will be available for educational and tourism activities.

Arbuckle’s Fort was part of a chain of forts established to defend settlers moving into the Colonial United States’ western frontier. It was constructed in 1774 in reaction to raids from Native Americans in the western part of Virginia, now West Virginia, brought about by increasing European settlement. The fort was built above the confluence of Muddy and Mill Creeks and was first occupied by Captain Matthew Arbuckle’s militia company, who remained until the fall of 1774 when they left to guide Colonel Andrew Lewis to Point Pleasant as part of a campaign during Dunmore’s War. The fort was reoccupied at least by the fall of 1776 during the American Revolution. As groups of Native Americans increasingly sided with the British, the fort was strengthened as a defense along the Allegheny Frontier. The fort was attacked twice but held.

No description of the fort has ever been found, but excavations conducted by archaeologists Kim and Stephen McBride have helped reveal the history of this important site. Buried features include a stone chimney base and foundation from a blockhouse, with a nearby large storage pit that may have served as a powder magazine, ash and refuse filled pits, and a slag concentration from blacksmithing. A trench filled with post molds delineates a stockade with north and south bastions, and two gates. The archaeological integrity of the site; its connection to Native American, African American, and settler communities; and its rich historical documentation give the Arbuckle’s Fort site tremendous potential for research and public interpretation.

This 25-acre preserve will serve as a permanently protected monument to the struggles our Greenbrier Valley ancestors endured in the mid-1700s as they put their roots down in the region. The fort site now rests on a lush grassy knoll bordered by two slow meandering streams; inviting visitors to interpret history while peacefully enjoying the natural setting. Local school students and tourists have used the site to learn about archaeology and history; the permanent preservation of this property will ensure they can continue to do so. It is anticipated that conserving such historic sites throughout the Greenbrier Valley will increase the draw for tourists, and will ultimately boost the local economy as the Valley becomes a destination for more visitors.

The greatest obstacle to saving Arbuckle’s Fort is raising the necessary funds to acquire the property containing the site. The West Virginia Land Trust and The Archaeological Conservancy are seeking to raise $125,000 to purchase the site which currently has no protections against development or destruction. The West Virginia Outdoor Heritage Conservation Fund has already committed $25,000 to management of the property, and our hope is that $60,000 of the total amount can be crowdfunded through outreach to the local community in partnership with the Greenbrier Historical Society. Once acquired, the partners plan to work together to develop the site into a passive use park with signage about the cultural and natural resources protected within the property. Future plans include developing a Friend’s Group to help maintain the site and share the importance of this resource on the local and state levels.

Please consider donating to this conservation effort at https://give.archaeologicalconservancy.org/holdthefort, to support the protection of this extraordinary site. Each $30 donation will give you a 1-year membership to The Archaeological Conservancy.

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, Wisconsin, and Nevada. The Conservancy has preserved over 550 sites across the nation. More information can be found at www.archaeologicalconservancy.org.

About the West Virginia Land Trust
The West Virginia Land Trust is a statewide nonprofit dedicated to protecting special places, focusing on projects that protect scenic areas, historic sites, outdoor recreation access and drinking water supplies by protecting land that borders rivers and streams. Since 1994, the organization has protected more than 10,000 acres of land statewide. More information can be found at www.wvlandtrust.org.

About the Greenbrier Historical Society
Founded in 1963, the Greenbrier Historical Society is dedicated to community enrichment through education and preservation of the history and culture of the Greenbrier Valley. A regional organization, we serve the West Virginia counties of Greenbrier, Monroe, Summers, and Pocahontas. We own and manage three properties, the North House (our offices and headquarters), the Barracks, and the Blue Sulphur Springs Pavilion. The mission of the Greenbrier Historical Society is to share the diverse history and culture of the Greenbrier Valley. More information can be found at https://www.greenbrierhistorical.org.

Images, magazines, and additional contacts available upon request.

CONTACT: Kelley Berliner, Eastern Regional Director
The Archaeological Conservancy
301-682-6359 / tac.eastern@gmail.com / www.americanarchaeology.org

Learn more about our upcoming Virtual Tour project in this Sunday’s edition of the Santa Fe New Mexican

The Santa Fe New Mexican recently visited with The Archaeological Conservancy during the filming of our upcoming Virtual Tour Video Series at San Marcos Pueblo.  Click here to read the full article and learn more about our exciting project!

Cover Photo:  Conservancy President Mark Michel during the filming of our upcoming virtual tour video series at San Marcos Pueblo near Santa Fe, New Mexico.  By Matt Dahlseid of the Santa Fe New Mexican. 

Aerial view of San Marcos Pueblo, captured with a DJI Mavic Pro drone, for the upcoming Virtual Tour Video Series.

The Archaeological Conservancy’s recent California acquisitions | Part 2: Simone Mound

Simone Mound was one of the last undeveloped parcels in a growing residential area. The acquisition and preservation of this unique California mound site offers future researchers a rare opportunity to understand ancient Bay Area inhabitants and their culture.  

California | Despite limitations associated with the pandemic and the subsequent shutdowns, The Archaeological Conservancy recently completed two acquisitions in the Western Region. Both properties required lengthy planning and negotiations that spanned over years. Each site offers important information about the prehistory of California and the Native Americans who occupied the area hundreds and thousands of years ago.

In Part 2 of this series, The Conservancy’s Western Regional Director, Cory Wilkins, shares details about Simone Mound, one of the few mound sites remaining in the Bay Area.  The site was once occupied by early hunter-gathers who left behind earthen mounds comprised of refuse, soil, artifacts, and burials.  

The Acquisition of Simone Mound in Oakley, California

By Cory D. Wilkins, Western Region Director

The San Francisco Bay Area supported a dense population of hunter-gatherers over thousands of years leaving a rich and varied archaeological record. The Bay Area was a place of incredible language diversity with seven languages spoken at the time of Spanish settlement in 1776. The diverse ecosystem and abundant resources of the bay and surrounding lands supported an average of three to five persons per square mile.

When the Spanish arrived, the people of the Bay Area were organized into local tribelets that defended fixed territories under independent leaders. Bay area tribelets were thought to include 200 to 400 people distributed among three to five semi-permanent villages existing within territories measuring approximately 10 to 12 miles in diameter*. The activities of daily life in these villages resulted in mounds of refuse and soil that are still visible today. It is estimated that the San Francisco Bay Area and Sacramento Delta region contained well over 400 hundred mounds sites.

View of Simone Mound from Roadway

Unfortunately, many of these sites have been destroyed by urban encroachment and few remain. The Archaeological Conservancy recently acquired one of these unique sites. CA-CCO-139, more traditionally known as Simone Mound, is one of the last undeveloped parcels in a growing residential neighborhood. The site is on 5.95 acres just outside of the city of Oakley, California near another and similar Conservancy preserve, the Hotchkiss Mound.

Dr. Jelmer Eerkens collecting research data at Hotchkiss Mound site, which is near the recently acquired Simone Mound.

The mounds were created through daily activities such as processing shellfish, manufacturing stone and bone tools, cooking, butchering game animals, and building shelters which led to the accumulation of shells and other material. Generations of native peoples returned to these mounds throughout the centuries, using the sites for habitation and as burial grounds for their ancestors. Archaeological research has uncovered a variety of shell beads, charcoal, shells from native shellfish, stone tools, animal and fish bone, and other faunal artifacts. Much can be learned about the inhabitants of these mounds through the analysis of these stratigraphically preserved items.

Shell fragment left behind by the inhabitants of Simone Mound.

Previous research suggested that the Hotchkiss and Simone mounds were occupied concurrently. However, in 2013, Dr. Jelmer Eerkens and Dr. Eric Bartelink found evidence that the sites may have been occupied sequentially. The team performed Accelerator Mass Spectrometer (AMS) analysis on previously collected bone fragments to establish a chronology for the sites. The results indicate that as occupation at the Simone Mound was winding down, the Hotchkiss Mound saw its first interments. This suggests the inhabitants may have simply moved from one mound to the other. Burials from Simone Mound date mainly to the Middle (200-1000 AD) and Middle/Late Transition (1000-1250 AD) periods, while burials from Hotchkiss are just beginning during the Middle/Late Transition. The majority of Hotchkiss burials date to Phases 1 and 2 of the Late Period (1250-1750 AD). What was surprising is that there was no overlap in the distribution of the dates between the sites, offering clear evidence for sequential occupation. Together with changes in mortuary customs, this research suggests a major cultural shift during the middle of the Middle/Late Transition period.

An obsidian flake found on the surface at Simone Mound.

Further research will be necessary to determine why a large mound, such as Simone, was suddenly abandoned and never reoccupied during the Late Period. Alternative theories propose that the Hotchkiss people may have suffered a traumatic event such as disease, violence, or flooding that would have made their previous location uninhabitable; or Simone belonged to a different cultural group altogether**. It is possible that Late Period occupation is present at the Simone Mound; however, evidence for this may be spatially separated from the previously excavated areas. Further investigation is needed.

The Conservancy’s acquisition of the Simone Mound will preserve the site for this important future research and protect the site from being destroyed by development and agricultural activities like so many other mounds sites have. Combined with Hotchkiss Mound, these sites offer a wealth of information on the ancient past of the Bay Area, as well as unique research opportunities that have been largely ignored in the past.

Simone is one of the last undeveloped parcels in this residential neighborhood. Many other sites like Simone have been swallowed up by encroaching development.
* Milliken, Randall et.al. 2007. Punctuated Culture Change in the San Francisco Bay Area, In Prehistoric California: Colonization, Culture, and Complexity, edited by T.L. Jones and K.A. Klar, 99–124. AltaMira Press.
** Jelmer W. Eerkens & Eric J. Bartelink. 2019. New Radiocarbon Dates from
CA-CCO-138 (Hotchkiss Mound) and CA-CCO-139 (Simone Mound) and Insights into Mounds, Settlement Patterns, and Culture History in the California Delta, California Archaeology, 11:1, 45-63, DOI: 10.1080/1947461X.2019.1581979

The Archaeological Conservancy (2020)
tac.connect@gmail.com / www.americanarchaeology.org

 

The Archaeological Conservancy’s recent California acquisitions | Part 1: Terrarium

The acquisition and preservation of this unique California property continues the vision and work of its late owner, dahinda meda. 

California | Despite limitations associated with the pandemic and the subsequent shutdowns, The Archaeological Conservancy recently completed two acquisitions in the Western Region. Both properties required lengthy planning and negotiations that spanned over years. Each site offers important information about the prehistory of California and the Native Americans who occupied the area hundreds and thousands of years ago.

In Part 1 of this series, The Conservancy’s Western Regional Director, Cory Wilkins, shares details about Terrarium – a 360-acre parcel located outside of Ukiah, California. This site has a unique story both past and present. The property contains multiple pit houses, middens, and rock art panels, as well as lithic and stone tools associated with the Central Pomo tribe dating back to at least 500 B.C. and possibly as early as the Archaic.

The Acquisition of Terrarium in Ukiah, California

By Cory D. Wilkins, Western Region Director

Terrarium was named by its very colorful owner, dahinda meda. dahinda was passionate about the preservation of all things on his property, but especially protective of the cultural resources found there. The land within Terrarium lies in the ethnographic territory of the Central Pomo. At historic contact these were lands claimed by the Lema tribelet of the Central Pomo, whose principal village was located along McNab Creek in McNab Valley.

dahinda meda’s Vision

dahinda meda, the late owner of Terrarium

As the story goes, dahinda dreamed of the place from the time he was a child. Sometime before purchasing his first 40-acre Terrarium parcel in 1975, dahinda was visiting a friend’s house in the vicinity of Feliz Creek. dahinda believed that he was called to hike up the creek, where he was led to a very large boulder laden with petroglyphs. That was it. dahinda found his Terrarium, so named for the layout of the property. Terrarium sits in a large, natural bowl at the confluence of three creeks. The bowl is ripe with wildlife, vegetation, water, and archaeology. This was dahinda’s most spiritual place. The place dahinda protected and nurtured for the remainder of his life. Sadly, dahinda was lost to this world in April of 2016, but his desire to protect his property would live on.

In 2011, dahinda and his wife, Norma Grier, met with The Archaeological Conservancy to discuss their vision for permanently protecting the property. The Conservancy’s President, Mark Michel, and I spent several years working through the terms of the archaeological conservation easement that would protect the property in perpetuity. This was important because the easement protections ensure that dahinda’s goals for Terrarium legally remain with the property.

Archaeology at Terrarium

The cultural resources at Terrarium have been visited and recorded several times. First in 1972, vocational archaeologist John Wright noted nine house pits, a large midden mound, and many lithic points and tools. In 1974 and 1976, recordings by Pamela Roberts, Scott Patterson, and Jonathon Leonard focused on the large petroglyph boulder covered with cupules, grooves, concentric circles, and grinding marks. In 2010, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection archaeologist Dan Foster made a more extensive recording of Terrarium. In 2012, The Archaeological Conservancy conducted its initial field visit with Dr. Greg White. During the visit, White noted four archaeological sites, including two that had been previously recorded, and two new discoveries. His finding included several areas with high- to moderate-density lithic scatters of several different types of chert and obsidian, fire-cracked rock, bifaces, middens, stone tools, rock cupules, and large petroglyph boulders. Of his findings, White stated, “Assemblages of this character and sites with this stage of soil development and weathering are typical of the Middle Archaic, dating sometime between 7,000–2,500 years old.”

 

The archaeology at Terrarium is unique according to scholars who have conducted research on the property over the years.  Dan Foster noted during his research in 1986 that “this style of petroglyph is very uncommon in Mendocino County.”  In 2012, Dr. Greg White stated that investigations at the site have “the potential to yield new and important insights into the proto-Pomo expansion of 550 B.C.”  White further iterated that “this migration event has the potential to rank among the more distinct and well-defined prehistoric cultural migration phenomena of the Far West.” In 2015, Sherrie Smith-Ferri, Ph.D., a member of the Dry Creek Band of Pomo Indians and Director of the Grace Hudson Museum reported, “I know of no other such site, in northern California, whose future is being safeguarded.”

During his lifetime, dahinda meda’s passion for his land resulted in the protection of the unique and important archaeological resources on his land; however, it is his lifelong vision that will protect these treasures in perpetuity. The Archaeological Conservancy is proud to carry his vision forward into the future.

The Archaeological Conservancy (2020)
tac.connect@gmail.com / www.americanarchaeology.org

 

PRESS RELEASE | The Archaeological Conservancy acquires a portion of the Bull Brook II site in Massachusetts

The site was generously donated by Christopher Conley and Candace Christianson.

George Leduc and Richard Boisvert excavating at the Bull Brook II site. | Credit: Jennifer Ort. 2020.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Ipswich, Massachusetts | A 2-acre property containing a portion of the Bull Brook II archaeological site is now permanently preserved. The site, which contains the remains of a significant Paleo-Indian occupation dating back to more than 10,000 years ago, was first discovered in the 1950s by a group of local avocational archaeologists known as the “Bull Brook Boys.” These men fully excavated the larger Bull Brook I site prior to its destruction by sand and gravel quarrying operations. During their investigations they discovered the smaller Bull Brook II site, a portion of which was never studied. The site contains artifacts including dating back to the earliest period of human occupation in the area.

Jennifer Ort, an archaeologist currently pursuing her doctorate at the University of New Hampshire, has undertaken extensive research on the Bull Brook sites and began conducting archaeological testing on the Bull Brook II site with permission of the owners, Christopher Conley and Candace Christianson. When they expressed their interest in preserving the property according to the wishes of Chris’ mother, Mary Conley, Ort put them in touch with the Archaeological Conservancy, the only national nonprofit dedicated to the permanent preservation of archaeological sites.

The Archaeological Conservancy is the only national non-profit organization in the United States dedicated to the preservation of significant archaeological sites. Established in 1980 by a group of private citizens and archaeologists dedicated to saving the past for the future, The Archaeological Conservancy acquires archaeological sites through purchase or gift and agrees to maintain these sites for the public on a permanent basis as an open space research preserve. Throughout its forty-year history the Conservancy has preserved over 550 archaeological sites across the country, ranging in age from the earliest habitation sites in North America to 19th-century industrial sites.

Chris Conley inherited the property from his mother, Mary, who was dedicated to the preservation of historic sites in the Ipswich, Massachusetts area. Her efforts are recognized by the Mary P. Conley Preservation Award that is given out annually by the Ipswich Historical Commission for exemplary restoration and preservation projects. Because of Mary’s dedication to preservation, Chris and Candace wanted to ensure that the two-acre property containing a portion of the Bull Brook II site will always be protected and available for archaeological research. To further help offset the costs of transferring and protecting the property the Elfrieda Frank Foundation has also kindly committed $15,000 to the Conservancy. This is the third property the Conservancy has helped protect in Massachusetts.

Images, magazines, and additional contacts available upon request.

CONTACT: Kelley Berliner, Eastern Regional Director
The Archaeological Conservancy
301-682-6359 / tac.easten@gmail.com / www.americanarchaeology.org

Cultivation, Cooperation, and Conflict | American Archaeology

Researchers are studying the connections between early plant domestication and changing patterns of settlement and conflict during the Middle Holocene. 

By Julian Smith

This is an article excerpt from the Summer 2020 edition of American Archaeology Magazine. Become a member of The Archaeological Conservancy for your complimentary subscription. 

Few things have changed the course of human history as dramatically as the advent of agriculture. Reliable food supplies could support permanent settlements with increasingly large populations and complex social dynamics. While researchers still debate the number of places around the world where farming developed independently—estimates range as high as fifteen—there is little argument that agriculture was a major step toward the creation of the modern world.

Sumpweed, amaranth, and Chenopodium are three of the plants that were cultivated by ancient peoples. Archaeologist Stephen Carmoday has been growing these plants about five years ago to address archaeological questions as well as questions pertaining to sustainable food production in the future. | Credit: Stephen Carmoday

But what was its more immediate effect on cultures which had practiced hunting and gathering for thousands of years? “We had been studying the causes of farming, but what about the consequences?” said Elic Weitzel, a Ph.D. student at the University of Connecticut. The long-terms effects were obvious, but the short-term changes were not as clear.

The researchers analyzed data from more than 700 sites, including Moundville in Alabama. In this 2011 photo, archaeologists excavate Mound P, one of the site’s twenty-nine mounds. | Credit: John Blitz
Elic Weitzel and his colleagues also analyzed data from the Modoc Rock Shelter, a national Historic Landmark in southwestern Illinois. | Credit: Nyttend

Weitzel set out to answer this question with help from Stephen Carmody of Troy University, Brian Codding of the University of Utah, and David Zeanah of California State University, Sacramento. Each of the researchers had already studied aspects of the origins of plant domestication in Eastern North America during the Middle Holocene, roughly 8,200 to 4,200 years ago. They knew that the dawn and rise of agriculture coincided with a general population increase in the region. But no one had looked closely at how this connected to changing patterns of settlement and conflict over that time period.

Many of the indigenous plants that residents domesticated, including gooseweed, sunflower, and erect knotweed, were highly productive seed-bearing annuals that didn’t need much effort in the form of plowing and irrigation to grow and harvest. Native people would have quickly discovered how even small additions of labor could make large gardens proportionately more productive, Weitzel said, a concept that economists call increasing returns to scale, meaning output increases by a larger proportion than the increase in input.

 

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