Eye-catching cobalt, vermilion, and red ochre pigments embellish the interior of San Miguel Arcángel. Rubén G. Mendoza.

Visiting California’s Historic Missions

Summer 2015: By Gayle Keck  It was 1782, and an earthquake had ripped through Alta California. "In Santa Clara, it broke a bottle of brandy," Father Junípero Serra noted, "which the poor Fathers there were jealously...
An aerial view of the excavations on Burial Hill. The grey structure with the black and brick doors is an 1830s burial vault that cuts through the site. Excavations in front of and behind the vault revealed a series of building postholes, trash pits, and many seventeenthcentury artifacts from the original settlement. Native American and English pottery was found in the trash pits, suggesting the use of Native pots in the English houses. Credit: Bruce T. Martin.

Finding The Pilgrims

Fall 2017: By Rachael Moeller Gorman. On a sticky day last June, archaeologist David Landon peered into a rectangular, three-foot-deep excavation unit on the edge of an old cemetery. “That layer they’re coming down on,...
Rock Art Revelations

Rock Art Revelations?

Summer 2014: When Larry Loendorf decided to hunt for ancient rock art on the southern Great Plains, he went about it methodically. Loendorf, an archaeologist with Sacred Sites Research in Albuquerque, New Mexico, made...
Oregon State University field school students excavate Western Stemmed Tradition items from deposits

Did The Clovis People Have Neighbors?

2015: By Marcia Hill Gossard. Loren Davis was standing with a historic photo in his hand looking at the south side of a canyon along the Salmon River in western Idaho. He was trying to...
This portrait painted in 1710 shows the extensively tattooed Mohawk leader Sa Ga Yeath Qua Pleth Tow. Credit: Mezzotint by John Simon, after painting by John Verlest

Discovering The Archaeology Of Tattooing

Spring 2018: By Gayle Keck. In old Western movies, Indians were invariably depicted galloping into the scene whooping and streaked with war paint. At least one aspect of that cliché is true. Native Americans did...

Dealing with the Funding Crisis

Winter 2018-19: By David Malakoff In the summer of 1894, archaeologist Ernest Volk of Harvard University was excavating a promising prehistoric site in New Jersey’s Delaware River Valley when he hit an unyielding obstacle: money....
Carved stone slabs from a building on Monte Albán’s Main Plaza show people performing autosacrifice and invoking their ancestors. Credit: Arthur Joyce.

A Tale Of Two Cities: Religion In Ancient Mexico

Fall 2016: By Kristin Ohlson. During the dry season, when they weren’t tending their crops, thousands of people left their villages in what is now the Río Verde Valley in the Mexican state of Oaxaca...
Researchers excavate the middle structure of the three structures that were built on top of each other at Carter Robinson Mounds. Credit: JC Burns.

Life On The Frontier

Fall 2017: By Linda Vaccariello. A few miles east of the narrow gap in the Cumberland Mountains where Daniel Boone and his companions blazed a trail into Kentucky, Maureen Meyers is puzzling over another group...

Book Review- Lives in Ruins: Archaeologists and the Seductive Lure of Human Rubble

Lives in Ruins:  Archaeologists and the Seductive Lure of Human Rubble By Marilyn Johnson (Harper Collins, 2014; 288 pgs., illus., $26 cloth, $10 ebook; www.harpercollins.com) Author Marilyn Johnson assumes that everyone in the sandbox wanted to grow...
Field school students screen excavated dirt in search of eighteenth-century artifacts. Photo Credit: COLONIAL WILLIAMSBURG FOUNDATION

Colonial Williamsburg Uncovered

Fall 2018: By Paula Neely. Peering down into the corner of a dig site in Williamsburg, the eighteenth-century capital of Virginia, archaeologist Mark Kostro watched a field school student scrape away dark gray soil from...