Growing Up In Cemeteries Pt. 1

By: Zane Ermine

Hello everyone! My name is Zane Ermine and I’m a second year graduate student of the Applied Archaeology program. Gen had originally asked me to write a post about what I had done this summer. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get away from work for a long enough period, so I didn’t really have time for anything archaeology related. So, I’ve decided to share a hobby of mine – something related to historic preservation in which my dad and I have been volunteering our time for the last 5 or so years.

My dad and I take pictures of tombstones. It sounds weird when you put it bluntly like that, but there’s a legitimate reason for it – genealogy. The pictures are taken for a group called BillionGraves; their purpose is to allow individuals to easily find their loved one’s headstones and graves through the internet. It has the secondary (but in my opinion, significantly more important) function of recording cemetery data for the longevity and digitalization of cemetery records.

BillionGraves has a model similar to Find-A-Grave, the popular cemetery search engine that’s been around for years. Where they differ is that BillionGraves is trying to document entire cemeteries with GPS coordinates, as well as a photo for each individual burial. After the photos are uploaded, other volunteers transcribe the information carved onto the stone so that it becomes searchable.

It can be hard to understand the importance of this kind of documentation until you are in a cemetery where most of the headstones are unreadable from the wear of time. Headstones have been particularly affected in SW PA due to industrialization and acid rain. Losing a headstone is akin to losing an entire person – but somehow it happens all the time. Cemeteries overgrow, stones weather, and people forget. It’s a sad truth, but with photographs and written records, some of the loss can be mitigated.

Since I’ve started photographing for the site, I’ve taken 59,954 pictures in 401 cemeteries across 9 states. I don’t know how many entire cemeteries we’ve taken, but it’s definitely over 100 at this point.

My family has been in the monument industry for over 100 years – I grew up in cemeteries, and through the family business, I spend a lot of time in cemeteries. It’s amazing to see all the different levels of craftsmanship, the different stone materials, and how the styles have evolved over the years – and through a process like this, I can experience every stone in a cemetery individually. It’s something I thoroughly enjoy while also taking comfort in knowing that the information can be genuinely useful in the long run.

I’m going to leave you with some of the most famous headstones I’ve personally taken for the site. If anyone has any questions, I can be reached at ddkw@iup.edu.

Andy Warhol – St. John the Baptist Byzantine Catholic Cemetery, Bethel Park, PA

Herbert Morrison – Scottdale Cemetery, Scottdale, PA The radio announcer for the Hindenburg Disaster (Oh, the humanity!)

 

Mister Fred Rogers –- Unity Cemetery, Latrobe, PA buried in his mother’s family’s mausoleum

Edward “Blackbeard” Teach – Ocracoke Island, NC Has no headstone, decapitated and buried at sea, marker is the closest thing to a headstone

Francis Scott Key – Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Frederick, MD Wrote the Star-Spangled Banner

 

Zane’s father (far left), Zane (next to his father), and two of their workers rotated this statue, because it was facing away from the cemetery.

 

IUP DEPARTMENT OF ANTHROPOLOGY

Drowning in Dirty Dishes: My Thesis Research At Pandenarium

By: Samantha Taylor

Upon enrolling in graduate school, I had a pretty clear understanding of what aspects of archaeology interested me the most: the African Diaspora and historic ceramics. I never imagined that I would actually be able to pull those two interests together into a thesis topic, but here I am over a year later, waist-deep in artifacts from my thesis site.

The Half-Cellar Foundation at the John and Rosie Allen Residence

My thesis research is on Pandenarium, an antebellum (pre-Civil War) African American diaspora site in northwestern Pennsylvania. In its prime, Pandenarium was home to dozens of ex-slaves who had been freed by their owner, Virginia physician Charles Everett, upon his death. Along with freeing his former slaves, Everett’s will also funded the creation of a modest-sized settlement in Mercer County, Pennsylvania. The freed people of Pandenarium arrived to the settlement in the fall of 1854 to find 24 furnished houses that were built by the local abolitionists. Rosie Allen, a first generation occupant of Pandenarium, was quoted saying that the settlement was “just like heaven.” Despite the economic pull of nearby cities such as Sharon, New Castle, and Mercer, Pandenarium was inhabited until the 1930s.

Excavating Test Unit 2 during the first day of the Public Archaeology Event

My research focuses specifically on a single household at Pandenarium belonging to John and Rosie Allen, the original inhabitants and first-generation freed slaves at the site. In particular, I want to compare the ceramics found around the Allen’s half-cellar foundation to those recovered from a nearby (the Old Economy Village), another antebellum freed African American site (Timbuctoo, New Jersey), and a Virginia plantation that neighbored Everett’s (Monticello, Virginia). The comparative analysis focuses on structures at each of these sites that date approximately to the same time period that Pandenarium was inhabited. By conducting this analysis I hope to determine what types of ceramics the Allen’s were using, how they were using them, and in what ways they were participating in the local and regional economy.

After nearly four months of deliberation and planning with my thesis committee, my thesis fieldwork began on July 14th 2017 and was completed September 17th  2017. Of course there was a month-long break in between those dates in which no fieldwork occurred and my hands (and brain?) were bleeding from all of the washing and cataloging I was doing. Fieldwork consisted of a total of 28 shovel tests around the half-cellar foundation, and two judgmental 1-meter by 1-meter test units.

Both professionals and the interested public were involved in the weekends activities

In order to accomplish this I enlisted the help of my committee, fellow graduate students, and the public. The first weekend of fieldwork went without problem. I was assisted by my amazing mentor, Casey Campetti, and was able to clear the land, lay out my STP grid, and even finish digging the first three STPs. However the next three weekends were riddled with bad weather and poor field conditions, causing me to cancel a total of four days of field work. By the first week of August, 25 of my STPs were completed but we were unable to begin the two test units. Angela Jaillet-Wentling, one of my committee members and the only other person to conduct archaeological research at Pandenarium, and I were able to organize a public archaeology weekend at the site in order to introduce the site to the public and finish up my fieldwork.

Pandenarium’s inaugural Public Archaeology Event occurred on September 16th and 17th. The invitation was extended to the local Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology chapter, graduate students and anthropology professors at IUP, retired veterans, a reporter from a local newspaper, and interested members of the local government. A total of 19 individuals attended the public event, 8 of which participated both days. The event consisted of a site tour, a quick informative speech about the site, the excavation of two test units and three STPs, along with a lunch generously provided by the Jaillet-Wentling clan. The event was also featured on the front page of the Record Argus Newspaper on September 24th, 2017. Overall, feedback from the Public Archaeology Event at Pandenarium was positive and most attendants were interested in attending future public archaeol

A small sample of some of the unique artifacts found at Pandenarium

ogy events. Angie and I hope to assist in hosting more public archaeology events at Pandenarium in the future, as the site is a rare glimpse into a marginalized past.

Following Pandenarium’s Public Archaeology Event, my fieldwork was completed and I have been in cataloging hell. I’m being dramatic, I actually really enjoy cataloging, researching, and analyzing everything that has been unearthed at Pandenarium. To date, I have cataloged and washed 3,226 artifacts from Pandenarium. Also, I currently have a really awesome undergraduate student assisting me with washing! So far this whole “thesis” thing has been a really insane, stressful, and educational experience. I feel as though I’ve really grown as an archaeologist and a person. My future goals for this site are the following: to get Pandenarium listed on the National Register, to track down descendants and get them more involved in archaeology and research at the site, and to hopefully inspire someone *cough* Dr. Ford *cough* to start an undergraduate field school at the site.

In the meantime, if you have questions shoot me an email (TJKW@iup.edu) and keep yourself updated on my research by following the hashtag #Pandenarium2017.

Pandenarium Public Archaeology Day 2017 Article

IUP ANTHROPOLOGY DEPARTMENT

Munsungun and Moose

Logging road

By: Genevieve Everett

At the beginning of September, one week into the second year of my graduate studies I packed my car and headed up to Maine to help friends of mine that had received grants to excavate near a quarry site for nine days. I’ve spent countless hours in cars on road trips up and down the east coast; so spending half a day at the drivers seat is very familiar to me. All I require is good music or talk radio and a leg stretch every now and again. Amanda Telep, a recent IUP undergraduate came along for the adventure.

Home Sweet Camp

On our first day we met up with Heather Rockwell and Nathaniel Kitchel and the rest of the crew. Nathaniel and Heather both received their PhDs from the University of Wyoming, however, they have focused much of their research in New England. Before we arrived at our campsite, we had to drive close to 55 miles on bumpy narrow logging roads. To give you an idea of how remote this area was, when Amanda and I were leaving to cross from the United States into Canada, the boarder officer asked, “Are you lost?” We arrived at our campsite at dusk just as the rain began, and yes, the rain stayed with us for most of the trip. I kept joking that I had “water front property”, because a huge puddle had formed just outside my tent. After setting up, we all huddled inside of the canvas tent to eat salsa mixed with mac and cheese, which can only be described as hot gooey deliciousness. We used the canvas tent as our meeting place every morning and evening for meals. The area we were in is pretty remote; so all provisions were brought in with the hope that nothing was left behind.

Okay, so onto the archaeology, and why we were there…

Amanda, Heather and Lara workin hard!

Every morning we drove into the site looking out for the giant logging trucks that seem to creep up on you out of nowhere. On our first official day in the field, Nathaniel and Heather gave us a tour of the quarry and the area where Heather was focusing her research. So far, the site(s) have a prehistoric component, however no temporal determination has been made. Several transects were laid out to cover Heather’s area of interest (eventually each STP was plotted with a GPS). Shovel testing made it possible for Heather to begin determining where concentrations of artifacts were being recovered, and finding the boundary (based on sterile shovel tests). We were finding hundreds of flakes every day, especially in the tree throw that took almost an entire day to excavate!

Some of the Munsungun at the outcrop peaking through moss

On one of the last days I had an opportunity to go up to the quarry site where Nathaniel was excavating a 1 meter x 1 meter test unit at the base of the quarry outcrop. This outcrop is a Munsungun chert source, a raw material utilized by prehistoric peoples to make stone tools. Interestingly enough, Munsungun chert is found in the form of lithics and lithic debitage at many Paleoindian sites in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, hundreds of miles away. By the time I got up to the quarry site Nathaniel and Tom (another volunteer) had excavated roughly 30 cm through natural shatter and cultural debris (flakes, etc). It was almost overwhelming how much cultural material was present at the quarry. There was a peaceful eeriness about this area, broken up by the chatter of angry red squirrels from time to time.

Counting flakes at the end of the day…on a plate.

A couple of our afternoons were spent driving to and from (a total of about 45 miles) what we dubbed “Cell Phone Mountain” to check email and make phone calls, because there is zero cell service out there. I have to admit, it was really nice being disconnected from the world for a few days. The view from on top of “Cell Phone Mountain” was phenomenal, especially since fall starts early up there, so we had a chance to see some really gorgeous fall foliage. Every night we took turns making dinner and cleaning up. On those evenings when it wasn’t raining we sat around a fire admiring the night sky unobstructed by light pollution. We also managed to make a considerable dent in the beer that we all brought along with us, because archaeologists “work hard, play harder”. Honestly, we were in bed most nights before 10 pm, because we were up every morning at 6:30 am. So yeah, not much in the way of partying.

The entire crew minus Tom and myself

All in all, this trip was an incredible professional and educational experience. I got to meet new colleagues that I hope I will have a chance to work with one day. I was also offered invaluable advice about starting/finishing my thesis. If I was forced to say one bad thing to say about this trip, it would be that we didn’t see a living/breathing moose, only a reproduction of one at the Kennebunk rest stop. Maybe next time!

 

 

Canoeing on one of the last days in the pond behind camp

Gettin fancy in our field clothes

Our only moose sighting

Test unit next to the outcrop

In the bushes to get out of the way of a logging truck!

 

IUP ANTHROPOLOGY DEPARTMENT

 

A Trip to Philly for a Look at the CRM Industry

By: Patrick McGinley

23rd Annual ACRA Conference

Hello, my name is Patrick McGinley, and I am a second-year grad student in the Applied Archaeology M.A. program. The weekend of Friday September 8th, I travelled to Philadelphia, PA, with Dr. William Chadwick and four other second-year grad students from the CRM II class being taught this Fall to attend the 23rd annual American Cultural Resources Association (ACRA) conference. ACRA is a national trade association for firms working in the Cultural Resource Management (CRM) industry, of which IUP is a member through its Archaeological Services. We left Thursday the 7th to stay in Philly overnight so that we could attend the first sessions early Friday morning. The conference had a total of 10 sessions over two days, and we had time to do some sightseeing as well.

The sessions covered a wide variety of topics, from political issues, to tax credit programs for historical preservation, to climate change’s effects on the industry, to the I-95 Philadelphia Project. On Saturday, “Student Day,” there was a special meet-and-greet session and a question-and-answer session with a panel which had several decades of experience in the CRM industry between them. One of the most interesting sessions for me personally was regarding the future of CRM in the Trump administration, which discussed what President Trump’s actions to this point suggest about his attitude toward regulation reform, environmental policy, and infrastructure development. The sessions that were specifically designed for students were valuable and definitely one of the highligh

The brick flooring from Benjamin Franklin’s cellar kitchen

ts of the weekend. The meet-and-greet allowed us to connect with many of the attendees of the conference, all of whom are actively employed in the industry all over the country. I even got to talk briefly with the president of ACRA, Duane Peter. The Q&A featured five panelists, including IUP’s own Dr. Chadwick, who discussed how to prepare for and get a job in this industry and gave tips for being successful in it.

During our lunch breaks and in the evenings after the last session had ended, we had time to explore the heart of Philadelphia and eat some great food. The conference was located along Rittenhouse Square, so we were already in Center City. In addition to all the nice places to eat, we were able to see Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, the Benjamin Franklin Museum, and more.

Ultimately, I think this was a valuable experience for my classmates and I for several reasons. It is important to go to these types of conferences as a student in order to get a glimpse of what the professional world looks like. The professionals attending these conferences are very knowledgeable about archaeology, CRM, and a whole host of other topics pertaining to our field. Also, it is crucial to make connections with these people and to get to know them, because they will be our future peers, if not future employers. Lastly, I think attending the ACRA conference in particular was important for us because it gave us an opportunity to hear about the “business side” of CRM and archaeology. Moreover, it has made me more aware of what the industry is like and the larger world in which it operates. As we heard from the speakers, the importance of associations like ACRA has increased in recent years to ensure that cultural resource and heritage protection laws are strengthened and updated as the CRM industry continues to grow into the 21st century.

The grad students enjoying the conference and Philadelphia!

 

IUP Anthropology Department

 

Reflections On A Summer At Historic Hanna’s Town

By: Heather MacIsaac and Kristina Gaugler, Field School Supervisors

Heather works with Karlena and Marina to identify soil colors with a Munsell book. (Photo credit: Dr. Ben Ford).

Between July 18th and August 18th, I had the privilege of training and working with eleven IUP students at Hanna’s Town. Most of these students had no prior experience with excavation, arriving on the first day armed with sunblock, lunches, and a willingness to learn as much about fieldwork as they could.

Close-up of a 20th century ring. (Photo credit: Heather MacIsaac)

Under guidance from Dr. Ben Ford and Dr. Bill Chadwick, the students set up six excavation units. The professors selected the areas for units based on the preliminary results of a geophysical survey conducted by graduate student David Breitkreutz. Geophysics benefits archaeologists by highlighting things below ground which may be the remnants of former human activity – houses, roads, fireplaces, burials – but is not precise enough to reveal exactly what lies under the surface. Field school students excavated in areas where Breitkreutz’s survey results pointed to buried circular patterns and a long, thick stripe that cut across the empty field near the reconstructed Hanna’s Town Fort. Were these subterranean shapes colonial era hearths or Native American round houses, and could the stripe be the original Forbes Road, the main street of the Hanna’s Town settlement? Only excavation could answer those questions.

My own first experience with digging took place during my sophomore year of undergrad at the site of a 19th century observatory in Wisconsin. As luck would have it, the first few weeks of digging produced nothing but rocks, but at some point the rocks appeared less and less in the excavation unit and were replaced by broken lab equipment, early lightbulbs, and even pieces of neon-painted pottery from when the observatory turned into a hip young poets’ club in the 1960s before the building was demolished. As I worked with students this summer, I found myself envious from time to time of the quality of the equipment available to them: canopies for shade, rain-proof field journals, binders for paperwork, and a fully working digital total station!

It was incredible watching the students gain confidence in their abilities, to see them face and overcome challenges each day, and to take ownership of their work and knowledge when visited by the public, tour guides, county reps, and other professors. While things didn’t always go as planned (i.e. flooded units or runaway notes), everyone had a good time at field school. Excavation uncovered the remains of wagon ruts and campfires, part of a large but yet unidentified stone structure, and a possible storage space for a prehistoric Native American house, all things which will prompt future research and a continued interest among students and visitors alike in Pennsylvania’s history.

-Heather

Working hard or hardly working? Kristina decided to spend break exploring reconstructed cabins at Hanna’s Town. (Photo credit: Heather MacIsaac)

On July 12th, 2017 I visited Hanna’s Town prior to the start of fieldwork to help get the site ready in preparation for their arrival. Coincidentally, almost exactly two hundred and thirty-five years earlier from that day, on July 13th, 1782, Hanna’s Town was attacked and burned to the ground by a force of Seneca and British soldiers. Fortunately, this ominous coincidence was not foreshadowing of the peril to come. In fact, short of a few rain storms, our entire field season was quite pleasant.

Using the established Hanna’s Town site grid, we located the six test units we would be excavating. Ten of the eleven participating students were split into pairs and assigned to a test unit. The eleventh student, Brennan Winzer, also a graduate student at IUP, was actually doing his own field work in a separate area of the site, although he had help from a rotating set of our students daily. The units were laid out in 5ft x 5ft squares (at historic sites we typically don’t use the metric system!) and after discussing the finer points of excavation techniques, we began digging. It is important to note, that across the Hanna’s Town site there is a layer of soil disturbance due to years of plowing. Therefore, the artifacts that come out of these upper most levels are likely not in situ. Indeed, all

A view of a stone feature that extended into the next unit. It is unknown if it is part of a historic or prehistoric structure. (Photo credit: Heather MacIsaac)

of the test units that I was personally responsible for supervising had large visible plow scars and/or mixed top soils, and the features we encountered were primarily located at the interface between the plow zone and the subsoil, the tops of them likely removed by plowing.

Throughout our excavations, there were some particularly interesting features, and a few of them would definitely benefit from further study. There was a semicircular ring of post molds in a test unit west of the reconstructed fort. Although no artifacts were associated with this feature, it’s appearance suggested that it could possibly represents the border of a Native American structure, probably prior to the Hanna’s Town occupation.  In our trench unit, there appeared to be a wagon rut, in what we hope was the remnant of a long searched for road. A few interesting artifacts were discovered near this feature, including what seemed to be a two tined fork. My favorite feature at the site was located within two adjacent units. A large pile of burnt rocks, showing visible heat induced cracks, reddening and spalls, were lying in what appeared to be two straight(ish) interconnected lines. It is still unclear what this feature is, in part because we found no artifacts in association with it.

In 2009 I completed my own first field school at Kincaid Mounds in Illinois. A few years later, while working as a field and lab technician, I would often muse over the things that I wished I could share, or advice I would give, to students who were planning on entering this field. Fast forward to me supervising this field school, and I am so glad that I had the opportunity to get to do just that. It was great sharing my experience with students new to field work. They say that teaching is sometimes the best way to learn. I definitely felt that together, we all became better archaeologists, and at the same time learned more about the history of a very interesting site in western Pennsylvania.

-Kristina

First Day vs. Last Day: Everyone gradually accepted that they would become walking dirt clods. (Photo credit: Dr. Bill Chadwick and Dr. Sarah Neusius)

IUP Anthropology Department

My summer as a PHAST intern

By: Genevieve Everett

PHAST 2017 Crew (from left to right: Sami, Zaakiyah, Gen)

This is going to sound real cliché, but time flies when you’re having fun! That’s exactly how I feel about this past summer as a PennDOT Highway Archaeological Survey Team (PHAST) intern. Last day of Spring 2017 classes was Friday May 12th, so my parents came to visit me in Pittsburgh that weekend as a celebration for finishing my first year of graduate school. The following Monday, May 15th was our first day of work. Yes, not much of a break, but that’s being in grad school! Our first week was basically orientation where Joe Baker, the PHAST Supervisor told us that if we weren’t feeling lost during our first few weeks of work there was something wrong with us. Well, speaking for myself, I was definitely feeling a bit lost and rusty in the digging shovel test pit department since it had been quite some time, but after a couple of weeks of doing it day after day I was becoming more confident in my work.

A friendly little sheep at one of our projects

We were immersed in CRM life: living out of a suitcase, staying in hotels, and eating out for every meal. Our projects took us to different counties all over the Common Wealth, which was probably one of my favorite aspects about this job. We saw parts of Pennsylvania that I would have otherwise skipped over on the way to other places. Pennsylvania is BEAUTIFUL! Most of the work we were doing was Phase I (bridge replacements/rehabilitation), however, we did do some Phase II work, several GPR surveys, metal detecting, cleaning/cataloging artifacts, mapping in ArcGIS, and writing reports.

Old wooden boxcar at the Muddy Creek Forks project

One of my favorite projects this summer was a Phase I/II at historic Muddy Creek Forks Village in York County. We excavated around the railroad Section House built by the Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad in the early 20th century for the Section Gang. The Section Gang maintained 10 miles of track year round, storing their track car and tools in the Section House. The Ma & Pa Railroad was an important part of industrial life in early-mid 20th century, making it easier for individuals to travel between York and Baltimore and to ship/receive goods. The Section House is an important resource for understanding what early-mid 20th century life may have been like for railroad workers. Eventually, the Section House will be raised onto a new foundation, and rehabilitated for future generations to enjoy along the walking path at the Ma & Pa Railroad Historic Village. Seriously, if you’re ever in the area, visit this site.

All in all, it has been an incredible and educational summer. As much as I love being out in the field I am definitely ready to start back up with classes and work on my thesis!

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Taking 3D Modeling to New Heights (by Jared Divido)

For the past year and a half, I have been working on an ongoing thesis project that seeks to test the feasibility of 3D laser scanning in a zooarchaeological context.  I have been using the NextEngine HD Scanner and the MakerBot 3D Digitizer to scan bones from various species of waterfowl (Figure 1). You can read more about my project here:

Left: humerus of a Black Duck (Anas rubripes). Right: using the 3D scanner and imaging software.

Over the summer, I had the opportunity to work with Dr. Benjamin Ford to test 3D technologies on a much larger scale.  In the process, I’ve acquired new knowledge about 3D techniques, and their response to different environments.  The goal of this mini project was to create miniature 3D replicas of two buildings on the Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s campus, which included McElhaney Hall and Sutton Hall.  After my first brain storming session, I thought that photogrammetry would be the best technique to construct the 3D models.  Photogrammetry is a 3D modeling method in which you take multiple overlapping images around an object of interest.  The researcher then imports the photographs into photogrammetry software, and the software uses references points from the photos to build a “mesh cloud” of the object.

After multiple attempts of using this technique, I quickly discovered that it would not work with all of the beautiful foliage that encompasses the buildings. The shifting background lighting in the sky and the height of the building features also created additional issues when it came to stitching all of the images together.  The resulting photogrammetry model of McElhaney (below) turned out slightly wavy and distorted in sections where tree limbs were obstructing features of the building.  The use of drone technology may have alleviated some of these problems since a drone’s camera can capture detail that cannot be photographed from the ground.  However, potential safety issues prohibit the use of drone technology near academic buildings.  So… I had to get creative and use of a mixture of the photographs and pre-existing satellite imagery from Google Maps (2017) to construct the building models.  I was able to pull the map data into a 3D modeling program called SketchUp, and I used the satellite maps to obtain reference points for the scale and size of the buildings.  From there, I imported the photographs and manually overlay the architectural features (e.g., stairs, windows, and porches) of the buildings using the build tools in SketchUp.  A comparison between the photogrammetry model and manually created SketchUP model are linked below.  The rationale for manually adding in architectural features was to emphasize them for 3D printing

Photogrammetry (left) and SketchUP Build (right) rending of McElhaney Hall.

In the end, the 3D models of the buildings may not have turned out to be exact replicas of their original forms due to some of the issues mentioned above.  However, this project has taught me a lot about the potential advantages and disadvantages of using 3D techniques at larger scales and changing environments.  The resulting models are optimized for 3D printing, which means some of the textural features had to be simplified or eliminated to make the models more structurally sound and printer friendly.  At present, I am using the MakerBot 3D Replicator to “build” miniature tabletop replicas of the buildings.

 

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My Research Experience for Summer Scholars by Harley Burgis

This summer I entered the Research Experience for Summer Scholars (RESS) program, so I could study zooarchaeology more intensively. The program and the research led to a great experience for me to have during my undergraduate years. Generally, I spent most of my time conducting my research, which was faunal analysis from previous excavations at the Johnston site (36IN0002). For my project, I identified and analyzed faunal remains from the western section of the site, that were recovered during the 2012 excavations. Specifically, I identified bones to their elements, genus, and species when applicable. This project has really been able to help me work on my identification skills and to solidify my desire to study zooarchaeology.

Working in the faunal lab in McElhaney Hall

Besides conducting research, I participated is RESS events, which included workshops, presentations, and social events. The social events were fun, because it allowed me the chance to spend time with like-minded people in different fields, which is what this whole program was about. This program allowed me the opportunity to meet other student researchers, as well as gain necessary skills for conducting research. I really enjoyed this program and I would recommend it for others who wish to conduct summer research here at IUP.

faunal material from the Johnston Site excavations.

 

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Update from the PHAST crew (by Ross Owen)

Each summer, PennDOT hires a field crew to gain experience running archaeological surveys as part of the environmental clearance for PA’s multitude of transportation-related construction projects.  PHAST (PennDOT’s Highway Archaeological Survey Team) is supervised by an IUP graduate student enrolled in the Applied Archaeology MA program – that’s me. This year’s PHAST crew is comprised of three IUP grad students: Genevieve Everett, Sami Taylor, and Zaakiyah Cua. The intricacies of completing archaeological field work in a cultural resource management (CRM) setting can be difficult to fully grasp in a classroom setting, and PHAST allows students to gain valuable working experience and hone their field skills.

Covering the entire state of Pennsylvania, the PHAST crew has a wide variety of projects. The project list and schedule are in a constant state of flux, and the unpredictability of CRM work is readily apparent. Jobs scheduled for a whole week of field work may be completed ahead of schedule if no archaeological sites are found, or if the project area has already been disturbed by modern activity. Similarly, jobs scheduled for a day of work may stretch on for weeks if a site is encountered, or if testing goes especially deep (our .57-cm diameter shovel test occasionally reach a depth of 1-meter before we encounter an appropriate stopping point). CRM work forces you to constantly reassess the situation based on new information, from the planning stages to the actual field work.

The PHAST crew hard at work

This summer started off with a bang. We encountered a prehistoric lithic reduction site on our first project, located in Allegheny County near Chartiers Creek. Within a single 1m x 1m test unit, we recovered over 500 lithic artifacts – mostly flaking debris and cores associated with the production of stone tools. Encountering sites is exciting, but not a daily occurrence in CRM archaeology, as many of our projects since then attest to. Of the 11 projects we’ve completed field work for, only 3 contained sites.

As busy as we’ve been traveling across the state from the Southwestern corner near Prosperity, PA to State College in the Center, and down to Muddy Creek Forks in Southern York County, it’s no wonder the summer is flying by. Helping out at the Hatch Site (see July 3 blog) for three weeks was the longest we’ve been in the same spot, and gave us a rare CRM opportunity to work on a full-scale data recovery project at a known archaeological site.

The PHAST crew at the Hatch site (from left to right: Zaakiyah, Sami, and Gen)

Nearing our final month of field work we have 4 projects that need to be completed. Two consist of the standard survey method of shovel testing the project areas for bridge replacements in Jefferson and Washington Counties, while the other two are Ground-Penetrating Radar (GPR) surveys to try and locate a French-Indian War Fort in Lehigh County and out-buildings associated with one of the homes in Old Economy Village. There’s always the potential that a few small projects will pop-up before the end of August when classes start and the PHAST crew moves indoors to focus on the lab work, curation, and report writing.  The crew will be employed by PennDOT through the end of October, but I’ll remain the PHAST director until May of 2019 when I graduate – stay tuned for more updates!

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The Juniata College Archaeology Field School (by Chris Swisher)

After classes ended this spring, I had the opportunity and privilege to help supervise the Juniata College Archaeological Field School alongside my former classmate Kate Peresolak and under the direction of Dr. Jonathan Burns of Juniata College. Located in State College, Pennsylvania, the project was a unique experience for a field school because it was a real-world Phase III archaeological project serving as a mitigation for a bike path that will soon have an adverse effect on the site. The James W. Hatch Site, named for the late Penn State University professor, is a lithic reduction site. In other words, this location served as a place where Native Americans would bring nodules of local lithic materials to be worked into stone tools. In this case, the local materials were being quarried from a source of jasper known as the Tudek Quarry at the top of the hill from the Hatch Site.

This site was first discovered during a Phase I and subsequent Phase II project in the summer of 2015 by the PennDOT Highway Archaeological Survey Team (PHAST). This work determined that the Hatch Site was eligible for the National Register of Historic Places and the threat of destruction by the bike path required that some sort of mitigation of the site be conducted. In the spirit of creative mitigation, it was decided that an excellent way to include the public, educate students, and of course save money was to make the project a field school for undergraduate students. A total of 11 students participated in the field school from Penn State University, Juniata College, and Virginia Commonwealth University. Also in the mix were a couple of hired field technicians, the PHAST crew (which consists of four IUP grad students), and several hard-working volunteers throughout the four-week excavation.

Left to Right: Kristen, Brendan and I working in the offset test units that would later yield the slag buried deep in the buried plow zone and (far right) VCU student Luciano with the Kirk corner-notched point

We began this project by mechanically stripping the modern plow zone in two 10x10m blocks. Within these blocks, we used a total station to set up two 5x5m blocks to be excavated. The original plan was to excavate 1x1m test units within the blocks divided into 50x50cm quadrants and each screened in 10cm levels. We did this for about a day or two until we found some large chunks of slag at the bottom of the stratum previously thought to be undisturbed. Upon this discovery that the stratum was actually an older plow zone, our strategy changed to excavating the test units by stratum rather than excavating in 10cm levels by quadrants. Once we got through the deepest plow zone we returned to our original strategy in the clay beneath.  Unfortunately, no diagnostic artifacts were found in the intact stratum, but we did find some projectile points in the old plow zone, including a Kirk corner-notched point! This gave the site an Early-Middle Archaic occupation and made the students more excited and motivated to keep up their hard work in the unpredictable weather conditions of central Pennsylvania. We also collected a few charcoal samples from features in the clay that will be radiocarbon-dated.

Left: Bird’s eye view of Blocks A and B with the drone. Right: the crew hard at work in the last week of excavation

This project was great for many reasons, but I will only list three main points here. First, it allowed students an opportunity to work on a real CRM project with a deadline. Second, we all had the opportunity to learn more about using a total station and how much time it saves. Third, the Hatch Site is one of many sites associated with my Master’s thesis, which involves synthesizing data from over 40 nearby archaeological sites unofficially collectively known as the Houserville Archaeological District. The result of my thesis will include an official nomination of the district to the National Register of Historic Places on the basis of its significance as a stone tool production locale in relation to the Tudek Quarry. The field school was an incredible way to get the public involved and teach students while conducting a necessary archaeological endeavor to collect data that would otherwise be lost forever. For more information and photos from the project check out the Juniata College Archaeology Facebook page and The Eclectic Bear blog by PennDOT archaeologist Joe Baker. A big thanks to all of the great students, crew, and volunteers who helped us move so much dirt, and to the many visitors we had over the four-week field school.

Group photo of the students and crew taken in Block A

 

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