Sabbatical. SABBATICAL. Roll that word around in your mouth. SAB.BAT.ICAL. It is the umami word in the academic lexicon. ‘Tenure’ is nice. ‘Promotion’ is lovely. Who doesn’t appreciate job security or a raise? But ‘sabbatical’ is the word that warms the cockles of a true academic’s heart, all the way down to the sub-cockle region. Sabbatical is the brief moment every seven years* when IUP professors get to do the things that led them to become professors in the first place. I love teaching, but I became a professor to do archaeology and to do the archaeology I want (the major distinction between the academy and CRM). During sabbatical I will have the time to do that. This is the closest that professors come to returning to the wonderful time of being a grad student working on thesis/dissertation research – that fleeting instant when you only had one project to hold in your mind and few, if any, outside distractions.

I’m pretty freaking excited about sabbatical.

The list of things I want to get done during my sabbatical is extensive, and I will not complete all of them. That is the nature of archaeology – there are so many important heritage resources and so little time. The two main projects that I want to advance are a maritime archaeology textbook and the Hanna’s Town project.

Jessi Halligan (Florida State University), Alexis Catsambis (Navy History and Heritage Command), and I have been contracted by Oxford University Press to write a maritime archaeology textbook aimed at undergraduates and introductory graduate students. We are still working on a catchy title. Over sabbatical, I will spend several days a week hiding in the library and writing sections of this book. As with any good textbook, the writing will take less time that the research to ensure that the book is based on the most up-to-date information.

I will be traveling to Greensburg on a regular basis to work on the Hanna’s Town project. IUP has been working at Hanna’s Town (the first capital of Westmoreland County) since 2011 and after thousands of student hours excavating the site and (more importantly) analyzing the artifact collection we are approaching the point where we can posit interesting and useful conclusions about the site. To that end I need to spend some quality time with the database we have created, and with the primary documents stored at the Westmoreland Historical Society. By the end of my sabbatical I hope to have the tools and background knowledge to begin producing articles about the site and to begin feeding new information to the site interpreters so that they can pass it along to the public.

It’ll be a busy sabbatical, but I hope to return refreshed and not as cranky.

*A note to future academics: Sabbaticals are not a given. At least at IUP, there are a result of a competitive process where the quality of your proposed scholarship is weighted against other factors to determine who is awarded a sabbatical. Faculty are eligible to apply every seven years.


…but the blog will still be here. Check back next semester for weekly posts.

Exploring the Late Prehistoric in Central Western Pennsylvania

By Sarah W. Neusius

More than a decade and a half ago, then Director of IUP Archaeological Services, Dr. Beverly Chiarulli, and I observed that Pennsylvania archaeologists sometimes referred to the area around Indiana as vacant during the last centuries of the Pre-Columbian period. The dominant cultural tradition archaeologists recognize for southwestern Pennsylvania after AD 1000 is the Monongahela tradition, and while there had been a lot of research on Monongahela sites in counties to our south and west, there wasn’t much known about the inhabitants of our immediate area. Thus it was fairly logical to assume that this was a cultural backwater or even vacant at this time. The tradition that our area was used only for hunting early in the Historic era also supported this idea.

However, based on work that Dr. Chiarulli had been doing with the Pennsylvania state site files and predictive modeling, she knew that there was a relatively large numbers of Late Prehistoric or Late Woodland village sites recorded – at least 30 apparent villages for the Conemaugh-Blacklick and Crooked Creek watersheds alone. This went against the assumption that this part of the state, which can be called central western Pennsylvania, was a sort of cultural backwater and even uninhabited after AD 1000. The problem obviously seemed to be that most of these sites had not received much professional attention; very little was known about them, and even less was included in the regional literature.

LPP area

Red circle outlines the approximate area of interest for the IUP Late Prehistoric.

The IUP Late Prehistoric Project or LPP, was initiated because of these observations, and it continues today because there is still a lot to learn. It only made sense for IUP archaeologists to explore these recorded sites. They are accessible, potentially well preserved, and likely to add significantly to Pennsylvania archaeology. Since approximately 2000, many IUP faculty and students have focused on learning more about sites in the Conemaugh-Blacklick, Crooked Creek, and Loyalhanna drainages of west-central Pennsylvania dating between approximately AD 1000 and 1600. We have employed field schools, student projects, and MA thesis research to learn about these sites. We also have been incorporating sites studied by IUP archaeologists during the 1970s and early 1980s as several of these are LPP villages that haven’t been thoroughly analyzed and written up. Occasionally the work of IUP Archaeological Services has dovetailed with these efforts as well. Dr. Chiarulli, myself, and Dr. Phil Neusius all have participated in excavations and analyses related to this project. With this summer’s field school at the Squirrel Hill site, Dr. Homsey-Messer and Dr. Chadwick also have become part of this initiative. Together, we are adding significantly to archaeological knowledge of the distribution of people during the Late Prehistoric. Some of our information has been shared through meetings presentations, Masters theses (available through the IUP website) and publications. However, there is a great deal more to be written about, and I am currently working hardest on this aspect of the project.

Before explaining a little bit more about the areas of research that have been pursued, I’d like to clarify the use of the term Late Prehistoric. You may have learned that Late Woodland is the name archaeologists use for the end of the Pre-Columbian times in places like Pennsylvania. In the southern Midwest and Southeast, Late Woodland follows the collapse of Middle Woodland Hopewellian societies by approximately AD 500. It continues in these areas until Missisisppian cultural developments are evident between AD 800 and 1000, when archaeologists designate a Mississippian period continuing until Historic times. Elsewhere evidence of Mississippian tradition societies has not been found by archaeologists, and in the Upper Midwest the Late Woodland often is not seen as ending until European Contact. The situation on the eastern edges of the MIdwest, is a little more complicated. Some archaeological traditions including the Fort Ancient tradition, found mostly in Ohio and West Virginia, and the Monongahela tradition, found mostly in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, often have been designated as Late Prehistoric because of the similarities in dating, presumed interactions with Mississippian societies, and similar material culture (e.g. shell-tempererd pottery and communities with central plazas). Thus, it has been more common to call Monongahela tradition sites Late Prehistoric than Late Woodland. Because central Western Pennsylvania encompasses the northern edges of the Monongahela area and some of our sites can be considered Monongahela, we use the term Late Prehistoric rather than Late Woodland for our project.

One of the highlights of the LPP is the development of an extensive catalogue of radiocarbon dates for the sites in our area. When we began this project in 2000, there were not any radiocarbon dates for the LPP sites and villages. Now there are approximately 85 dates some of which are standard radiometric dates, but the majority of which are AMS dates. These latter Accelerator Mass Spectrometry dates now are the preferred radiocarbon dating method because they require less carbonized materials – as little as 20 mg as opposed to the 10 grams required for wood charcoal by standard radiometric dating methods. This means less material is destroyed in the dating process. Another advantage of AMS dating is that the dates often are more precise; they usually have date ranges within 50 years plus or minus from the mean. In any case in just over a decade and half we have greatly increased our ability to understand the chronology of the Late Prehistoric in our area. Most importantly we have been able to show that occupation of these watersheds spans the entire Late Prehistoric as shown in this chart of some of the dates we have obtained for Conemaugh-Blacklick Watershed sites. Note the AD years from AD 100 to almost AD 1800 in calibrated years across the bottom of the chart. These dates certainly span the Late

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Radiocarbon date ranges for some Conemaugh-Blacklick watershed sites.

Prehistoric period from AD 1000-AD 1600. Calibrated years are approximations of calendar years based on adjusting radiocarbon years to known fluctuations in the amounts of carbon in the atmosphere. This figure gives you date ranges at both the 68% confidence interval (dark brackets) and the 95% confidence interval (gray lines) so that the earliest date on this chart has a 95% probablity of falling between approximately AD 650 and AD 1175 and a 68% probabilty of falling between approximately AD 775 and AD 1025 while the most recent date falls between ca. AD 1290 and AD 1780 at the 95% confidence interval and between ca. AD1400 and AD 1650 at the 68% confidence interval.

Another highlight of the LPP has been our identification of a possible cultural boundary between Mononghaela people and their neighbors to the north. Although many of our sites can be assigned to the Johnston Phase of the Monongahela tradition, others, especially those in the Crooked Creek drainage, appear not to truly be Monongahela, and to exhibit closer ties to Late Woodland groups living in northwestern Pennsylvania. These more northerly people seem to have made different ceramics, especially pots made with limestone temper as opposed to shell temper, as well as possibly to have less organized villages. Recently, and in part due to LPP research, the Crooked Creek Complex has been defined to encompass these sites, but there is a lot more that needs to be learned about these sites and those still further north, as much of the data remains in the hands of avocational archaeologists, and has only been partially studied. Important Crooked Creek Complex sites for which IUP has collections are Mary Rinn (36IN29) and Fleming (36IN26). This year an undergraduate honors thesis will be exploring the Mary Rinn site through geophysics as well.


Contrasting ceramics from the Johnston site (Johnston Phase Monongahela) and the Mary Rinn site (Crooked Creek Complex).

A major undertaking of LPP archaeologists has been re-investigation of the Johnston site (36IN2) , located near Blairsville. This large village site is the type site for Johnston Phase Monongahela (AD 1450-1590), and it may be the second largest known Monongahela village. It was excavated in the 1950s by archaeologists from the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh before the completion of the Conemaugh lock and dam. Today it is buried beneath flood sediments of the Conemaugh River Lake on land belonging to the US Army Corps of Engineers. By conducting five IUP archaeological field schools at Johnston beginning in 2006, we have added greatly to the information on this site, demonstrating that it is a multi-component site of some complexity, and we have called the definition of the Johnston Phase itself into question. Although, there is still much more potential for research at Johnston, we have obtained more than 40 radiocarbon dates from this site alone and recovered hundreds of thousands of artifacts. As a result, we are pausing in our excavations to take more thorough stock of what we have been learning. Graduate and undergraduate theses have now focused on ceramics, bone tools, faunal remains, lithics, FCR, and botanical remains from the Johnston site. Three others still in progress are exploring the site’s geomorphology, the spatial distribution of materials, and micro-artifactual evidence, and I am immersed in the analysis and write-up of our findings as well.

excavation shot

Excavations in progress at the Johnston site, 2012 (left), 2010 (right).

These are only a few highlights of the IUP Late Prehistoric Project, which has been employing excavation, geophysical survey, as well as faunal, botanical, lithic and ceramic analyses to gather evidence concerning the forgotten or porrly understood Late Prehistoric villages of central western Pennsylvania. As a result these villages are forgotten no more. If you are an IUP graduate or undergraduate student, you should consider joining other IUP archaeologists and getting involved with some aspect of this project. There are many worthwhile projects that you might undertake, and I will be happy to explore possibilities with you.   Whether or not the LPP is your cup of tea, it is an important part of the archaeology IUP is doing, and you can anticipate hearing more about it in the future.

Pennsylvania Highway Archaeological Survey Team Season Wrap-Up

by Kate Peresolak

In the previous blog post about PHAST (PennDOT Highway Archaeological Survey Team), I left you with news of an upcoming Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) survey in Clarion County, a small urban archaeology project in Pittsburgh, and additional excavation projects in both eastern and western Pennsylvania. Aside from wrapping up a loose end in Clarion County, another season of field work has come to an end, which means lab work, extensive report writing, and a new semester are about to begin.


GPR survey underway.

Our second GPR survey of the summer was very interesting. More common shovel test pit and test unit excavation was not used in this early stage because we already know that a furnace complex and worker housing once stood in the vicinity. A GPR survey enables a more complete view of any possible intact structures while using non-invasive techniques. It will be exciting to see how the survey data, historic maps, and the current landscape come together.


Yeah, all of those bricks came out of an excavation unit, but look at those smiles.

The excavation of three test units in Pittsburgh revealed a rubble and garbage-filled basement, foundation remnants, and also a buried but intact prehistoric occupation. Bricks were the most common artifact, but others include vessel glass, annular whiteware, nails, and the body of a small porcelain figurine often referred to as a “frozen Charlotte.” Despite the direct sun and deep excavation, my crew made the best of the situation.


Artifacts from the Pittsburgh project. The ‘frozen Charlotte’ torso is in the center.

Another very unique project from this summer took PHAST to Old Economy Village, a state-owned property in Ambridge. Our job was to locate vineyard postholes from the 1950s/1960s in areas where posts no longer stand. This is part of a larger effort by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) to reconstruct the vineyard and preserve the property as a piece of our state’s heritage. Check out the Old Economy Village website  to learn more about the Harmonist society that founded Old Economy Village and to plan your own visit.

The final project of the year took us to Luzerne County just last week. PHAST completed shovel test pits in multiple soybean fields in preparation for storm water management basins.


PHAST archaeologists working with their PennDOT mentor, Joe Baker, at Old Economy Village.

Even though all 2016 fieldwork is now over, the project list for next summer’s crew will come together in early 2017. Stay tuned for additional PHAST blog posts next summer as a new field director and crew travel across Pennsylvania and continue to learn about our buried past.


The sun setting on another successful PHAST season.

Advanced Metal Detecting for Archaeologists at Fort Necessity

Uncontrolled metal detecting can be one of the most destructive activities at an historic-period archaeological site, especially a battle or military site. And it is illegal to metal detect, or remove any artifacts, from a National Park without an Archaeological Resource Protection Act (ARPA) permit. But with the proper research design and permits a systematic metal detector survey can be a very powerful archaeological tool. That’s what 16 IUP students and faculty learned at Fort Necessity this past weekend.

The class was taught by the Advanced Metal Detecting for Archaeologists (AMDA) as a Register of Professional Archaeologists (RPA) continuing education course. In addition to IUP, 10 other participants from Cal, Juniata, University of Binghamton, and the National Park Service took the class. AMDA is a group of professional archaeologists dedicated to integrating metal detecting into archaeological research. Since IUP has an excellent assemblage of geophysical equipment, it was natural for us to add metal detecting to our skill-set.

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IUP Anthropology undergraduates Amanda Telep, Chyna Haley, James Miller, and Brendan Cole learning proper technique from AMDA instructor Sheldon Skaggs. Photo by Chris Espenshade.

The class began with a day of lectures on the mechanics and use of metal detectors, as well as many examples of how metal detectors can be used for historic and pre-contact period archaeology. The next two days were spent in the field collecting real archaeology data.

Quick history of Fort Necessity: A 22-year old George Washington was sent to western PA to push the French from the region. On May 28, 1754 colonial and native soldiers under Washington’s command killed Joseph Coulon de Jumonville and most of his force who were carrying a message ordering Washington’s force to leave the area. Expecting a reprisal from the French, Washington’s troops fortified their depot in the Great Meadows, naming it Fort Necessity. On July 3, 1754 French soldiers under the command of Louis Coulon de Villiers, Jumonville’s brother, attached Fort Necessity. After a day of fighting in the rain Washington surrendered. The killing of Jumonville, which Washington admitted to in his surrender, ignited the Seven Years War, the first truly inter-continental war.

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Metal detector survey at Fort Necessity National Battlefield. Note the string transects to ensure proper coverage and the pin flags to mark finds. Photo by Chris Espenshade.

It has long been believed that the heaviest French fire came from the tree line southeast of the fort where the trees reached within 60 yards of the fort. That’s where we focused our metal detecting efforts for the field portion of the class. We found evidence of the battle in the form of dropped and fired musket balls as well as other artifacts relating to the attack. These data confirm that at least some of the French were attacking from this location.

We also now have a cadre of IUP archaeologists trained to use metal detectors on an archaeological site – a skill that we can use here and that students can take with them into the professional world. It was a very productive and successful weekend.

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AMDA Fort Necessity National Battlefield Class Photo. Photo by Chris Espenshade.


By Lara Homsey-Messer

 Microartifacts are the small materials that fall through a standard ¼” screen. Generally archaeologists who study microartifacts look at the range from 1 to 4 mm, though some brave folks go down to as small as half a millimeter! Artifacts this small are difficult to see and require magnification, making their study somewhat tedious. As a result, they typically receive little attention. Since they are assumed to duplicate the same information we get from macroartifacts, only a handful of American archaeologists routinely study them. However, studies over the last two decades convincingly demonstrate that microartifacts are not simply smaller versions of larger artifacts. Rather they provide different kinds of information which supplement macroartifact studies. For example, at the Mississippian period site of Wickliffe Mounds in western Kentucky, my colleagues and I found tiny copper fragments inside a house structure. Only two slivers were found during 10 years of fieldwork, but when we looked at the microartifact assemblage (derived from the heavy fraction of flotation samples), we found hundreds of pieces—most of them just 1mm small! Even more interesting, chemical analysis of those fragments showed that it wasn’t elemental copper that Mississippian people used to make items of personal adornment (such as ear spools), but a fragile copper oxide, the kind that can be ground into a pigment for paint. Europeans who encountered historic period Native Americans recorded brightly painted houses, so this finding really shouldn’t be all that surprising. And yet if we hadn’t looked, we would not have found evidence for it. Since then we have found micro-sized pieces of other mineral pigments, including galena (black), hematite (red), and kaolinite (white)—all colors that had symbolic significance for Native Americans.


Left: microartifacts from Wickliffe Mounds (the copper is center, bottom row). Right: artist’s reconstruction of a painted Mississippian house.

Several IUP students in the Department of Anthropology have incorporated microartifacts in their research. Junior Harley Burgis is looking at microartifacts from the Paleoindian through Archaic site of Dust Cave (in northwestern Alabama) as part of her Honor’s thesis. Harley is comparing microartifacts from different kinds of features, such as hearths, possible storage pits, and middens. The hearths are of particular interest because they come in many shapes and sizes. So far, she has found that the smaller hearths are more likely to contain burned shell and fish bone, while larger hearths seem to have a wider variety of materials, including bird and mammal bones, nutshell, and lithic debitage. Also, the bone is the bigger hearths is calcined, suggesting that those fires burned at a higher temperature than the small hearths. So it seems that at Dust Cave some hearths were reserved for steaming mussels and/or fish at low temperature, and others were multipurpose fires for broiling many kinds of foods at high temperature.

Graduate student Kevin Gubbles (May ‘16) looked at microartifacts as part of his Master’s thesis on fire-cracked rock (FCR) at the Johnston Site, a Monongahela village in western PA. Kevin conducted a neat experiment to figure out how hot and how often rocks need to be heated to create FCR. One of his findings is that repeated heating of sandstone not only cracks the rocks and colors them red, but it also causes micro-sized grains of quartz sand to sluff off, what we call “attrition.” This is especially true for rocks that have been boiled in hot water. And the higher the temperature, the more attrition is produced. Looking through the microartifact assemblage at the Johnston site, there are copious quantities of these single grains that match the physical appearance of the experimentally produced ones, particularly in hearth features. The huge quantities of attrition discovered by Kevin suggest that stone-boiling technologies continued even well after the adoption of ceramics.


On left, experimental FCR with micro-sized grains of attrition. At right, archaeological microartifacts from a Johnston Site hearth.

Senior Paige Reimers is also looking at the microartifacts from the Johnston Site as part of her Honor’s thesis. She is comparing the microartifact content of different features to better understand how these they may have functioned. She is particularly interested in comparing the post mold features from the stockade and private domestic structures to post molds found in the central public plaza—a place generally kept free of structures and debris. The presence of posts here is surprising and we hope that microartifacts may shed light on what they were used for. Her analysis has just begun, but so far she has found a lot of the “attrition” mentioned above, supporting Kevin’s results that stone cooking, including stone boiling, was commonly employed at the Johnston Site, creating a long of refuse in the process.

Student Research at Hanna’s Town


2015 IUP excavations at Hanna’s Town

Hanna’s Town is arguably the most important historical site in Westmoreland County. As the first British county seat west of the Allegheny Mountains, a toehold for Anglo American western expansion, and the home of the Hanna’s Town Resolves it played important judicial, economic, social, military, and cultural roles in the formation of western Pennsylvania. Robert Hanna purchased a tract of land along the Forbes Military Road at the head of a branch of Crabtree Creek in 1769. Situated between Fort Pitt and Fort Ligonier, Hanna’s tavern Hanna’s became the county seat when Westmoreland County divided from Bedford County in 1773. Hanna also began selling lots in the town that year and Hanna’s Town quickly took shape. As county seat, Hanna’s Town was the site of the county’s first courts, which were “at least an occasional destination for settlers living throughout the southwestern part of [Pennsylvania]” (Carlisle 2005:1). Due to the necessity of occasionally visiting the court for criminal proceedings or land transactions, as well as the settlement’s position along one of the major overland routes to the Northwest Territory, Hanna’s Town developed into a thriving community with approximately 30 homes, a stockade fort, and multiple taverns. A month after the battles of Lexington and Concord, the inhabitants of Westmoreland County adopted the Hanna’s Town Resolves on May 16, 1775. Signed at Hanna’s Town, this document declared that the citizens were “resolved” to resist the tyranny of Britain. The citizens’ resolve continued throughout the war with local men joining local militias and participating in battles throughout the Northwest Territory. In response to these battles as well as American attacks on Native settlements, Hanna’s Town became the target of one of the final acts of aggression in the American Revolution. On July 13, 1782 a raiding party of Native and British soldiers led by Seneca Chief Sayenqueraght attacked the town, burning its buildings and slaughtering livestock. Hanna’s Town never fully recovered from this attack, and was subsequently abandoned as the state road and county seat shifted to Greensburg. Following its abandonment, the land was farmed until its purchase by Westmoreland County in 1969.


IUP excavations at Hanna’s Town since 2011

IUP entered into an agreement with WCHS in 2011 to provide IUP students and faculty with access to the Hanna’s Town site and associated artifact collections while providing WCHS with new archaeological interpretations and ways to increase awareness of the site’s significance. This is an ongoing relationship with many facets ranging from the creation of a digital artifact catalog and map to consultation regarding ground-disturbing maintenance at the park, but the most important aspect of IUP’s involvement with Hanna’s Town has been hands-on student education through field schools, class projects, theses, and work experience.

Hanna’s Town has also been the subject of seven graduate theses at IUP. These theses cover a range of topics from buttons to geophysics. Two students, Renate Beyer and Stefanie Smith, have completed their theses. Renate reanalyzed the glass and ceramics from the Foreman’s Tavern pits to compare them with a tavern closer to Philadelphia. She found that the Foreman’s were adopting new fashions almost as quickly as their eastern counterparts and that new types of ceramics first appeared in showier pieces such as tea services. Stefanie examined animal bones from the Foreman’s Tavern, Hanna’s Tavern, and Irish House portions of the site to explore variations in diet among the townspeople. Her results showed that most people were eating a mixture of domestic and wild animals, but that the Irish House inhabitants ate significantly more domestic animals than their neighbors. These results suggest that Irish House was inhabited later than the other buildings, an idea supported by the predominance of pearlware, a type of ceramic not introduced to North America until 1780, near this structure. Her research also revealed a substantial number of grey squirrel bones in the Foreman’s Tavern deposits, suggesting that squirrel may have been served in the tavern.


Students excavating at Hanna’s Town in 2013

The other theses are still underway but are showing promising results. Ashley Taylor has used a variety of geophysical techniques to investigate the Hanna’s Town cemetery. The cemetery is of particular importance because it is the last aboveground physical link with the original town. Ashley’s research showed that the cemetery was once larger than the current boundary implies by finding several grave shafts outside of the fence. David Breitkreutz is also applying geophysics to give us a better understanding of the site’s layout (Figure 6). Taking advantage of a large ground-penetrating radar recently acquired by IUP, one of only two in the US, he has surveyed much of the area south of Forbes Trail Road. This survey covers areas never before excavated and will be used to guide our 2017 field school excavations. Three other graduate students are focusing on artifacts from the collection. Jay Taylor is analyzing the metal artifacts to better understand what occupations were practiced in the town. Nichole Keener is studying the buttons and other fasteners to reconstruct the clothing of Hanna’s Town residents. Cheryl Frankum is conducting an elemental analysis of redware from the site. Redware, the Tupperware of the 18th century, is the most common artifact in the collection and also the least studied. Cheryl’s research is a first attempt at understanding this important type of artifact and may shed light on where the pots, jars, bowls, and other pieces were coming from.

There are also three undergraduate theses about Hanna’s Town in progress. While undergraduates are not required to complete a thesis doing so gives them an advantage in applying for jobs and graduate school because it shows that they can take a research project from plan to completion. James Miller is studying the distribution of expensive ceramics across the site to determine if there was class variation at Hanna’s Town. Kelsey Schneehagen is looking at Hanna’s Town in a regional context to explore relationships with other settlements in western Pennsylvania. Eden VanTries is studying the people who lived at Hanna’s Town before Hanna (or even his predecessor, Jacob Miers). In the course of previous excavations several stone tools have been recovered. Eden is analyzing these artifacts to understand when previous groups lived on the ground that became Hanna’s Town. As these graduate and undergraduate theses are completed copies are filed with the WCHS so that they are available to other researchers.

An Undergraduate Abroad 2: Cemetery Excavations in Romania

By Harley Burgis

3This summer I spent three weeks in Odorheiu Secuiesc, Romania learning how to excavate human skeletal remains. I worked at Valeni (Patakfalva), a medieval church and cemetery site. Although the modern cemetery is slowly encroaching the medieval one, the site is still more or less intact. Our job was to excavate the human remains from three different trenches, so that the site directors could learn more about the history of the people who inhabited this part of Romania and see how they are linked to present day populations in the area. I specifically spent the whole three weeks excavating a juvenile. This was very taxing, because of three reasons: 1) because of the2 sun and incessant heat, I was working with baked out clay, 2) there was so much back fill bone on top that was not associated with the individual, and 3) I had to use wooden picks to do the entire excavation, because of how fragile juvenile bones are and how close the bones were together. After I finished excavating the individual, I learned how to map the bones, which was a very meticulous task. In the end, I had a great time in Romania, I met amazing people from all over the world, and I learned a lot about the culture there and how to excavate human remains.

The Archaeological Services Center at IUP

By Bill Chadwick

The Archaeological Services Center (Center) is a faculty-led applied archaeology research center that utilizes graduate and undergraduate student workers located in the Department of Anthropology at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. The Centers’ primary goal is to provide opportunities to both graduate and undergraduate students to obtain experience supervising and conducting field and laboratory archaeological projects prior to graduation. The Director of the Center, Dr. William Chadwick, is the only regular faculty staff member of the Center.

Ashley excavating a shoveltest

Ashley McCuistion and Hannah Harvey digging test pits.

The Center offers a wide array of services to public and private organizations to assist in cultural resource and historic preservation projects required by state, federal and local laws or as part of environmental impact assessments. Since 1989, the center has conducted more than $5,000,000 in projects and technical assistance to agencies as diverse as the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Indiana County, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, the National Park Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers–Pittsburgh District, the Allegheny National Forest and numerous planning commissions. The services that the Center provides include, but are not limited to, Geomorphological Reconnaissance and Geophysical Surveys, Consultation, Phase I discovery, Phase II evaluations, and Phase III excavations of significant archaeological sites. The Center is focused on those sites and projects located in the Upper Ohio Valley.

Hannah and Emily using the GPR

Hannah Harvey and Emily Masters conducting a ground penetrating radar (GPR) survey for Pennsylvania DOT.

Archaeological projects through the Center provide students opportunities to have hands-on experience working with some of the technologies that are at the forefront of archaeological research and the Cultural Resource Management (CRM) industry. The Center has access to the latest geospatial technologies including, but not limited to, real-time sub-meter accurate GPS units, a Nikon Total Data Station, a Leica Scan Station C10 3D Laser Scanner, and ESRI ArcMap software. The geophysical equipment and methods used on projects by the Center can include two Ground-Penetrating Radar systems, Gradiometry, Resistivity, Conductivity, Electromagnetic Induction, and Metal Detection. The available laboratory equipment includes an Olympus DELTA Professional XRF, a Nikon Eclipse E200 Polarizing Trinocular Microscope, and a Flote-Tech Flotation System. Geomorphological equipment that can be used during the projects include Edelman and Buck Augers, Gouge Augers, Piston Samplers, and sediment analysis equipment such as a drying oven, electronic scales, sediment splitters, and a set of sediment sieves and a sieve shaker.

Whether continuing on into graduate studies or entering the CRM industry, students who have the opportunity to participate in projects through the Center have a enhanced understanding of the real-world application of methods and technologies that are used to study archeological resources. This knowledge gained through the Center provides students experience beyond the classroom that is invaluable when moving from their academic lives into their professional careers.

Crew walking across floodplain

Off to work we go!

Voices from the Field: A Graduate Student Abroad

By Sarah Henley

Map1This summer I went to Menorca Spain to attend the Sanisera Archaeology Institute for International Field Schools and took a course on underwater archaeology from June 10-18, 2016. First I will share information on Menorca and the archaeological site where we worked then give an account of my time there. (Note: I was not able to catch/record all the history of the site so there are some gaps).


Port of Sanitja

Menorca is one of three islands off the eastern coast of mainland Spain. The other two islands are Mallorca and Ibiza. The official languages spoken on Menorca are Spanish and Catalàn. The locals also speak English, however the clarity and quality varies. The Sanisera Archaeology Institute is currently excavating the Roman city of Sanisera located on one of the northern peninsulas, and the underwater archaeology course focused on Port Sanitja. The shipwreck sites dated between the 4th century B.C. and 4th century A.D., and recovery/projects have been conducted since the 1950s.

Each day we would start out by diving for about 40 minutes at 54 feet. After diving we would head back to the field school to have lecture, lunch, and do some identification of Amphoras or ceramic vessels used to transport wine, olive oil, salted fish, etc. on ships, drawing, photography for 3D modeling, and 3D modeling.


Ancient basilica

The first day the underwater group got to tour Port Sanitja, and see and hold some of the artifacts that had been discovered. Throughout the week we learned and applied the Sanisera methodology of underwater archeological survey such as linear and circular survey, documentation, and 3D modeling to name a few. One of the things I will never forget was trying to take photos of artifacts underwater. My dive buddy and I had to take pictures of two Amphoras. The Amphoras were in a hole, surrounded by sea grass, next to a rock wall, and a bunch of fish that would not go away. When taking photos underwater you have to keep the area clear around the artifacts, not stir up the sand, and watch your bouncy. It was not easy.


Downtown Ciutadella

Each day we finished around 2:15pm, and would drive back to the residency were we had “dinner” at 2:45pm, and had the rest of the day to explore or do whatever we wanted to. The Town in which we stayed in was Cituadella on the western coast of the island. Cituadella is the second largest town on the Island along with the town of Mahon on the eastern coast.


Cave Diving (photo by dive buddy Jenna Zwiller)

During my time on Menorca I also got to go cave diving, which was amazing. Everyone in the dive group went. We first took a 10-minute boat ride out to a bay surrounded by rock cliffs. Then we dove for about 5 minutes to reach the entrance of the cave, and then dove 150 meters to the end of the cave were we surfaced. Diving into the cave was an experience. It slowly becomes dark and cold and at a couple points everything becomes blurry because of the mix of warm and cold water. Once at the end of the cave we swam on the surface and got to look at the stalactites, which were beautiful. When returned near the entrance we dove back down and swam out. Diving/swimming out of the cave felt like something out of National Geographic. The rock wall surrounding the entrance silhouetted the beautiful blue water that had light shining through it. I almost did not go because I was having some ear trouble, but I am so glad I went. When diving you have to equalize your ears as you descend and ascend. However, as a child I had many ear infections, which has left behind scar tissue and has made my eardrums less flexible. Diving is already hard on the body especially when you dive several days in a row. I was also unable to dive the last couple of course days because of my ears. Overall my experience was amazing and I will never forget it!


Sunset from the rooftop in Ciutadella

Voices From the Field: An Undergraduate Abroad

By Sean Duncan

13662448_1145568005484989_292685888_oThe site is located about 15 minutes outside of Gravina in southern Italy. It’s called Vagnari and it’s a second century Roman cemetery located in a field surround by rolling hills. The primary person and leader of the dig is Doctor Tracy Prowse from McMasters University in Ontario. We opened two trenches, one that is completely new and another that’s half and half because they weren’t able to excavate some of the burials last year. So far we have around seven burials that have been uncovered. We just got down to layer where we can trowel away the burials which is about 35-45 cms down.


I’ve learned that archaeology is a lot different here than it is in states. For example, we don’t sift every bit of dirt and for a majority of the dig we used pick axes and shovels. We also just ignore and throw away Roman tile, which would be the sort of thing we would document in American field school. I think the most challenging thing was adapting to the trench style digging and generally different style of archaeology. But it was only a little bit of a learning curve and I quickly adapted to learning how to pick away the dirt rather then slowly trowel it away.