Tools of the Trade: Actual Archaeology at PennDOT

By : Angela Jaillet-Wentling

From underneath a rusty 1927 Studebaker coupe car (an antique even in my youth) frame, my Papa called out to myself and my brother, “Can one of you kids hand me a the flat-head screwdriver with the stubby handle?” At the ripe old ages of six and four, we may very well have handed him a pair of pliers for all we knew.  He’d roll out on his card dolly with a smile, accuse us of being monkey wrenches, show us the tool he’d meant and head back under an engine most people had given up on fifty years prior. What I’d learned from my Papa, even as I spent more time playing with and picking on my younger brother, was that every job has a tool and some tools are more appropriate than others.

Photo 1. Shovel testing /Phase I archaeological survey, Lawrence County, Pennsylvania. Courtesy Angie Jaillet-Wentling (2017).

One of the first things about archaeology that I found re latable was this idea. I also like dirt, so it’s worked out well as a life/career choice for me! I began my career in Cultural Resources Management (CRM) in transportation through an internship with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT). As a note though, when I told my Papa that I wanted to be an archaeologist and there were jobs for in places like PennDOT, he laughed and hit me with one of the biggest myths I face as a transportation archaeologist “So, you’re going to hold up progress on the highways?!” Another thing my Papa taught me is that you can face almost anything with humor and a quick response. Being new to the profession, I don’t know that I had a good response to his question other than to laugh, give him a mock grumpy look, and say it wasn’t true. This is still true, but now I can tell him we rarely “hold up” a project and that we’re there to ensure that we don’t inadvertently lose out on our shared heritage by pushing projects through without consideration.

As a PennDOT archaeologist, we’re hired as historic preservation specialists and called Cultural Resource Professionals (CRPs) (https://www.paprojectpath.org/penndot-crm/home).  We help guide the implementation of PennDOT’s cultural resources program and the ways in which the individual engineering districts navigate the Section 106 (of the National Historic Preservation Act, as amended [1966, 2016]) (http://www.achp.gov/nhpa.pdf) process and how it may affect the overarching National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) (1969) (https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/whitehouse.gov/files/ceq/NEPA_full_text.pdf), process.  On a more localized level, what this means is that I work as one part of a team which includes myself covering below-ground cultural resources and my counterpart, an architectural historian, covering the above-ground cultural resources realm. We attend design field views early in the project planning process, provide guidance as to what studies may be needed, sometimes performing these studies ourselves, and ensure that each project follows the process in the most efficient way possible. We’re responsible for Findings of Effect or the determination of whether a project’s activities will affect cultural resources and, if so, how PennDOT can mitigate for that impact.

Photo 2. Backhoe Sounding of Ground-Penetrating Radar survey, Fayette County, Pennsylvania. Courtesy Angie Jaillet-Wentling (2017).

That all sounds awfully convoluted and legal, and it is, but it’s also done in equal parts archaeology technical know-how and documentation (findings, reports, and even public outreach).  On any given day, I can be found roadside wielding a soil probe or shovel to determine the extent of previous disturbances (Photo 1) or monitoring the removal of modern overburden by a backhoe to ground-truth the results of a ground-penetrating radar survey (Photo 2) or floating in a kayak in freezing weather to delineate canal resources (Photo 3) or pecking away on my keyboard to notify Federally-Recognized Tribes and Nations across the nation of project status or preparing legally-binding programmatic agreements.  We conduct background research on our projects to provide the best guidance possible and sometimes this gives us a better idea of the methods we’d like to use to investigate differing project areas and potential cultural resources.

Preparing haphazardly for this blog post, I asked Gen Everett what she’d like me to write about.  She though that I should discuss what I do as a CRP and possibly advice for graduates heading towards CRM.  There’s a joke archaeologists like to tell about classifying artifacts, you’re either a lumper or a splitter – as in you either associate or you differentiate the different characteristics of artifacts. I’m going to lump what I find most critical to completion of my daily duties and advice into one basic idea: know your tools and to do this ask questions! 

Photo 3. Canal survey of a portion of the Kiskiminetas River, Westmoreland and Armstrong Counties, Pennsylvania. Left: Angie Jaillet-Wentling. Middle Background: Railroad Trestle. Right: Canal Towpath Bridge Abutment. Courtesy Don Burden (2017).

Archaeology and CRM is filled with resources (and not just the cultural/archaeological/historical kind) in both its practitioners and its methodologies. Familiarize yourself with different methods of investigation so that you can develop a nuanced and effective approach to identifying and evaluating cultural resources that may be impacted by a project. This means that you might need to move beyond the standard shovel testing to remote sensing methods to backhoe trenches. You should be comfortable with the different options, so that you’re confident in choosing the most appropriate tool for the task.  To be comfortable and confident, familiarize yourself with the methods and the people that know them best understanding that you might not be the expert, but you know who is. You can’t come by this knowledge without putting in the research and asking questions!

Once you get to the point where you have something to impart, be it knowledge or support, it probably doesn’t hurt to share it with others. I think this applies to research and experience. What’s the use in learning about our history, if you can’t use that to help others increase awareness?  Publish and present what you can.  Graduate students in the future will likely cite it or critique it, but it furthers your field of study.  I was very fortunate to have early and often mentorship from PennDOT, in the form of the usually laughing and story-telling, Mr. Joe Baker. I count myself even more fortunate in my latest stint as a PennDOT CRP, because we get to work with and help mentor the PennDOT Highway Archaeology Survey Team (PHAST) (https://iblog.iup.edu/trowelsandtribulations/tag/phast/, https://iblog.iup.edu/trowelsandtribulations/2017/08/31/my-summer-as-a-phast-intern/, or https://iblog.iup.edu/trowelsandtribulations/2016/07/13/pennsylvania-highway-archaeological-survey-team-midseason-update/comment-page-1/). It’s a joy to hear their questions, answer what I can, and pose some back to them.

Angie Jaillet-Wentling

Angela Jaillet-Wentling, M.A., RPA | Historic Preservation Specialist

PA Department of Transportation

Bureau of Project Delivery | Cultural Resources Unit

CRP Archaeologist Engineering Districts 12-0/11-0

 

IUP ANTHROPOLOGY DEPARTMENT

VA to PA: Musings From A First Year Graduate Student

By: Jessie Hoover

 

Excavations at Hanna’s Town

Hello, my name is Jessie Hoover, and I am a first-year graduate student of the Applied Archaeology Program. My fieldwork over the summer of 2017 consisted of two field schools. First, from May to June, I supervised undergraduates, through Longwood University, at the Randy K. Wade site in Randolph, Virginia. I fell in love with this site! It is so rich in cultural material; every feature is bound to have at least five full bags of artifacts! The site is a Late Woodland period site located in the Stanton River Battlefield State Park. I lived out of a tent for four weeks, braving wind, rain, and bugs (sometimes all three at once). I woke up one morning with a bug bite right below my eye, causing major swelling, but I reminded myself that it was all in the name of archaeology! The most interesting find was a pile of corn cobs within a fire pit feature. The way the corn cobbs laid looked like they were just thrown into a fire yesterday, reminding me to remember the people that occupied the area, not just the artifacts.

After moving to Pennsylvania in July, I started IUP’s field school at Hanna’s Town in Westmoreland County, PA. This site reminded me that not every site is going to resemble the Wade site. Sam Edwards and I worked weeks in a 5’ x 5’ unit with barely any artifacts to show for it. We did find a few interesting features, which were small post holes a semicircle. Unfortunately, the lack of artifacts makes it hard to draw conclusions from these features.

Me with Representative Eric Nelson visiting excavations at Hanna’s Town

Once my archaeology season ended it was time to hit the books with the start of my first semester of grad school. I was nervous and excited about going to grad school and moving to another state. Luckily I was not too nervous about the actual school work since I only took a year off from school. I knew time management was key and avoiding procrastination (Netflix) at all costs was important coming into the program, but knowing and implementing time management are drastically different! To support myself thought my first semester, I had to get a part-time job. Course work and job shifts have proved quite the balancing act; I have needed to make many adjustments. During the beginning weeks, I never gave myself a break. Between work and reading assignments, I always felt overwhelmed. I really had to have a heart-to-heart with myself to set aside time to do something fun and take a break before insanity takes its toll. Because of this decision, I have been able to get closer to my cohort, which has done wonders for my morale. Your cohort and professors are there to HELP YOU, this cannot be stressed enough! Since it is close to Thanksgiving, I am highly thankful for my cohort and the others who have come into my life since beginning of my grad school journey. Whether we are working on Barber assignments or just hanging out, the support has made this experience easier.

IUP DEPARTMENT OF ANTHROPOLOGY

Yes, Archaeology is a Science Too…

By: Genevieve Everett

For the past few weeks the Public Archaeology class and I have been preparing to host the high school students involved in the Upward Bound Math and Science (UBMS) program. The Upward Bound program aims to serve, “high school students from low-income families; and high school students from families in which neither parent holds a bachelor’s degree” (U.S. Department of Education). UBMS, a local branch of Upward Bound, prepares high school students for college with the possibility of pursuing a career in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM). The UMBS students are required to come to IUPs campus one Saturday a month for tutoring sessions and/or workshops. This month (November) the students woke up bright and early to participate in four archaeology centric workshops.

In planning for the workshops, our class brainstormed a theme and three objectives to convey the scientific aspects of archaeology. We chose the theme, “Scientific Method” (a concept most high school students have learned), and our three objectives were to show how the scientific method is used in archaeology, highlight the inter-disciplinary aspects of archaeology, and how math and technology aid archaeology. Most importantly, our goal was to provide a hands-on experience that actively engaged the students as opposed to simply teaching them through lecture. The four workshops developed by our class include: Dendrochronology/Archaeoclimatology, Geophysics/archaeology, how to lay out test units (using the Pythagorean Theorem), and dissecting owl pellets/zooarchaeology.

Jessie and I partnered up, and decided to create a dendrochronology workshop, which evolved into a focus on what tree rings (annual growth of a tree) can tell us about past climate events and how this may have effected settlement and subsistence in the past (Archaeoclimatology). I for one knew little about the methods behind “dendro”; therefore, it was a personal learning experience for me. Our learning objectives for this workshop were to show how archaeologists use dendrochronology and the limitations of the dating methods, and the ability to look for past climatic events in tree rings and their effects on the surrounding environment.

One of the horizontal cross cut hand-outs

Jessie and I created a few PowerPoint slides explaining what dendrochronology is and what each tree ring can tell us about the trees growth (i.e. wider rings=healthy growth, smaller rings=dry seasons, less healthy growth). With this information, Jessie and I gave the students two hand-outs displaying horizontal cross cuts of trees that represented two hypothetical beams from two log cabins found in close proximity on the North American Great Plains. In this hypothetical scenario, Jessie and I, the archaeologists asked the students to help determine the first year of growth of each beam, the year each tree was cut, and which drought event (The Dust Bowl or the 1890’s Drought) was present based on the tree rings. The students were given two dates: 1886 and 1919 for first year of growth from which they were asked to count out toward the outer most ring (last year cut) to find the climate event and the year the tree was cut. Likewise, they were asked to make observations and work together to figure out the three objectives of the activity.

A good portion of the students (sorry, no hard statistics) were able to determine the first year of growth by testing out the two dates for first year of growth (1886 and 1919) on one hand-out at a time by counting out and up in time. Counting out and up in time allowed the students to pin-point where the climate events occurred, and finally the year the tree was cut. Other students needed a few hints to get them going. We rounded out the activity by explaining that dendrochronology is by no means a perfect dating tool, instead, we weigh the date from dendro against other methods such as radiocarbon dating and diagnostic artifacts from excavations. Additionally, we discussed the impacts of climate on humans in the past based on our own knowledge of the effects in contemporary contexts.

Overall, as a student of archaeology with an interest in Public Archaeology, this was as much an educational experience for me as it was for them. I’ve had minimal opportunities to interact with the public other than what I’ve done for my graduate assistantship and at field school. When working with the public, especially high school aged kids, you have to be able to balance all the different learning styles (tactile, visual, auditory, etc) in one workshop. This is definitely not easy, and I give teachers props that are able to balance them all. I think that if Jessie and I had a little more time to develop the activity, that our workshop could have the potential to be a valuable teaching tool for all learning styles. One major take away from the student evaluations is that these kids want less lecture and more hands-on activities. Personally, I think that we provided them with plenty of opportunities for hands-on learning, but the audience has spoken, and as educators, it is our duty to adapt to these “criticisms” and work on making these workshops more fun and engaging.

IUP DEPARTMENT OF ANTHROPOLOGY

Growing Up In Cemeteries, Pt 2.

By: Zane Ermine

Hello everyone! This is Zane Ermine again with another blog post! This week I’m going to be talking about headstone symbolism throughout the last 300 or so years in North America. (I should note that this is an extremely brief generalization based off of my previous knowledge and some basic research).

Headstones and cemetery engravings have changed drastically throughout the years. From the onset of using stone markers to designate burials, there were often intricate designs incorporated with the name, birth and death dates of the individual onto the face of the stone. These were usually carved with a hammer and chisel and due to the time and effort that were necessary to process an individual monument, set designs were chosen and offered to the families. These designs had themes that were common throughout the industry.

Here are just a handful of the more common symbols:

Dogwood – often a symbol of Christianity, it can also represent eternal life and resurrection.

Dove Often representative of the Holy Spirit, also symbolizes peace in death or the ascension to Heaven.

Dove

Draped Urn – the urn is an ancient symbol of death – often draped with a cloth to represent a separation between life and death

Draped Urn

Wheat – the Grim Reaper is generally depicted as carrying a scythe – can represent a life well lived, harvested at its time.

Lamb – common on children’s stones, it can represent innocence – a lamb in Jesus’ flock

Lamb

 

Example of Greek temple style monument

Eventually, tombstones grew into a status symbol – you can often tell which family had the most money by their large and intricately carved family stone. These headstones were often influenced by the popular architecture of the time; you can find Egyptian or Greek style stones during their respective revivals between the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Around the 1930s, some companies began slowly adopting sandblast technology to engrave their headstones. Rubber was (and still is) used as a stencil to prevent the sand from eroding sections of the stone that are meant to remain untouched. The technology has remained relatively stable since this period, despite varying methods for attaching the rubber and the introduction of computer software. Currently, adhesive-backed rolls of rubber are cut from a stencil cutting machine and placed on the blank monument die. The machine cuts the stencil directly from a CAD program and a to scale computer draft of the stone.

A modern headstone, showing detailed sandblast work. The 3 symbols across the bottom represent the deceased’s various hobbies.

These days, symbolism seems to have taken a back seat to artistic creativity. Modern technology has drastically increased the range of designs that can be placed onto a monument – instead of hand-carving designs, computers and automated sandblast machines do much of the work. Some of the older staples, such as dogwood, doves, roses, or clasping hands have stuck around, although this is more likely due to tradition or aesthetic values, rather than symbolism. Customers can now choose from wider range of designs including sports emblems, cartoon characters, or a variety of animals or vehicles. The art of tombstone design has shifted from inert symbolism to a more blatant pictorial representation of an individual’s life.

Material Referenced:

https://www.in.gov/dnr/historic/3747.htm

http://washtenawhistory.org/images/tombstone_symbols_v8.pdf

http://www.graveaddiction.com/symbol.html

http://www.thecemeteryclub.com/symbols.html

http://www.creepybasement.com/cemetery-symbols/

Images Referenced:

http://washtenawhistory.org/images/tombstone_symbols_v8.pdf

http://www.davismonumentspa.com/specialty-monuments

 

IUP DEPARTMENT OF ANTHROPOLOGY

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

 

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!

Visit the IUP Anthropology Department

 

Reflecting back on my first year…

I am currently sitting in the Days Inn Hotel in State College (my current Monday-Friday home) for three weeks. I am one of three graduate students that were hired as an intern for the PennDOT Highway Archaeological Survey Team (PHAST). We are getting a healthy dose of what it is like to work in CRM. Last week, this week and the follow week, we are digging test units upslope from the Juniata College field school at the Hatch Site. Prior to this project we have been working in Allegheny County and Indiana County. It has been a busy beginning of the summer, but I’ve learned so much so far! Another perk to this internship is getting to see the different parts of PA that I’ve never visited. Lucky for us, we are surrounded by great food (and beer) in State College. Tonight we are trying Austrian food!

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

Sitting here in my hotel room, I am reflecting on my first year of graduate school. Coming into the program I was pretty anxious about diving back into school after being out of academia for almost eight years. I took a long time off, working in the service industry, going to field school and working in CRM briefly. I wasn’t sure if I knew how to write a paper still. The first few weeks were a little rocky, but I kept pushing myself, and I got into a routine, and yes, I can still write. Time management is everything in graduate school, especially the first semester of your first year. It is impossible to leave any assignment until the last minute, because it is very likely that you have one or two assignments for another class due the same day or week. DO NOT PROCRASTINATE! You can ask anyone from the cohort above you, your quality of life will be much better if you just realize that you may be doing school work most days in order to get assignments done on time and at a level that is worthy of graduate school.

The place that I spent most of my time during the first year was in the graduate lounge and in my office that was provided to me for my Public Archaeology graduate assistantship (GA). The office and graduate lounge was especially helpful, because it was a place that I could work in peace. I live in Pittsburgh, so having a place to leave my lap top and other belongings was especially nice. My GA pushed me to get to know my cohort and the cohort above me a little better. Managing the blog and other social media outlets allowed me to take a break from academic writing, and do a little creative writing. Similarly, I was able to speak about issues, such as the defunding of the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment of the Humanities freely. Ultimately, my GA made me feel like a part of the program that I may not have otherwise felt.

Getting to know your cohort is one of the best things you can do for yourself, and the professors drive this home to you from the very beginning. No, it is not possible to be friends with everyone, but making a concerted effort to get to know one another is helpful for two reasons: 1. You’re all going through the same stress, so they are likely the people that will understand what you’re going through the most 2. You are there to help one another when you’re confused about an assignment. These people are likely to become your co-workers in the future, but even better, your friends. Your reputation is everything in this field, so it is crucial to be professional, but also be willing to hang out and enjoy the moments that you’re not doing school work with them!

Finally, I found that taking part in every opportunity presented to me through the program is really important. Any colloquium or field trip that is offered, take advantage of it. This includes conferences (if you present a paper or poster you are eligible for funding). Your professors like to see you getting involved, but also, these are opportunities you may not otherwise get outside of school. We met a lot of important people, such as the advisory council for our program, and they looked at our resumes, and told us what CRM firms are looking for. We also had an opportunity to meet and hear Dr. Todd Surovell speak. You’re paying for your education, so make sure you take advantage of everything that times allows!

Attempting to do homework outdoors on a nice day.

IUP Department of Anthropology