The Archaeological Conservancy

The rainy morning of April 21st was met with a sunny visitor to IUP, with the arrival of Kelley Berliner, the Eastern Regional Director of the non-profit organization known as The Archaeological Conservancy, for our final Graduate Colloquium of the semester. We had a great turnout for her fascinating presentation on the Conservancy’s preservation efforts from Paleoindian to Historic sites.

The Conservancy is the only non-profit dedicated to the acquisition and preservation of archaeological sites in the United States. Founded in 1980 from the realization that most legislation focused on preserving sites on public land, the Conservancy sought to purchase and protect sites on private property, and now they have over 20,000 members! They also publish the American Archaeology magazine, provide archaeological tours out of their offices, and of course, preserve and manage archaeological sites. The sites are now all open-space research preserves open to professional archaeologists, but they do keep parts unexcavated for future researchers with improved technologies.

The Archaeological Conservancy is made up of five regional offices, with Pennsylvania in the Eastern Region. In the history of the Eastern Regional Office, the Conservancy has up to around 70 preserves. Kelley does a bit of everything as being the only person in the Eastern Office, such as acquiring and researching sites, handling real estate closings, managing properties, reviewing proposals, attending descendent community events. She gets together two times a year with the other offices, which is their general board meeting as they are run by a board that approves their acquisitions.

So how do they start their process? They first identify what sites would be good for preservation, using the disciplines network of archaeologists, university professors, CRM professionals, avocational archaeologists, state societies, travel and state offices, and more, in order to locate sites that could need the Conservancy’s efforts. This might even include reviewing museum and library archives or old site records that have not been looked at in a long time.

When determining whether a site is important for preservation, a main consideration is whether it is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). The Conservancy does nominate their preserves for the National Register, and many are already on it. There are of course other considerations, such as, budgetary issues, how it will be managed, its research potential, and accessibility, to name a few. Threats sites are facing, such as development, fracking, coastal erosion, and looting, are also factors.

The next step is to contact the property owners and get acquisition options. Berliner noted that it takes quite a bit of work to get to the point of sending out letters, and for about every 25 letters she sends, they might get about one response back. If they get someone willing to work with them, they try to acquire the land through outright purchase, ideally a donation, or a bargain sale, so that people can sell slightly below the appraised value and receive tax benefits! She also mentioned that depending on the site, she does work with descendent communities often, and in various ways, from contacting them to having site dedications.

They then of course must manage the sites. All sites are unique, some require surface collection and some don’t, some need to be kept mowed and some are woods lots, and some are going to have different management needs, and therefore management plans will be developed with the site’s differences and best interests in mind. Berliner stated that when the Conservancy monitors sites after they have been acquired, it depends on the sites and their needs, so for example, some sites are fenced. Their main deterrent is working with a national system of site stewards, such as former property owners, a neighbor, a farmer, a hunter, a local archaeological society or local archaeologist. In the east, the biggest issue is metal detecting on military sites. The Conservancy is careful when posting or writing about their properties, and they follow purple paint laws (marking purple blazes for property lines). In terms of public access to their preserves, they want to keep their locations secret in order to prevent looting, and some sites are just challenging to get to. However, they do post videos on YouTube, and they are open for educational purposes, such as a school field trip.

The sites they preserve include a range of Prehistoric and Historic sites. Prehistoric sites include Paleoindian sites like the Nevers Preserve in New Hampshire, Archaic sites like the Dresden Preserve in Maine, Woodland sites like Koon’s Landing in North Carolina, Contact period sites like the Oscar Leibhart Preserve in Pennsylvania, and quarry sites likes the Prince Edward Soapstone Quarry Preserve in Virginia. Historic sites include colonial sites like Kippax Plantation Preserve in Virginia, which is also a multicomponent site, African American sites like the 18th century Arbuckle’s Fort Preserve in West Virginia, industrial sites like the 19th-20th century Pamplin Pipe Factory Preserve in Virginia and the Big Pond Furnace Preserve in Pennsylvania, religious sites like the Upper Lunenburg Episcopal Church in Virginia and the Synagogue parcel of the NEHFES Synagogue and Creamery site in Connecticut which is the site of a 19th century Russian-Jewish immigrant community, and military sites like forts, battlefields, and the Royal Blockhouse of Fort Edward in New York.

In Pennsylvania, the Conservancy has 17 preserves. These include sites like Prehistoric Earthworks like the Dingfelder Circle in Erie County, Monongahela village sites, Woodland village sites which include the largest preserve they have in the Region, the Queen Esther’s Town in Bedford County that is almost 100 acres in size, quarry sites like King’s Quarry in Lehigh County that was used for a long period of time as people returned to it, and of course Historic sites like the Fort Littleton (Lyttleton) Preserve in Fulton County.

A vessel from the Ebbert Spring Preserve.

They also have the Ebbert Spring Archaeological Preserve and Heritage Park in Franklin County which is open to the public. This site has a dense Prehistoric component, dating back 10,000 years, and a Historic component, and yet it is not near any major waterway. However, it has a karste, limestone landscape that creates many high-output freshwater springs! Ebbert Spring in particular puts out over 600 gallons of water a minute! The area was also highly desirable for industrial development and the property was owned by a man named Al Bonnell. The Archaeological Conservancy was able to purchase the site from his son after Bonnell passed, knowing that his goal was to have it preserved ultimately. And today, after 15 years of work, it is a site that is now a park that is accessible to the public through a partnership with the local museum and the town, and by working with the nearby developers.

We thank Kelley Berliner for her presentation and for all of the incredible work she has done and will continue to do at the Conservancy!

Visit their website at https://www.archaeologicalconservancy.org/msclkid=1734ee7dc7dc11ec80df9ec684a2c46b for more information! And check out their YouTube videos here: https://www.youtube.com/c/TheArchaeologicalConservancy

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“Heaven Exists Along the Indian Run”

By Samantha Taylor (M’ 18) and Angela Jaillet-Wentling (M’ 11)

Nestled along a rural road in Mercer County exists a partially wooded property intersected by a small creek known as the Indian Run. If you drove past this property, it would likely not catch your eye. The site’s location blends in with the larger agricultural landscape of Mercer County. It and its story might be easy to miss save for a blue historical marker that has adorned the edge of Route 19, one of the more-frequented roads in the region since November 2019. The pristine marker reads:

“PANDENARIUM. Arriving in November 1854, 63 African Americans Settled an agricultural community north of Indian Run. Freed through manumission by Va. Plantation owner Dr. Charles Everett, many of these formerly enslaved men and women worked to purchase the freedom of others. Abolitionist-built houses on land provided by Everrett awaited them. Archaeological investigations have uncovered their stories of hard-fought freedom, collaboration, and perseverance.”

Though historical markers play a significant role in validating and commemorating historical spaces, in the case of Pandenarium, it serves as a brief introduction to a complex cultural and social landscape that still resonates with descendants and the broader African American community in northwestern Pennsylvania.

Working at Pandenarium.

Since 2011, archaeology has been a driving force in the interpretation and dissemination of the story of Pandenarium. Early work at the site was focused on exploring the settlement’s location and layout, in many ways disproving local narratives steeped in racial bias. Such narratives suggested that the people of Pandenarium were unable to contend with seasonal flooding and harsh Pennsylvania winters and that the settlement was a short-lived failure.

In 2011, Angela Jaillet-Wentling (M’11) published her thesis detailing the results of extensive background research, landscape analysis of the site involving Ground Penetrating Radar, Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR), and excavation. Her analysis determined that the settlement persisted into the first couple decades of the twentieth century. During their time along the Indian Run, the settlers began to expand outward from the homes built by local abolitionists in the center of the property. Succeeding generations built their homes along the Indian Run and nearer to the main road, giving them access to the broader community while altering the landscape to suit their needs.

Allen Descendants.

In 2017, Pandenarium was revisited as the subject of a comparative ceramic analysis conducted by Samantha Taylor (M’18). This analysis sought to compare Pandenarium to similar African Diaspora sites, such as Mulberry Row in Virginia and Timbuctoo in New Jersey. The work focused on the residence of John and Rosie Allen, first generation settlers at Pandenarium. The comparative analysis determined that the ceramics recovered from the Allen Residence most resembled those recovered from contemporaneous freedman and fugitive sites, particularly Timbuctoo, suggesting socioeconomic similarity amongst freedman and fugitives from enslavement.

While both theses were completed nearly seven years apart, we have since partnered to pursue opportunities to spread the story and its implications on how we understand the legacies of slavery and freedom for African Americans in the antebellum North. In addition to presentations at local, regional, and national conferences and workshops, we worked with the local historical society to nominate the site for a Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission historical marker. In 2020, the marker was installed at its current location. Last year, we published an article entitled, “Finding Freedom: Exploratory Archaeological Investigations at the Free African American Site of Pandenarium (36ME253), 1854–1930s” in Historical Archaeology.

Most importantly, the public outreach and publications helped spread the story to others who spread the word to descendants of the community. In 2019, Bill Davison and his daughter, Amanda, reached out in regard to their ancestors, Lucy Myers and William Reeves, two of Pandenarium’s original inhabitants. Bill’s genealogical research piqued the interest of another researcher who then put him in contact with Angie. In 2021, local history buff and bike enthusiast, Frank Bell, identified and coordinated a meeting with descendants of John and Rosie Allen to include Rev. Dr. Bryan CrawlCharlene, Jeffrey, and Sarita Rankin, as well as, Darrell and Jodie Warden. Identifying the descendant population has been a boon and it is our hope that we can continue to support the research and ever-expanding narratives coming out of the site of Indian Run/Pandenarium as new voices join our own.

The Earth’s Power of Preservation

When someone thinks of Earth Day, their first thought is usually not of archaeology! However, as many of us know, archaeology is intrinsically tied to the natural world in more ways than one! While celebrating Earth Day today, remember to think about its connection to archaeology and what we can do for the environment! An obvious connection is of course the fact that archaeologists dig into the earth itself, in search of contributions to the archaeological record. The earth covers pieces of history and holds onto them until we come and find them. Certain environments can preserve artifacts and remains better than others and provide us with unique glimpses into the past.

Cashel Man.

Places like peat bogs preserve ancient bodies quite well, especially in Ireland, Great Britain, Denmark, northern Germany, and the Netherlands. Generally referred to as “bog bodies,” these bodies can date from 8000 B.C. to the early medieval period. Some have even been found dating to the early 20th century, such as the remains of Boris Lazarev, a Soviet fighter pilot shot down over northern Russian in 1943. The oldest bog body belongs to Koelbjerg Man, a skeleton found in Denmark that dates to 8000 B.C. The oldest fleshed bog body is called Cashel Man and dates to 2000 B.C. He was found in Ireland’s Cashel Bog and died a violent death connected to an ancient ritual of sacrificing young men. His arm was broken, his spine shattered in two places, and his back had been hit several times with an ax.

Oldcroghan Man [hand] (362-175 BC).

While studying abroad in Cork, Ireland, in 2018, I had the pleasure of visiting the National Museum of Ireland. There, I stumbled upon their Kingship and Sacrifice exhibition that includes several bog bodies all from the Early Iron Age, including Clonycavan Man (392-201 BC), Oldcroghan Man (362-175 BC), Gallagher Man (400-200 BC) and Baronstown West Man (200-400 AD). Two of them were found by the National Museum of Ireland’s Bog Bodies Research Project in 2003 and all were named after the counties they were found in. It was such an incredible and humbling experience to be able to view bodies that were so old and yet so well preserved.

Bog bodies have also discovered in American peat bogs, including the Windover burials that were found in a peat-bottomed pond located between Cape Canaveral and Disney World in Florida, and are now a National Historic Landmark. Dating to 6280 B.C., 168 burials have been found along with artifacts such as bone tools, a bottle gourd, and even woven fabric shrouds that belonged to the early Floridians. 91 skeletons had intact brain masses, indicating many were buried within 48 hours of their deaths. Many were also buried in late summer and fall (July and October) based on the plant material associated with the bodies’ last meal. DNA analysis on bones has revealed that the people at Windover were not related to any living Native American tribe or known prehistoric group, rather they had migrated to North America from Asia.

A Windover burial.

Other environments that preserve artifacts and bodies well are colder or frozen environments that tend to refrigerate materials. However, as discussed in previous blogs, climate change is affecting the earth as frozen environments tend to melt away, exposing artifacts and remains to natural elements, such as the sun and warmer temperatures, that could be detrimental to their preservation. Sea levels continue to rise, thus putting many known and unknown archaeological sites along water in danger as well.

An example of the preservation power of cold environments and threats from rising sea levels, is Nunalleq, a site located in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta region of Alaska, situated in a waterlogged, frozen tundra. Dating back to around 700 years ago, this site is a multi-period, prehistoric Yup’ik winter village. Permafrost had preserved tens of thousands of artifacts, including many made of wood and organic materials, such as wooden dolls and masks. However, located just inland from the Bearing Sea the site is at risk from larger waves and storm surges. The melting permafrost is also releasing anything once embedded.

Other dry environmental conditions that favor preservation are those of hot, arid climates, such as deserts. Dry environments (both hot and cold) preserve artifacts through the process of desiccation, the removal of moisture from something. Just recently in February, an American tourist accidentally found an Early Bronze Age pottery vessel in the area known as Qumran, located in the Judean Desert. The vessel is around 5,000 years old and may be the first complete jug discovered in the area from its time-period. The Judean Desert Cave, Cave 53, where the vessel was found is located in an area filled with caves, with dry air perfect for preservation.

I hope you all have a very Happy Earth Day!

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Further Reading:

https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/envarch/what/#:~:text=Environmental%20archaeology%20is%20the,plants%2C%20animals%2C%20and%20landscapes.
https://archive.archaeology.org/bog/
https://archive.archaeology.org/online/features/bog/
https://www.archaeology.org/issues/116-1401/features/1580-peat-bog-body-cashel-ireland
https://www.museum.ie/en-IE/Museums/Archaeology/Exhibitions/Kingship-and-Sacrifice
https://michaelwtravels.boardingarea.com/2017/07/visiting-the-bog-bodies-at-the-national-museum-of-ireland/
https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/article/americas-bog-people/
https://everhart-museum.org/preserving-the-past-examples-of-preservation-science-within-the-everharts-collection/
https://nunalleq.wordpress.com/about/
https://www.archaeology.org/issues/187-1509/features/3558-alaska-yupik-cultural-revival
https://www.jpost.com/christianworld/article-700842

Mungo Man and Mungo Lady: Repatriation and Reburial

Easter is almost here, so Happy Easter everyone! Although we could talk about Easter traditions or Jesus’ tomb , we are instead going to talk about putting people back into tombs. Well actually they are unmarked graves in anonymous locations. I am talking about the recent announcement by the Australian government that the ancient remains of 108 Aboriginal people found in Lake Mungo and Willandra Lakes throughout the 1960s-80s, the oldest having died around 42,000 years ago, will be reburied in 26 unknown locations throughout the Mungo National Park, part of the Willandra world heritage area,  in Australia. Among these remains are the well-known Mungo Man and Mungo Lady.

Mungo Lake.

In 1967, geologist Jim Bowler was exploring the lunette (a wind-formed, crescent-shaped dune composed of clay, silt, and sand that occurs on the downwind margins of ephemeral lakes) of the now dry Lake Mungo, observing its ancient layers of sediment. After he returned in 1968, he noticed what appeared to be burnt bones, and returned the next year with archaeologists John Mulvaney and Rhys Jones to uncover Mungo Lady. In 1974, Jim Bowler was continuing his geological studies when he again stumbled upon a white object in the soil, which turned out to be the cranium of the remains that would be called Mungo Man.

Mungo Man and Mungo Lady are among of the oldest anatomically modern human (Homo sapiens) remains found outside of Africa, dating to around 42,000 years ago. Mungo Man was a 1.7m tall hunter-gatherer who lost his two lower canine teeth when he was young and had worn out molar teeth due to his diet. He developed arthritis as he grew older, especially in his right elbow, most likely caused by throwing spears with a woomera (a wooden Australian Aboriginal spear-throwing device, similar to an atlatl) often, and he died at around age 50. His burial ritual is the oldest known example in the world; buried in a lunette, on his back, hands crossed in his lap, with red ochre sprinkled over him. Mungo Lady’s burial is the oldest known cremation in the world. After cremation, her remaining bones were crushed, burned for a second time, and then buried in an expanding lunette. The burials are some of the world’s oldest evidence of ritual cremation and ceremonial burials, again emphasizing the importance of these remains as extremely valuable finds.

Mungo Man.

After extensive negotiations with Aborigional Elders from three traditional tribal groups of the area, the Paakantji, the Ngyiampaa, and the Mutthi Mutthi, Mungo Lady was returned to Lake Mungo in 1992 after being studied at the Australian National University. However, she remains locked in a safe at the Mungo National Park, awaiting reburied as a keeping place has not been reconstructed due to erosion of the lunette. One key to the safe is kept by scientists, the other by the Elders. Mungo Man was also kept at the Australian National University, before being repatriated and returned to Mungo National Park in 2017. In 2018 it was announced by the Australian government that both Mungo Lady and Mungo Man, along with the ancestral remains of 106 people that have been found in the Lake Mungo and Willandra Lakes areas, will be reburied. This proclamation was finally officially approved by the government on April 6th, with the remains to be buried in 26 unmarked sites near and in the Mungo National Park. The remains will be monitored and secure, and their locations will only be known by a select few people belonging to the Aboriginal Advisory Group (AAG).

While this does seem like good news, and the Australian government claims that this is what the local Aboriginal community wants, it has been stated that some locals and descendants of the remains have expressed disappointment in not being consulted and that more input from the Aboriginal community is still needed. Some local Aboriginal peoples feel excluded from the process and some state that they desire not only a reburial but a ceremonial place of significance for the remains. However, it does appear that the proper channels have been taken, as the decision is supported by the AAG. The Willandra Lakes Regional World Heritage Area AAG expressed their desire for reburial in 2018, and today the chairwoman and Mutthi Mutthi elder, Pasty Winch, has expressed that the government has listened to her people. This recent decision is an important move forward for peoples and cultures around the world who wish for the repatriation and burial of ancestral remains.

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Further Reading

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-61006118
http://www.visitmungo.com.au/mungo-lady-mungo-man
https://www.nma.gov.au/defining-moments/resources/mungo-lady
https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/apr/06/mungo-man-and-mungo-lady-to-be-reburied-in-willandra-world-heritage-area-after-federal-decision
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-04-06/mungo-man-reburial-on-country-willandra-lakes-federal-government/100967988

The Society for American Archaeology (SAA) Experience: By Amanda Telep

IUP students ventured to the windy city, Chicago Illinois, last weekend to attend the Society for American Archaeology’s (SAA) annual conference. The city itself was captivating in addition to the many festivities of the SAA event. “We’re a long way from Indiana” was a constant thought as we walked the streets surrounded by skyscrapers and big city noises such as the Chicago “L” passing overhead. We took in the city as we enjoyed our deep-dish pizza and our Portillo’s cake shakes, paying a visit to the famous Bean.

This year the SAA conference was hosted by the Hilton Chicago Hotel, a beautiful venue with a fantastic grand ballroom and lobby area. The SAAs are an event where archaeologists gather from around the world to present their research and to absorb the research of others. Additionally, the event is a great way to reconnect with past and future colleagues. The SAAs host varying symposiums and presentations as well as forums where archaeologists can discuss research or current developments in the field of archaeology as it is constantly evolving as a discipline. In addition to these forums and such, there was an Exhibit Hall that housed varying institutions, companies and individuals that sell an array of publications, equipment, programs etc. One such exhibition, Bone Boss Tools, was selling beautifully handcrafted excavation tools for fragile materials. Overall, the SAAs are a grand playground for your friendly neighborhood archaeologist.

IUP students and faculty presented their current research which included faculty member, Dr. Ben Ford’s research on the Newport village site. He presented a poster on his interpretations of an earth berm possibly being a remnant feature of a chute for loading iron ore into river boats revealed from recent archaeological survey at the site. IUP also participated in the Cultural Resource Management (CRM) expo, sponsored by the American Cultural Resources Association (ACRA), to display our highly rated (top three for Registered Professional Archaeologists) program to prospective students interested in an Applied Archaeology program.

IUP students also participated in the Ethics Bowl Tournament that they have been diligently preparing for over the past several weeks. Our team did an amazing job demonstrating their knowledge of ethical principles of the SAA and adjoining principles of archaeological practice. As members of a professional organization, members of the SAA are guided by ethical principles outlined by the SAA code of ethics. All the teams that participated were highly skilled in their ability to articulate a well-prepared resolution to the proposed ethical dilemmas presented in the tournament. The competition was fierce, but IUP successfully won their first round, which brought them to the semi-finals. They ultimately did not take home the bowl but left emboldened to try again next year for a second shot at the title.

Reflecting on the conference and having had discussions with my fellow cohort members who also attended, there was a consensus that it was a valuable and privileged experience to have been able to participate in the conversations posed at some forums. Conversations regarding the issues that women in archaeology are exposed to was enlightening and posed hopeful sentiment for the future of archaeology towards a more inclusive discipline. I look forward to seeing future action in this subject area.

Posted in SAA

Celebrating Deaf History Month

Deaf History Month in the past has run from March 13th-April 15th, in honor of three momentous dates for the deaf community. These include; April 15th, 1817, when the first school for deaf students was opened, April 8, 1864, when President Abraham Lincoln signed the charter for Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. (the only university in the world where students live and learn using American Sign Language (ASL) and English), and in March 1988 Gallaudet appointed their first deaf president. Starting in 2022, Deaf History Month will now be held from April 1-30 based on feedback from the NAD Deaf Culture and History Section (DCHS), as well as from organizations representing marginalized communities within the Deaf Community.

Today, over 5% (around 432 million adults and 34 million children) need some sort of rehabilitation to address their ‘disabling’ hearing loss. The WHO predicts that by 2050, there will be around 700 million people that have some form of disabling hearing loss. Around 11.5 million Americans or around 3.5% of the population also have hearing impairments. ‘Disabling’ hearing loss refers to hearing loss greater than 35 decibels (dB) in the better hearing ear, while impairments can range from difficulty in hearing conversations to complete hearing loss. There are three basic types of hearing loss, conductive, sensorineural, and mixed, and all can either occur at birth or during one’s lifetime. Conductive hearing loss occurs when sounds cannot get to the inner ear due to problems in the middle or outer ear, sensorineural hearing loss is when there is inner ear damage; and mixed is of course when both are occurring at the same time.

The earliest evidence of deafness in the written record can be traced back to the Ebers Papyrus from Ancient Egypt that date to 1550 B.C.E. The Ebers Papyrus is a medical document, with a collection of diverse medical texts that hold a large record of Egyptian medicine. From burns to dentistry, and even and quite accurate description of the circulatory system, the text holds much information on health and medical ailments. Amongst its many remedies, it offers one for an ‘Ear-That-Hears-Badly.’ This remedy instructs that injecting olive oil, red lead, ant eggs, bat wings, and goat urine be injected into the ears.

Monks in Burgundy in the early 10th-century created hand signals to communicate while under their vows of silence. Cluniac sign language also grew to influence monastic life in Europe and is thought to be the inspiration behind the creation of the first formal sign language by 16th-century Spanish Benedictine monk, Pedro Ponce de Leon.

When it comes to hearing aids themselves, a text titled Magiae Naturalis from 1588, written by Neapolitan polymath Giambattista Della Porta, mentions wooden horns shaped like the ears of animals with good hearing. Ear trumpets were developed by a pupil of Galileo’s in the early 17th century, Pablo Aproino, with Frederick Rein of London in the very early 19th century being credited with being the first full scale manufacturers of hearing aids.

Sensorineural hearing loss will leave no evidence on skeletal remains after and therefore hearing loss can only be observed on the skeletal remains of those who have conductive hearing loss that also resulted in bony changes. A Neanderthal skeleton from 50,000 years ago known as Shanidar 1 was discovered in Shanidar Cave in Iraqi Kurdistan. The skeleton had bony growths in the ear canals, which would have produced hearing loss.

In honor of Deaf History Month, let’s also highlight Amelia Dall, a 30-year-old deaf archaeologist who is making history by making archaeology more accessible to those that use sign language. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Art History from Gallaudet University and after graduating realized that she wanted to delve more into archaeology. To gain experience she traveled to Belize for a summer with the Maya Research Program, spent a year with AmeriCorps VISTA in Washington State, and volunteered at a local museum before applying to, attending, and eventually receiving her Master of Arts in Archaeology from Texas State University.

Although she found success, she encountered difficulties due to the limited numbers of ASL signs that are not present for certain archaeology terms. She therefore decided to start her own website:

https://www.ameliathearchaeologist.com/

This website allows her to translate exhibits into American Sign Language, create Archaeology in ASL kits for conferences and workshop, and even customize, create, and sell ASL merch.

Dall also has a YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC8sEPA8he7aqcE4zlCXt9Tg/videos

She currently works as a field technician for PaleoWest in Colorado, but for the past seven years she has found herself in the American Southwest, the Great Plains, and even the Rocky Mountains.

The past most certainly consisted of more deaf individuals than skeletal, archaeological, and even written records lead us to believe. Today, we must encourage and strive for an inclusive field in the archaeological world that is more accessible to deaf individuals.

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Further Reading:
https://www.census.gov/library/audio/profile-america/profileodd/profile-odd-13.html
https://www.hearinglikeme.com/meet-deaf-archaeologist-amelia-dall/
https://www.ameliathearchaeologist.com/
https://www.historytoday.com/archive/history-matters/no-longer-deaf-past
https://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Ebers_Papyrus
https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/deafness-and-hearing-loss
https://www.asha.org/public/hearing/conductive-hearing-loss/
http://www.differenttruths.com/science-technology/how-was-hearing-aids-invented/
https://source.wustl.edu/2017/10/shanidar/

Spring is Here!

Spring has finally arrived, and we have had some nice days here at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Spring is my favorite time of year, with crocuses blooming and the snow finally shifting into rain. Equinoxes, like the spring equinox, are recognized by many Native cultures for various reasons, so I wanted to learn about some Native American spring myths and legends.

One Chippewa Legend tells the story of a cold, old man encountering a young man as he entered his lodge. As they smoked a pipe, the old man said that he was Peboan, the Spirit of Winter, while the younger man said he was Seegwun, the Sprit of Spring. They described their abilities; how one shakes their locks and snow blankets the land, while the other shakes their ringlets and warm rain showers fall. As they spoke the weather changed and Peboan and his lodge dissolved and faded into tiny streams of water, leaving behind the first blossoms of spring as Seegwun grew stronger and more radiant.

Another legend is based on a tribe from the south-western country in Texas, and tells of a time when the beginning of spring was met with bitter cold days, making the people of the tribe suffer from great hunger. The tribe’s medicine man beat his drum and called to the Great Spirit. The Great Spirit responded and told him that there was no rain, flowers, or animals, because the tribe had angered him. But, by giving the Great Spirit a burnt offering of something they love and scatter the ashes, then this will please him. A little girl heard what the medicine man had said and realized that she would have to sacrifice her kachina doll, because she felt that nothing could be more loved than it. She sacrificed her doll, and after the ashes had blown away in the wind, the ground began to warm, the smell of spring spread, and a misty rain fell. On the hills around the camp a new flower was growing. They grew in the shape of the little bonnet of feathers her doll had worn. They were blue like the color of feathers, with a speck of red at the center for the fire it had burned in and tipped with silver gray like the ashes that were left behind. The Indians named them bluebonnets and the town knew what the little girl had done. Whenever these flowers appear, the Great Sprit has brought spring.

Because we are still in Women’s History month, I also wanted to include this excerpt from our recent Instagram post, written by fellow graduate student Mikala Hardie, about Bertha Parker Cody who is considered the first Native American female archaeologist. She was of Abenaki and Seneca descent and first learned about archaeology in the field when her uncle took her on one of his digs at a Mesa House site. She is most well known for her discovery at the Gypsum cave site in 1930. Here, she found an ancient ground sloth skull next to human-made tools suggesting that early humans inhabited the United States much earlier than previously thought. In 1933 the Southwest Museum hired her to write up reports of the Gypsum cave site and catalog the artifacts found there. Throughout the rest of her professional career, she wrote a number of articles about the Native American tribes found in California. Currently, she is honored through the SAA’s “Bertha Parker Cody Award for Native American Women”.

I wish you all the best spring!

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Further Reading:

https://www.firstpeople.us/FP-Html-Legends/TheSpringBeauty-Chippewa.html

http://whisperingbooks.com/Show_Page/?book=Native_American_Legends&story=Kachina_Brings_The_Spring

Agatha Christie and Archaeology, An Understated Connection

Has anyone watched the movie Death on the Nile recently? Agatha Christie’s 1937 fictional detective story set in Egypt was recently taken to the big screen, sure to wow any audience, archaeologists included! But did you know that Christie has a strong connection to the world of archaeology, which influenced many of her novels other than Death on the Nile, such as Murder in Mesopotamia, published in 1936, where an archaeologist’s wife is killed, and Death Comes as the End, 1945, another mystery set in Egypt taking place in 2000 B.C.E.

She first visited Egypt in 1910 as a debutante, and later set her first novel in Cairo titled Snow Upon the Desert but was unable to get it published. Howard Carter’s discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb aided her in her first published work, the short story, Adventure of the Egyptian Tomb, in a weekly journal in 1928.

Max Mallowan, Agatha Christie, and Leonard Woolley.

While not a conventional archaeologist, Agatha Christie had a love and passion for the field. Upon an invitation from field director Leonard and his wife Katherine Woolley to the site of Ur in 1928, she took the Orient Express to the Iraqi capital before arriving at the Sumerian city of Ur and coming to understand the methods and awe of archaeology. She spent around 30 years of her life working and living in the East between 1928 and 1958, after meeting her second husband, archaeologist Max Mallowan who was 15 years her junior, at the site in 1930! They would spend fall and spring in the Middle East, summer in England with her daughter Rosalind, and then the rest of the year either traveling or at home. While working and scouting with her husband, she became an assistant, a field hand, and equipped with an understanding of archaeology which spilled into her books.

In 1933, the Mallowans took a Nile River cruise on their way to an archaeological dig which visited the cities of Luxor and Aswan, followed by another steamer the viewed Karnak and Ramses II’s Abu Simbel temples. After a return to Aswan a few years later and then coming back from the winter spent in Egypt, Death on the Nile was written.

Her earlier travels and duty as an archaeologist’s wife took her to Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Greece, Baghdad, Nejef, Kerbala, the site of Nippur, the site of Chagar Bazar, the site of Nimrud, the site of Tell Brak, and many more. Her duties and roles at sites increased as she put archaeology rather than writing first for a change but was still able to bankroll many of her husband’s expeditions through her writing as she spent mornings writing and afternoons completing site work. From 1935-1938 in the

Khabur valley in Syria at the site of Chagar Bazar, Christie would engage in kitchen work, put to use her nursing skills from past experience, supervise the running of meal preparation, collect potsherds, and photograph both the dig and artifacts recovered. Work carried into a second field season in 1936 as they branched into the site of Tell Brak and even into a third until WWII broke out and excavations were halted. The site of Chagar Bazar yielded around 70 cuneiform tablets with insight into the ethnic backgrounds of the former residents of the burned-out palace, and at Tell Brak, the well-known Eye Temple was present. While her husband aided the Air Ministry in Cairo with his knowledge of Arabic during the war, Christie remained in England and published Come, Tell Me How You Live in 1946, a memoir that described her and her husband’s digs in Syria and Iraq.

Agatha Christie photographing an Assyrian ivory figure at Nimrud in Iraq.

At the site of Nimrud from 1949-1959, she began to collect and clean artifacts, even going so far as to use face cream to clean and polish ivory artifacts, a cold-cream wash, as it came to be called. Freed from the social constraints of the Victorian lifestyle, her simplistic tasks that included putting together puzzle-like potsherds, gave her a sense of peace and allowed her to revel in the way archaeology connects the past to the present. At the age of 68, she went on her last dig, which was at Nimrud, still married to Max.

Agatha Christie and Max Mallowan in 1950.

Fictional detective Hercule Poirot states in Death on the Nile, “Once I went professionally to an archaeological expedition and I learnt something there. In the course of an excavation, when something comes out of the ground, everything is cleared away very carefully all around it. You take away the loose earth, and you scrape here and there with a knife until finally your object is there, all alone, ready to be drawn and photographed with no extraneous matter confusing it. That is what I have been seeking to do, clear away the extraneous matter so that we can see the truth, the naked shining truth.” Christie’s interest in archaeology was certainly connected to her love of mysteries. Archaeologists themselves are like detectives, using the left-behind clues of inscriptions or artifacts to decipher the mystery of the past. While Agatha Christie herself was never a recognized archaeologist, and to this day many do not even know about her prominent connections to archaeology, her writings are entrenched in her travels and adventures that inspired readers with her descriptions of ruins and the process of uncovering the past.

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Further Reading:

Ladies of the Field: Early Women Archaeologists and Their Search for Adventure: By Amanda Adams

The Chickaree Hill Pictograph

On March 3rd we held our second Graduate Colloquium of the semester! We invited Archaeologist Kenneth Burkett to come in-person and talk to us about the Chickaree Hill Pictograph (36CB8), currently the only known prehistoric pictograph site recorded in Pennsylvania! Kenneth Burkett is the Executive Director of the Jefferson County History Center and Field Associate Archaeologist with the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. He recently was awarded the Society for American Archaeology’s (SAA) Crabtree Award, and soon he will be partaking in a 2-year grant study investigating the recorded petroglyph sites in Pennsylvania for their conditions and National Register eligibility status.

The Chickaree pictograph is located on private property in the town of Chickaree in Jackson Township, Cambria County, on a north-sloping upper bench of Laurel Ridge. It was first recorded in 1975 by Dr. Virginia Gerald who was a professor at IUP at the time, and also recorded several other times throughout the eighties and nineties before Burkett began to explore it more in depth in 2017. Advancements in technology and GPS systems have allowed for a more accurate recording of the pictograph’s location.

The pictograph itself is located on the ceiling of a small rock overhang facing north, on a large, sandstone rock tor. It does not appear to somewhere where people would have ‘camped out’ as it faces directly into the wind. What appears to be a test unit was opened up sometime in the past directly in front of the overhang, and the soil beneath the overhang was removed too. The place the rock art was drawn in is a well-protected spot, away from the dripline from rain, in a depressed surface away from weather effects, and also difficult to reach without something to elevate one’s height.

The red, circular pictograph is very small, measuring around 14 cm in diameter. It depicts a bird-like figure with orientation of the detached head facing east and the feet facing west, with what has been interpreted as a tail, and with the body and wings spread out as lines forming a horizontal hourglass pattern. Image digitalization aids like DStrech have been useful in making the patterns more visible.

The pictograph was not painted on with something liquid, rather it was applied by abrading something hard over the stone. A hand-held digital microscope and a portable XRF spectrometer were used to learn more about the pigment and how it might have been applied. The red pigment had a high iron content, which was determined to be the mineral hematite. Burkett used experimental archaeology to determine how siderite could have been heated with an open wood burning campfire to be converted into hematite. He placed a sample of siderite in embers and coals for 2 hours. This allowed the siderite, which prior to firing produces a brown color on a streak plate, to convert to hematite, which produced a more reddish-brown color that was consistent with hematite samples from regional prehistoric sites and the Chickaree pictograph itself.

Burkett then discussed similarities with other sites where hematite traces have been found and sites with similar figures, such as the Indian Cave Petroglyphs aka the Harrison County Pictograph site (46HS1) in West Virginia, petroglyphs within the Upper Ohio and Susquehanna river basins, or the Browns Island site (46HK8) in West Virginia. He questioned why there have not been recorded pictographs in Pennsylvania, besides the Chickaree pictograph. He suggested that perhaps they did not survive as the use of hematite and other natural pigments made them easy to be eroded or degraded from the weather and climate, as well as vegetation, which would both obscure and chemically deteriorate the images. Records from the Sullivan Expedition in 1779 stated that Native American iconography was found on trees or logs, which might be connected to the lack of pictographs found in Pennsylvania, as well.

Although Kenneth Burkett concluded that it is impossible to confirm whether the figure is an authentic prehistoric Native American pictograph or not, there are several considerations he pointed out. For one, the pictograph was put in a place that was naturally protected which contributed to its’ survival over the many years. It is also small and concealed, which is opposite of modern graffiti or vandalism which is typically large and visible to attract attention and was not present at the site. The figure itself is stylistically similar to known prehistoric figures including regional components, however the encirclement of the figure is questionable as it is not common within known styles of other Pennsylvania rock art. And finally, the hematite that was used is expected as the correct pigment.

Burkett also discussed other sites that included large rock landforms that show the importance of these landforms, as well as other parts of the landscape, to prehistoric communities. The Parker’s Landing site in Pennsylvania, popular for the 179 petroglyphs carved into a group of rocks by the Allegheny River, was one such site. He also emphasized that although we are archaeologists, we need to look around at sites in different and new perspectives, such as how the sun might hit parts of the site, or even if it is not a place where people might have settled, they still could have buried someone there or created rock art at the site if the area was important to them.

Burkett emphasized that there are most likely more pictographs out there, but indifference and ignorance might play a role in their inability to be found. However, with public education, hopefully more rock art sites can and will be discovered.

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February Colloquium Featuring Archaeologist Ryan Clark

This past Thursday, we held our first Graduate Colloquium of the semester! Ryan Clark, MA, RPA, and IUP Alum, came to speak with us about what it is like working for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) as an Archaeologist in the New York District. Ryan also has 10 years of experience in the private sector, and during his time with USACE he has worked on projects ranging from Coastal Storm Risk Management, Navigation, Flood Risk Management, Ecosystem Restoration Programs, Military Support, and Regulatory Actions.

He broke his presentation into three sections. The first section gave a brief overview of the history of the USACE as well as parts of their civil works programs, which focuses on flood risk management, navigation, and ecosystem restoration. He discussed the USACE’s attention to emergency response and other missions with specific parameters. He noted that archaeologists usually find themselves working in the civil works or regulatory side focused on permit review, as well. He then discussed examples of the ranges of projects you might find yourselves working on while with the federal government, such as hurricane damage assessments, seawall designs, wetland habitat restorations, and fish passage barriers, to name a few. He emphasized that archeologists in this field learn about different areas of expertise as they interact with other experts from other fields. For example, if you find yourself working on a bird habitat project, you might learn about the different seasons they are around, which might change the way you approach sites with the same bird habitats in future projects.

His second section walked us through Section 106, NEPA, and how federal agencies like the USACE work within them when designing and planning projects. His flowchart simplified the processes. He went over the congressionally mandated 3 year, 3 million dollar, 3 stages of study limits for projects. He also gave an example of such a project, a harbor deepening project. He walked through the steps and phases of the study to emphasize what it is like working with different departments and teams to figure out where the greatest impact will be to cultural, historical, and environmental components of the area to be affected. Ryan noted that a big part of his job is coordination, as well as creating agreements and contracts to prepare for the effects of projects.

The third section focused on federal jobs and the application process, mainly on how to navigate USAJOBS. He began by stating that first you need to look for jobs using keyword searches with archaeology and anthropology or use the job family code 0193 Archaeology. Recently graduated graduate students will most likely be applying for jobs under the public only or student section, unless you have over a year of more of experience working for the federal government, which you will then be eligible to apply for other jobs with that requirement. Ryan noted that it is good practice to take note of the salary or pay scale for the job you are applying for, to make sure you are qualified for that level. Depending on your experiences, either federal or non-federal, while applying you need to match what you have done to its’ federal equivalency to make sure you are eligible for the pay scale level you are applying for. He also said to take note of relocation expenses to see if you are able to get them even though it is usually hard to do so, and also whether the job is temporary or permanent.

He then stated that reviewing the duties of the job is important. For one it is good to know what the job will require, but it also aids with creating a resume. A big thing he noted was that it is better to build a resume within USAJOBS rather than attaching one. By drawing out keywords from the duties section, you can craft a resume that will be more likely to be selected based on the keywords it contains from the language of the duties listed. It is important to translate things you have done into the scope of the job and if those hiring have questions about the extent or caliber of what you have done, they can ask for further clarification during an interview. It is also encouraged to have several resumes or cover letters that are tailored for different jobs. Ryan continued on his tips and tricks for USAJOBS, stating that if you want a higher-level job you should start lower. For example, if you want a GS-11 but don’t have the qualifications, you should look at the requirements for a GS-09 and apply for that job, and eventually work your way up into the job you want. He also noted that you should try to list yourself as closely as possible to expert on the questions they ask on the site, answering honestly by making sure you are actually qualified, but also making sure you are an expert so that you have a better chance of being selected.

To summarize; build your resume in USAJOBS using keywords from the position you want, have multiple resumes by type of job, don’t sweat the CV, translate prior work into relevant experience for the job you want, and check the requirements for the application.

Overall, Ryan emphasized that his job was not always what we would consider in the scope of archaeology. He does a lot of contract management, such as hiring people, and not as much fieldwork. However, while working on million-dollar projects and contracts he has gotten to work with a lot of cool things, such as a schooner, although he has no background in maritime archaeology. He likes the teamwork environment, and that he actually gets to use his job in the civil works sector to help people, giving a contemporary relevance to archaeological work.

We thank Ryan Clark for presenting for us, giving us insight into what it is like working for the federal government as an archaeologist, and helping us learn more about applying for these types of jobs!

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