Flower Power

The first day of Fall for 2022 was officially on September 22nd. As the season change, flowers of summer will begin to fade. Flowers die out every season, every year, and some species are known to have even gone extinct. Flowers are fragile and rarely preserved in the archaeological record. However, biologists, archaeologists, and other researchers have been able to recover evidence of flowers, such as fossilized flowers, in the archaeological record. Researchers can also gather information from studying the iconography on ceramics and jewelry, in paintings, texts, sculptures, and other forms of artistic expression, to learn more about the flowers that were popular in the past.

Nazca Lines Flower

Flowers permeate many aspects of the ancient world. Ancient Egyptians worshiped, Nefertum, the god of perfumes who was also the god of the lotus blossom. In the Egyptian creation story, Ra, the sun god, emerged from a blue lotus. Statuettes and amulets often portrayed Nefertum with a lotus on his head or as a lotus flower with two feathers. During the Tang dynasty in ancient China, around 8-12th centuries CE, tree peonies were seen as symbols of feminine beauty, love, wealth, and status. They became common and popular in paintings during the Song dynasty. Even one of the famous Nazaca Lines, 2,000-year-old giant geoglyphs etched into the ground in Lima, Peru, includes a shape that resembles a flower.

Ancient Bouquet Found in Teotihuacán

In 2021 bouquets of flowers were discovered in the ancient city of Teotihuacán in Mexico by archaeologists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History of Mexico. The four bouquets date to 1,800 years ago and were found in a tunnel under a pyramid, 18 meters down. They were well-preserved and likely a gift for the deity Quetzalcoatl.

Plant Impressions In Israel

Archaeologists in Israel from the University of Haifa have also found plant impressions, including flowers, in graves. The plants appear to have been buried underneath the dead and date to around 12,000 years ago. This is one of the earliest uses of flowers in ceremonial burials.

Strychnos electri

In terms of preserving ancient flowers, amber is a fantastic means as it is essentially fossilized resin. In 1986 a cave in the Dominican Republic was discovered. It was home to hundreds of fossilized plants and insects. However, it wasn’t until 2016 when a preserved fossil flower was announced. The flowers were a new species, Strychnos electri, and are around 45-15 million years old. They were part of the asterid plant clade, which are one of the largest lineages of flowering plants, and are antecedents to over 80,000 species, such as potatoes, coffee, and even the poisonous strychnine tree.

Lijinganthus revoluta

Valviloculus pleristaminis

A flower dating to the mid-Creataceous, Lijinganthus revoluta, was discovered by a team from Nanjing Institute of Geology and Paleontology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2018, in Myanmar amber. A new genus and species of fossil angiosperm was also found by paleontologists in 2020 from Oregon State University and the Agricultural Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Myanmar in their mid-Cretaceous amber deposits. This fossil flower is almost 100 million years old and is named Valviloculus pleristaminis.

Notiantha grandensis

In the Salamonca Shale Formation in Chubut Province, Patagonia, Argentina, fossilized flowers dating to around 66 million years ago, the early Paleocene epoch, were found in 2017. The compressions and impressions on flat-laminated gray shale are part of the Rhamnaceae, buckthorn, family, and are called Notiantha grandensis.

Montsechia vidalii

Fossilized remains of an aquatic plant from the beginning of the Cretaceous period were discovered in Spain in 2015. Montsechia vidalii dates to around 130 million years ago and looks similar to the modern-day coontail. Prior to this discovery, Archaefructus sinensis, a 125-million-year-old fossil from Liaoning Province in China, was thought to be the world’s oldest flower.

Nanjinganthus dendrostyla

However, in 2018, scientists at the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Paleontology found fossilized flowers that date to 175 million years ago, the early Jurassic in the South Xiangshan Formation in China’s Nanjing Region. There were over 200 specimens of the fossilized flowers, named Nanjinganthus dendrostyla, which allowed the researchers to combine information and reconstruct a single flower, now recognized as the oldest evidence of a flower plant, an angiosperm.

Florigerminis jurassica

It was debated whether N. dendrostyla represented a true angiosperm, for it was too “primitive” to be considered a flower and too “complex” to be a gymnosperm (a plant that does not have a flower but does have unenclosed seeds). Then, Florigerminis jurassica, a fossilized flower bud dating to 164 million years ago that included a stem, flower bud, fruit, and a leafy branch, was found in China earlier this year! F. jurassica appears to be more of an angiosperm and will shift how researchers organize angiosperm evolution.

What is clear today is that as work continues and new discoveries are made, researchers will be able to continue to piece together the evolution of flowers on this planet. Flowers are small, but each uniquely made with the tiniest of beautiful details. They have and will continue to fascinate humans, as we incorporate them into ceremonies and art, at weddings and funerals, in paintings and as decorations in our homes. When we pass, how will archaeologists and anthropologists view our practices with flowers?

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Sources and Further Reading:

https://www.ancientpages.com/2021/04/17/nefertum-god-of-lotus-blossom-perfumes-aromatherapy-beauty-in-egyptian-mythology/
https://www.treepeony.com/pages/peonies-in-chinese-art
https://www.history.com/topics/south-america/nazca-lines
https://www.txtreport.com/life/2021-08-16-archaeologists-have-discovered-in-mexico-bouquets-of-flowers-of-1800-years—curious.SyPdZkdet.html
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/1800-year-old-flower-bouquets-found-below-temple-teotihuacan-180978518/
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/archaeologists-find-evidence-of-flowers-buried-in-a-12000-year-old-cemetery-4280031/#:~:text=SCIENCE%20Archaeologists%20Find%20Evidence%20of%20Flowers%20Buried%20in,were%20buried%20ceremonially%2C%20atop%20a%20bed%20of%20flowers
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/new-species-prehistoric-flower-discovered-preserved-amber-180958156/
https://www.nature.com/articles/nplants20165
https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-35100-4
https://phys.org/news/2018-11-ancient-fossil-core-eudicot-boom.html
https://www.sci.news/paleontology/valviloculus-pleristaminis-09184.html
https://journals.brit.org/jbrit/article/view/1014
https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0176164
https://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/aug/17/fossilised-remains-worlds-oldest-flower-discovered-cretaceous
https://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/aug/17/fossilised-remains-worlds-oldest-flower-discovered-cretaceous
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/oldest-known-flowers-world-180956962/#:~:text=Excavated%20in%20Virginia%20by%20a%20former%20Smithsonian%20curator%2C,oldest%20known%20flowers%20in%20North%20America.%20Nathan%20Jud
https://www.thenakedscientists.com/articles/science-news/earliest-fossil-flowers-found-china
https://www.livescience.com/64354-oldest-fossil-flower.html
https://www.lyellcollection.org/doi/10.1144/SP521-2021-122
https://ancient-archeology.com/charles-darwin-mystery-solved-after-140-years-as-scientists-make-stunning-ancient-find/

First Graduate Colloquium of the Semester: What We Did This Summer

This past Wednesday we had our first Graduate Colloquium of the semester! IUP graduate students travel all over the country during summer breaks to participate in various archaeological projects which is why we wanted to feature their adventures in our first colloquium. There were 5 presentations in total whose topics ranged from field schools to cultural resource management work at sites around the country and abroad! 

In a classroom a projector screen displays the words "What we did this summer" with a green logo that says SEARCH. A man in a black hoodie stands to the right near a computer.

Our first presenter Zach Meskin talks about his summer in CRM.

Zach Meskin, a member of the second-year cohort, gave the first presentation. He spent his summer working for the cultural resource management (CRM) firm SEARCH. At the beginning of the summer, he was sent to a sugar cane field in Louisiana where he conducted a phase one survey. They used 30×50-cm shovel test pits and either 10 to 50-meter intervals depending on if there was a high or low probability of finding cultural material. There ended up being 1,400 test pits placed throughout the field in total but in his shovel test pits, he did not find much cultural material.

After Louisianna, Zach traveled to Miami, Florida where he worked on phase three of a pre-contact Tequesta site. This was a completely different experience since he worked in 4×4 meter blocks and wet screened the dirt because of the thickness of the mud. They found many different artifacts throughout the units including drilled shark teeth, finger-incised pottery, faunal remains, and shell tools. There was also a historic component to the site so they found Spanish artifacts including a six-sided die made out of bone.

 

In a classroom a projector screen displays the words "Squirrel Hill Field School" with a picture of a raccoon holding a trowel. A woman in a dress stands to the right near a computer.

Our second presenter Laura Broughton talks about her experience as a GA for IUP’s summer field school.

Our next presenter was Laura Broughton, a member of the first-year cohort. She worked as a graduate assistant for both IUP-run field schools this summer and this presentation was about Squirrel Hill. She was also joined by the disembodied voice of Emma Lashley, another member of the first-year cohort, who joined us over zoom. Squirrel hill is a pre-contact Monongahela village site located on the Conemaugh river. It has been nominated to the Historical Register and has a long history of collection and looting. Therefore, many of the artifacts found were flakes and small pieces of pottery. 

The goal of the field school was to educate students on how to conduct an archaeological investigation and to get a better understanding of the organization of the site and how it fits into the larger Monongahela system in southwest PA. In one area of the site, they investigated a rectangular anomaly in the Ground Penetrating Radar data by placing four 1×1 meter test units. They did not find much but they think that it could be an Iroquois Longhouse. In another section, they investigated other geophysical anomalies and had much better success. Students found post molds that looked promising and more than 20 features in a singular unit which could indicate a bunch of housing structures in that area. Lastly, STPs were conducted to determine the extent of the site boundaries. 

 

In a classroom a projector screen displays the words "What I Did on my Summer Vacation" with a picture of him as Washington in the painting Washington crosses the Delaware. A man in a checkered shirt and ball cap stands to the right near a computer.

Second-year grad student Kristopher “Monty” Montgomery talks about his summer vacation.

Next up was Kris “Monty” Montgomery who worked at both the Miami site that Zach worked on and was the other graduate assistant for the Squirrell Hill field school where he “shaped the next generation of archaeologists”. His words.  After he worked at Squirrel Hill he went to work for SEARCH in Gonzales, Texas for a phase one “due diligence” survey that was paid for by the client and not required under any kind of compliance. The survey was limited to intermittent stream crossings. Interestingly, they did not collect artifacts and instead recorded and analyzed them in the field. 

Then, at the end of July/ early August, he was sent to Macomb, Illinois, and Fort Madison, Iowa where he worked with two other firms to conduct phase one for a large natural gas pipeline. Finally, at the end of August, he worked at the Miami site that was mentioned above. During his time at the site, they hit the water table meaning they were less digging through dirt and more scooping goo and placing it into buckets. 

 

In a classroom a projector screen displays the words "Longwood Archaeology Field School." A man in a grey t-shirt and ball cap stands to the right near a computer.

Our fourth presenter Luke Nicosia talks about his summer as a crew chief for a field school in Virginia.

Our fourth presenter was Luke Nicosia, a member of the second-year cohort as well. He was recruited by Longwood University to work as a field supervisor in Clover, Virginia which is in the Southernmost part of the state. He lived at a field station while he was working down there which he equated to a summer camp cabin with no internet. However, the sites that he worked at made up for it. The first part of his summer included working at the Sanders site and opening large units to search for pre-contact materials. They found many projectile point knives and flakes.

 The second site Luke worked on was a historical site at Milberry Hill where students worked on advanced research. They ground-truthed anomalies and identified a few features including a drainage system related to the main house, an outbuilding with a sub-floor pit that may have fallen apart over time, and potential pre-contact hearths. After the fieldwork, he worked with students to write a site report and submit it to the state to review.  

 

In a classroom a projector screen says " Forensic Archaeology Field School 2022" with a photo collage. A woman in a dress and a man in a button down stand to the right near a computer.

Our last presenters Laura and Arthur Townsend talk about their summer abroad in Germany!

Finally, we welcomed Laura Broughton back, this time with Arthur Townsend, to talk about their summer abroad working as GAs and crew chiefs for IUP’s forensic field school in Germany. They investigated a site around Buchen where a B-17 bomber crashed during WWII in 1944. There was already an excavation by another group in 2019 but they did not fill in their excavation causing there to be essentially a pond at the site. After this was dealt with, the IUP field school excavated in 2×2,2×4, and 4×4 meter units bordering the 2019 excavations and used ground penetrating radar to locate other places to dig around the area. Since the ground was rocky and had a lot of clay they used pickaxes and shovels to excavate. They also realized a lot of cultural material was in the leaf litter so they put it through the screen to ensure they were collecting all the artifacts. They mostly found bones, aluminum, cast iron, and glass. Both presenters said they learned a lot about how to lead a crew and improved their note-taking and photography skills. 

As you can see, we had a great turnout. Thank you to everyone that presented! 

Symbolizing Friendship

Welcome back students, the new semester and school year has begun. You’ve reconnected with friends here at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, but also some of you might have said goodbye to friends in your hometown. Friends play powerful roles in our lives, and sometimes, we wish to show that bond by giving and wearing tokens of our friendship for the world to see. As children, some of us might have even purchased beads and string to create friendship bracelets! These tiny and simple circlets showcased to whomever saw them that those wearing the matching ones were connected, firm, friends.

Modern friendship bracelets.

The origin of friendship bracelets is difficult to track down. Some credit influence to ancient China as decorative knots on bracelets trace back to 481-221 B.C., but these knots were used not solely on bracelets. Macrame is also seen as an influence and was popular in 13th century Arabia, spreading to France and Italy, and was also used by sailors at sea. It became popular in 19th-century Britain and found its way to the United States in the 1960s.

Band of lace made from human (head) hair, likely worn as a bracelet, ca. 1640-1680, in the collection of the V&A.

In the Victorian era, giving mourning jewelry with strands of a loved one’s hair incorporated into the piece was common, and leads some to believe that this also contributes to the trend of exchanging meaningful pieces of jewelry between friends. Others claim that the popular trend youngsters across world take part in today actually dates to ancient Central American times. Many friendships bracelet designs we see today mirror Native American patterns, as well. In the United States, the art of making friendship bracelets became popularized again in the 1980s when they were seen during rallies and protests about the disappearances of Mayan Indians and laborers in Guatemala.

Ringed ornaments and ornament fragments from the Finnish region.

Earlier this year though, archaeologists in modern-day Finland made an incredible discovery. They found both intact and fragmented ‘slate rings’ that date back to around the 4th millennium B.C. at several Stone Age sites. The ring-shaped artifacts were made of different slates and tuffites. After studying geochemical composition, micro details, and use-wear, and piecing fragments back together, it was suggested that many of the rings were actually broken up on purpose and as part of the prominent gift-giving system in that region. Many of the fragments appear to have been fashioned into pendants and some from the same ring were even found in two different locations with different finishes, thus showing that the fragments were used as ‘friendship ornaments’ or “tokens of social relationships.”  The few that were intact, were “likely worn as personal ornaments.”

Ringed ornaments in situ in an early 4th millennium BC hunter-gatherer burial, positioned together with amber pendants. Photo. M. Torvinen 1978/Finnish Heritage Agency

Some of the slate traces back to a region in northwest Russia near Lake Onega, supporting theories of widespread trade networks in northeastern Europe and social relationships with people hundreds of kilometers away. Some fragments were also found at settlement sites, with the matching fragment from the same ring, stone, and manufacturing process being found at a nearby burial site. This practice suggests there was a belief in a connection between the living and the dead through the use of these objects prevalent during this time period in this region.

It’s fascinating to think that by wearing a broken heart trinket around your neck or tying a woven or beaded string around your wrist, you have something in common with the person that around 5,000 years ago wore a whole or fragmented slate circle to also represent their social bonds and relationships with others.

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Sources and Further Reading

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10816-022-09556-8
https://ancient-archeology.com/these-5000-year-old-stone-age-rings-may-have-been-the-original-friendship-bracelets/
https://www.keyssoulcare.com/connection/the-history-of-friendship-bracelets.html#:~:text=The%20exact%20origin%20of%20the%20friendship%20bracelet%20is,recognizes%20the%20Native%20American%20tradition%20of%20exchanging%20bracelets.
https://www.braceletbook.com/history/#:~:text=A%20friendship%20bracelet%20is%20a%20handmade%20bracelet%20intended%20for%20a%20special%20person.&text=Macrame%2C%20a%20craft%20of%20tying,items%20made%20on%20a%20loom.
https://www.wristband.com/content/all_about_friendship_bracelets/
https://www.jewelslane.com/blog/the-origin-meaning-and-importance-of-friendship-bracelets
https://www.novica.com/blog/friendship-bracelets-their-origin-meaning-and-importance/
https://www.harbourukbracelets.com/blog/friendship-bracelets-their-history-and-significance-explained
https://ericaweiner.com/history-lessons/hair%20jewelry

 

 

 

An Introduction to Your Bloggers

Time for a new introduction and a reintroduction! This year the blog will be managed by Bridget Roddy and Mikala Hardie! We are both second-year graduate students at Indiana University of Pennsylvania studying Applied Archaeology, and are this year’s Public Archaeology Graduate Assistants!

Hello everyone! My name is Mikala Hardie and I will be sharing the public archaeology duties with Bridget this year which includes writing for this blog! I am a second-year grad student with interests in public/community archaeology, historical archaeology, and hidden narratives. My alma mater is Kutztown University where I received a B.A. in anthropology and minored in history, music, and Spanish. My other hobbies include taking nature walks, crocheting, and reading. This past summer I interned with the National Park Service’s Northeast Archeological Resources Program where I ran their social media, revitalized their website, and developed lesson plans for children ages 4-12. I am excited to use the writing and public outreach skills I have learned over the summer to create interesting and engaging blog posts!

Hello readers, my name is Bridget Roddy! I graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with bachelor’s degrees in both psychology and sociology/anthropology, and I minored in international studies. I also studied abroad in Ireland for a semester in undergrad at the University of College Cork. My favorite dig was at the Roman Fort of Halmyris in Romania where I volunteered for a month! Outside of archaeology, I have a passion for running, making resin earring (check out my Etsy shop at SpringDazeByBridget), reading, painting, drawing, and traveling! But the most important thing to me is my family! I love exploring other cultures and ancient traditions, so check out future blog posts to explore some fascinating topics and reflections!

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

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

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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