Friday Links: What’s Happening in Historical Archaeology

After a long week recuperating from Baltimore, here are a few things to read and watch about historical archaeology that you may have missed!


Two articles appeared in the St. Augustine Record, one about a metal detectorist, the other about a new reality TV Show about digging up back yards. Kathleen Deagan is given an opportunity to respond, and defends the value of archaeology and the difference between finding things and discovering history.

Larry McKee discusses an unnamed Civil War soldier buried in Franklin Tennessee. His analysis suggests the soldier was of mixed Native American and European ancestry.

The Archaeological Conservancy has purchased a site in Washington County, Maryland that is home to a colonial British fortification from the French and Indian War.

Monticello and the Smithsonian will highlight African American stories in upcoming joint exhibitions.

Online Resources

The National Park Service Museum Collections are now completely live and searchable! 

Barbara Little has built a new wiki for Cultural Heritage Practitioners.

Journals and Books

The new issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science is out.

The Blogs

Florida Public Archaeology’s North Central Blog “ShovelBytes” writes about The steamboat Madison, who lies on the bottom of Troy Spring Run in Troy Spring State Park.

The Dirt on Public Archaeology investigates the pros and cons of the Mock Dig.

See the African American Burial Ground’s photostream on Flickr of the ceramics excavated from their site. Then, follow them on twitter for more information on African American history and archaeology!

Lastly, a video from Project Archaeology highlighting their Archaeology Educator Field School:

Image: AttributionNoncommercial Some rights reserved by rubybgold

President’s Corner: Globalizing Historical Archaeology

Since the SHA was formed in 1967 scholars have acknowledged the complex global relationships between local sites and broader international social, material, and political currents. The truism to “think globally, dig locally” has been repeated many times by historical archaeologists and figures in nearly every textbook definition of the discipline, but for various reasons we have been slow to mount ambitious international projects. Many of those reasons are simply practical realities: for instance, it is often expensive to launch excavations in international contexts; learning the scholarship and culture of a whole other place—even a seemingly similar one—can be exceptionally demanding; and developing a network of local scholars to support archaeology of the recent past—and the last half-millennium is recent in many international contexts—takes significant patience. Yet I write all this from a train platform in York, England, where I have spent much of the past year doing exciting collections research with post-medieval colleagues in the UK. While all the things that make us reluctant to launch international research are true, there are enormous possibilities for scholars who want to conduct ambitious international projects. There are rich bodies of data that colleagues are willing to share with us, and in my experience those colleagues in places like Britain and Europe have been universally interested in sharing their scholarship and data and building projects spanning the Atlantic.

I spent a week in September, 2011 in York working with decorative materials from Hungate, which has a nearly unparalleled ambition to examine two millennia of continuous occupation of a ten-acre site in the heart of York. While York is best-known for its Viking history, and it is in a region with a rich history of Roman archaeology, it has a post-medieval archaeological record that includes 18th century domestic material as well as tenements from the mid- 19th-century into the 1930s. It is those latter materials I looked at in York, since my work looks at tenement life in Indiana, and I am interested in broad international patterns in the construction of poverty and the process of displacing people from “slum” contexts in the 20th century throughout the world. The York Archeological Trust has devoted the same thorough attention to that tenement period as it has given to the Roman, Viking, and medieval material from Hungate, and the record of all those periods is exceptionally rich. Like most of us, they want their research to be useful to scholars outside narrow archaeological specializations and outside Great Britain itself, and the York Archaeological Trust has a long record of running public programs examining the northern British city’s heritage as revealed by extensive archaeological research. They were kind enough to share much of their decorative material culture—figurines, display ceramics, and assorted household goods—to examine what it meant to be impoverished in York and assess how that compares to impoverishment in the US and places like Indianapolis.

Hungate is the single largest excavation ever conducted in York, which has been the scene of relatively continuous occupation for at least two millennia. Today York remains circled by well-preserved perimeter defensive walls, and it has exceptional architectural preservation of astounding sites including Clifford’s Tower, the massive York Minster, and numerous medieval structures that welcome numerous tourists throughout the year. The York Archaeological Trust began excavations in York in 1972 and has excavated sites that reach across several millennia, with particularly rich work on the Viking period that led to the creation of the JORVIK Viking Centre. Working across so many periods demands a vast range of specialists, and the Hungate team includes Romanists, medievalists, and post-medievalists alike who focus on historical research, zooarchaeology, ceramics, assorted small finds, and every other possible specialization.

What should interest many North American historical archaeologists is that the Hungate scholars have found quite a lot of community interest in the post-medieval archaeology on the site, especially the tenement period that is within the memory of many residents. Where the post-medieval period was once something overlying the “real” archaeology, the Hungate team recognized that there are local constituencies and an international scholarly community interested in these most recent material remains. Much of that work has examined how poverty was constructed in 19th and 20th century York, and they hosted a conference in 2009 on the archaeology of poverty that included North American scholars such as Mary Beaudry, Charles Orser, Adrian Praetzellis, Diana Wall, and Rebecca Yamin. That work subsequently was part of an SHA session in 2011 that included Hungate Project Director Peter Connelly and Historical Researcher Jayne Rimmer. In addition to a forthcoming journal collection from the project, the Hungate team plans an ambitious series of technical reports and accessible public scholarship.

Many North American historical archaeologists are interested in the same issues as our Atlantic World, European, Latin American, and Pacific colleagues, and there are increasingly more grants targeting international research and encouraging American graduate students to work with data outside the US. My own University was exceptionally supportive providing seed grants to conduct the work in York as well as trips to work in museums and universities in London, Newcastle, Manchester, and Finland. For those who cannot make it overseas because of cost and all the genuine practical realities, though, there are still enormous possibilities as increasingly more scholarship is digitized and many of our once-distant colleagues are accessible electronically. With the 2013 SHA Conference set for Leicester, we will have the chance to meet many of those British and European colleagues, so start planning ahead and think about extending your work to international settings.

Come to Leicester in 2013!

Globalization, immigration, transformation Society for Historical Archaeology Annual Conference 2013 46th Annual Conference on Historical and Underwater Archaeology January 9-12, 2013 Leicester, Great Britain A major historical archaeology conference based in the heart of England, but looking at the world, its peoples and the changes they created in the recent past. You are warmly invited to Leicester, England for the 46th annual Society for Historical and Underwater Archaeology Conference, January 9–12 2013.

Leicester offers the visitor fantastic shopping, sightseeing and dining opportunities (you should certainly try one of its many Indian restaurants). Leicester’s rich heritage of excellent food and drink is a product of its diverse population. Local foods include Stilton cheese, Melton Mowbray pork pies, and the best samosas this side of India. The Conference reception will be at the wonderful Snibston Discovery Centre, where you can explore 500 years of technological innovation, see a working beam engine and use block-and-tackle to pick up the iconic British Mini automobile with only your own body strength. Trips and tours will include Stratford-upon-Avon and a performance by the Royal Shakespeare Company; Ironbridge, the cradle of the Industrial Revolution; Elizabethan stately homes; a visit to the Royal Dockyard and historic ships at Portsmouth, and many others.

Leicester makes an ideal base for an independent vacation before or after the conference. It is centrally located, only 75 minutes by train from central London and yet within easy reach of the natural beauty of the Charnwood Hills, the Peak district and a host of charming market towns. The conference will be based at the University of Leicester, which consistently features in the UK top 20 and in the top two per cent of world universities. The School of Archaeology and Ancient History is one of the UK’s largest and most highly-rated, and incorporates the Centre for Historical Archaeology, Britain’s only dedicated research center for the discipline.

Delegates will be offered a range of hotel accommodation nearby. There are options for all pockets and tastes from the luxurious Victorian Mercure Hotel to charming local ‘Bed and Breakfasts’. Leicester is a ‘human scale’ city that can easily be explored on foot or using its excellent public transportation. From the conference venue you can stroll down New Walk admiring its eighteenth-century squares and gardens, past the nineteenth-century New Walk Museum to the lively heart of the town; or perhaps visit the busy pubs, bars and restaurants, or see some exciting drama or dance at the new Curve theatre in the Cultural Quarter. Whether you’d rather visit one of the city’s many museums or watch the Leicester Tigers rugby team playing at home, Leicester 2013 will be a memorable conference and an enjoyable visit. Please join us for a pie and a pint next year!

For more information, please contact the SHA 2013 Conference Committee Co-Chairs: Audrey Horning, Queen’s University Belfast ( and Sarah Tarlow, University of Leicester ( [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

Friday Links: What’s Happening in Historical Archaeology

Every Friday, we provide a series of links, headlines, and announcements about what’s happening in Historical Archaeology over the past week. Please, add your links to the comments below, and we’ll be sure to include them in the future! Also, if you have a blog about historical archaeology, please let us know in the comments! We’d love to help improve your readership by highlighting posts on Friday Links!


New Books and Journals

Call for Manuscripts


Online Resources

On the Blogosphere

SHA Website Revamped and Expanded for 2012


Over 2011 there have been significant changes to the SHA Website that are only now seeing the light of day. Perhaps the most significant change will be a complete revamping of the site design to make it more user-friendly by easing navigation and of course make it even more visually appealing. The site design will launch over the next few weeks so be prepared for the change!

New features of the SHA Website are growing everyday, like this Blog initiatied by Terry Brock and the Social Media Subcommittee. Other new features launched in 2011 include:

A new Online Forum where professionals can discuss hot-button topics, artifact identifications, and nearly any other interesting aspect of Historical Archaeology. All you need to do is log into the member’s section of the SHA Website, and then read the instructions provided on the Member’s Homepage in PDF format. Then click on the “Forum” link on the left bar and you are off. Currently, there is an ongoing discussion of African cross marks on material culture moderated by Journal Editor Joe Joseph and President-Elect Charlie Ewen.

The Publications Explorer has also seen some revamping, thanks to the efforts of Joe Joseph, and University of Montana Graduate Student Riley Auge. To help researchers find resources that fit their needs, Riley has coded each article produced by the SHA since 1967 with keywords ranging from Time Period, to Region, to individual subjects. This is a new robust tool to help educators and researchers find just the article(s) they need for classes or projects.

In following posts I will share more information on other facets of the SHA Website that have been added in the last few years, but also provide a glimpse of other changes on the website, such as the preview of our new design above!

I would be remiss without thanking the whole Website team for their efforts in 2011, including Spectral Fusion Designs at the University of Montana, Jono Mogstad the SHA Webmaster, and of course my whole Advisorial Committee. The Website is a sizable beast to wrangle, and all these individuals and many more make my job a whole lot easier.

Student Activities in Baltimore

Every year the Student Subcommittee of the Academic and Professional Training Committee (APTC) organizes events at the annual conference specifically for student members. They are listed in the regular program. In order to make these events more visible, however, we’ve decided to highlight some of this year’s student-centered opportunities. It seems Saturday, January 7th is a big day for student activities at this year’s conference.

The Advisory Council on Underwater Archaeology and the APTC combine for the annual student forum. This year, terrestrial and underwater archaeologists address issues of dealing with the media in a panel format. The discussion will be focused on student concerns and driven by their questions but all are welcome.

For a second year, the student subcommittee (SCC) has organized a different type of panel.  In informal roundtable settings, recent graduates and young professionals with both maritime and terrestrial research interests host small group discussions driven by student members. The Rap Session offers an opportunity to ask questions about topics ranging from job-hunting, to conference participation. Graduate and undergraduate students are encouraged to attend.

Finally, participation in the Society for Historical Archaeology is not just for senior members. Opportunities for students abound. All students are welcome to attend the SCC committee meeting. It is our opportunity to lend students voices to the SHA. Find out what the committee does and how you can get involved.  This year the SSC needs a social media liaison, writers for the SHA newsletter and organizers for future forums as well as other talents.  It may seem early (ok it is early) but you will meet other students; network with other SHA members and build your CV.

Saturday, January 7th, 2011

Check the final program for times and locations.


Student Subcommittee of Academic and Professional Training Committee Meeting

Morning Proceedings

Brining the Past to Life: Archaeology and the Popular Media

Chair: Whitney Anderson and Moderator: Katherine Burnett

Afternoon Proceedings

Rap Session for Student Members

Chair: Jenna Coplin

Public Education and Interpretation at 2012 Conference

With the annual conference just a few short weeks away it’s time for me to grab a highlighter and mark up the preliminary program.  Without a strategy in place too many opportunities are lost and I find out later all the papers, posters, and panels I should not have missed.  I put together a Top 10 list for public archaeology recommendations at SHA 2012.

Pre-Conference Workshop 2011 Activity

1.  Pre-Conference Workshop   Can They Dig It? Proexcavation Techniques for Archaeologists Working with Local Communities.  Facilitators Jay Stottman and myself (Sarah Miller) are putting the final details together on exercises and activities to spark deliberation over excavating with the public.  Participants will design their own proexcavation program and report on the before, during and after activities as we highlight tips and tools along the way.  Really looking forward to it! (Wednesday, January 4)

 2.  Historic Londontown and Annapolis Tour: The tours look so great this year, but if I had to chose one as a public archaeologist, I’d pick the Historic Londontown and Archaeology of Annapolis tour.  For years I had a calendar from the Anne Arundel County’s Lost Towns Project…pick one up for me if you go on this tour, such wonderful interpretive tools they used in showing how you can derive house structure from the postholes and features unearthed by archaeologists (and the public!).  The second stop on the same tour brings you to the front door of the Archaeology in Annapolis Program lead by the one and only Dr. Mark Leone.  (Wednesday, January 4)

 3. PUBLIC DAY!!   This year’s theme “Gallantly Streaming” will feature activity tables and exhibits from over 15 local and regional archeology programs.  The event is free and open from 11:00am-2:00pm at Fort McHenry.  Check out posters, interactive activities, and interpreters. Topics will include the struggles and triumphs of Maryland’s African American communities, Native Americans, colonial history, Civil War archaeology, historic shipwrecks, and plantations told through posters, interactive activities, and interpreters. (Saturday, January 7)

4. Solving Problems in the Public Interpretation of Maritime Cultural Heritage Symposium: I had a chance to talk to Della Scott-Ireton this week about this symposium which runs all day Thursday.  The presenters are leaders in the Maritime archaeology field and any of these papers should be well worth the public archaeologists time.  The maritimers in general have done a wonderful job integrating public archaeology into nearly everything they do, and it shows at the conference.  Proof is in this session–don’t miss!  (Thursday, January 5)

Look for PEIC Flier!

5. Public Education and Interpretation Committee Wake up, wake up!  The PEIC  meets early Friday morning from 7:45-8:45 am.  This committee welcomes new members and is eager to discuss K-12 education, displays and interpretation, social and traditional media, or just plain digging in plain sight.  Breakout session planned to brainstorm materials and topics for the Public Archaeology toolbox, blog and newsletter topics, and session ideas for 2013.  Please come, bring a friend!  (Friday, January 6, Room TBA)

6.  Roundtables:

Promo used for teacher conference.

There are two chances to join in public archaeology discussions over lunch on Saturday.  Terry Brock will facilitate discussion at his table focusing on Social Media, disseminating archaeology to diverse audiences through a variety of tools such as Twitter, Facebook, and the blogs.  Across the room pull up a chair at my Public Archaeology table where we can discuss archaeology education, particularly marketing to educators and gaining the audiences you want. (Saturday, January 7)


7. Toward an Archaeological Agora Revisited: Using Collaborative Approaches in Facilitating Public Participation and Creation of Archaeological Knowledge and Understanding Symposium:  I’ll admit it, last year I Googled the word agora during the session (it means meeting place, to congregate).  I loved each and every paper, particularly Pam Cressey and Douglas Appler’s paper on the City of Alexandria’s program and ways of making an unmarked African-American burial ground tangible to the public eye by placing luminaries to represent the number of known burials interred.  This year’s version is chaired by John Jameson and Harold Mytum, a definite must see with integrated terrestrial and maritime papers.  (Thursday, January 5)

Derek the Dredger Resources

8. General Outreach-Related Sessions:  Scheduled for Friday are the following two general sessions.  In the morning you’ll find me in the Maritime Heritage Management and Outreach session.  Since I learned about Derek the Dredger from Ian Oxley I make a point to see anything in which he’s taking part. In the afternoon Lessons from the Field: Public Outreach and Education session features PEIC member Laura Segna and other interesting PubArch papers.  Fresh from the PEIC meeting at 7:45 that morning there should be a good turnout.

Archaeology in Alexandria Presentation


9. Fifty Years of Community Archaeology on the Potomac: Lessons from Alexandria:  Alexandria is arguably the ultimate example of a community-supported city archaeology program.  I first met co-chair Doug Appler when he came to St. Augustine to do research on city permits, and of course I am in awe of the work by Pam Cressey.  Discussion is not to be missed, led by SHA outgoing President William Lees (full disclosure: also my boss!).  If you work in communities with archaeology ordinances this symposium should have a lot to offer on how to craft community involvement.  (Friday, January 6)

10. Reversing the Narrative Parts I and II:  An epic session unfolds Saturday with the who’s who of theoretical practitioners of public archaeology.  Paul Shackel and Barbara Little bookend this session, what more could you want? (Saturday, January 7)

What did I miss?  Give a plug for it below in the comments section and we’ll try and help get the word out.  Take some of my advice and have a good/bad story to tell?  Let us know what you saw and what you did in the PubArch frame of mind at SHA.

*Note: post written before program finalized.  Times and dates subject to change.  Individual papers and posters not available at the time of posting, please add below!

SHA2012 Technology Room

Do you want to use social media to increase your public outreach or your understanding of an archaeological site? Are you curious about marine geophysical methods? Would you like to learn about 3D laser scanning and whether it is the tool for you? Are you are interested in how other technological innovations are shaping archaeological investigations?  Will you be attending SHA2012?  If so, you are invited to stop by the Technology Committee’s second annual Tech Room to meet experts in the field and learn more about technological applications.

The Technology Room, located in the Bibliotech (aka the Book Room), will feature archaeologists demonstrating and discussing their experiences with a variety of technologies. A series of brief presentations, listed below, are scheduled throughout the conference. The speakers will also be on-hand for the entire three-hour morning or afternoon slot in which their presentation is scheduled to give demonstrations, answer questions and talk more informally about their work.  You will also be to learn more about the SHA’s new social media initiatives, and we’ll even have table set up so that you can get connected on the spot to the new Facebook page and stay in touch year-round.

We are looking forward to seeing you there!

Tech Room Demos and Talks:

Thursday January 5, 2012 – 9:00‐12:00 Presentations

  • 9:30 – Conservation in the MAC Lab with Nicole Doub, Maryland Archaeological Conservation Laboratory
  • 10:00 – GIS at Jamestowne with David Givens, Historic Jamestowne
  • 10:30 – Naval History and Heritage Command Technologies with NHHC marine archaeologists
  • 11:00 – Social Media & the SHA with Terry Brock, SHA Social Media Chair, PhD Candidate Michigan State

Thursday January 5, 2012 – 1:00 – 4:00 Presentations

  • 1:30 – Conservation in the MAC Lab with Nicole Doub, Maryland Archaeological Conservation Laboratory
  • 2:00 – tDAR, the Digital Archaeological Record with Adam Brin & Frank McManamon, Digital Antiquity
  • 2:30 – Integrating Data Sets: Results from the St. Augustine Seawall Phase I Archaeological Survey with JB Pelletier, URS
  • 3:00 – Social Media & the SHA with Terry Brock, SHA Social Media Chair, PhD Candidate Michigan State

Friday January 6, 2012 – 9:00 ‐12:00 Presentations

  • 9:30 – 3D Laser Scanning with Bernard Means, Virginia Commonwealth University, Virtual Curation Unit
  • 10:00 – Integrating Data Sets: Results from the St. Augustine Seawall Phase I Archaeological Survey with Bradley Kruegger, URS
  • 10:30 – New Media’s Role in Historical Archaeology and Social Justice with Ed Gonzalez‐Tennant, Monmouth University
  • 11:00 – Trends in Emerging Media That Will Impact How Audiences Connect to Heritage with Jeffery Guin, Chemical Heritage Foundation

Friday January 6, 2012 – 1:00 – 4:00 Presentations

  • 1:30 – tDAR, the Digital Archaeological Record with Adam Brin & Frank Mc Manamon, Digital Antiquity
  • 2:00 – 3D Laser Scanning with Bernard Means, Virginia Commonwealth University, Virtual Curation Unit
  • 2:30 – Naval History and Heritage Command Technologies with NHHC marine archaeologists
  • 3:00 – The Value of A Good (Digital) Pen with Timothy Goddard, SHA Technology Committee, Michigan Technological University
  • 3:30 – Trends in Emerging Media That Will Impact How Audiences Connect to Heritage with Jeffery Guin, Chemical Heritage Foundation

Saturday January 7, 2012 – 9:00 ‐ 12:00 Presentations

  • 9:30 – Emerging Conservation Technologies with Emily Williams, The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, and Lisa Young
  • 10:00 – Social Media in a Colonial Context with Lisa Fischer and Meredith Poole, The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, CAA, and SHA Technology Committee
  • 10:30 – Naval History and Heritage Command Technologies with NHHC marine archaeologists
  • 11:00 – Social Media & the SHA with Terry Brock, SHA Social Media Chair, PhD Candidate Michigan State

The Archaeologies of Poverty: New Historical Archaeology Volume 45, Number 3

Historical Archaeology 45(3) presents a thematic look at the archaeology and institutions of poverty developed by Guest Editors Chris Matthews and Suzanne Spencer-Wood. The papers in this collected volume look at the social factors behind poverty, its archaeological legacies and analyses, the institutions associated with the impoverished, and the role that historical archaeology can play in giving face and voice to the impoverished and disenfranchised. This is an important work at a critical time in world history, when daily events remind us all of both wealth imbalance and the effects of poverty. We hope this thematic issue will occupy your thoughts. As a special preview of this issue, we have made the introduction to the journal, entitled “Impoverishment, Criminalization, and the Culture of Poverty” and written by Suzanne Spencer-Wood and Chris Matthews, available as a free download.

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