John L. Cotter



When historical archaeology began to loom as a viable sub-discipline of archaeology, its practitioners were soon aware of the need for a corpus of bibliographical references. At a symposium on The Meaning of’ Historical Sites Archaeology which I organized for the 28th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Boulder, Colorado in May 1963, the participants agreed that such a bibliography should be started by those present, and that I, as compiler, should find a medium of publication. Symposium members were Bernard Fontana, who chaired the session, Edward McM. Larrabee, who supplied the form used for the compilation, Lewis Binford, Louis Caywood, Henry Hornblower II, Kenneth Kidd, Carlyle Smith, Arthur Woodword, Stephen Glass from the field of Classical Archaeology, and me.

The Bibliography of Historical Archaeology got under way with the volunteered personal bibliographies of Louis Caywood, Edward Larrabee, B. Bruce Powell, Paul J. F. Schumacher, and G. Hubert Smith. Once I had worked up a draft from sources available to me, it was checked and added to by Bernard Fontana, John W. Griffin, Ivor Noél Hume, Louis R. Binford, Charles F. Hayes III, H. Geiger Omwake, Wilfred Logan, and Stanley South plus those people they each contacted. By 1966 some 900 of the forms had been microfilmed and made available by University Microfilms, Ann Arbor, in printed form in two sections: I. Historical Sites Artifacts and II. Historical Sites Excavation Reports. A lack of listings for Mexico limited it to North America north of Mexico.

By the end of the 1970s my shared dissatisfaction with the clumsy and limited format of the bibliography as it progressively enlarged, had engendered a dream of a topical and cross-referenced format involving the use of the computer. To this purpose William B. Hershey joined me and together we devised a subject taxonomy based on General Historical Archaeology including Theory And Interdisciplinary Studies, Methodology And Techniques, Historical Documentation, Excavation Reports, and Studies And Analyses, all with numerous key-numbered subdivisions. With grants from The National Endowment for the Humanities and The Barra Foundation, we were able to get the project under way, with Hershey laboriously putting the data into the computer and my proofing and correcting of the printouts. The sheer drudgery of correspondence, gathering of forms, and working up the entries in the format, was a staggering work load. In 1981 I gave up on rented equipment and main-frame computers and personally bought an Apple II computer and Wordstar program for the University of Pennsylvania Museum.

By 1983 we were struggling to get the computer to disgorge the coded topical entries. After two years of unavailing effort to make the system work, all the while adding more entries with their strings of code numbers, Hershey and I parted company. In 1985 I arranged to ship some eight boxes of computer printouts, six diskettes, and the taxonomy to Dr. Roderick Sprague, then Director of the Alfred W. Bowers Laboratory of Anthropology at the University of Idaho, Moscow. Rick had agreed to see what could be done to salvage, if not reproduce, the Bibliography as planned. Twelve years and several computer technicians later, all efforts to produce the topical printout having failed, it was decided to make a simple conventional printout of the entries, by author, alphabetically arranged without any attempt to make a topical breakdown. This re-computerization of the entries took over a year to complete and proofread. Only a few new entries were added from currently active authors. No attempt was made to include the myriad CRM titles, the many journal articles since the early 1980s, or data south of the United States.

The present offering on the web in cooperation with the Society for Historical Archaeology has been made possible by Roderick Sprague and the facilities of South Fork Press of Moscow, Idaho with support, expertise, and encouragement from Mike Rodeffer, Ronn Michael, and Lester Ross.

In addition to The NEH, the Barra Foundation, the University of Idaho Laboratory of Anthropology, and South Fork Press we acknowledge the contribution of The Philadelphia Archaeological Project of The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. We are also indebted to entries submitted by Paul Hudson, George I. Quimby, and Norman Barka; to David J. Hally, Richard Hulan, and Stephen S. Lawrence for their Guide to the Reading and Study of Historic Site Archaeology issued in 1970 as Museum Brief 5 of the Museum of Anthropology, University of Missouri, Columbia; Jonathan Gell, Ronald Spores, Robert Munroe, and Per Hage, who with David Hally contributed site lists and annotated bibliographical notes for Stephen Williams’ 1962 class in historical archaeology at Harvard; to Parks Canada for their 1983 Bibliography of Manuscripts and Publications of the Research Division of the National Historic Parks and Sites Branch; and Vergil E. Noble, J. Mark Wittkofski, and Norman Barka for their bibliographical references. The many single and multiple contributions received are too numerous to mention here, but are no less appreciated.

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