Winter Update

IMG_20151203_104845_414 (1)This fall has been a busy semester in the lab.  We began to process artifacts from our field season, gave a public lecture in Easton, and celebrated the dedication of Frederick Douglass Square on campus.  A dedicated crew of undergraduates worked steadily to wash, photograph, and sort artifacts from the 2014-2015 shovel test pit survey at Bethel A.M.E. Church in Easton, MD.  With about 100 STPs dug on a 10-foot grid, having materials from this close-interval survey finally ready for analysis should reveal some of the complexities of this site, which is unusually deep, large, and stratified compared with most sites we have worked with over the past many years.  Thanks to Katie Mayer, Joshua Finken, Kristin Ngo, Katie Calvert, Becca Lane, Stephanie Callahan, and Tim Vettel for their hard work!  Tracy Jenkins will be cataloging these artifacts over the winter break.

We have also spent this Fall making some preliminary interpretations of an African-American spiritual deposit from Wye House Plantation in Talbot County.  Junior Sarah Buchanan cataloged this deposit over the course of the semester and identified which artifacts were ritually significant.  Tracy Jenkins has steadily worked to conserve two dozen iron artifacts that were placed to the south of the main deposit so that we can identify the artifacts and their significance to the total picture of spiritual practice in this location on the plantation.

041Having washed most of the artifacts from the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center during our excavation there this summer, Sarah Janesko cataloged the assemblage this Fall and she and Trish Markert have been working on a site report for our two years of excavation there.

Stefan Woehlke continued his work at Montpelier in addition to teaching a section of Introduction to Archaeology.  He has forged new connections with descendants of African Americans who lived and worked as tenant farmers after the Civil War at what was once President James Madison’s home.  He has also been using the University of Maryland’s 3-D laser scanner to systematically map the results of excavations around the Montpelier mansion over the past several years.  This will enable archaeologists there to stitch together the fruits of many field seasons and more fully reconstruct the historical landscape.

What’s on the horizon?

Winter break for us is a time for analysis and writing.  The upcoming Society for Historical Archaeology annual meeting January 6-10 will be held this year in Washington, D.C., at the Omni Shoreham Hotel and the University of Maryland Department of Anthropology has a strong showing.  For our part, Archaeology in Annapolis staff and student contributions include the following:

  • Sarah Janesko “Remembering the Tenant Farmers: A Comparison of Two Late 19th-Century Tenant Farm Dwellings in Maryland” Thursday 4:30pm.
  • Stefan Woehlke “Developing an Ecological Interpretation of Land Use in Virginia’s Piedmont: The Montpelier Example” Friday 2:15pm.
  • Ashley Rivas “Gender Ideals in 19th and 20th Century Easton, Maryland: An Analysis of Toys and Family Planning Material in Historically African-American Communities” Thursday 2:00pm.
  • Benjamin Skolnik “The Aura of Things: Locating Authenticity and the Power of Objects” Friday 4:00pm.
  • Mark Leone will participate in a forum discussion on “Catching Up with Caches: The Latest on African Diasporic Spirit Practices in the Archaeological Record,” chaired by Garrett Fesler, Thursday 1:00pm.
  • Tracy Jenkins will participate in a forum discussion on “Historic Black Lives Matter: Archaeology as Activism in the 21st Century,” chaired by Kelley Deetz, Thursday 9:00am.
  • Mark Leone and Kathryn Deeley will lead a tour of Archaeology in Annapolis’ work for over 30 years in downtown historic Annapolis, Wednesday 9:30am.

Meanwhile, we continue analysis on materials from the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center and Bethel A.M.E. Church.

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