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Kara Bridgman Sweeney Presents Ongoing Early Archaic Research

Dec 17, 2013

Dr. Bridgman Sweeney, an Archaeologist in our Savannah office, recently presented at the 70th annual meeting of the Southeastern Archaeological Conference (SEAC), held from November 6-10, 2013. Her paper, titled "Subregional Traditions and the Early Side-Notched Horizon in Florida" examines the relationships among Early Archaic groups in Florida through lithic analysis.

Dr. Bridgman Sweeney's recent research identified evidence for relatively distinct subregional traditions within the Early Side-Notched Horizon. As part of an analysis of numerous side-notched tools (including hafted bifaces and unifaces) from throughout the Coastal Plain, she documented variation within the established Bolen and Edgefield Scraper artifact types throughout Florida. Dr. Bridgman Sweeney suggests that extensive social and information-sharing networks assisted Florida groups who often faced unpredictable environmental conditions during the Early Archaic. Numerous lines of evidence point to the existence of a social boundary comprised of the peninsular Gulf Coast, as well as north and north-central Florida.


Brockington Work at the Barrancas Site to be Featured at 2014 SAA Annual Meeting

Oct 24, 2013

Steve Rabbysmith will present information about the Barrancas Site at the next annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology (SAA), to be held in Austin, Texas from April 23-27, 2014. The Barrancas Site (8SE1354) is a  large multi-component archaeological site located at Naval Air Station, Pensacola (NAS). The site has produced a wide variety of cultural material and intact deposits that are related to its extensive occupation, and reflective of its strategic importance on Florida’s Pensacola Bay.

Past investigations of the site have focused primarily on the substantial first Spanish Period occupation at the Presidio Santa Maria de Galve, and associated fortification San Carlos de Austria. However, a recent cultural resources compliance study carried out by Brockington on other portions of the site has revealed deposits associated with the American nineteenth century, including an Antebellum Creole home site, a Civil War Union encampment, and a post-Civil War Army installation. 

The SAA presentation will provide an overview of the site’s later historical occupation and related archaeological remains, and will demonstrate the Navy’s commitment to preserving this and other important historic properties while maintaining its mission. Mr. Rabbysmith has been working with Brockington field archaeologist and University of West Florida graduate student Kad Henderson, as well as Carrie Williams, the Cultural Resource Manager of NAS, to put together the information for this presentation.  Mr. Rabbysmith's talk will be part of the symposium entitled: Navy Archaeology, Recent Research, Critical Perspectives. 


Charlie Philips Co-Authors Article for Azalea Magazine

Sep 20, 2013

The Fall edition of Azalea Magazine includes an article by historian Charlie Philips and Dr. Ed West about the history of The Ponds entitled, "Fredreik Schulz and the Boys of Summerville."

Read the article on page 32 of the magazine at: http://issuu.com/azaleamagazine/docs/azalea_magazine_fall_2013_web?e=1593809/4856207


Scott Butler Teaches Archaeology at the 2013 Boy Scout Jamboree

Aug 08, 2013

Scott Butler, Branch Chief of our Atlanta office, is not only an archaeologist and historian, but also a father to two Boy Scouts and a long-time scout leader. Mr. Butler merged his many roles this year at the 2013 Boy Scout Jamboree, where he and others helped teach the requirements of the Archaeology Merit Badge (MB).

At other Jamborees, the requirements for the Archaeology MB were taught by non-archaeologists.  Though volunteer efforts are always appreciated, Mr. Butler, and Jeanne Moe, BLM public education archaeologist, observed the efforts at the 2010 Jamboree and concluded that scouts would benefit from being taught by professional archaeologists. Ms. Moe is Director of Project Archaeology, a program funded by the Bureau of Land Management, based out of Montana State University in Bozeman. Project Archaeology uses a three-barreled approach to forward the cause of archaeology, by developing archaeology coursework for classroom teachers and museum educators; conducting workshops in using archaeology in the classroom; and providing ongoing regional mentoring between professional archaeologists and educators.

Following a request by Jeannie Moe, Robert King, BLM archaeologist from the Anchorage, Alaska office, Teresa Moyer, archaeologist from the Washington D.C. office of the National Park Service (NPS), and David Fuerst, New River Gorge National River (NPS) staff archaeologist, also volunteered to help sponsor and staff the merit badge booth in 2013.  The 2013 Jamboree was located at the new 10,600 acre BSA Summit Bechtel Reserve near Bleckley, West Virginia. The event spanned ten days (July 14-24) and had 40,000 participants. With so many days to cover, and scouts to teach, staffing the Archaeology MB booth was a team effort. Mr. Butler and Ms. Moe volunteered for the entire Jamboree, while Mr. King, Ms. Moyer, Mr. Fuerst, and others assisted throughout the event.

Over the course of nine days, the merit badge staff provided an incredible 240 scouts with 6 to 8 of the 11 archaeology merit badge requirements. The activities were offered in two hour sessions, and four sessions were offered on most days. The activities at the 2013 Jamboree provided the scouts with a substantial introduction to archaeology.  The requirements included:

·    Differentiation between archaeology and similar fields of study including geology, paleontology, history, and anthropology (Requirement 1).
·    The steps of archaeological investigation (Requirement 2).
·    Describe how archaeologists determine the age of archaeological sites (Requirement 3).
·    Archaeological stewardship dilemmas (Requirement 6a).  This activity was taken from the Intrigue of the Past (Smith et al., 1996) curriculum guide.
·    Make a list of items to include in a time capsule (Requirement 7a).
·    A “mock” excavation site for the scouts to learn how archaeologists investigate sites and draw conclusions from their data (Requirement 8c). This activity was adapted from the Project Archaeology: Investigating Shelter (Letts and Moe 2012) curriculum.
·    Two types of primitive fire making; flint and steel, friction fire starting with a bow drill and spindle (Requirement 9b).
·    Investigation of careers in archaeology (Requirement 11).

In addition to teaching MB requirements, the Archaeology MB booth was often busy with interested visitors wanting to observe and participate in the activities. Ms. Moe estimates that the Archaeology staff had at least 250 additional scouts, scouting staff, and parents who visited the booth. Given its success this year at Jamboree, Mr. Butler and Ms. Moe would like to expand the number of staff at the next 2017 Jamboree, and look forward to continuing a strong partnership with NPS and other interested agencies and organizations.


Mike Reynolds to Give Talk on Recent Archaeological Work at New Savannah Bluff

Aug 05, 2013

Mike Reynolds, a Senior Historian in our Atlanta office, will be speaking to the Society for American Military Engineers in Huntington, West Virginia, on August 13, 2013. Mr. Reynolds will focus on the research and excavations at New Savannah Bluff performed recently by Brockington and Associates. Mr. Reynolds' paper is entitled "New Savannah Bluff Phase I Cultural Resources Survey and Deep Testing, the search for Mason’s Plantation Mound (38AK15), and the evaluation of an early Twentieth Century Lock and Dam. Aiken County, South Carolina and Richmond County, Georgia."


The History Workshop Creates Combahee Ferry Raid Traveling Exhibit

Aug 01, 2013

Born into slavery around 1820, Harriet Tubman escaped to freedom in 1849 with the help of the Underground Railroad.  Ms. Tubman's efforts with the Underground Railroad helping to free other enslaved people is well known, making her one of America's most famous abolitionists. Less well known, however, is that Ms. Tubman worked for the Union Army as a scout and spy during the Civil War. A new traveling exhibit produced by the History Workshop highlights the fascinating story of Harriet Tubman and the Combahee River Raid, one of the largest emancipation events in American history. During the raid, which took place in 1863, the Union Army attacked rice plantations along the Combahee River in South Carolina, before departing with 700 slaves aboard their gunboats.

Beautifully illustrated and concisely written, the large exhibit panel views the raid on Combahee River from multiple angles, from the thoughts of a wealthy rice plantation owner's son, to the history of the Combahee River as an important transportation node. The exhibit effectively explains Harriet Tubman's critical role in spreading word of the raid to slaves working on Combahee River plantations, and then leading the gunboats on the momentous night in June, 1863.

The 10 x 8 foot exhibit panel is double-sided, free-standing, and meant to travel. The exhibit project was funded by the South Carolina Department of Transportation, and is available for loan.  If you would like to request the exhibit for your school, library, or museum, please contact Chad C. Long, SCDOT, at LongCC@dot.state.sc.us, or (803)-737-1396.


History Workshop Helps Charleston Honor Black Civil War Soldiers

Jul 23, 2013

Carol Poplin and John Cason, of Brockington's History Workshop division, were honored to take part in a special project of the mayor of Charleston, Joe Riley, that was unveiled at the historic Battery on July 21, 2013. The Sunday ceremony was to recognize and commemorate the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, an all-black unit in the Civil War. This unit attacked the Confederate outpost of Battery Wagner on nearby Morris Island in 1863, at a time when people questioned whether African Americans could fight.  The bravery of these Massachusetts Volunteers spurred the recruitment and acceptance of black soldiers into the Union Army, leading to greater numbers of enlisted Union men and a tactical advantage for the Federal side. 

An interpretive board describing the events at Battery Wagner and the actions of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteers, which was designed by the History Workshop, was showcased by Mayor Riley during the event. Read more about the historic ceremony here: http://www.postandcourier.com/article/20130721/PC16/130729864/1177/charleston-ceremony-honors-black-civil-war-soldiers-celebrates-reconciliation


Meagan Brady Talks Archaeology with Summer Campers

Jul 22, 2013

Meagan Brady, the laboratory supervisor for our Atlanta office, was invited to talk to kids at Camp Bulloch this past week.  The annual summer camp is hosted by historic Bulloch Hall in Roswell, Georgia, which was the childhood home of Theodore Roosevelt's mother, Mittie Bulloch.

The Camp Bulloch "Rough Riders," a group of 6-10 year-olds, were able to handle and sort real artifacts, just like Meagan does in the lab. In a second activity, they learned more about archaeology in the most delicious way possible, with chocolate chip cookies!  In the "cookie excavation" activity, kids were asked to carefully excavate chocolate chips from their cookies with toothpicks, in a way that is similar to how archaeologists try to carefully remove artifacts from the ground. The activity encourages forethought and patience (will you break one chip to get at another?).  The activity also demonstrates how archaeologists don't just "dig" in the ground, they excavate using precise methods. Of course, the campers were able to enjoy their cookie sites at the end of the lesson!


Carolyn Rock Featured for Volunteer Work at Pauper Cemetery

Jun 17, 2013

Carolyn Rock was recently featured in an Atlanta Journal Constitution article discussing her work at a St. Marys cemetery.  Located near the well-known Oak Grove Cemetery is separate a 1.73-acre plot of land that was used for the burial of indigents, criminals, and enslaved people since the 18th century. As with many pauper cemeteries, records of the burials and maps of the plots at this cemetery are scarce or non-existent. The last burial that took place at the pauper's cemetery is believed to have been in 1912, of an executed murderer. 

The number and location of burials at the pauper cemetery is unknown, but work is currently underway to try to answer these basic questions. Carolyn Rock, an archaeologist with our Savannah office, is assisting two local groups, the Guale Historical Society and the Bryan Lang Archives, who have been interested in learning more about the cemetery.  After to speaking to Rachel Black and the Georgia State Historic Preservation Office, Ms. Rock determined that the best way to search for any potential graves was to use a soil probe to test the density of the ground surface. Soil above a grave will usually feel less dense, or looser, than ground that has not been disturbed. Ground penetrating radar, or GPR, which is often used to research unmarked graves, could not be conducted here due to the number of trees and undergrowth on the property.

Ms. Rock is volunteering her time on the project, and expects that it will take several more weekend's worth of systematic probing before a fuller picture of the number and placement of the burials begins to emerge. We congratulate Carolyn on her efforts to help the local community understand more about St. Marys past.


The History Workshop attends the American Alliance of Museums Conference

Jun 06, 2013

The History Workshop was well represented by Carol Poplin and Callie McLean at the 2013 American Alliance of Museums (AAM) meeting in Baltimore, Maryland. This is one of the largest conferences associated with museums and museum professionals, and this year's meeting included more than 5,000 people representing more than 50 countries. Carol and Callie met many of these folks at the History Workshop booth, which was focused on how our museum and content experts can help you to tell your story. The History Workshop booth followed the overall theme of the 2013 AAM meeting, which was "The Power of Story." Both Carol and Callie felt the conference was very successful this year, and look forward to the 2014 meeting.


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