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The Practicality of Microartifact Analysis in CRM Contexts: A Case Study from Meade County, Kentucky download pdf

By Phyllis Rigney

2013 Society for American Archaeology Conference

In this paper, first presented at the 2013 annual Society for American Archaeology meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii, Phyllis Rigney details the results of a Phase II investigation in Kentucky that utilized microartifact analysis. Site 15MD543 is located in Meade County Kentucky, and had previously been identified during a Phase I survey by Brockington and Associates. As the site contains a relatively high density of artifacts and possesses intact deposits, Brockington recommended that 15MD543 was potentially eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.

Unfortunately, Brockington archaeologists only had one week to complete the Phase II field investigations. Faced with this daunting task, Brockington investigators decided to test microartifact analysis, a labor-intensive analysis primarily undertaken in the laboratory, as a supplement to normal data collection in order to gather as much information about the site as possible. Results of this investigation indicate that microartifact analysis can be useful in assessing intrasite spatial relationships when combined with multiple types of analysis. In addition, microartifact analysis is applicable in a CRM context and can be utilized to better assess NRHP eligibility at certain prehistoric sites. The attachment presents this paper in full.


New Interactive Hedekin Field Story Map

By Gitisha Goel and Clara Nguyen

Esri Southeast User Conference 2013

Gitisha Goel, a Brockington GIS and Graphics Specialist, and Clara Nguyen, our Designer and Web Specialist, recently completed a Story Map for Hedekin Field at Fort McPherson, an historic US Army military base in Atlanta, Georgia. Hedekin Field (Parade Field) is part of the oldest section of Fort McPherson that includes Staff Row and the Old Post Area. Hedekin Field includes 40 buildings that were constructed between 1891 and 1910, and have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places as an historic district. The buildings, arranged in orderly rows surrounding the Parade Field, include mess halls and quarters for officers and enlisted men. In 2012, as part of work done in conjunction with Base Realignment and Closure, Brockington completed an update of the National Register listing that expanded the historic district.

The Story Map created by Ms. Goel and Ms. Nguyen provides a new way for the public to view, learn about, and understand the historic military landscape at Hedekin Field.  Story Maps, published by GIS software company ESRI,  combine web maps with web applications and templates that can incorporate a range of information and media. The interactive map created for Hedekin Field allows users to view an historic map and modern aerial of the area, and by clicking on individual buildings, see historic and modern images of the building side-by-side. A brief history of each building is also provided, including the building's age, size, and purpose.

Easy to use, attractive, and interactive, Story Maps are great new outreach tool for culture resource management and historic preservation professionals to share information about historic places that may be inaccessible to members of the public.  They can also display time depth in a way that can be difficult to understand when viewing a static modern environment. Ms. Goel is looking forward to presenting the Hedekin Field Story Map at the ESRI Southeast User Conference from April 29-May 1, 2013, in Jacksonville, Florida.

To interact with the Hedekin Field Story Map, go to http://brockington.org/storymap/


Inna Moore to Present at the South Carolina Arc Users Network Conference

By Inna Moore

South Carolina Arc Users Network Conference (SCARC)

On February 12, GIS specialist Inna Moore will present at the South Carolina Arc Users Network Conference (SCARC) in Columbia, South Carolina. Her paper is titled "Using Desktop GIS and Mobile Mapping Devices to Streamline Large Scale Historic Architectural Resources Surveys."

As explained by Ms. Moore, large scale historic architectural resource surveys present project managers with a variety of logistical problems. These surveys cover extensive areas, include thousands of architectural resources, produce large quantities of data, and require tremendous amounts of time, money, and management. Many of these issues can be alleviated by implementing not only office based GIS, but also by incorporating a mobile mapping device. Using office GIS, a comprehensive database can be created for all resources inside a study area. The database should consist of existing GIS layers (parcels, building footprints, previously surveyed area, recorded historic architectural resources, etc.) provided by the local governing agencies. It can then be uploaded onto an ESRI based mobile mapping device for use in the field. By using these mobile devices, architectural historians will be able to easily identify areas that have not been surveyed, survey eligible resources, create field strategies, and evaluate and record all pertinent information. After the completion of the field survey, the data can be downloaded, cleaned, and presented to the governing agencies in the form of digital databases and paper forms. By using both of these systems, architectural historians can be more efficient saving time and money while producing a more consistent cleaner product.



Transformation of Native Populations in 17th Century Carolina: Exploring Stylistic Changes in Ashley Series Pottery download pdf

By Eric Poplin and Jon Marcoux

Society for Historical Archaeology

Ashley series pottery archaeologically defines the Indians who lived around Charleston Harbor when the first English settlers arrived in Carolina. Recent excavations and analyses demonstrate a rapid stylistic change in decorative motifs by the mid-seventeenth century, with at least two sub-phases represented in samples from two principal sites; samples from additional sites provide corroborative information and temporal associations into the early eighteenth century.

In this paper, presented at the 2013 meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology, Eric Poplin and Jon Marcoux present a number of question about these changing motifs. Do they reflect efforts by the Native populations to maintain their identities within a rapidly changing social situation tied to ever-expanding European settlement and trade, the political competition between England and Spain, and the competition and interactions among competing Native groups? How do these changes reflect the transformation of the social landscape and social fabric of the Natives around Charleston Harbor, who were so vital to the success of the nascent English colony, as they began to interact in the broader Atlantic World?


"History is the Gossip of Winners" download pdf

By Carol Poplin and John Cason

Society for Historical Archaeology

Carol Poplin and John Cason collaborated on this poster, which was presented at the 2013 meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology in Leicester, England. The poster examines how research at the Dean Hall Plantation in South Carolina, completed by Brockington archaeologists, was translated into exhibits by Brockington's History Workshop.  It is a companion to the paper presented at the same meeting by Carol Poplin, "Excavation to Exhibition: Archaeology and a New Narrative for Plantation Museums."


Excavation to Exhibition: Archaeology and a New Narrative for Plantation Museums download pdf

By Carol Poplin

Society for Historical Archaeology

From 1730 until 1865 Charleston, South Carolina was home to some of the richest people in the New World. Their fortunes were created from rice, indigo, and cotton grown with the labour of enslaved Africans who made up over 50 percent of the Lowcountry population. Planters showcased their wealth in elegant plantations and townhouses filled with European fashions and furniture. Today this historical landscape is represented at the region’s popular plantation and house museums. As reflections of colonial and antebellum life, we expect to learn about enslaved people at these facilities. Instead, the enslaved experience is often marginalized, trivialized, or ignored. Can archaeologists help change the old plantation narratives? Does this lack of representation make it imperative that archaeologists studying African Diaspora sites share their work? This paper, presented by Carol Poplin at the 2013 meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology, explores archaeological investigations at the Dean Hall Plantation slave row and the private/public partnership that translated that work into a dynamic public exhibition.


Prehistoric Site Distributions in West Central Alabama: Results of the 2011 Survey of the I-85 Extension and GIS Modeling

By Eric Poplin and Scott Butler

Alabama Archaeological Society

Scott Butler presented the results of a 2011 archaeological survey of the I-85 extension by Brockington at the 2013 Alabama Archaeological Society annual meeting on January 12th, 2012. This project included the use of a Geographic Information System (GIS) site predictive model, and an intensive survey of a preferred alignment for the proposed extension of I-85 through several west central Alabama counties. The results of the survey were then added to the previous GIS model to create a more in-depth model of site probability across the landscape. The work was done in support of the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement by the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT).

Transportation engineers have a myriad of factors to consider when planning new road projects, including the potential impact on local communities, wetlands, endangered species, and cultural resources, along with access issues and engineering concerns. Another concern is cost, and unsurprisingly, it is far more cost effective to avoid significant archaeological sites than to include them in a preferred alternative. For this reason, Brockington was involved with the early planning stages of the I-85 project. We created a predictive model in GIS that would help the project engineers select corridor alternatives that minimized potential to impact archaeological sites.

After the selection of several corridors, Brockington personnel examined 125 miles of the preferred extension of I-85, which crosses both the Alabama and Tombigbee Rivers. The survey resulted in the identification of 108 archaeological sites and 49 isolated finds. These included 76 distinct prehistoric components and 48 multi-component sites. It is important to note that 61 percent of the survey corridor was within the Alabama River watershed, compared to the remaining 39 percent lying within the Tombigbee watershed. Interestingly, a full 76 percent of all identified sites were located within the Alabama watershed, which suggests the relative importance of this waterway to past peoples.

Dr. Eric Poplin, a Senior Archaeologist in Brockington's Charleston Office, then examined behavioral factors in the locations of the prehistoric sites. Dr. Poplin modeled formulas to define behaviors associated with Early Archaic, Middle-Late Archaic, Early-Middle Woodland, and Late Woodland through Historic occupations, which correlate with the temporal periods of the sites found during the 2011 survey. The models of site potential generate a GIS surface that has a value for 30-meter interval grid points across the study area. The values range from 1 (highest) to 99 (lowest) and imply the probability that someone would select that point to live on, or work at, in the past.

These models emphasize sedentism and access to transportation routes as one moves forward in time (i.e. sedentism increases over time). Therefore, it is expected that earlier sites will have a higher value on the 1-99 scale than later sites. Dr. Poplin found that, along the surveyed I-85 preferred corridor, the site values ranged from 1-42. As predicted, the Early Archaic sites had higher values than the Middle-Late Archaic sites, and these were higher than the Woodland-Mississippian sites. By indexing the sites in this way, and including information about the components identified at different sites during the survey, Dr. Poplin was able to create clusters of values to explore site distribution and functions.

By refining the previous GIS model, Brockington created a more in-depth GIS predictive model of different types of sites. In the future, we will have a better understanding of the likelihood that a large multi-component and/or significant site will be found at a particular location. This information can then be utilized by transportation planners, and others, to try to avoid negative impacts to significant archaeological sites, and reduce project costs.


Ben Roberts to Chair a Cultural Heritage by AIA-Military Panel Roundtable

By Ben Roberts

Archaeological Institute of America

At the 2013 meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA), Ben Roberts, a Captain in the Georgia National Guard and a veteran of the Iraq War, as well as a Brockington historian and GIS specialist, will be chairing a roundtable discussion at the Cultural Heritage by AIA-Military Panel (CHAMP) Workshop. The purpose of CHAMP is to support the military through close partnerships with many military and academic constituencies to provide cultural heritage education and training, good policy guidelines, good cultural resource tools, and scholarly advice about sites and artifacts. This workshop will address these issues and determine the best practices for aiding the military in preserving cultural heritage.

Mr. Roberts will be leading a roundtable discussion on developing contingency plans for immediate implementation, within 60-90 days, whenever crises occur.  The goal of the roundtables is to work towards resolving all the remaining action items from the previous year's workshop, as well as developing new action items for the coming year.

Given his level of expertise and experience in both the military and CRM, Mr. Roberts is sure to lead an interesting and successful discussion of the extremely important topic of cultural resource emergencies in a military setting. The 2013 AIA conference is scheduled for January 3-6 in Seattle, Washington.


Brockington Archaeologists "Crossing Boundaries Along the Cumberland"

By Inna Moore, Dave Baluha, and Niki Mills

Southeastern Archaeological Conference

Brockington and Associates recently teamed with the Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) and the Tennessee Division of Archaeology (TDOA) to assess the White’s Creek Site in Davidson County, Tennessee, during the 2012 MTSU field school. Jointly funded by TDOA, Brockington, MTSU, the Tennessee Historical Commission, and an award from the National Science Foundation, this project helps further MTSU’s and TDOA’s broader goal of identifying and assessing shell-bearing sites in the Middle Cumberland River Valley. 

Field work for the project included bucket augering, test unit excavation, column sample collection, and a Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) survey. The GPR survey was completed courtesy of Brockington archaeologists. Project participants were pleased to present preliminary field work results during a poster session at the 2012 Southeastern Archaeological Conference (SEAC) in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The poster can be viewed at http://brockington.org/files/SEAC2012posterPERESetal.pdf


Christy Pritchard to Lead Workshop at National Council for Social Studies 2012 Meeting

By Christy Pritchard

National Council for the Social Studies

Christy Pritchard, of our Elizabethtown, Kentucky office, will lead a workshop at the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) during the 2012 NCSS Conference in Seattle, Washington.  This conference is attended by approximately 8,000 social studies educators, state coordinators, and curriculum developers from across the country.

Ms. Pritchard's workshop will present resources to educators that will assist them in teaching archaeology in the classroom, and she will also discuss how to utilize current state and national social studies standards to make direct correlations to archaeological studies.  This will be her second presentation at an NCSS annual conference.

Ms. Pritchard is presenting her workshop on behalf of the Archaeology Education Clearinghouse, which is a joint effort by the Society for American Archaeology (SAA), the Society for Historic Archaeology (SHA), and the American Institute of Archaeology (AIA).  She sits on the education committees of both the SAA and AIA, and is pleased to return to the conference this year.


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