Saturday, April 26, 2008

Bearded Archaeologist Shows Sherds

All right, that isn't the actual headline for Nancy McConaty's latest story in the Independent, but it fits the picture of Pete in front of the Port Tobacco courthouse, sherds in hand. Here's the link, courtesy of Elsie (thank you Elsie):

The story is about the aboriginal peoples of the Chesapeake at the the time English settlers arrived. It is a story about a story...a journalist's summary about what archaeologists know, or think they know, about local Indians and the invading Susquehannocks from the north.

Coincidentally, April is about to embark on a one month post-doctoral study of collections in Pennsylvania that relate to her dissertation work in New York, research that included among its subjects the Susquehannock. How about an occasional blog from Pennsylvania April?

As modern Americans, we tend to think in terms of jurisdictional boundaries, but of course if there were boundaries in the 17th century, they differed from those of today. We can draw a link between research in central New York State with work in Pennsylvania to our ongoing work along the Port Tobacco River. Context, as we say in archaeology, is everything, and the levels of context critical to the interpretation of an artifact or deposit ramify out from the particular unit in which it is exposed, to the site, the county, the region, and often--for the historic period--the emerging global economy.


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