Annie Alexander’s Contribution to Passenger Pigeon Research

An eyewitness account of trapping passenger pigeons in New Jersey in the early 1800s is one of only two publications by the woman who founded one of the premier paleontological museums in America.

In 1927, a short communication was published in the journal The Condor that quoted a letter from John Thomas Waterhouse to his parents back in England. Waterhouse described how the New Jerseyans hunted passenger pigeons using nets and guns. Continue reading “Annie Alexander’s Contribution to Passenger Pigeon Research”

The Field Trip that Founded, and Filled, the Oriental Institute

Oriental Institute Building

In 1919, James Henry Breasted, archaeologist and founder of the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago, embarked on a year-long trip through the Middle East. His goal was to identify research opportunities throughout the area, and to obtain artifacts to bring back to Chicago. The story (from a 2010 exhibition at the Institute) was told in Archaeology Magazine.

The Jazz Age in Britain: New Exhibit at Two Temple Place, London

Rhythm and Reaction: The Age of Jazz in Britain has opened at William Waldorf Astor’s former Mansion, Two Temple Place, in London.

From the press release:

Jazz provoked reactions ranging from devotion to abhorrence when the idea, and then the sound, of the music first entered the consciousness of the British public in the aftermath of the First World War. Visiting American groups such as the Original Dixieland Jazz Band and the Southern Syncopated Orchestra offered Britons their first chance to experience the music live.

The growing interest in jazz brought black and white musicians, artists and audiences together, and was crucial in influencing changes in British society, moving from stereotypes descended from the minstrel show to a more nuanced understanding of and interest in African American and black British culture.

The exhibition brings together painting, prints, cartoons, textiles and ceramics, moving film, instruments and the all-important jazz sound, to explicitly examine the influence of jazz on British art, design and wider society.

More details and photos at 1843 Magazine.

Philly Archaeologists’ Map Hopes to Warn Developers Away From Unmarked Cemeteries

Just one example of the many historic graves uncovered in Philadelphia. Source: phillyarchaeology.net

Nonexistent or weakly enforced laws in Philadelphia have led to historic graves being destroyed by construction. Hastily organized rescue excavations have salvaged some of these human remains, but others have been destroyed, or are threatened by future development projects. In an attempt to reduce the damage to historic cemeteries, archaeologists in the city have produced an interactive map showing where unmarked gravesites and burial yards were located. They caution, however, that the map does not show all historic burial locations, and that even if a historic cemetery is documented to have been relocated at some time in the past, many human remains are likely still present in the original location. Read more about the issues that led to the creation of this map at the Philadelphia Archaeological Forum.

How to Make Battleship Curves

…the old-school way, with paperclips. David Hurst Thomas illustrates:

“Seriation diagrams were once constructed by hand (literally). Frequencies of temporal types were converted to percentages, then drawn on individual strips, which were then moved up or down until they approximated a series of battleship-shaped curves (Ford, 1962: fig.8). This tedious and subjective procedure has since been replaced by computer programs.”

From:
David Hurst Thomas 2008, Addressing Variability in the Pooled Radiocarbon Record of St. Catherines Island, in Native American Landscapes of St. Catherines Island, Georgia. II The Data. Anthropological Papers of the American Museum of Natural History No. 88. Figure 16.9.

previously posted on Adequacy.

Tucson’s Presidio and Historical Archaeology in the 1920s

By digging at the site of the Presidio San Agustín del Tucson in 1929, Engineer Donald Page gets the nod as Tucson, Arizona’s first historical archaeologist. That was his only excavation, and less than ten years later, his life took a tragic/stupid turn (alcohol and a handgun were involved). See Donald Page: Tucson’s Tragic First Historical Archaeologist by Homer Thiel.