Always love seeing the life-size diorama of the Lamoka Lake site, representing the Archaic Period, at the New York State Museum in Albany. Based, of course, on Ritchie’s excavations at the site, the man in the center is wearing one of the enigmatic antler pendants from the site as, yes, a pendant. He also has a bone-handled knife at his waist, is carrying a fishing net with netsinkers, and wears a shell bead necklace (Ritchie actually thought the shell beads found at the site were associated with the later Woodland occupation). In the background, you can see a fish weir across the narrow channel between the two lakes (there is no direct evidence for weirs at the site) and fish drying racks (some post molds from the site were interpreted this way).
Mr. Harrington, soon after his academic work at Ann Arbor and Columbia began to explore the out-of-the-way places of America and has been remarkably successful.
A brief summary of known prehistoric records of Ectopistes in West Virginia has been posted in the Passenger Pigeon Archaeology section. There must be more sites out there with these bird bones – where are they?
Mike Toner, in the Spring 2014 issue of American Archaeology, writes about the threats to American archaeological sites posed by extreme weather. Forest fires in the southwest, Drought from Texas to California, melting glaciers in Alaska, and sea level rise along the coasts are exposing previously unknown artifacts but also destroying them.
Some of the facts and figures are astounding: over 100 prehistoric wooden dugout canoes were uncovered around one shrinking lake in Florida. Entire historic towns, once covered by reservoirs, are now exposed. Wooden arrows, complete with fletching, have been found melting out of ice patches. With so many archaeological resources, and so little time and money to properly identify and preserve them before they are destroyed by nature or looters, archaeologists are forced to practice triage. One of the sadder quotes comes from a National Park Service official: “There are going to be some situations where we will have to learn to say goodbye to resources we can’t protect.”
Mike Toner, “The threat of climate change”. American Archaeology, Spring 2014, pp. 12-19.
To read the whole article, you have to get it from your local newsstand, but see one of the dugout canoes at the Archaeological Conservancy.
Archaeologist William Ritchie (left) in 1949 at what is now the Rochester Museum and Science Center.
Photo source: Monroe County Library System image number m0000426