Jack’s Reef Points

Jack’s Reef Pentagonal point from unidentified site in New York State. Source: wikimedia/PAR

A Jack’s Reef point was found at the Lamoka Lake site during the Buffalo Museum of Science excavations.  These pentagonal or corner-notched pentagonal points date to the Kipp Island Phase (beginning around A.D. 500)  of the Middle Woodland in New York State.  Farther south, they are associated with the equivalent Webb Phase.

Darrin Lowery recently looked at Jack’s Reef in the Delmarva Peninsula (i.e., parts of Delaware, Maryland, and a little bit of Virginia). Important sites include Island Field in Delaware, which had over 100 human burials, bone tools, shell beads, shark teeth, and more, and the Riverton Site (18WC5) in Maryland,  another burial site (unfortunately not professionally excavated), which had stone platform pipes, a Ramah chert knife,  and stone celts and adzes.

Jack’s Reef sites can be found eroding out of the shore line, such as at the Oxford (18TA3) and Wheatley’s Point (18DO371) sites in Maryland. One major find at the latter site was a cache of fossil shark teeth. Lowery found and excavated the Upper Ridge Site (44NH440) in Virginia, which had an midden with food remains, including a large number of fish bones.  VA. The lithic evidence at Upper Ridge documents the entire sequence of manufacturing Jack’s Reef points, from core to flake to finished product.

Reference:

Lowery, Darrin L.

2013    Jack’s Reef in in the Chesapeake and Delmarva Region: Research into the Coastal Archaeology of the Era Between circa Cal A.D. 480 and Cal A.D. 900. Archaeology of Eastern North America 41:5-30.

Drought, floods, reveal sites, but archaeologists lack the resources to take advantage

Antler Arrow Point from Lake Clark National Park and Preserve. Source: National Park Service

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.

Hidden Cave Vandalized

Guided Tour of Hidden Cave archaeological site, Nevada. Source: BLM

Spray paint and bullets were used to deface Hidden Cave, a major archaeological site on BLM land in Nevada. A $1,000 reward is being offered, and public tours of the site have been suspended while officials investigate.  According to the official press release, this is the first incidence of vandalism at the site.

Hidden Cave was most extensively excavated by David Hurst Thomas and the American Museum of Natural History and provided valuable information on Late Archaic hunter-gatherers. The Museum has a nice post on the history of the cave, (conditions in the cave during excavation sound horrid) and they also make the full site report freely available.

There’s a Lamoka connection, too: Mark R. Harrington, the first archaeologist to explore Hidden Cave, was married to the sister of Arthur Parker, head of the Rochester Museum while Lamoka Lake was being excavated in the 1920s.

“Fountain of Youth” Site Artifacts to be Curated by U. Florida

Shell tools from Spanish St. Augustine, Florida

Artifacts from the early Spanish site in St. Augustine, Florida (associated with Pedro Menendez de Aviles, not Ponce de Leon) are being donated to the Florida Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida.  U. Florida archaeologists have been excavating the site, and storing the artifacts, for many years, so it appears this will make the curatorial arrangement permanent, and perhaps provide a tax break for the owners of the site.

Article in the Gainesville Sun.

Archaeology for the People

$5,000 to the winner, but more importantly, you will be promoting archaeology to the public.

The Joukowsky Institute Competition for Accessible Archaeological Writing

As archaeologists, we write for each other in journal articles, book chapters, monographs, and other forums, using language that makes sense to fellow members of the profession. That is as it should be: we have no more reason to “dumb down” our findings than do, say, astronomers, brain surgeons, or epidemiologists in publications for their own communities of scholarship. At the same time, the results of archaeological discovery and analysis are important and deserve the widest possible audience: archaeology has momentous findings to report, and for the periods before written history stands as the only source of evidence we have for the human condition.

…most websites, TV shows, and archaeology magazines (such as Archaeology or Biblical Archaeology Review) tend to emphasize the sheer luck of discovery, the romance of archaeology, and supposed “mysteries” that archaeology tries (but usually has failed) to resolve.

We believe that archaeology is worthy of a better level of writing, one that is accessible and exciting to non-specialists, but at the same time avoids excessive simplification, speculation, mystification, or romanticization. As a discipline, we have some fascinating and astonishing results to report, findings that impact our entire understanding of who we are as a species, and how we have come to be as we are now.

With these thoughts in mind, and to encourage more writing in this vein, we propose a competition for new archaeological writing. We invite the submission of accessible and engaging articles, accompanied by a single illustration, that showcase any aspect of archaeology of potential interest to a wide readership.

Follow the link for more details and rules.

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Categorized as Archaeology