Tuesday, October 31, 2006
So far we have had pictures of people metal detecting but not any of the recovery process. Picture 1 shows Michael Thornton, an intern from Urbana University, carefully removing soil from the location of a metal detector hit. After a sample is shown to contain metal, it is placed on a plastic tray and divided in half until the metal item is revealed (picture 2). In this case it is what appears to be a .45 caliber musketball (picture 3). Michael was the first person in approximately 250 year to hold this item. The next question is why was it in this location? Was a Miami home or trader cabin in the vicinity and being fired upon or was this fired in defense? It is hoped that further research will address questions like this.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Picture 1 shows Joe Shaffer and Jim Bartlett conducting a metal detector survey. Before we start detecting a 20 meter by 20 meter survey block is laid out. Then on the north and south sides of the block guide stakes are placed 5 meters apart and twine is stretched between the stakes giving the operator a marked pathway for survey. Once there is a "hit" the metal detector makes a sound and the operator tries to pin point it's location. The assistant then places a pin flag to mark the location. The operation continues on in this manner until the block is completed then the total number of pin flags are counted. Next the assistant takes a shovel and places it about 6 inches from the pin flag and pushes the shovel down and toward the pin flag removing about a 4 inch deep-shovel wide section of sod. This is scanned by the metal detector. If the object is in the sod section, the sod is divided in halves until the item is located. If the object is not in the sod the operator runs the metal detector over the hole and pin points the location again. More dirt is removed until the item is recovered. Once the artifact is found it is evaluated and if it is modern it is not kept. For example in the first block a pull tab, .22 caliber bullet, tin foil and a Wrigley's Extra Spearmint gum wrapper were discarded. Next we bag the kept item, the hole is refilled, the pin flag is repositioned and the bagged artifact is placed by the pin flag. The team then moves to the next location until the block is completed. Afterward the grid location of each of the finds is recorded. Then it is on to the next block. We really hope the rains holds off for a while because we have about 80 more blocks to do!
Picture 2 is of Dr. Jarrod Burks of Ohio Valley Archaeology (www.ovacltd.com) and Toni Gamble conducting an electrical resistance survey. In 2004 the same area was reviewed using magnetic gradient testing. Each test accumulates different but complimentary data and will be used to pinpoint areas for future investigation. This season three areas of interest will be examined consisting of over 60- 20 by 20 meter blocks.
Magnetic gradient testing measures small changes in the strength of the magnetic field across a site. Magnetic anomalies, which reflect changes in the magnetic properties of the soil and objects buried in the soil, can indicate the presence of buried walls or features such as hearths. Electrical resistance testing measures variations in the electrical resistance of soils. Changes in electrical resistance can be due to changes in soil moisture content or the structure and density of the sediment or materials buried beneath the surface. Electrical resistance anomalies can indicate the presence of buried pits, walls, or other features.
Picture 3 is of Bill Pickard, Brad Lepper, Veronica Frost and Martha Otto. Their job consisted of setting up the next course of 30- 20 by 20 meter blocks that will be surveyed with electrical resistance technology.
And finally picture 4 might give you some idea of the scale of the project. To the left is the metal detection crew, in the left circle is the grid crew, and in the right circle is the electrical gradient crew. Needless to say walkie talkies are a very valuable tool!
Until next time,
Monday, October 16, 2006
Bolnick studied ancient mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) from 55 individuals from six different mounds in the Pete Klunk Mound Group in Illinois. Mitochondrial DNA refers to DNA derived from mitochondria in human cells, possibly including bone cells if the bone is well preserved. Mitochondrial DNA is passed solely from mother to child, so it tracks only the lines of maternal inheritance. Bolnick successfully recovered ancient mtDNA from 39 of the 55 individuals she sampled, which is a 71% success rate. This indicates that mtDNA is very well preserved in these ancient bones. The Pete Klunk Mound Group is predominantly a Hopewell culture site dating to about AD 180.
Bolnick identified individuals from all five of the mtDNA lineages, or haplogroups, documented for North America: 19 from haplogroup C, 9 from A, 5 from B, 5 from D, and 1 from X. Bolnick subjected these data to a variety of statistical tests and concluded the following:
1. Haplogroup frequencies “do not differ significantly between males and females, burial mounds, or members of different social rank” (p. 131). One test, however, did show that there was some haplogroup differentiation by social rank. High status individuals “did not freely interbreed with others” (p. 131). Haplogroups D and X tended to be associated with high status individuals and haplogroups B and C tended to be associated with lower status individuals. These tendencies, however, were not statistically significant and Bolnick concluded there was “no clear evidence of hereditary or ascriptive ranking in Illinois Hopewell communities.”
2. “Males exhibit significantly greater haplogroup diversity” (p. 132). Bolnick interprets this as an indication that this Hopewell society was characterized by “matrilocal post-marital residence” (p. 137). This means that a husband would leave his home to live with his wife in her community. Males joining a group therefore would be drawn from communities with more or less distinctive genetic makeups. And so the mtDNA of a village’s husbands would represent all the disparate communities from which they originated, while the wives’ mtDNA all would be derived from the community’s grandmothers.
3. Individuals “were not buried in matrilineal kin groups” (p. 134). This means either that “kinship did not greatly influence burial practices in the Midwest during prehistoric times” or that “paternal relationships [undetectable using mtDNA] may have been more important to these societies” (pp. 134-5).
Bolnick compared these results with the data obtained by Lisa Mills in her 2003 study of mtDNA from Ohio’s Hopewell Mound Group (see post from June 22, 2006) revealing some startling conclusions:
1. The two populations were so similar in haplogroup frequencies that it is highly likely they were interbreeding (p. 132). The rate of interbreeding may have been as high as 141 migrants per generation and people were moving predominantly in one direction – from Ohio to Illinois (p. 134). This goes against the traditional view that movement was mainly in the opposite direction. The traditional view is based on archaeological data, which indicate that “some Hopewell traditions appeared earlier in Illinois than in Ohio” (p. 138).
2. The “overall level of genetic diversity in these ancient populations exceeds that observed in most extant Native American populations from eastern North America” (pp. 138-9). This observation supports the conclusion that diseases introduced by Europeans, along with warfare and other cultural disruptions, precipitated a major population decline in eastern North America. Such a decline would have significantly reduced the genetic diversity in Native American populations, which is exactly what Mills’ and Bolnick’s data show.
Bolnick concludes that “Only by combining archaeological, osteological, and ancient DNA research is it possible to decipher the relationship between past patterns of cultural, morphological, and genetic variation and better reconstruct human prehistory” (p. 139).
The evidence for close ties between Illinois and Ohio Hopewell is particularly interesting in the light of the recent discovery that most of the effigy pipes in the large deposit of pipes from Tremper Mound, in Scioto County, are made from Sterling pipestone found in northern Illinois.
For more information about the pipe study, see the following article:
Wisseman, Sarah U., Duane M. Moore, Randall E. Hughes, Mary R. Hynes, and Thomas E. Emerson
2002 Mineralogical approaches to sourcing pipes and figurines from the eastern woodlands, U.S.A. Geoarchaeology Volume 17 No. 7, pp. 689-715.
Friday, October 13, 2006
On Thursday, the intrepid crew worked through 20-30mph winds, 30-40 degree temperatures and light snow fall to install two more grid lines in preparation for geophysical testing that will commence next week. Pictured here is a line of stakes with frantically waving flagging tape.
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
The following pictures were submitted by Revonda Gentry. Picture 1 is of Bill Pickard operating the transit, 2 is of me with the stadia rod, 3 is of chaining pins, 4 is a close up of flagging tape on stakes, and 5 is of our delux bathroom facility.
Thanks for the pictures Revonda!
- To measure in the location of artifacts recovered during the metal detecting portion if the work.
- As reference points for the geophysic survey.
- To help locate geophysic target anomalies for excavation.
Once the main reference points (a.k.a. datums) were located Bill Pickard used a transit to "shoot in" straight grid lines (picture 1). Chaining pins were placed at correct intervals along the measured line. In picture 2, Urbana University intern, Michael Thornton is in charge of moving the coated steel measuring tape into line, volunteer Revonda Gentry is placing a chaining pin into the desired position and Piqua Historical Area staff person Diana Jacobs is in charge of the stadia rod which is used as a visual aid helping Bill create the straight grid line. Afterward the chaining pins were replaced by wooden stakes which were marked with the grid point location and flagging tape.
To give you a good idea of the scale of this endeavor, picture 3, is a knitted together (yes, pretty badly knitted at that) picture of the area they were working. They are just below the tree line. Bill is one the left, Revonda and Diana are in the center and Michael is toward the right.
Wednesday, October 04, 2006
at Octagon Earthworks, Newark, Ohio
October 11, 2006
Moundbuilders Country Club will be sponsoring an event at the Octagon Earthworks located in Newark, Ohio on October 11, 2006 marking one of the dates on which the northernmost rising of the Moon can be viewed along the main axis of the Octagon. This rare event can be viewed only during a short period of months every eighteen-and-a-half years.
Parking will be available to the public on the southern edge of the Country Club property (current Driving Range) starting at 8:00 PM. To get there, observers will turn north from Main St. just west of the Hospital onto McMillen Dr. (at CVS Store) and turn right at Hospital Dr. Parking will be on the left. The general public will be able to walk the grounds until the moon rises above the horizon. The moon will begin rising above the horizon at approximately 10:00 PM.
No parking will be available at the 33rd street parking lot. In the event of inclement weather, the cancellation will be broadcast on all local media outlets. No rain date will be set.
For more information go to http://www.moundbuilderscc.com/, or call (740) 344-9431.
For more information about the relationship between the Moon and the Newark Earthworks go to www.OctagonMoonrise.org.
Newark Earthworks Day, Oct. 14, 2006
Ohio State University at Newark
Reese Conference Center
For more information call 740-364-9584
Schedule for the day
Welcome by Jeff Gill, Newark Earthworks Day Host
Procession of Honored Guests from Hopewell Hall into the Auditorium
Intro: The Honorable Jay Hottinger, Ohio State Senator, District 31
"The Newark Earthworks: Ohio's Prehistoric Monument"
The Newark Earthworks Committee of Miller Elementary, Newark City Schools
Intro: The Honorable Jay Hottinger, Ohio State Senator, District 31
"Taking a Stand for the Newark Earthworks:
Teaching, Learning and Changing the State of Ohio
Legislature in the Classroom"
Kristine Cartwright, Garfield Elementary, Teacher In-Service
Glenda Reynolds, Kirkersville Elementary, 2nd Grade Science
Stori Delancy, Kirkersville Elementary, 2nd Grade Science
Mat Dunham, Lincoln Middle School, Moundbuilders Club
Intro: Ms. Sande Garner (Cherokee), Newark Earthworks Center and Dept. of Comparative Studies
"Multigenerational Trauma and the Healing Journey of a Dacotah Woman: Zitkana Ho Waste Wiyan"
Ms. Carol Welsh (Sisseton-Wahpeton), Director
Native American Indian Center of Central Ohio
Intro: Dr. Jay Miller (Delaware), American Indiaen Studies-OSU
"Self Determination and Moundbuilding"
Second Chief Alfred Berryhill, The Creek Nation, Okmulgee, Oklahoma
12:00 Lunch Break
Please visit our vendors and exhibitors in the Ballroom
Lunchtime Sessions in the Reese Center:
"The Astronomy behind the Lunar Alignments at the Newark Earthworks"
Dr. Michael Mickelson, Physics & Astronomy Department, Denison University
12pm – 1:00pm, Reese Center rm TBA
Come donate your earthworks story to the Oral History Archive!
Open 10am - 4pm. Newark Earthworks Story Booth
Dr. Katey Borland, Comparative Studies and Dr. Michael Sherfy, History
Reese Center TBA
Intro: Dr. Richard Shiels, Newark Earthworks Center
"From Sunrise to Moonrise: Cahokia and Newark"
Mr. William Iseminger, Assistant Site manager at Cahokia Mounds State
Historic Site and World Heritage Site
Intro: Dr. Michael Mickelson, Physics and Astronomy Department, Denison University
“Exploring Lunar Architecture in Newark”
Dr. Robert Horn, Professor of Philosophy, Earlham College
"Geometry and Astronomy at the Newark Earthworks"
Dr. Ray Hively, Professor of Physics, Earlham College
Intro: Dr. Chad Allen (Cherokee), Department of English, OSU-Columbus
"Sovereignty and History: Confessions of a Native Archaeologist"
Dr. Robert Warrior (Osage), English & Native American Studies, University of Oklahoma
Intro: Dr. Richard Shiels, Newark Earthworks Center
"The Shaman of the Newark Earthworks"
Dr. Bradley Lepper, Curator of Archaeology, Ohio Historical Society
Concluding Remarks and Closing
American Indian Feast
Hosted by the Native American Indian Center of Columbus, Ohio
Hopewell Hall, Ohio State University at Newark
Tickets: Adults: $10, Children: free