Beverly Chiaurlli, Department of Anthropology, graduate student Sara Rubino, and alumnus David Kroskie presented papers at the 87th annual meeting of the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology, held in Clarion, Pa., on April 13–15, 2012.
The presentations included:
This paper describes geophysical investigations of the Dividing Ridge site (36Wm477), a Monongahela culture archaeological site in Westmoreland County, originally recorded by Robert Oshnock of the Westmoreland Archaeological Society. The site, now owned by the Archaeological Conservency, was the subject of a gradiometer, magnetic susceptibility, and electrical resistivity survey in 2006 as an undergraduate honors thesis project (Heller 2007), magnetic gradiometer and electrical resistivity surveys (D. Johnson 2008), and additional ground penetrating radar, magnetic susceptibility, and conductivity surveys in 2009 (Chiarulli 2012). While only limited ground truthing has been conducted to evaluate the results of the surveys, these investigations illustrate the advantages and limitations of geophysical survey for the interpretation of large complex sites.
Presented in a session sponsored by the Pennsylvania Archaeological Council, “Recent Research on the Susquehannocks”
The Susquehannocks were the dominant Native American group along the Susquehanna River in the 17th century. The Lower Leibhart site (1665–1675) is documented as their last independent village. During the occupation of the site, the Susquehannocks and the English in Maryland were allied through a series of treaties, which promised assistance in the Susquehannocks’ war with the Seneca. A letter from the Maryland government to the captain of the English forces instructed him to defend the village and create defensive structures, as necessary, to defend both the English troops and the Susquehannocks. There is no documentation that a defensive structure was built, but at least two bastions were seen by a witness. Bastions have been found at the Strickler site, which was occupied before Lower Leibhart site. The Strickler bastions identified by Kent (1969) were defined by rectangular outlines of post molds. He concluded that the English might have had portable cannons, and the bastions were really mounds of earth supported by extra postmolds. In this study, the Lower Leibhart site was geophysically surveyed to identify possible stockade bastions at the site.
Small habitation sites (also known as hamlets and farmsteads) have been discussed frequently in Monongahela literature. While this site type is contrasted from villages based on settlement size, architectural elements, and the treatment of space, it has been suggested that they also served a special-purpose function in subsistence-settlement patterns. This study compares archaeological data from the two site types to explore potential special-purpose functions, as revealing them would not only provide a more nuanced view of Monongahela subsistence-settlement patterns, but would also verify small habitation sites as a distinct site type. The results not only indicate a lack of evidence for a special-purpose function among the small habitation sites (which may simply represent a continued settlement pattern from earlier periods), but reveal heterogeneity between and among both site types in terms of resource strategies. Our categorical designations used to define settlements should perhaps be reconsidered, as they do not sufficiently account for such variability.
According to its website, the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology, Inc. was organized in 1929 to: Promote the study of the prehistoric and historic archaeological resources of Pennsylvania and neighboring states; Encourage scientific research and discourage exploration which is unscientific or irresponsible in intent or practice; Promote the conservation of archaeological sites, artifacts, and information; Encourage the establishment and maintenance of sources of archaeological information such as museums, societies, and educational programs; Promote the dissemination of archaeological knowledge by means of publications and forums; Foster the exchange of information between the professional and the avocational archaeologists. This was the 83rd annual meeting. One of the founders of the society was Indiana County native John Stuchell Fisher (1867–1940), who served as governor of Pennsylvania from 1927 to 1931 and for whom Fisher Auditorium on the IUP campus is named.
Department of Anthropology