Archaeologists Chiarulli, Ford, and Graduate Students Present Papers at Eastern States Archaeological Conference

Posted on 10/30/2012 10:27:27 PM

Beverly Chiarulli, Ben Ford, and five graduate students in the M.A. in Applied Archaeology program presented papers at the annual meeting of the Eastern States Archaeological Federation on October 26, 2012.

The students included Lydia DeHaven, Ryan Spittler, Sara Rubino, Ryan Clark, and Michael Whitehead.

Chiarulli organized a session titled “Geophysical Approaches to Investigating Archaeological Sites” in which she and the students presented papers on their geophysical projects. Ford presented in a session titled “The War of 1812 as Viewed from Both Sides of the Border.”

The conference was held in Perrysville, Ohio.

ESAF is an organization of state archaeological societies from the Eastern United States and Canada.

Students at the Eastern States Archaeological Federation 2012
Front, from left: Ryan Spittler, Lydia DeHaven. Back, from left: Sara Rubino, Ryan Clark, and Mike Whitehead

Ben Ford: “War of 1812 Shipwreck Survey, Black River Bay, New York”


During the summer of 2011, an interdisciplinary team of archaeologists and geoscientists surveyed the Black River Bay of Lake Ontario to locate two War of 1812 shipwrecks and determine the geologic history of the bay. The survey did not yield any War of 1812 wrecks, but the geologic component provided data that sheds light on site preservation within Black River Bay. This paper discusses the nautical archaeology of Great Lakes War of 1812 shipwrecks, specific survey methods and results, and observations on successfully integrating geophysical and archaeological research.

Beverly Chiarulli: “Using Archaeological Geophysics To Develop Student Professionalism”


The IUP M.A. in Applied Archaeology was designed to train professional archaeologists. Most of our graduates will be employed in the fields of cultural resource management, historic preservation, public archaeology, and heritage planning and tourism. In these settings, students will need skills that include teamwork, public engagement, and experience in oral and written communication. One of the courses that students take to develop these skills is Specialized Methods in Archaeology, which is taught each semester and rotates between topical courses in archaeological geophysics, zooarchaeology, historic artifact analysis, and prehistoric artifact analysis. This paper discusses one of those courses, Archaeological Geophysics. The goal of the course is to provide students with an opportunity to work with new technologies as well as develop professional skills. Student teams plan and conduct geophysical surveys for outside “clients” like the Archaeological Conservancy, U.S. Army Corps Of Engineers, Indiana County Trails and Parks Department, local archaeological and historic societies, and community organizations. They have to develop proposals for those groups, in some cases apply for ARPA permits, and prepare reports and conference presentations. This paper provides an overview of the course and discusses the strengths and weaknesses of this approach.

Ryan Spittler: “Locating The French And Indian War Era Native American Settlement At Aughwick Old Town”


During the French and Indian War, between the summer of 1754 and the fall of 1756, a unique engagement between Native Americans and colonists occurred. Situated in Aughwick Old Town (present day Shirleysburg, Pennsylvania), approximately 200 Native Americans were settled in wooden cabins near Fort Shirley. Today, no visible trace of the Native American settlement or the fort exists. The little that is known about these circumstances comes from various historical documents. More recently, archaeological excavations being conducted in Shirleysburg have resulted in successfully locating Fort Shirley, but the exact location of Augwick Old Town is still unclear. This paper outlines the ongoing investigations to locate the Native American settlement at Aughwick Old Town. Extensive historical research, archaeological geophysical surveys, and archaeological artifact analyses have provided new insights into this unique part of the French and Indian War.

Lydia DeHaven: “A Geophysical Survey Of The Squirrel Hill Site and Its Relationship To The Monongahela Culture”


The IUP Anthropology Department has conducted several investigations into the Johnston Phase of the Monongahela culture. Presently geophysical techniques are being used to establish the date and cultural affiliations of the Squirrel Hill site in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. The purpose of this research is to increase understanding of the Squirrel Hill village as well as its relationship to the larger Monongahela community. An additional goal of this study will be to test the accuracy and usefulness of geophysical technologies on a prehistoric site in Western Pennsylvania. Systematic survey with a variety of geophysical equipment will be followed by precise ground truthing of detected anomalies and collection of samples for dating.

Sara Rubino: “Geophysics At The Lower Leibhart Site (36yo170)”


The Susquehannocks were the dominant Native American group along the Susquehanna River from the early to late 17th century. The Lower Leibhart site (1665–1675) is documented as their last independent village dating to the latter half of the 17th century (Kent 1993). During and prior to the occupation of the site, the Susquehannocks and the English in Maryland were allies (Maryland Archives; Eshleman 1909). Each friendship treaty promised assistance in the Susquehannocks’ war with the Seneca. Bastions, thought to be constructed by the English, were found at the Strickler site, which was occupied before Lower Leibhart (Kent 1993). The Strickler bastions, identified by Kent (1969), had the characteristics of rectangular shapes outlined by post molds. He concluded that the English might have had portable cannons, and the bastion pedestals were really mounds of earth supported by extra post molds. In this study, the Lower Leibhart site was surveyed with geophysical instruments to determine if these technologies could identify the western village boundary (stockade line), if there are bastions or defensive structures present, and if any village structures (i.e., residential or daily use structures like a drying rack) or features can be identified. The excavation plans at this time are to locate postmolds along the stockade line where it has been found previously by Kent, then use that information to locate the western boundary of the village where geophysical evidence suggests it may be located.

Mike Whitehead and Ryan Clark: “Augmenting Social Memory: The Application Of Geophysical Survey Results At Old Smicksburg Park, Indiana County, Pennsylvania”


This report presents the results of a geophysical investigation conducted at Old Smicksburg Park, Indiana County, Pennsylvania. This project utilized a ground penetrating radar survey and a magnetic gradiometer survey to locate and map subsurface features within four historic town lots. These lots were vacated in the late 1930s due to a large flood control effort by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which condemned nearly two-thirds of the town’s total acreage and over half of its buildings. The objective of this investigation is to promote a greater level of knowledge of the site’s historic alteration processes, and to demonstrate that geophysical survey methods can effectively locate and map structural features at historic archaeological sites. This investigation generated evidence of several structural elements of Old Smicksburg, including two churches, two houses, and numerous other features. We anticipate such information will be beneficial for future scientific research endeavors.

Department of Anthropology