Title: Same Artifacts Same Conclusions? Using legacy collections to better understand settlement patterns in the Upper Midwest

Archaeologists often use legacy survey projects to keep down costs and save time when investigating individual sites or specific areas within larger regions. Excavation reports often have “context” chapters that rely on these previous surveys to
of 20
All materials on our website are shared by users. If you have any questions about copyright issues, please report us to resolve them. We are always happy to assist you.
Related Documents
  Midwest Archaeological Conference 2019, Mankato, Minnesota General Symposium:  New Data From Old Collections Presented on : Friday, October 11, 2019 Title: Same Artifacts Same Conclusions? Using legacy collections to better understand settlement patterns in the Upper Midwest By:  Sara Pfannkuche of Midwest Heritage Resource Consultants and UW-Milwaukee SLIDE Archaeology at the Macktown site (11Wo256), SLIDE located at the confluence of the Pecatonica and Rock Rivers in Illinois just south of the Wisconsin border, has been ongoing for the last twenty years (Lurie and Bird 1994; Porubcan et al 1998; Pfannkuche 2007; Lurie et al 2010). One of the goals of this work is to properly place the Macktown site within its prehistoric universe, connected to other locations utilized by prehistoric people. In the 1970s, two large surveys occurred in the Macktown area through the Illinois Historic Sites Survey (IHSS), the Rock River survey in 1972 and the Pecatonica River survey in 1974 (Peters 1972, Hennings 1975). Neither survey completed the analysis of its artifacts nor published a final report. In recent years, large CRM projects near Macktown have been carried out, but these reports, like the reports from Macktown, failed to incorporate information from the IHSS collections to  provide a  picture of the area’s settlement patterns  (Titlebaum 1999; Emerson 1999; Fortier 2002). Instead, extra-regional settlement patterns from southwest Wisconsin, northeast Illinois, and the Driftless area of Wisconsin, have been used to explain local prehistoric movements. The question I ask in my dissertation is how accurate are these extra-regional settlement patterns compared to the potential data that can be gathered from legacy collections specific to the area. Although complete analysis will not be done until the end of this year, I can make a few comments now about the legacy collections from the Macktown area. I learned that using the srcinal limited data from legacy collections probably leads to inaccurate conclusions and old  ideas about general cultural chronology can make a site’s chronology problematic  today. What I can say with certainty is that the data held within legacy collections is important and valuable, so archaeologists need to find a way to include the collections and complete the analysis within their areas of work. The data provided will improve one’ s own contextual understanding of their site AND remove potential “errors” in the site files, a fount of information all archaeologists. SLIDE The legacy collections I analyzed were from the IHSS, specifically the 1972 Rock River survey (Project #10) conducted under the supervision of Dr. Melvin Fowler at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and the Pecatonica River Survey (Project #23), conducted under the supervision of Dr. Robert Salzer at Beloit College. These two surveys cover the immediate area surrounding the Macktown site. The IHSS focused on river valleys “which are either critical to understanding the sequence of cultures in Illinois prehistory or which will face possible destruction by expanding urbanization in the years ahead  ”  (Struever 1971:1). 1972 was the first year of the Rock River survey and covered the Rock River from the Wisconsin Stateline south through Winnebago, Ogle and Whiteside counties, although I only analyzed the material from Winnebago County. Field supervisor Gordon Peters wrote a summary report of the work (Peters 1972). This is the ONLY publication that describes what was found in the northern portion of the survey area besides the site forms which were submitted after field work was complete. The survey identified thirty sites in Winnebago County representing all prehistoric periods except for Paleoindian and Middle Woodland. Archival material associated with the survey is held at UW-Milwaukee and it is patchy at best. No artifact inventories were found in the archives.  The 1974 Pecatonica River Survey also had a summary report, written by field supervisor Joanne Hennings (Hennings 1975). The survey focused on the lower 10 miles of the Pecatonica River and its associated tributaries in northwest Winnebago County. The survey identified 132 new sites and two previously recorded sites representing every prehistoric time period. Archival material from the Pecatonica River survey is more complete than of the Rock River thanks to a recent discovery of material by Dr. Salzer. Artifact inventories exist for every site. They are included on the site forms submitted to the Illinois State Museum. Without a formal report including full artifact analysis, the best one can hope for in a legacy collection is an inventory of cultural artifacts. With an inventory, researchers can identify what was collected. During investigations at Macktown, researchers have looked at the site forms from the Pecatonica River survey to identify potentially similar densities or artifact clusters for specific time periods and identifying sites with specific artifact types. SLIDE Site forms submitted for the survey record artifact types and the amount for each type. Regarding lithic debitage, flakes and cores were counted separately and divided between those with and without cortex. Flakes also were listed as being “worked and/or utilized” or “not worked and/or utilized.” The meaning of these categories is somewhat cryptic; the terms were not defined at the time of the survey, and Hennings subsequently has not able to define them when asked in recent correspondence. Based on context, “worked and/or utilized” flakes may represent retouched or utilized debitage. When lithic tools were found, they were identified to type on the site form (such as scraper, biface, wedge, point) and line drawings were usually made. If pottery was found, the site form contained attributes such as vessel location, temper, paste, and decoration  type. The site forms completed for the Pecatonica River survey contained information not included in the preliminary report. SLIDE Unlike the Pecatonica survey, the site forms filled out for the 1972 Rock River survey lacked specific artifact inventories. Instead, under the heading “Material From Site” , lithics were listed as “lithic materials” without a count such as on site form 11Wo88, or “lithic material” followed  by how many and the type of tool found. No attempt was made to define lithic debris into core or flake. There are no drawings. When diagnostic points were found, they were not always identified to type. 11Wo108 ’s site form identifies “lithic materials, including one point base and knife ” . Sometimes the projectile type could be guessed at by the cultural listing on the site form. For 11Wo108, the site was marked as Late Woodland without pottery, so it was assumed that the  point was a triangular Madison Point. This was verified during my analysis. My analysis also indicated that even when lithic inventories are present on site forms, one should not assume that they are correct. For both the Rock and Pecatonica River surveys, the field archaeologists were relatively new to field survey (although they all had previous field experience) which could be the reason why a large percentage of the “artifacts” collected turned out to be non-cultural. In addition, methods used at the time of the legacy collection, including when cultural periods occurred and what tool types date to what cultural periods, may no longer hold up. SLIDE  To verify the correctness of the Pecatonica River survey site forms inventories, I re-analyzed the legacy collection housed at the Logan Museum of Anthropology, Beloit College. Although there were slight discrepancies across all artifact classes, lithic material was the most problematic.  Numerous artifacts srcinally identified as lithic debitage were, in fact, non-cultural glacial or river gravel. As mentioned previously, the archaeologists who conducted the Pecatonica survey had worked on archaeological sites previously, BUT neither worked in an areas with extensive glacial till containing gravel chert affected by agricultural practices or freeze/thaw cycles. Dr. Salzer, who oversaw the project, requested that the surveyors collect any material they thought might be “iffy” . My re-analysis of the lithic material discarded all non-cultural material. In some cases, it was difficult to positively identify whether chert was plow fractured or shattered due to tool manufacture because of internal flaws of the chert. These pieces were retained as shatter. When completed, my analysis discarded 11,086 pieces of the 1974 assemblage, weighing approximately 70 lbs. This was 57.4% of the OVERALL lithics from the collection. However, the  project’s overall lithic count INCREASED since excavated material from the end of the summer’s work was not included on site form s. A similar pattern was found with the Rock River material housed at the UW-Milwaukee. The artifacts were not as fully analyzed as those from the Pecatonica. During my re-analysis, I found some artifacts stored in their srcinal paper field bags containing clumps of dried mud. As mentioned previously, no site inventories existed. SLIDE One reason for this may be the quick turnaround in submitting site forms. The Rock River sites were submitted in the first half of August, the same summer of the survey. In comparison, site forms for the Pecatonica River survey were not submitted until January 1976, a full year after the survey was completed. My
Similar documents
View more...
Related Search
We Need Your Support
Thank you for visiting our website and your interest in our free products and services. We are nonprofit website to share and download documents. To the running of this website, we need your help to support us.

Thanks to everyone for your continued support.

No, Thanks

We need your sign to support Project to invent "SMART AND CONTROLLABLE REFLECTIVE BALLOONS" to cover the Sun and Save Our Earth.

More details...

Sign Now!

We are very appreciated for your Prompt Action!