March 6, 2017

I’m not sure Bog Bodies is appropriate. . . .

Filed under: Bodies, Conservation/CRM, bodies everywhere! — acagle @ 7:55 pm

since there isn’t really any soft tissue preserved. But still cool: Windover’s Ancient ‘Bog People’ Among Most Significant Archaeological Finds In North America

There’s a video at the site of an old(?) Science Channel thing. Also it is apparently owned by the Archaeological Conservancy which I think is a good idea for preserving sites on private property.

October 10, 2016

Fight! Fight! Part II

Filed under: Conservation/CRM — acagle @ 6:39 pm

Tribe disputes state archaeologist’s report

Picha wrote in the memo that seven State Historical Society archaeologists surveyed a 1.36-mile pipeline corridor west of Highway 1806 at the request of the task force, which is investigating the circumstances surrounding a Sept. 3 pipeline protest, including whether cultural sites were disturbed by pipeline construction.

Gruebele said authorities didn’t have enough support to file an affidavit for a search warrant that would have allowed for Eagle to be present for the survey.

The archaeologists did a pedestrian survey at seven-meter interval spacing, inspecting the stripped ground surface and both sides of the stockpiled topsoil berms, Picha wrote. The survey found 10 locations with bone fragments and teeth from small mammals, but no human bone or evidence of burials, the memo states.

September 28, 2016

Fight! Fight! Part II.

Filed under: Conservation/CRM — acagle @ 1:36 pm

ND archaeologist: No burial sites destroyed by Dakota Access

North Dakota’s chief archaeologist has found that no burial sites or significant sites were destroyed by Dakota Access Pipeline construction.

In a Sept. 22 memo from state archaeologist Paul Picha, he writes that seven archaeologists from the State Historical Society of North Dakota surveyed the construction area west of State Highway 1806 that the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe says contains sacred sites.

The team found no human bone or other evidence of human burials or cultural materials in the 1.36-mile corridor, Picha writes in a memo published Monday by Say Anything blogger Rob Port.

What a mess. And because of the environmental politics involved, expect far more heat than light.

September 22, 2016

Fight Fight!

Filed under: Conservation/CRM — acagle @ 10:10 am

Museum Officials and Archaeologists Sign Petition Against N. Dakota Pipeline

Over a thousand archaeologists, anthropologists, curators, museum officials and academics have added their names and voices to the protest against an oil pipeline being built in North Dakota.
. . .
Development of the area has been contested by Native American tribes like the Standing Rock Sioux, who contend that the land and water crossings are sacred space, used for burials and containing historically and culturally vital information about their origins.

“It’s smack-dab practically in the center of our ancestral homelands,” Kelly Morgan, a member of the Standing Rock Sioux and its tribal archaeologist, said. Construction of the pipeline on private land has already wiped out some stones and markers that the Standing Rock Sioux considered valuable, they say, a development that helped spur the letter campaign.

I have yet to see anything suggesting there really are burials that were or may be disturbed, or anything else cultural for that matter except on private land (if such is the case) where Federal law may not even apply. I’m guessing this has far more to do with environmentalism than actual cultural sensibilities:

The new letter campaign against the pipeline was originated by the Natural History Museum, a New York-based mobile organization which has in the past released similar letters advocating for science and natural history museums to cut ties with fossil fuel companies and the philanthropists who support them, an effort that many institutions undertook.

December 29, 2015

I would have thought it would be in Massachusetts, but. . . . .

Filed under: Conservation/CRM — acagle @ 9:56 am

Construction crew unearths remains of ‘corduroy road’ in Fairfax

It’s not visible to passersby. But it has been preserved, thanks to the quick work of county and state agencies, and an archaeologist hopes it can lead to a virtual reconstruction of what Fairfax’s landscape looked like during the Civil War.

This rare find is a road to the past, a cedar-log highway believed to date to when Union and Confederate forces trod the ground now occupied by George Mason University students and suburban families. But it wasn’t found in a planned archaeological dig; it was discovered by county employees completing a public works project.

I like it. They found it, stopped construction, got permits quickly, mapped it, moved them to install the hardware, and then put them back where they should be safe. Not sure about cutting the logs though, but it’s kind of unclear if they cut them right through to put in the pipe or moved them and then put them back. If the former, I would have thought they’d have taken some time to relocate the pipe.

October 19, 2015


Filed under: Conservation/CRM — acagle @ 11:22 am

NY Pipeline to Go Through Sites Containing Ancient Artifacts

That doesn’t sound so bad, does it?

Previous digs at construction sites and scientific excavations nearby have produced a wealth of arrowheads, stone tools, pottery shards and campfire remnants dating back as much as 5,000 years.

Schoharie County officials want to know exactly where the sites are so they can weigh in on proposed protective measures. But their attempts to get the information from FERC were rebuffed because of federal regulations designed to protect sites from looting. The county’s planning department filed a Freedom of Information request, which was denied, and now they’re appealing that decision.

“The county is saying we don’t want to advertise where sites are, but to make recommendations for mitigation efforts, we have to know the location of the sites,” said Shane Nickle, senior planner for the county.

Christopher Stockton, a spokesman for the pipeline company, said FERC regulations prohibit the company from disclosing sensitive cultural resource locations to third parties other than the federal agency and the State Historic Preservation Office.

Unintended consequences.

September 16, 2015

Cool, but. . . . .

Filed under: Conservation/CRM — acagle @ 7:09 pm

10,000-year-old stone tools unearthed in Redmond dig

The project started off as nothing special — just a standard archaeological survey to clear the way for construction.

But it quickly became clear that the site near Redmond Town Center mall was anything but ordinary.

By the time excavations were done, crews had unearthed more than 4,000 stone flakes, scrapers, awls and spear points crafted at least 10,000 years ago by some of the region’s earliest inhabitants.

“We were pretty amazed,” said archaeologist Robert Kopperl, who led the field investigation. “This is the oldest archaeological site in the Puget Sound lowland with stone tools.”

I did some work over there on occasion, but after this work was done. There’s lots of gossip about that site but I shan’t repeat it here. Suffice it to say we were called in later.

June 4, 2015

Big ol’ Section 106

Filed under: Conservation/CRM — acagle @ 7:37 pm

Iowa state archaeologist wants testing before Bakken pipeline approval

Iowa’s state archaeologist contends the proposed Bakken Pipeline carrying crude from North Dakota to Illinois should face the same scrutiny as a state project with potential to disrupt archaeological sites.

A public agency, such as the Iowa Department of Natural Resources or the Iowa Department of Transportation, would be required in such a project to test land for archaeological significance, wrote John Doershuk, director of the Office of the State Archaeologist, in a May 22 letter to the Iowa Utilities Board.

“If this were an Iowa DOT or DNR project, the entire area of potential effect would be included in requirements for archaeological compliance and (the Bakken Pipeline) should be subject to the same level of scrutiny to which we hold Iowa agencies,” he wrote.

If Federal funding is involved there will be surveys done.

May 25, 2015

CRM update

Filed under: Conservation/CRM — acagle @ 8:40 am

Rare Indian Burial Ground Quietly Destroyed for Million Dollar Houses

Old news (in both senses!) for regular readers here, in multiple senses: the linked article is also from April of 2014 (just saw it linked elsewhere and thought it was new, but remembered I’d referred to it in the past).

But I’ve rethought things a bit and there may be something else I hadn’t considered, found in this paragraph:

But the whole situation is more complicated than archeologists versus developers. The remains have since been reburied according to the wishes of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, the most likely descendants of the area’s indigenous people. The tribe was not keen on turning the burial ground into an archeological site. “How would Jewish or Christian people feel if we wanted to dig up skeletal remains in a cemetery and study them? Nobody has that right,” a chairman for the tribe said to the Chronicle.

I wondered after I read this: What if developers and other landowners start bypassing archaeologists altogether and just going through the tribes? In Washington state this isn’t really possible since the State has its paws all over anything archaeological, even on private land. But even then, if there are burials found and if no laws exist on what to do with them, what’s to stop the landowners from just allowing whatever tribe to get the burials out? The landowners wouldn’t have to pay extra for reports and curation and such since the tribes don’t have much interest in either; that’s the archaeologists’ concern. They may not even — depending on the tribes’ financial standing — have to pay for the removal. One gets the sense that the State wold happily throw archaeologists under the bus to curry favor with the tribes and thus avoid any lawsuits. Of course, many tribes would not want anything disturbed and could fight; I have a feeling, though, that when developers and other big landowners start throwing money at them to make the problem go away, we’d probably see far more accommodation.

That said, I should note that, in my case anyway, this is one of those times of conflicting principles. Ordinarily, I’m well on the side of leaving anything archaeological in the ground or at least having it removed professionally so at least some information and, marginal though it may end up being in the long run, curation of material is kept rather than being dug up, hauled away, and dumped (or just looted). But when that butts up against private property rights, I side with the latter. Human remains (within reason) may need to be protected, but I don’t trust any government entity not to abuse that power.

April 20, 2015

Raiders Droners of the Lost Pots

Filed under: Conservation/CRM, Remote Sensing — acagle @ 7:19 pm

Drones putting archaeologists on trail of looted antiquities

At a sprawling Bronze Age cemetery in southern Jordan, archaeologists have developed a unique way of peering into the murky world of antiquities looting: With aerial photographs taken by a homemade drone, researchers are mapping exactly where — and roughly when — these ancient tombs were robbed.
. . .
It’s sophisticated detective work that stretches from the site, not far from the famed Dead Sea in Jordan, to collectors and buyers the world over.

The aerial photography detects spots where new looting has taken place at the 5,000-year-old Fifa graveyard, which can then sometimes be linked to Bronze Age pots turning up in shops of dealers, said Morag Kersel, an archaeologist at DePaul University in Chicago. Kersel, who heads the “Follow The Pots” project, also shares the data with Jordan’s Department of Antiquities, to combat looting.

I worked with Morag in Egypt in 1996. Although I wouldn’t have recognized her at all from that picture. . . . .

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