NAGPRA in the Archives

October 23, 2018

by Kelsey Grimm, Librarian

Early this month I had the fortune to attend the 11th Annual International Conference of Indigenous Archives, Libraries, and Museum in Prior Lake, Minnesota. This is a wonderful conference all around and brings together those who work to protect and advance indigenous cultures. There are day trips and workshops in the days leading up to and a variety of sessions during the two day conference. This was my second time attending.

The session that most piqued my interest occurred on the second day: “NAGPRA in the Archives: Repatriating Records” presented by Meghan Dorey of the Myaamia Heritage Museum & Archive and Joe Halloran and Jeff Holth of Jacobson Law Group.

My job as Librarian of the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology means that I had to quickly learn about the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). I haven’t directly had to understand the law, but most of my colleagues are in constant communication with the NAGPRA office of Indiana University. They are working with several native communities to repatriate ancestors and associated objects. Because of these NAGPRA conversations concerning the archaeological collections, the GBL has been able to collaborate and partner with these native communities on other projects, some that directly have benefited the library and archives. NAGPRA is something that I’ve been aware of, but not had to directly understand.

Throughout “NAGPRA in the Archives,” Meghan Dorey, Joe Halloran, and Jeff Holth told the story of how two Miami Council Books were returned to the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma.

Upon taking the job of Myaamia Heritage Museum & Archive Manager, Meghan found a file of photocopied documents titled Miami Council Books of the mid-19th century. It was useful at the time just as a reference document, but eventually Meghan wanted to find out where the physical documents were. Her personal research led her to the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma…90 miles from the Myaamia Heritage Museum in Miami, Oklahoma. Within the Thomas Richardville manuscript collection she found the Miami National Council Book (1860-1862). When visiting the collection to obtain better digital images of the Book, a staff member went to bring the book to Meghan and instead brought a second Miami Council Book!*

When Meghan returned, she believed that these items should be returned to the Miami Tribe. They were detailed accounts of tribal affairs, records of meetings, and copies of letters. She did more research and presented her thoughts to the Tribe’s leaders. They agreed and contacted their legal representatives. It was decided to just ask the Gilcrease Museum if they would return the Miami Council Books to the Miami Nation – unsurprisingly, they replied no.

This led to a two-year process of collecting information and preparing a case for why the Miami Council Books should be returned to the Tribe. They discussed using replevin to obtain the documents – a procedure enabling the recovery of property taken wrongfully or unlawfully, pending a final determination by a court of law – a procedure used by the National Archives Records Administration of the United States. The second option was by using NAGPRA.

NAGPRA is legislation that provides institutions receiving federal funding with a process for transferring Native American cultural items – human remains, funerary objects, sacred objects, and objects of cultural patrimony – to lineal descendants and federally recognized tribes. An object of cultural patrimony is an object that possesses continuing cultural, traditional, or historical importance to the heritage of a group. Think about what the Declaration of Independence means to the United States… it is not owned by a single person; it represents the history of a nation. It is a document, yes, but it is an object of cultural patrimony too.

The Miami Tribe of Oklahoma was preparing to take their case before the NAGPRA Review Committee. They are not the official deciding body, their decisions are not legally binding, but they do hold a kind of weight – a precedent would be set if they were to decide if a document/manuscript were an object of cultural patrimony.

Days before the review hearing, the Gilcrease Museum returned the Miami Council Books to the Miami Tribe of Oklahoma. This was outside of any legal or official system. The NAGPRA Review Committee therefore decided to not review the case since the materials had been returned. No precedent has been set on the matter of documents being repatriated.

What does any of this mean to you?

NAGPRA legislation is not taught in library and archive settings.

I would hazard that most archivists have not even heard of NAGPRA. It is nowhere on their radar, unless they happen to be affiliated with a museum working to repatriate Native American ancestors and funerary objects. NAGPRA has been focused on ancestors and funerary objects, not documents, not records. Should they?

I don’t have those answers yet, fully, but believe archivists need to be aware of NAGPRA. It might mean repatriating documents to tribes, but it might not. It means bringing the tribes to the table. It means better understanding the collections we’re tasked with preserving.

 

*As a side note, archival finding aids do not usually list every item within the collection. Finding aids are general inventories to give a potential research the idea of what might be found in the collection… not to list every item. It is not unusual to see that a staff member did not initially bring the correct item.

The GBL Goes to MAC

October 9, 2018

by Hannah Rea, Social Media/Outreach

An archaeological conference is an interesting experience for a non-archaeologist. As a social media/outreach person who’s always wanted to attend an academic conference, I decided to tag along to this year’s Midwestern Archaeological Conference (MAC) to post about the experience, and satisfy my own curiosity.

Thursday night was a reception, great for running into colleagues you hadn’t seen in years, to catch up and learn about research done in Notre Dame’s Department of Anthropology, the setting of the gathering.

Friday was the first major day of symposiums and poster sessions. It was smaller than previous years, and therefore had an intimate atmosphere as one had more time to peruse the research and ask questions of the presenters. The presenters themselves came from universities and agencies from across the Midwest, and included our own Liz Watts Malouchos and Maclaren Guthrie, who presented on themes of the IU Bicentennial and Wylie House excavation.

Everyone was incredibly enthusiastic, and willing to answer any questions about their research. I attended my first symposium, a series of presentations along a central theme, in the morning; each presenter was similarly enthusiastic and knowledgeable, and educated the audience on their current research and future plans.

Saturday, Day 3, was packed with poster presentations and symposiums, and last-minute catching up with colleagues and friends as attendees began to leave town. It’s interesting, as a non-archaeologist, to learn about things I wouldn’t normally encounter. It helps to contextualize terminology I’ve heard in passing, and see how it’s applied in research and fieldwork of others in the region.

There was a recurring theme of conversation, and how necessary discussion was between those within and outside of the region. Outreach to communities and to other academics is necessary for interpretation of data, and meaningful utilization.

In sum, it was an interesting experience. I’m glad I, as an associate of archaeologists, had the experience to view the inner workings of the Midwestern archaeological community.

Archaeology Month: Excavations at Angel Mounds

In 1947, Glenn A. Black taught three courses in Indiana University’s Anthropology department.  He did his best to teach excavation methods, problem-solving methods, and how to develop film and use the proper tools.  But he found it wasn’t enough.

In Angel Site: An Archaeological, Historical, and Ethnological Study, published posthumously after his death in 1964, Black wrote he found it impossible to really teach students how to conduct fieldwork in the classroom.  So he turned to field schools –after a few trial runs in 1945, ’46, and ’47, he received funding and the go ahead to establish a field school at the Angel Mounds Historic Site.  The state of Indiana had held the title to the site since 1945; just a few years previously, it had been owned by the Indiana Historic Society.

It was in late 1947 at Angel that six old hutments from the U.S. Army were set up, along with (after some pushing) basic sanitation facilities, barracks, and a kitchen.  Gertrude Behrick was hired as the cook.  The first class of students arrived in June 1948.

This wasn’t the first excavation to take place at Angel Mounds in the twentieth century.  During the Great Depression, jobs were provided at the site thanks to the Works Progress Administration.  WPA efforts at the site lasted from 1939 to 1942, eventually halted by America’s entry into World War II.

By 1945, the war was winding down and Glenn Black and others were itching to return to the site.

Field schools weren’t exactly an easy sell to the University, and certainly weren’t just easy work for students looking to make a few bucks over the summer, something Black himself noted in Angel Site:

“Field schools can be justified only in the hope that the practical training given the students will pay dividends in the years which they devote later to field archaeology.”

Field schools continued (after the initial post-war test runs) from the first student group in 1948 to 1962, all at Angel Mounds with the exception of 1953 (which instead took place in Warrick County, at the Yankeetown site) and 1956.

In honor of Indiana Archaeology Month, here’s a few photographs of field school crews.

  • 1949
1949 Field School (N2747)

Back Row: (left-right) Donald Lee Hochstrasser; Charles T. Jacobs; Hugh N. Davis, Jr.; William L. Kaschube; Richard W. Noel; Roy K. Flint; and a man identified only as Hickerson

Front Row: (left-right) Nancy Parrott Hickerson; Dorthea M. Vedral Kaschube; Barbara Jo Serber; Alice Shroyer; Ann Chowning; and Emily Jane Blasingham

Not Pictured: Henry P. Childs; Robert Crabtree; Ellas Adis-Castro; and Hilda J. Curry

  • 1950
1950 Field School (N1790)

(left-right) Lynd J. Esch; Clarence H. Webb, Jr.; June S. Nettleship; Barbara J. MacCulley; Gerald W. Hubbart, Jr.; Jerry D. Hopkins; James H. Kellar; Robert C. Dailey; Jane Kellar; and Virginia E. Rice

Not Pictured: Hilda J. Curry and Hugh N. Davis, Jr.

  • 1951
1951 Field School (N2846)

(left-right) James H. Kellar; John R. Longbons; Jana Kellar (baby); Ida Black (holding Jana); Jane Kellar; Emily Jane Blasingham; Gertrude Behrick; Robert Forth; Nelson Smith; Ann Liest; and Elizabeth Brockschlager

  • 1954
1954 Field School (N2384)

(left-right) Lily O’C. J. Marchant; Joan Popoff; Bettye J. Broyles; and Ann Stofer Johnson

Not Pictured: Carol K. Rachlin

  • 1955
1955 Field School (S1410)

Glenn A. Black (sitting, far right); George E. Noble; Ethel M. Enyart; Edward V. McMichael; and Martha Orr

Not Pictured: Richard Johnston, Joan Potochniak, and Lora Steele

  • 1960
1960 Field School (N4842)

(left-right) Duane Campbell; Phyllis L. Jacobs; Jeaneatte Hornbaker; Loretta Reinhardt; John T. Dorwin; Andrew L. Szczesniak; and Robert C. Kiste

  • 1962
1962 Field School (N5510)

(left-right) Richard B. Johnston; Theodore Stevens; William R. Merrimee; Charles Jenkins; and Charles A. Martijn

Not Pictured: Thomas Downen

 

Recently, there have been several other digs at Angel Mounds, and continued cooperation between the University, the GBL, and Angel Mounds to preserve and study the area’s history.


Sources:

Black, Glenn A. Angel Site: An Archaeological, Historical, and Ethnological Study. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society, 1967. Volume 1.

GBL Online Image Collection

Library: Processing and Rehousing Project

Bill Koester is an intern in the Kellar Library this semester. Follow along with his project at his blog! Here’s a report of his first week:

For this internship, I will be processing and rehousing the collection of Dr. James Kellar, a noted archaeologist and the first director of Indiana University’s Glenn Black Lab. The collection has been in storage for some time, and although it has been organized a bit into boxes along some subject lines, it has never really been examined closely. That will be my job.

The collection takes up fourteen small archival boxes, one large archival box, and a single extra file folder.

The first order of business is assessing the collection, which entails opening the container and examining the the documents inside of them. This first week, I was able to explore the single folder and the large box.

While the fourteen smaller boxes seem to have some order to their housing (at least according to their labels), the large box (simply labeled “Kellar”) would appear to be the collection’s miscellaneous box, or possibly a box for documents found after the rest of them were put in order. Inside was an array of different types of documents: newspaper clippings, correspondence with various people and within the IU department, some photographs, promotional materials for seminars, contracts and official documents from digs, academic records and payment forms. The documents had a mixed order to them. The newspaper clippings and less formal letters seemed to have been simply collected, their files sometimes overflowing. More official documents like official letters, contracts and payment or academic things were more orderly.

The initial assessment of the collection will likely take a few more weeks (although, it already seems to take less time to go through the documents than when I began on my first day). After that, my job will be to re-catalog and re-order the collection based on my assessment. After only this first box, I am still a ways away from deciding on a new order.

Don’t forget to check out Bill’s blog to follow his progress through the semester!

Summer 2018 Internship

My name is Brianna McLaughlin and this summer I interned at the Glenn Black Laboratory of Archaeology- James Kellar Library. To give you a little background about myself, I graduated from the University of Evansville in 2014 with a degree in History and Archaeology. I’m currently working on my Masters of Library Science with a specialization in Archives. During my undergraduate degree, I learned pretty quickly that even though I love archaeology as a discipline, field archaeology wasn’t for me. Alternatively, an opportunity to use my knowledge of archaeology in an archives space was absolutely what I wanted.

I started the summer compiling an inventory of the associated documents for the archaeological artifacts housed downstairs. I went through about 16 cabinets full of boxes and recorded what information they contained as well as if anything required archival boxes. Even as I was creating this inventory, staff members were asking me questions about my findings and using the document. It was clear that what I was creating was of immediate importance to the Glenn Black Lab. I’ve known many students who have had internships in which they were not entrusted with projects that would make a difference to the institution, so I’m grateful that I was able to contribute.

The project that lasted for the remainder of the summer was accessioning and processing the papers of the institution’s namesake, Glenn Black. I began with about 15 boxes of various sizes of paper materials, most of which had been organized by Glenn Black, and some that hadn’t been organized at all. I also had about a dozen three dimensional items that were in an exhibit at the beginning of the summer. I started my first pass to see what I was dealing with. A large portion of Black’s papers were reference materials that he used for classes, lectures, and publications. He had many copies of each, so I was able to discard all but the original and the best copy. Just this process significantly minimized the collection. I also discarded and replaced the onion paper dividers between images. At this point, I began organizing the collection. I maintained Black’s organization to the greatest extent possible, even those that made me cringe such as arranging documents chronologically with the most recent at the front of the folder. I determined that there were 11 series within the collection, and thus began refoldering everything, making sure none of the folders became thicker than ¼ inch and each archival box was not too full. By the end of this process, I had 24 uniformly sized Hollinger boxes full of folders. Finally, it was time to write a finding aid. Unfortunately, I only had a week left at this point and therefore didn’t have time to learn EAD and create a finding aid using the software. Instead, I created a word document formatted like the finding aids on Archives Online that could be easily converted to EAD. After creating labels for the 24 boxes, the Glenn Black Papers are officially available for perusal.

I feel incredibly lucky that I can have my name on one of the most important archival collections held at this institution. Being able to list the Glenn Black Papers on my CV will be beneficial when I graduate and begin my job hunt, and the skills I practiced throughout the process will undoubtedly help me in my career field.

Bri standing with archival boxes
Bri McLaughlin with the finished Glenn A. Black MSS.

Wylie House Field School: Week 4 Blogs

25 June 2018

Scout Landin

Hello and welcome back to another blog post by me, Scout Landin! I am a senior about to graduate in August with a double major in anthropology and food studies. I am very passionate on learning about cultures and societies -especially through food and diet! I also really enjoy being outside in nature and working with my hands during this field school opportunity.
On this cloudy and overcast day, most people are probably inside and wishing it wasn’t gray out. On the other hand, the students at the Wylie House field school are welcoming the cool breeze and working their butts off In their last week (can you believe it’s been three weeks already?! Because I seriously cannot…). Today, I have been working on opening Unit 3 to the north, south and west. Last Friday, we thought our feature was in the next unit to the east, in Unit 1, but in Unit 3 we have uncovered lot of bricks and mortar and an outline that suggests the hot house/ green house is actually in that unit. Our plan is to open the three sides to uncover the outline like the one we have seen from last Friday. This entails digging up the humus, or the topsoil, then digging into what we call layer 2. This process usually takes awhile because we are skim-shoveling and making sure the ground is level for each layer. Once that’s done we still have to trowel back to get a clear view of the soil and the outline we will hopefully see.
While I was digging and expanding our unit, I found some really neat things. I found my first piece of ceramic wear, plain white pieces (the big rectangle looking piece) and other small pieces. Other people have found the pretty blue and purple transfer wear when they were digging; and in the screen someone found a ceramic/clay marble. These artifacts, especially the ones that I found, give me hope by the end of this week we will proudly say we have found the Wylie family’s hot house.

26 June 2018

Tori G.

Hi again, it’s Tori. So today was spent working on excavating our greenhouse feature (for real this time), covering everything fom torrential downpour, and then repeating what we did originally to fix the effects of rain and our tarps. Rainy days are still eventful at Wiley House, because they give us the opportunty to keep up with paperwork, wash artifacts, and process data. One thing I have been working on with data processing is creating photogrammetric models of the first unit I worked on, unit 2.  These three-dimensional models are created by using software that stitches together multiple two-dimmensional images. It creates a model that can show soil color and stratigraphy, enable exact measurementsto be  taken, and give us the ability to view a unit from angles that are not otherwise possible. Photogrammetry is a relatively new tool that is being used by archaeologists, and we use the technology on  a daily basis in underwater archaeology. 
While I really miss being underwater documenting shipwrecks, it is great to have terrestrial experience from this field project. I am grateful for this experience not only for the techniques I have learned that are used in terrestrial archaeology, but also for bettering and adapting my previous skills from underwater archaeology. I owe everyone a huge ‘thank you’ for helping me catch up after a late start and for explaining the process to me and teaching me. I can’t believe our time is almost over here, but we will have plenty of time together this semester processing artifacts- a task that lasts much longer than the field projet itself!

27 June 2018

Maclaren Guthrie

Hello all, I’m Maclaren Guthrie and I am the undergraduate archaeological assistant for this field school. During the past fall semester I was one of Indiana University’s Bicentennial interns.  My project was focused on the transition from agriculture to floriculture especially in relation to Bloomington and the Wylie family which culminated in the exhibit in the Wylie House Education Center for this field school.

Maclaren holding a small piece of transferware
This is a picture of me holding a sherd of black transferware that we found on a previous day of excavating.

Today I’m here to talk to you about something extremely exciting: we have finally identified the greenhouse! The feature (feature 1) we previously thought was the greenhouse ended up dissipating and was too small to match the dimensions of the pit that Theophilus Wylie III recalled in his memory map. We have now rediscovered the pit in our unit 3/unit 3 extension areas, where it does seem to mimick T.A.W. III’s remembered size of about 6 ft wide.

Liz at site of greenhouse, squatting in dirt
Here is our wonderful field director Liz Watts Malouchos with our outlined feature.

In addition to focusing our excavation efforts on this super interesting feature, we also backfilled two of our completed units this morning. Backfilling is a necessary part of archaeology, though it is a labor intensive and not super fun endeavor. Luckily, the Wylie House had a wheelbarrow we borrowed to move dirt more quickly. Unit 2 and unit 4 were both completely refilled with dirt as we got the information we needed from the soil and profiles, so they were no longer required since they weren’t part of our greenhouse feature.

Filled in ground
Units 4 and 2 after being backfilled.

28 June 2018

Jorge Allier

Hi! My name is Jorge Rios Allier, I am a first year PhD student in Anthropology Department. My research project is focus to explain the interactions between heritage users and owners in the Mexican state of Oaxaca, mainly focus in explain the economic value of archaeology and how archaeology can be useful to create development for local people. 
The Wylie House Bicentennial project has been a good opportunity to learn how historic archaeology is done in United States. Also it has been a huge chance to know more about the history of IU since his first steps. The Wylie House Museum is an extraordinarily project that combines different fields: History, Building maintenance, restoration, archaeology, master gardening, agricultural knowledge, etc. 
Today wasn’t a regular day, it started so excited because we  visited to the Wylie House’s roof. The roof is a place for a deep breath, the original view allowed to see the first IU Bloomington campus that nowadays is a park and a shopping mall. All the team took some funny photos, also me even I am not a photogenic one. 
About the fieldwork, today is a three stations day. The first one is the pit filling activity, because we are in the last week all the ended pits has to be cover and most of the crew is helping with that. The second one is the delimitation of the main project feature that we can call it “the green house wall”, it is interesting the construction technology of the XIX century for me. The third one was the total station interaction for students, always is useful to know the basics, no matters if you have the newest technology. 
Finally, I would say that Wylie House Bicentennial experience has been an enriching one for me. This project, in particular, could have an enormous impact on IU identity in this celebration times. 

Wylie House Field School: Week 3 Blogs

18 June 2018

Heather A.

Hi everyone it’s Heather! It’s been very hot out today, but we have kept on working and have made progress! Having canopies and tree cover over our work areas has been a huge help!
So, today we have been working in each of the units we have open.  We opened up three units last week, and we are making progress in each of them! Bricks have been located in units 3 and 5. We have also found large pieces of glass shards, terra cotta sherds, bone fragments, and we continue to find some small pieces of transferware. Unit 4 has made it down to level 3 of their unit, and have begun helping excavate unit 5.  Unit 2 is almost at a stopping point for their unit, and may be split up and start helping the newer units. Just a few minutes ago, unit 5 found a pig molar in their unit.
Pig molar found in unit 5
I have been working in unit 2, and it has proven to be a bit of a challenge. We have been in layer 2, the rubble layer, for a few days now. It is several centimeters deep and we had only just started to see the bottom of the layer at the end of the day Friday. We are still working on getting the unit flat, and we will see what the next level tells us!

19 June 2018

Hannah

Hello, it’s Hannah again! It is the twelfth day out here at the Wylie House dig site. It is another beautiful, but hot day outside, so we decided to start early to beat the heat. Even though it is hot outside, we have had a productive day. Unit 1, unit 3, and unit 5 have expanded to include a unit 6, but instead of being separate units it is one large feature unit. The feature unit contains the subterranean greenhouse that we have been looking for, and we opened up a sixth unit to determine if the edge of the feature could be found there, but it was determined that the feature is only in units 1, 3, and 5. The feature found is believed to be the greenhouse due to the different colored soil and because that soil creates a series of right angles. Today, the feature unit was scraped clean and photographed and is now being mapped.  In unit 4, we have finally found the bottom of layer 2 and are now prepping for a photograph. Another important factor is taking care of the artifacts. Elizabeth and Scout are busy washing artifacts as the day winds down to a close. If you’re interested in seeing our progress, come see us soon! 

20 June 2018

Brenna R.

Hi guys, it’s Brenna again! Today is a gorgeous day, with a nice breeze helping to cool things down a bit and luckily no rain.  We spent this morning finishing up the mapping of units 1,3,5, and 6 as well as photographing and mapping the profile walls in unit 4. We’re now focusing on the feature in the northern set of units,  where we’ve laid out another quadrant that will separate the feature into different areas so that it’s easier to excavate and sift through. So far today we’ve found what looks to be an old metal hook, which came from unit 1, and shards of glass from unit 3. As we dig deeper into the feature our findings will help us piece together how the Wylie’s filled in the greenhouse and evidence of what they could have stored there as well. Unit 4 is doing Munsell’s of the profile walls that they mapped earlier, making sure that everything is identified and recorded as well as it possibly can be. As we dig deeper we’re going to uncover even more information about the Wylie’s and their greenhouse, so come by and see our progress!

21 June 2018

Angel Mounds Field Trip

Hello everyone, it’s Elizabeth again and today we started off the morning a little different than usual. Instead of our typical meet at the 7-8 am time frame, we met at 8:30. Extra sleep time! The purpose of this late meet up was our field trip to Angel Mounds in Evansville, Indiana. Just as a little background context for later, I’m actually from Evansville, so when we found out that our field trip was to Angel Mounds I joked that I get to go home for a day. So about 8:45 we hopped in our IU official vehicles and began our two hour journey to the site. Molly and Liz were our two designated drivers for the day with Maclaren and Jorge as their respective copilots. Now I’m not sure how the ride in Molly’s car was, but in Liz’s car things got interesting with the Bluetooth and radio really fast. In the long run, we gave up on either for most of the trip and listened to podcasts and npr on someone’s phone. 
When our two hour trip was up, we all grouped together in parking lot of Angel Mounds waiting for another few minutes for it to open. As we waited, Liz gave us a nice in depth explanation about the site and its archaeological and historical background. She told us about how the mound you see off to the right when you turn in to the parking lot is called a Woodland mound and how it’s different from the other mounds at the Angel site, how Angel is connected to other sites such as Cahokia in Illinois, as well as the contemporary descendants of the peoples that lived at Angel.
Liz talking to group at Angel Mounds
Once the museum opened, we went inside and explored everything it had to offer, from interactive displays to physical Angel artifacts. Having grown up in Evansville I had been many times to Angel Mounds and seen this museum each time I went, so while it wasn’t completely new to me there was a pleasant sense of nostalgia I could share with my group. And even more exciting were the new exhibits at the end of the museum that I had yet to see. 
By far the most amazing part about the trip was going outside and climbing to the top of Mound A. The view was absolutely beautiful! During our trek to the mound, we stopped along the way for more tidbits of information from Liz. In particular the idea that these mounds were perfectly aligned with specific phases of the moon was fascinating. Brenna joked that she can’t even find North on her own, so it’s impressive that they were so exact in their calculations. However, my favorite discussion point of the day was by far the future of Angel and the collaboration with descendants and the repatriation that is planned. You don’t often think about the multifaceted abilities of a place until you are presented with them head on and this was definitely the case here. This is especially true when you grow up and are told a place is one thing, like a historic site, but later learn it means so much more to others such as Angel’s descendants. 
group photo
Group photo at Angel Mounds
After our amazing adventure to Mound A, we stopped by the gift shop and got caught up in all of the friendship bracelets, arrow points, books and dream catchers to the point where nearly everyone bought something. To finish out the day, we went to a pizza place called Turoni’s and I learned there was a location of this place I’ve never been to! It was a great end to the day, a way to wind down and just talk with everyone and make plans for our week left at the Wylie House site. Well, thanks for tuning in and keeping up with our progress! We really love the community involvement we’ve been receiving, so please keep it coming! 

22 June 2018

Lauren S.

Hi guys, it’s Lauren again! Today has been an exciting one despite the weather. This morning we had 6 volunteers join us in our continuing excavations of Unit 3, Unit 4, and Feature 1. This group was made up of a previous vounteer José, Maclaren’s grandmother, and a team from the Children’s Museum’s archaeology lab incuding my aunt. My aunt was able to help me dig in the small unit Brenna and I started in the northeast quadrant of Feature 1 earlier this week. Being a conservator at the Children’s Museum, she enjoyed learning how to excavate artifacts instead of processing them. While community involvement is awesome, getting to show off your work to your family is pretty great too. We were able to dig through the orange clay we’ve been associating with Feature 1, a silty brown layer of soil we named Layer 4, and are now on to Layer 5.
Volunteers at Wylie House
About an hour before the volunteers left, it started pouring down rain. After a mad dash to the barn, and a few nasty slips in the mud, the volunteers started to wash some artifacts. While they washed, the rest of us continued to fill out the paperwork associated with our units and features. Paperwork is much harder than it sounds and almost always leaves us with questions as we try to interpret the quick notes we take in order to fill in missing information. Once we got our paperwork sorted, we got back to digging. Hopefully we will find more artifacts to add to our exciting finds this morning: a marble and a piece of purple transferware. Come out and visit us next week as we enter the home stretch of our excavation!
Cleaning artifacts

Wylie House Field School: Week 2 Blogs

11 June 2018

Elizabeth Berry

Hi guys, my name is Elizabeth Berry and I’m a recent graduate from IU (Class of 2018!). I graduated with a BA in Anthropology and Germanic Studies with a minor in History. Wylie House is my first dig site experience and hopefully not the last. I’m using my time here as internship experience before going back for graduate school in Fall 2019.
Elizabeth sitting in grass at Wylie House
Elizabeth Berry
Today marks the sixth day of the dig and the addition of Tori to our team. The rain was a bit intense this morning, so we started at 10 am instead of 8 am to avoid the worst of it. We started out the morning with washing and dry brushing some of the artifacts that we’ve encountered up til now. Certain pieces are actually rinsed in the “salad spinners” (as we called them this morning) while others such as coal are only dry brushed and placed on the tray. Once all the pieces are dry, they will go back into their assigned artifact bags until further analysis, etc.  can be done with them. After this, we set up our tents and screening areas as normal. Unit 1 is currently tasked with getting rid of the layer 2 soil still in the unit in hopes of uncovering our layer 3 or subsoil. Thus far the usual bits of coal, brick and glass have been found. Unit 2 on the other hand have found a button made of shell (found by Tori) and a bucket handle. And as both units get further and further in, the more we are separating into various buckets and trays to isolate the different layers and any “possible features” we may come across. Hopefully the weather behaves the rest of this week and we can get right back on track. 

12 June 2018

Lauren Schumacher

Hi everyone! My name is Lauren Schumacher and I am a sophomore at IU majoring in history and minoring in archaeology. I’m particularly excited about this project since we have so many first hand accounts and photographs to reference when planning the next step in our excavation.
Image of Lauren at Wylie with shovel
Lauren Schumacher
Despite the occasional rain, today has been an exciting day for archaeology as we were able to add some interesting stories and artifacts to our growing collection. This morning, we learned about the darker side of the Wylie House from Sherry, the master plantsman. We asked if the barn or the house was haunted and to our surprise she said some believe the ghost of a red haired woman in a yellow dress haunts the house. You can see her depicted in the mural. Interestingly, there is a yellow-green dress in the Wylie House collection. Though none of us have seen the ghost (yet), we all thought it was fun to learn a little more about our site. Hopefully we can draw the ghost woman out to our units with some more interesting finds!
Yellow dressed woman in mural at Wylie
Mural image
Today, we embraced 21st century archaeology as we found diagnostic artifacts in one of the two new units we opened up directly to the west of our previously existing units. While screening the topsoil, Unit 4 found remnants of a Pizza X cup. This is a great example of a diagnostic artifact, or an artifact indicitave of a particular time. This cup is clearly modern given that it’s made of plastic and was found in the very top layer of soil. We know the Wylies weren’t eating Pizza X on their front lawn, but it seems as if someone else was!
Small plastic piece of stadium cup
Piece of Pizza X cup
As we start to excavate our two new units, we hope to find more artifacts appropriate to the time period and hear more stories from people in the community to give us a better understanding of our site!

13 June 2018

Tori G.

I am Tori, a junior majoring in Anthropology and Underwater Archaeology with a certificate in Resource Management. I have been on many underwater archaeology field projects, but this is my first swing at terrestrial work! So far project has been great, and all of the students have helped me catch up from the first week that I missed. Today we found more buttons in unit two, the unit with all of the tree roots, which has lead to us naming the neighboring tree “the button tree”. Sherry, the master plantsman at Wylie House, showed us a matching button she had found a few years ago, which was very cool. Also, we thought we had found another feature (possibly a second greenhouse), but it turned out to be an abnormal color pattern in the soil. We are beginning to excavate level 4 today so keep your fingers crossed!

14 June 2018

Scout Landin

Hi guys, my name is Scout Landin. I graduated in May with a double major in anthropology and food studies. While I am really interested in food anthropology in different cultures and societies, I wanted to spend my summer learning the practical side of anthropology through the subfield of archeology at the Wylie House field school! 
Image of Scout at Wylie House
Scout Landin
Today in our field school, I learned how to do a profile, which includes a profile map of one of the unit’s walls. To begin that process we needed to level the wall so we could see the stratigraphy clearly. Once we made a perfectly straight and level wall, we had to set up our measurements and equipment so that we can measure each level correctly. The next step after that is to make a scaled map of each level of soil to represent the whole profile wall in the unit. I had a lot of fun pairing up with Molly and learning this step in the process. When we were done with the map, we officially finished our first profile wall in Unit 1! Even though this process may sound particularly simple, it takes a lot of attention to detail and willing to practice and be precise.
Something that I did not get to do everyday in college is being able to learn with my hands and here at the field school I can do just that! I have really enjoyed my time here at the Wylie House and I think my geologist dad would appreciate how much time I have been spending with dirt. 

15 June 2018

Welcome back, readers, and happy Friday! My name is Joseph, and when I am not doing archaeology I work as avisiting researcher in the IU chemistry department. 
As happens every Friday, this morning we welcomed five new temporary volunteers to our ranks. Today’s adventuresome helpers were Danielle, Mackenzie, Susan, and James (who is the IU Historian!). Together, they assisted us with screening for artifacts and cleaning walls with trowels. Everyone had a great time swapping stories and learning new techniques, and we were sad to see them leave at lunch. With their help, we accomplished quite a bit.
 One of our biggest accomplishments was starting a new excavation unit. Unit 5 (see pictures) is a 1 m x 1 m  square unit that is adjacent to the unit containing our greenhouse feature. We began digging through the topsoil and have just started to reach the layer of rubble that lies underneath. Our goal with this unit is to better understand the shape of the feature which we found in unit 1.
In addition, we also found a sheep bone in our deepest excavation unit (unit 2 – see pictures). Wiley family records of livestock ownership suggest that the sheep would have been  owned by Andrew Wiley, not his cousin Theophilius. This is exciting! We have found evidence of Andrew Wiley’s subsistence farming practices. (Most of our material culture so far is tied to Theophilius and other second generation Wiley inhabitants.
Next week, we will continuing excavating our units. One of our main goals is to better understand the feature we found and excavated this week, using the stratigraphic data we will collect from unit 5. Stop by next week to see how we’re doing!

Wylie House Field School: Week 1 Blogs

4 June 2018

Molly Mesner

Hello and welcome to the Wylie House Field School!
 
As a part of this archaeological field school, students will receive intensive training in controlled excavation techniques, field survey, instrument mapping, artifact identification, and artifact analysis. In addition to learning these skills, students will be using this blog to document their daily work at the Wylie House site. They will have the opportunity to describe their personal experiences in the field, what they found interesting or exciting about the excavation, and they will be able to document various techniques they learned, equipment they used, and artifacts they collected. 
 
Nine undergraduates and two graduate students from Indiana University have come together to spend four weeks excavating in the front lawn of the Wylie House, the home of Indiana University’s first president, Andrew Wylie, and his family. This field school will focus on uncovering the location and extent of a subterranean greenhouse(s?) used by the family of TheophilusWylie, cousin to Andrew Wylie, to store non-food plants over the winter. 
 
Image of Molly in front of Wylie House
Molly Mesner

My name is Molly Mesner and I am a third year graduate student in the Anthropology Department at Indiana University. While my work mainly focuses on the Middle Woodland Period in Indiana, I am thrilled to have a chance to help excavate a Historic Period site! On our first day at the site,  students were given a tour of the Wylie House by Carey Beam, the Director of the Wylie House Museum. Students then prepared their tools for the excavation, including sharpening trowels and shovels, and marked off the areas to be excavated. After peeling off the first layer of grass, students already recovered various historic artifacts, including shards of glass, brick fragments, and a nail! The team is excited to continue with the excavation tomorrow — hopefully with as much enthusiasm as they put into sharpening their shovels! 

5 Jun 2018

Heather Altepeter

Hi everyone!
My name is Heather Altepeter and I am a senior at IU majoring in anthropology. I am also on the team for the Wylie House Bicentennial dig. I got involved in this project to gain some hands on experience with archaeology, as this is my first dig! So far we have made. A lot of progress, but still have so much more to do! The first two days have been a blast, and it’s been so nice outside so we have been able to accomplish a lot!
Image of Heather Altepeter at Wylie House
Heather Altepeter
So today we were working on cleaning and up and leveling out the floors of the first level of the 2 units we started yesterday.  So far we have found nails, glass, limestone rubble, plastic, and some coal.  Throughout the day we have learned more about shovel skimming and using trowels to clean up the walls and floors of our unit. We have also learned how to draw a map that depicts a possible feature we found in Unit 1. I say possible because we are not totally sure what what the discolored dirt may be. We’ve also  learned about the extensive paperwork that goes into keeping track of what we are doing, and have taken photos of the possible feature. 

6 June 2018

Hannah B.

Hello! My name is Hannah and I am a senior here at IU. I am majoring in anthropology and minoring in art history and archaeology and the Wylie House Bicentennial dig is my first time in the field! I was really excited to get started and so far it has been great.

Image of Hannah crouching at Wylie House
Hannah B

The third day of the Wylie House field school is another beautiful day with clear, blue sky’s. The two units are coming along nicely: unit 1 is working hard at leveling their second level, and unit 2 finished the leveling of level one and did the plan map and Munsell Soil testing. The Munsell soil testing is done by comparing the soil of the unit to the color swatches provided in the Munsell Soil book. The book provides colors ranging from a reddish to a greenish soil color along with the more typical yellow, brown, and black ranges. Each page is labeled and  a very common page for archaeological digs in the Midwest is ‘10YR’ which stands for yellow-red. Along with the color of the soil the texture of it is also tested. This is done by a touch test. The archaeologist feels a chunk of soil to determine if it has silt, sand, clay, or a combination in their unit. Unit 1 has a combination of silt and clay, and as unit 2 digs deeper their soil progresses into clay. The third day is winding to a close and a lot of hard work has been done, so feel free to stop by to see our progress!

7 June 2018

Brenna R.

Hello everyone, my name’s Brenna and I’m a senior here at IU majoring in anthropology and minoring in art history and archaeology.

Image of Brenna with shovel at Wylie House
Brenna R

Today the weather is fantastic and we’ve made a lot of progress!  We’re now digging down to the third level of our units and sifting through the soil for any artifacts that could be there. So far today we’ve found a part of a glass milk bottle, a few piecs of ceramic whiteware and transferware, and some small shards of glass, as well as a large section of what appears to be a brick. In the unit I’m helping excavate we’ve sectioned it off into three separate layers based on the stratigraphy of the soil so we can get a better understanding of what might be a feature and what might not. We’ve got layer one, which is our silty top layer with only a few artifacts being found there, then layer two is our darker soil, with the majority of our artifacts coming from this area, and then layer three is our sub soil, which indicates we’ve reached a section of soil that hasn’t been majorly disturbed and we can expect to find almost no artifacts there.  This sub soil layer is very helpful in pinpointing where more features might be and allows us to better plan where else to dig. I’m sure as we go further we’ll find even more interesting artifacts, so make sure to drop by and see!

8 June 2018

Joseph B.

Good afternoon, dear reader. I am Joseph, a student volunteer working on the Wiley House Bicentennial excavations. When I am not doing archaeology, I work in the IU chemistry department.
Joseph squatting at Wylie House
Joseph B.
Today was as dull as our trowels, which is to say it wasn’t. This morning, four intrepid volunteers came to labor beside us: José (who found four nails while screening soil), Catherine (who regaled us with stories of her previous work in Midwest archaeology and education), Suzanne (who helped us screen through the toughest soil we had), and Daisy (who found an honest-to-God ornate handle – see picture). Everyone had a wonderful time working together and getting to know each other and the volunteers helped us accomplish a lot. By lunch time, unit 2 had started a new level of excavations, and unit 1 was getting ready to do the same.
In unit 1, we scraped our way down through about 5-7 cm of soil, to the bottom of our third level of excavations. We leveled our unit out at this depth, and then took photographs of the soil surface. We mapped this surface by hand, using tape measures and a plumb line (see picture), taking special note of roots. Creating maps in this way will help us to determine whether changes in soil color and texture indicate potential features or are the remains of root systems or rodent runs.
Other interesting finds for the day include a metal hook and a ceramic marble, both of which were in unit 2 (see pictures).
We are making good progress, and are starting to see signs of subsoil. Soon, we might get to open another unit. Next week, we invite you to stop by and see!

1931 Archaeological Road Trip

Archives and collections from across the country will be posting about #ArchivesRoadTrip for the National #ArchivesHashtagParty on Twitter.

Here at the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology, we have a special archaeological road trip to present to you!

In December 1930 Dr. Warren K. Moorehead, dean of North American archaeology as he was known, gave a lecture and informal discussion on mound builders to the Indiana Historical Society for their centennial celebration. In turn, the Society and its Archaeological Section  invited Moorehead and a few other notables on a tour of the most important then-known archaeological sites of Indiana. Glenn A. Black, a self-taught newcomer to the realm of archaeology, guided this 11-day tour.

Image of report text
1931 trip report by Glenn A. Black

very brief rundown of the trip…

The trip began on May 4, 1931. Glenn Black and Dr. Moorehead visited Strawtown in Hamilton County.

On May 5th, the Black and Moorehead were joined by Mr. William R. Teel and Mr. E. Y. Guernsey to visit the “works” near Anderson… today known as Mounds State Park.

On May 6th the real fun began. Mr. Eli Lilly joined the crew in their ventures to visit Martinsville, Worthington, Merom in Sullivan County, and several mounds in Vincennes.

Image of two men standing on river bank with overcoats
Moorehead and Guernsey (left to right) at Bone Bank in Posey County. Photo taken by Eli Lilly, May 1931. (cat: S784)

Leaving Vincennes, the crew traveled to New Harmony in Posey County, then to a site along the Wabash River called “Bone Bank,” and finally to what became a highlight of the tour, Angel Mounds.

Blurry image of three men standing in open field
Moorehead, Black, and Guernsey standing on upper terrace of Mound A, Angel Mounds, Vanderburgh County. Photo taken by Eli Lilly, 1931. (cat: N4477)

In writing to Eli Lilly after the completion of the tour later in the month, Dr. Moorehead referred to Angel Mounds as “a most important place archaeologically in your state.” He encouraged Lilly to purchase the site in order to safeguard it until the state could take over. (**Spoiler alert… he did just that later in the decade!)

Moorehead also encouraged the training and hiring of young Glenn Black to continue the project of Indiana county surveys that was abruptly put on hold due to lack of funding and resignation of the previous surveyor, Frank M. Setzler. Glenn was hired by the Indiana Historical Society the following month.

Text of letter from Moorehead to Lilly about Black
Moorehead enthusiastic about Black’s hiring, June 1931

This road trip effectively jumpstarted Glenn A. Black’s archaeological career!

Locations visited during 1931 trip. (Base map is 1914 Map of Indiana, Indiana Historical Society collections)