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2014 Spring Meeting

was held on Saturday, April 5, 2014 as part of Archeology Month in New Hampshire. This was a joint meeting with the Massachusetts Archaeological Society

Hosted by the Robert S. Peabody Museum of Archaeology
at the Kemper Auditorium on the Campus of Phillips Academy,
Main Street (Route 28), Andover, Massachusetts

Download flyer with agenda.


Seeing Red: Characterizing Historical Bricks from Sylvester Manor, 1650-1730
Martin Schmidheiny

Abstract:  Bricks excavated in a complex midden at the Sylvester Manor site on Shelter Island, NY exhibit compositional variation in the early plantation period of 1650-1690 and beyond. Accounting for the range of defects and material properties of the bricks suggests on-site manufacture as the site developed provisioning operations for Barbadian sugar plantations and did business along the northeastern seaboard. An analysis of these architectural ceramics using petrographic thin-sections demonstrates their internal composition and firing conditions, revising interpretations of architectural and industrial history. Historical archaeology is uniquely capable of demonstrating refinements in construction methods and aggregate industries which underpin the growth of urban space and industrial landscapes through the present.

Urban Streetscapes: Above and Below Ground Historic Resources on Lower State Street, Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Jessica Fish and Kathleen McCourt

Abstract:  IAC excavated the late 17th to early 18th century John Seaward Homestead (27 RK-478) in 2012, prior to the construction of the Memorial Street Bridge. Buried under meters of road fill, archaeologists discovered an intact record of one of the early occupants of historic Portsmouth, removing over 25,000 artifacts in an effort to document maritime communities along Lower State Street. From these fragmented remains, we can draw comparisons to extant examples of household objects (such as ceramic vessels) that provide us with a more detailed picture of daily life and illustrate the densely settled nature of Portsmouth’s waterfront. Surviving structures, such as the Warner House on Daniels Street, demonstrate the type of homesteads occupied by these seafaring families and illustrate the difficulties faced by historic archaeologists in creating a narrative for a site based on the remnants of the archaeological record. This presentation will focus on the challenges of urban archaeology as it relates to the John Seaward Homestead and how historic archaeologists go about recreating an urban landscape based on the fragments of the archaeological record, background research and existing 18th century resources.          

Applied Archaeology & Anthropology: Humor in the 106 Consultation Process?
Alan Leveillee

A few words in remembrance of our late colleague Ron Dalton
Abstract:  Recent Cultural Resources Management studies have been conducted across state lines and Native American territorial boundaries in Southern New England.
The project-related Section 106 consultation process required applied anthropological and archaeological diplomacy between federal agencies, project proponents, and four federally-recognized Indian Tribes.  At times, humor was a binding thread as former historical antagonists joined in the field and around the table to discuss, debate, and defend their perspectives on the past in the real-time present.

Workers' Housing Midden Site (27-HB-435), Manchester, NH
Stephen Scharoun

Abstract: Phase II testing of the Workers' Housing Midden Site (27-HB-435) resulted in the determination that the site was eligible for listing in the National Register for Historic Places.  Following consultations with Dick Boisvert and Edna Feighner of the NH DHR and NH DOT cultural resources staff, it was decided that Phase III mitigation of the project would entail a number of research tasks that would contribute to the historic context of "Heavily Capitalized (factory) Shoemaking (1820-1940) in New Hampshire, using the Workers' Housing Midden Site as a case study for research into such topics as historic land use, waste disposal, and the formation of a working-class neighborhood.  Information derived from primary sources, comparable sites and the site's artifact assemblage form the basis of this study.

Walker Camp C on the Lower Merrimack River: Just Another Multicomponent Riverine Site?
Martin Dudek 

Abstract:  The Merrimack River is lined with multicomponent Native American sites at many locations and especially near falls. Walker Camp C is located a short distance downstream from the first falls on the Merrimack. Discovered in 1912, it became the focus of intensive collecting, and in the 1940s intensive amateur archeological digs. As many as 20 hearths were excavated from Walker Camp C in the 1940s. Frederick Alanson Luce, an early pioneer among avocational archeologists and principal founder of the Haverhill Archaeological Society, recorded over 400 entries on artifacts from the site. Collection analysis by Thomas Mahlstedt identified diagnostic artifacts spanning from the Middle Archaic to the Contact period. Walker Camp C is presently one of the few sites in the area to have survived, at least in part, up to the present. Recent professional archeological work at the site has helped to clarify some patterns of Native American occupation at the site, including an apparent seventeenth century component.

Preliminary Results of the Halls Swamp Site (19-PL-1067) Data Recovery in Kingston, Massachusetts
Dianna Doucette and Erin Flynn

Abstract:  The Public Archaeology Laboratory, Inc. (PAL) recently completed fieldwork at the Halls Swamp Site in Kingston, MA. The University of Massachusetts Archaeological Services (UMAS) documented the site in 2012 during an intensive archaeological survey of the area for the Town of Kingston. Following UMAS’s survey PAL completed site examination and data recovery excavations, confirming that the site extends across an elevated glacial kame terrace surrounded by wetlands associated with Halls Brook, and that it was intensively and repeatedly utilized during the Middle and Late Archaic periods (ca. 8000 to 3000 B.P.), and briefly during the Woodland Period (ca. 3000 to 450 B.P.).Based on the distribution and density of artifacts such as chipped and ground stone tools, chipping debris, and burnt rock fragments, along with cultural features such as fire hearths, charcoal pits, trash/storage pits, post molds, and lithic workshops, PAL identified several concentration areas of Native American occupation suggesting the Halls Swamp Site was utilized for a variety of domestic and subsistence related activities (food procurement/processing and storage/disposal, and stone tool making), and possible ceremonial activities. The Halls Swamp Site represents a significant cultural resource and is unique in its pristine condition; the majority of the site was not disturbed by plowing and other forms of digging, erosion, or development. Almost fifty features were identified, including evidence possibly associated with Archaic Period house structures.

The Franklin Pierce University Excavations at the Swanzey Fish Dam Site, 2002-2013
Robert G. Goodby

Abstract:  A long-term research program at the Swanzey Fish Dam, a large, V-shaped stone dam in the Ashuelot River, was completed in the summer of 2013. This work included mapping and documentation of the dam, and archaeological excavation documenting that the it was built by Native Americans by at least 3800 BP, and its use continued into the Contact period. A review of the published literature shows that the dam, while one of the only well-documented examples in New England, is part of a widespread pattern of dam construction extending over much of eastern North America. Implications for the understanding of regional archaeology and Native American cultural geography and economy are discussed.

An Archaeologist’s View of the Swanzey Fish Dam: A Cultural Feature in the Ashuelot River, Cheshire County, New Hampshire
Carol S. Weed

Abstract:  The Swanzey Fish Dam, located in the Ashuelot River, is situated upstream from the historic Homestead Woolen Mill Dam which was proposed for removal by various public agencies and the owner.  Part of the mitigation response included monitoring the effect of the dam pool removal on archaeological sites upstream of the dam.  One aspect of the monitoring involved mapping the weir.  This presentation is focused on the issues related to the weir’s mapping and the interpretations reached on its possible function.

Special Note: A public memorial service for Eugene Winter, who passed away on Feb 24, 2014, was held at the Robert S. Peabody Museum across Main St. from the Kemper Auditorium.  Gene was a longtime figure in New England archaeology and past President of both the MAS and the NHAS. http://www.massarchaeology.org/


The 2013 Annual Meeting was held on Saturday, October 26, 2013 at Plymouth State University in Plymouth NH

Click here for speaker list and synopsis of the 2013 Spring Meeting

Click here for speak list and synopsis of the 2012 Annual Meeting

Click here for speaker list and synopsis of the 2012 Spring Meeting

Click here for speaker list and minutes of the 2011 Annual Meeting