The Uses of Forensic Sciences, the Natural Sciences, and New Technologies in Support of Archeological Research
Presented by the
Archeological Society of Maryland, Inc.,
Saturday, April 9, 2011, 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM
People’s Resource Center
Maryland Historical Trust
100 Community Place
Crownsville, MD 21032-2023
Forensic Archaeology and Anthropology: A Case Study.
Dana D. Kollmann, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Towson University
This presentation details the application of forensic archaeology and anthropology in the search for and recovery of a Maryland man that was reported missing from a location in Vermont in May of 2005. Four years later, hunters recovered a skull and a subsequent police investigation yielded additional human remains. Identification as the missing man was based upon dental evidence. Due the very incomplete nature of the skeleton; however, an additional field investigation was conducted by the Towson University Forensic Science Student Organization (FSSO) in May of 2010. Utilizing archaeology survey and mapping techniques, additional human remains and personal affects were recovered. The previously buried remains were exhumed from a cemetery in Bel Air Maryland and all skeletal elements were examined at the National Museum of Natural History. The results of the investigation will be reported as part of this presentation.
An X-Ray Fluorescence Analysis of Flint Artifacts from the Zekiah Swamp
Steven C. Gladu, Student at St. Mary’s College of Maryland
An archeological survey of a Native American settlement in southern Maryland has yielded what appear to be European flint artifacts. These pieces of flint or chert may indicate contact with European settlers. This study analyzes these chert artifacts using X-Ray Fluorescence. The relative concentrations of Ca, Zn, Sr, Sn, Fe, Ti, and Ni normalized to the Raleigh peak are used to categorize the samples. Chert from known source locations as well as chert from two known English colonial sites were analyzed and compared to the chert artifacts from the Native American site to determine the probable source of origin.
Battlefield Buttons: Collecting, Chemistry and Conservation of Archaeological Pewter
Nichole Doub, MA, MSc, Head Conservator, Maryland Archaeological Conservation Laboratory
This presentation will focus on the importance of lead and its alloys in the interpretation of historic battlefields, their fragility in modern collections and physical and chemical significance.
Using Canines as a Remote Sensing Tool: What Archeologists Can Learn from SAR Dogs
Cadaver dogs are an inexpensive survey tool to perform preliminary searches for evidence of human decomposition. Using properly trained cadaver/human remains detection dogs can speed the site survey or help narrow dig locations. They should be viewed as a human remains decomposition detection or remote sensing tool that can help set boundaries of cemeteries, locate individual graves, or eliminate areas (free of remains/human decomposition). Dogs are highly mobile, can work over most ground conditions, cover a lot of land quickly, in most types of weather, are non-invasive, and can be highly effective at locating remains or clearing an area of remains. Their training, basic scent theory, setting realistic expectations, the pro's and con's of using dogs, as well as past historical/prehistoric search examples will be discussed.
Iris McGillivray was a founding member of the Archeological Society of Maryland, Inc., ably serving the Society for over thirty years as Secretary, President, Newsletter Editor, Field Session Registrar, and Membership Secretary. She is perhaps best known, loved, and respected for her organization of the annual Spring Symposium, first held in 1965, arranging all aspects of the day-long program. In 1991 Iris was presented with the Society's William B. Marye Award to honor her services to archeology in Maryland.
The Peopling of the Americas: New Perspectives from Genetic Studies
Theodore Schurr, Ph.D., Associate Professor, University of Pennsylvania
Over the past ten years, our understanding of the peopling of the Americas has changed substantially with new evidence from a variety of disciplines. This talk will summarize the available information on mitochondrial DNA and Y-chromosome diversity in Native American populations, and relate these genetic data to evidence from studies of climate, archeology, linguistics, and osteology. Together, these findings suggest a complex process of migration and settlement of the New World, beginning with the formation of ancestral populations in Beringia and their initial expansion into the Americas via a coastal route some 15,000-20,000 years ago.
Beyond Subsistence: Using Animal Bones to Reinterpret Archaeological Sites
April M. Beisaw, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Heidelberg University
The analysis of animal bones is often focused on the identification of species present and quantification of their relative contributions to the diet of site inhabitants. As a result, many projects do not “waste time” analyzing their animal bones; believing that they have a good idea of what past inhabitants of this region consumed. Yet, animal bones can provide archaeologists with data on so much more. This presentation will illustrate how the analysis of animal bones helped to reinterpret one archaeological site, and, as a result, the archaeology of a region. Here, these bones provided new evidence on ritual practices of Native Americans, before and around the time of contact with Europeans.
The Richard E. Stearns Memorial Lecture is named in honor of Richard E Stearns (1902-1969), curator of the Department of Archeology at the Natural History Society of Maryland for more than 30 years. Mr. Stearns located numerous archeological sites in the Chesapeake area, and carefully documented his surface and excavated finds. He published numerous archeological articles and several monographs, and donated his collection to the Smithsonian Institution. A commercial artist by profession, he was nonetheless a pioneer in Maryland archeology, instrumental in recording much of Maryland prehistory.
Tsenacomaco: History, Place, and Power in the Algonquian Chesapeake
Martin D. Gallivan, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Anthropology, College of William and Mary
Archaeological studies of Native societies in the Chesapeake have begun to incorporate a broader range of interpretive frames, including those that emphasize historical contingency and social interaction rather than cultural ecology. New evidence of Woodland-period population movements and persistent places has prompted interpretations that foreground particular configurations of ideology, tradition, and ritual. Contact-period studies have demonstrated that Native strategies of the colonial period were rooted in precontact social landscapes. Contemporary American Indians are also reclaiming their pasts in ways that challenge existing archaeological practices. This presentation summarizes recent research on the Native past in the Chesapeake with an emphasis on studies conducted by William & Mary archaeologists at the Powhatan political center of Werowocomoco, within Chickahominy communities on the eve of Jamestown’s settlement, and at the fortified and sanctified Patowomeke settlement of Potomac Creek. This research points toward the creation of an Algonquian landscape of interconnected places that shaped Native history in the Tidewater after AD 1200 and influenced colonial Chesapeake history.