2013 Spring Conference

The Barnum Museum, Bridgeport, CT

The Barnum Museum, Bridgeport, CT

ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY OF CONNECTICUT
SPRING MEETING
Barnum Museum, 820 Main St. Bridgeport, Connecticut
Saturday, April 20, 2013
Admission: non-members (general public)-$10, members (ASC/FOSA/Barnum)-$8, students-$5
Parking – free off-street parking will be available in lot behind Ralph & Rich’s restaurant (off of Caesar Batilla Way)
9:00 – 9:25  Registration begins (with coffee and doughnuts)
9:25 – 9:30  Welcome, announcements – Dan Cruson, President, Archaeological Society of Connecticut
Morning Session Theme – Archaeology of Southwestern Connecticut
9:30 – 10:00 The Warner Site: Evidence for Late Archaic Forest Productivity in Woodbridge, Connecticut
Cosimo Sgarlata, Ph.D. and Bree Mathiason (Western Connecticut State University)
The Warner site is a Late Archaic site in Woodbridge, Connecticut. Two independent radiocarbon samples from the same cooking hearth (stone lined concentration of wood charcoal and nut fragments) returned similar 2 sigma calibrated radiocarbon dates of Cal BP 4530 to 4420. Additionally, piece-plotting of artifacts beneath the plow zone revealed distinct patterning of activity areas. It is argued that the site’s occupants made a planned move to the site in the Late Summer/Early Fall to target specific resources. Occupation of the site over a prolonged period allowed strategic stockpiling of lithic raw materials, and the organization of a flake core technology aimed at mass production of simple, efficient, and abundant tools which is further interpreted to indicate systematic and intensive exploitation of seasonally available Mast Forest resources. This pattern fits well with other interpretations of Late Archaic adaptation to mature temperate woodland forests that emphasize well planned, organized, and systematic productivity in terms of seasonally available foods.
Cosimo Sgarlata, Adjunct Professor of Anthropology at WCSU, received his Ph.D. from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York in 2009. His work focuses on lithic production in the Northeastern United States. He is also an archaeological consultant for the town of Danbury.
Bree Mathiason is a student at Western Connecticut State University where she is currently pursuing her BS majoring in Anthropology and minoring in Cultural Resource Management. Her study interests lie in attempting to understand and establish the settlement patterns of coastal hunter-gatherers.
10:00 – 10:30  The Merritt Site, Greenwich, Connecticut: 9,000 Years of Spear Throwin’, Rock Bashin’, Sod Bustin’, Fox Huntin’ and Speakin’ Easy.
Ernest Wiegand (Norwalk Community College) and Dawn Brown
Archaeological investigations at the Merritt Site in Greenwich began as a CRM project when it became evident that the 1917 date assigned to the house by the Tax Assessor’s Office was off by over 150 years. Investigations at this mid-18th century saltbox house revealed that the site functioned in a wide variety of capacities throughout its history. In addition to its use as a residence, the site served as a quarry, a hunt club, a speakeasy and the notorious Byram River Beagle Club. In addition, several Native American components spanning at least 5,000 years were revealed. Archaeology students from Norwalk Community College continued the excavations after the demolition of the house and made additional discoveries that contributed to the study of this unique site. The relatively intact stratigraphy and abundance of artifacts collected from the site allowed for a detailed study of artifact association and distribution, a history of refuse disposal and a unique perspective of changing land use over time.
Ernie Wiegand has taught at Norwalk Community College since 1975 and has been coordinator of the Archaeology as an Avocation certificate program since 1990. In addition to teaching, he has worked in CRM projects for over 30 years.
Dawn Louise Brown is a contract archaeologist digging throughout Connecticut, Westchester County, and the New York City boroughs with Ernie Wiegand, and Historical Perspectives, Inc. A graduate of Norwalk Community College’s Archaeology as an Avocation program, she received her M.A. in Archaeological Studies from Yale University in 2011. She recently completed work on the Henry Whitfield Field School Reporting Project for Yale in 2012.
10:30 – 11:00  What a Pain in the Ash….Traveling that Bumpy RoadAsh Creek Corduroy road
Cece Saunders (Historical Perspectives, Inc.) and Rob Wallace
How did man, horse and wagon traverse the mud, muck, and marshes that so often surrounded our earliest coastal towns and river settlements? Without the benefit of iron, steel, and concrete, the 18th century road builder could span those muddy stretches with a corduroy road. This type of road was made by placing sand-covered whole logs  perpendicular to the direction of the road over a low or swampy area. The corduroy road was an essential technique for establishing networks between communities and critical resources during New England’s early days. The Ash Creek Corduroy Road is a well preserved archaeological site that is directly associated with the colonial history of Fairfield. Local resident Peter Penfield constructed a tidal grist mill and a dam at the mouth of the Ash Creek ca.1750; the mill was a vital industry to the community. At approximately the same time, a corduroy road was constructed along the edge of the Ash Creek salt marsh that connected with a bridge over the Creek. The road and bridge linked an old Fairfield town road, the Penfield mill, and the community of Black Rock, a section of what is now Bridgeport.
Today, a relatively intact 53-foot section of this road is visible at low tide. It rests 30 to 36 inches below a thick mat of cord grass. It survives as an evocative remnant of a colonial road system that was crucial to the early development of Fairfield. There are other known surviving examples of 18th century corduroy roads but the Ash Creek Corduroy Road
appears to be the oldest remaining example of a preserved wooden road in Connecticut. It has been established as a State Archaeological Preserve.
Cece Saunders is a co-founder of Historical Perspectives, a cultural resources consulting firm based in Westport, CT and active in the Tri-State area for thirty years.
Rob Wallace is an avocational archaeologist and a volunteer at the Fairfield Museum and History Center.
He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Archaeological Society of Connecticut.
11:00-11:30  The Repatriation of Albert Afraid of Hawk: From an Unmarked Grave to an Emotional albert afraid of hawkHomecoming.
Gary P. Aronsen, Ph.D. (Yale University)
One hundred and twelve years ago, a young Oglala man died suddenly while participating in Buffalo Bill’s Traveling Wild West Show tour of the East Coast. He was buried in Danbury, Connecticut’s Wooster Cemetery by Buffalo Bill, in a grave with no marker. It seemed inevitable that he would be lost to history forever. However, the remarkable story of Albert Afraid of Hawk connects Sioux spirituality, local historians, and scientists in unexpected ways.
Here, we describe the life of Mr. Afraid of Hawk, and the efforts of a small but dedicated group to find, exhume, identify and repatriate him to his ancestral homeland.
Gary P.Aronsen, Ph.D., is Laboratory Manager of the Biological Anthropology Laboratories at Yale University.Gary’s research interests include Biological Anthropology, Primate Ecology and Behavior, Evolutionary Anatomy & Osteology and have included projects in Uganda and Panama.
11:30 – 1:00  Lunch  (On your own – food suggestions will be provided with numerous restaurants within walking distance)
1:00 – 1:15  ASC Business Meeting
Afternoon Session Theme – Barnum Related Topics
1:15 – 1:45  The Goliath of New York: The Cardiff Giant
Ken Feder, Ph.D. (Central Connecticut State University)
When Stub Newell, a farmer in upstate New York, uncovered the remains in October 1869 of what appeared to be a giant, recumbent man whose body had turned to stone, scientists, including the Yale Peabody’s own O. C. Marsh, immediately declared it to be “a remarkable humbug.” The pronouncements of geologists and archaeologists meant little, however, to the hordes who descended on the Newell farm to see the giant for themselves. Circus impresario P.T. Barnum was so impressed by the archaeological fake that he tried to purchase it for his sideshow. The perpetrator
confessed just a few months after the giant’s discovery but the giant himself continues as a tourist attraction at the Farmers Museum in Cooperstown, New York. Though not nearly as well known as the Piltdown Man hoax, the Cardiff Giant fraud is one of the most instructive in the history of archaeology. And it’s much funnier.
Ken Feder obtained his B.A. in anthropology in 1973 from the State University of New York at Stonybrook. He obtained his M.A. in anthropology in 1975 from the University of Connecticut and his Ph.D. from the same institution in 1982. He has taught in the Department of Anthropology at Central Connecticut State University since 1977 where he is a full professor. His primary research interests include the archaeology of the native peoples of New England and the analysis of public perceptions about the human past. He is the author and co-author of several books including:
A Village of Outcasts: Historical Archaeology and Documentary Research at the Lighthouse Site (Mayfield Publishing, 2004); Human Antiquity: An Introduction to Physical Anthropology and Archaeology (with Michael Park; now in its fifth edition; McGraw-Hill, 2007); Frauds, Myths, and Mysteries: Science and Pseudoscience in Archaeology (now in its seventh edition; McGraw-Hill, 2011); The Past In Perspective: An Introduction to Human Prehistory (now in its fifth edition; Oxford University Press, 2011); Linking to the Past: A Brief Introduction to Archaeology (now in its second edition; Oxford University Press, 2008); and the newly published Encyclopedia of Dubious Archaeology (Greenwood, 2010).
1:45 – 2:15  Gargantua the Gorilla: Evaluating Skeletal Indicators of Unique Life History Events.
Gary P. Aronsen, Ph.D., Courtney J. Stage and Kylie A. Williamson (Yale University)
Accurately identifying skeletal markers of life history stressors can be difficult, as detailed information on any given individual is often lacking from museum records. Here, we describe the skeleton of a famous gorilla named gargantuaGargantua, formerly Buddy. Available records indicate that this lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) was collected in Africa as an infant, and suffered an acid attack to the face before being donated to and cared for by a wealthy menagerie owner in Brooklyn, New York. On reaching adulthood, Gargantua was subsequently transferred to the Ringling Brothers & Barnum and Bailey Circus, where he was a media star from 1938 until his death in 1949. Following a necropsy by primate anatomist Adolph H. Schulz, Gargantua’skeleton was donated to the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, where it was mounted for exhibit.The Gargantua skeleton shows skeletal pathologies consistent with available life history data. The cranium and face show bilateral asymmetry and scarring associated with the acid incident, and craniometric data indicate that Gargantua’s skull development followed a different trajectory than wild gorillas. Skeletal evidence of severe dental disease, respiratory ailments, and postcranial arthritic changes are concordant with the recorded captive environment. By reviewing documents and historical material, we are able to provide a clearer picture of the gorilla who had captivated the American public, but whose life and death illustrate the importance of modern captive management and enrichment programs.
This work was support by the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History and by the Yale University Department of Anthropology.
2:15 – 2:45  From a Mummy to a Corset and Everything In-Between: Imaging at the Barnum
Ron Beckett and Jerry Conlogue (Quinnipiac University)
The two occasions when the Bioanthropology Research Institute at Quinnipiac University conducted imaging studies on Pa Ib, the Barnum Museum’s ancient Egyptian mummy were well publicized. From the radiographs, computed tomography and endoscopy, the team of anthropologists and radiologists have constructed a more accurate depiction of this individual’s life and preparation for her transition to the afterlife. However, few are aware of the images of other objects ranging from Lavinia Warren’s dress mold to a Locomobile starter that have also been radiographed. The images had been crucial in assessing hygroscopic and particulate damage after the tornado that struck the Museum in 2010. In addition, the images not only reveal the internal structures of the artifacts, but also demonstrate the diverse history of Bridgeport in the Barnum Collection.
Jerry Conlogue has been part of the radiography program at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut since 1992. In 1999, along with Ron Beckett, professor of Respiratory Care, they founded the Bioanthropology Research Institute at the University. Conlogue’s work with mummified remains led to appearances in several Discovery and Learning Channel productions in 2000. From 2001 to 2003 he and Beckett co-hosted the “Mummy Road Show” on the National Geographic Channel. In 2005, they published “Mummy Dearest” a behind the scenes look and in depth account of their experiences producing the series. For the past ten years, Conlogue has taught an elective forensic imaging course for diagnostic imagingstudents and interested radiographers. Since 2002, he and his students have volunteered to radiograph cases at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Farmington, Connecticut.
Ron Beckett is Professor Emeritus of Biomedical Sciences and Co-Founder/Director of the Bioanthropology Research Institute at Quinnipiac University. Dr. Beckett is a Fulbright Scholar in Anthropology and a research associate at the Museum of Man, Department of Physical Anthropology in San Diego, California. Dr. Beckett resides in his native Arizona and continues his research interests of bioanthropological and bioarchaeological analysis through paleoimaging of ancient cultural remains and artifacts.
2:45 – 3:30  Tour of Museum Collections (Barnum Museum staff will be available to discuss their “Recovery in Action” exhibit in gallery.)
3:30  Reception (Off-site – we will move after-meeting discussions to a local restaurant/bar)