2014 Spring Conference

Above Ground Archaeology – Quarrying in Connecticut



Barkhamsted Historical Society (Squires Tavern)

100 East River Road

Pleasant Valley, CT

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Admission: non-members (general public)-$10, members (ASC/FOSA/Barkhamsted Historical Society)-$8, students-$5

Any questions regarding meeting please contact: Dawn Brown-dawn.brown@aya.yale.edu

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–Above Ground Archaeology:Quarrying in Connecticut

9:30-10:00  The “Stay-Put” of Soapstone Societies Part I: A Connection of the Past-The Making of the Walt Landgraf Complex
Bonnie Boychuck Plourde (Central Connecticut State University)
Two archaeological sites, dating back to the Terminal Archaic Period, sit within the boundaries of PeoplesState Forest in Barkhamsted, Connecticut–the Ragged Mountain Rock Shelter and the Walt Landgraf Soapstone Quarry. Over fifty years have separated the excavations of these two sites.
In this paper I argue that the Ragged Mountain Rock Shelter and Walt Landgraf Soapstone Quarry are not only connected but are, in fact, two locations within what has now been labeled The Walt Landgraf Complex.
Bonnie Boychuck Plourde is a 36 year old undergraduate student of Anthropology and
Archaeology at Central Connecticut State University as well as a wife and mother of two young children. Her studies at CCSU have afforded her internship and volunteer opportunities at the Yale Peabody Museum and the Barnes Museum in Southington, Connecticut. For the past two and a half years she has assisted Dr. Ken Feder with
the excavation and analysis of the Walt Landgraf Soapstone Quarry.

10:00-10:30  Burn it to Earn it: Procuring Quartzite at the Walt Landgraf Complex
Matthew J. Swieton (Central Connecticut State University)
Three prominent features comprise the Walt Landgraf Archaeological Complex: The Rock Shelter, the Soapstone Quarry, and a scattered distribution of quartzite procurement
A qualitative analysis of the prominent quartzite station and its waste flakes has led to interesting behavioral inferences about the prehistoric occupants of the Complex.
Such behavioral inferences, and the conditions under which these inferences are made, elucidate interesting theoretical issues in archaeology.
Matthew Swieton earned his BA Degree in Anthropology/Archaeology from Central Connecticut State University in 2012. His research interests include the Peopling of the New World, the Philosophy of Experimental Archaeology, and Lithic Analysis. Swieton has been admitted into the University of Exeter where he plans to earn his MA in Experimental Archaeology. He regularly identifies himself as “…a philosopher with a degree in anthropology.”

10:30-11:00  Portland Brownstone Quarries
Alison Guinness holds degrees in history and science from the University of Connecticut and Wesleyan University.
Humans have employed stone as a resource since the earliest times. Brownstone from the Portland quarries played an important role in the socio-economic development of Connecticut and the nation, providing stone to mark the resting places of early European settlers, for buildings all along the East coast, employment for new immigrants, and economic support for ancillary industries.
Alison Guinness is a naturalist and historian with a long interest in the uses of Connecticut’s natural resources, especially brownstone. She’s taught environmental science in the Community College system, and lectures on Connecticut quarries.She was partially responsible for the National Historic Landmark designation of the Portland brownstone quarries. She has worked as the curator at the Connecticut River Museum, mounting numerous exhibits. She was also part of the teams that excavated the  Venture Smith homestead and burial sites.

11:00-11:30  If You Don’t Dig–How Can You Call It Archeology? An Archeological Potpourri
Robert Stewart (Historical Technologies)
This paper was originally prepared as a lecture to acquaint a mixed class of architects, artists, chemists and engineers at Cooper Union with the variety and scope of Industrial Archeology recordation projects. It covers industrial history documentation projects that the author completed over the last twenty-two years. Details of railroad power and control jobs, aerospace projects and documentation of 19th century gas works are covered. The presentation covers fishing vessel preservation, dry docks, a sugar refinery, early water purification technology, a cyclotron and an abandoned granite quarry. The paper celebrates “Yankee Ingenuity”; discussing problem solving at a small Connecticut airport and mechanization at an early twentieth century toy and drum factory. The paper illustrates the broad spectrum of recordation under the aegis of industrial archeology.
Robert C. Stewart is the principal of Historical Technologies, a firm specializing in documentation of industrial archaeological sites. He founded the company after retiring from a 30 year engineering career at United Technologies. Mr. Stewart works as a field investigator, photographer, delineator and consultant in cultural resource documentation. Documentation is done under contract with other cultural resource firms, for the National Park Service or other governmental agencies. Mr. Stewart is past president of the Society for Industrial Archeology He is a director of the Noble & Cooley Center for Historic Preservation, in Granville, Massachusetts.

11:30–11:45  ASC Business Meeting

11:45-1:00  Lunch – Restaurant choices are limited and it is suggested that you bring your own lunch.

Afternoon Tour – The Walt Landgraf Complex

1:00–3:30  This tour consists of about a 15 minute bus ride to the Walt Landgraf Complex.

Lead by Dr. Ken Feder of Central Connecticut State University, the tour will visit the soapstone quarry, rockshelter and areas of quartzite caches.

The hike from the trailhead to the site is about 20 minutes along a trail that is partially well-maintained. This moderate hike does consist of a couple of steep inclines and is not handicap accessible.

3:30  Reception (Wine and cheese)