Fall 2015 Archaeology Fair

The 2015 Archaeology Fair was held at the Burritt Library at Central Connecticut State University in  New Britain, Connecticut. Dr. Ken Feder with his colleagues and students organized the Fair which was co-sponsored by Friends of the Office of the State Archaeologist (FOSA) and the Archaeological Society of Connecticut (ASC). Archaeologists were available to answer questions and explain what archaeologists do. Several talks were scheduled (see below) including a ‘Lightning Round’ for students. There were many displays including a table filled with muffins, cookies, etc. whose profits went to support the CCSU Archaeology Club.


11:00 Bonnie Plourde
“Archaeology at the Walt Landgraf Complex, Barkhamsted, Connecticut”
An archaeological complex dating back to the Terminal Archaic Period sits within the boundaries of Peoples State Forest in Barkhamsted, Connecticut. In April 2015, the state of Connecticut designated 26 acres around this complex as an archaeological preserve. The complex includes the Ragged Mountain Rock Shelter, the Walt Landgraf Soapstone Quarry, and several large quartzite cobbles which have flakes removed from their cores for use his tools. This paper will discuss the excavation and research performed throughout this complex as well as the conclusions reached from the data.

12:00 Jeremy S. Pilver, MA, RPA, Farmington High School, Graduate Student, University of Connecticut
“Inspiring Future Archaeologists: Secondary Education and the Role of Archaeology in the Classroom”
Current educational pedagogy has continually emphasized the importance of students’ ability to use learned content and skills in a variety of real world settings and applications. This can be challenging for teachers to provide as many practical constraints can interfere, including budgetary, logistical, federal/state mandated curricula and testing, and even confinement to the classroom setting. Nonetheless, teaching in the Social Studies naturally lends itself to authentic learning opportunities, particularly so in the fields of anthropology and archaeology. With a background in historical archaeology and a network of local and state supports (including the Office of State Archaeology in Connecticut, the Friends of the Office of State Archaeology, and the Farmington Public Schools Foundation), I set out to bring the field of archaeology to Farmington High School. While I continually look to expand this program, I have now taught Anthropology and Archaeology Honors to one hundred and forty students in Farmington over the 5 years the course has been offered. In addition, through communication with parents, the use of our Farmington High School “9:05 News” program, stories in local newspapers and student participation in archaeological events around the state, countless other students, members of the school community, and public, have learned about archaeology. With a renewed emphasis on students becoming “leaders of their own learning,” archaeologists in Connecticut have a unique opportunity to reach out to local school districts to inform and inspire future generations.

1:00 Sarah Sportman, Ph.D.
“Unsavory the qualities of that soup”: Food and Diet at Old New-Gate Prison and Copper Mine, East Granby, Connecticut, 1790-1819″
The Connecticut State Historic Preservation Office contracted Archaeological and Historical Services, Inc. (AHS) to conduct a multi-phase archeological survey at the National Historic Landmark Old New-Gate Prison and Copper Mine in East Granby, Connecticut, prior to planned repairs to the ca. 1790 prison guardhouse. Beginning in 1773, the Old New-Gate copper mine was used as a prison. During the Revolutionary War, the prison housed criminals, Tories, and POWs. In 1790 Old New-Gate became one of the first state prisons in the United States and it operated in that capacity until 1827. The prisoners initially worked the mines, although a nailery and other industries were later established. Healthy prisoners were lodged underground in the tunnels and older and infirm inmates slept on the ground floor of the guardhouse.
Excavations, conducted around the prison guardhouse in 2013, revealed stratified, state prison-era deposits dated to 1790-1819. These deposits contained nail-manufacturing debris, architectural items, domestic artifacts, and over 1300 well-preserved animal bones. This work includes an analysis of the bones, which represent the vestiges of meals prepared and consumed by inmates and guards. The faunal evidence, contextualized through overseers’ reports and the primary accounts of inmates and visitors, provides insight into the dietary conditions, food procurement system, corruption, and daily life at one of the nation’s oldest prisons.

2:00 Lightning Round
10 to 15 minute presentations by students on local archaeology sites or projects.