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 Winter 2002 News AND publications Minimize


SAA Calls for Nominations for Public Education Award

The Society for American Archaeology calls for nominations for its Award for Excellence in Public Education. A certificate will be presented at the 2003 Annual Meeting in Milwaukee, an award citation will be read by the SAA president during the Annual Business Meeting, and an announcement of the award will be published in The SAA Archaeological Record.

This award recognizes institutions or individuals who bring about an improved public understanding and appreciation of anthropology and archaeology. The award alternates between an archaeologist, an educator, and an institution. In 2003, eligible candidates will be professional or avocational archaeologists who have contributed substantially to public education through writing, speaking, or otherwise presenting information about archaeology to the public, or through facilitating institutions and other individuals in their public education efforts. Candidates are evaluated on the basis of their public impact, creativity in programming, leadership role, and promotion of archaeology ethics.

Special Requirements:

  • A Letter of Nomination with a rationale statement (i.e., a statement of the actions that form the basis of the nomination).
  • Documentation of Impact (supporting evidence should clearly demonstrate the asserted achievement. Examples include details of program implementation such as audience size and composition, feedback from the audience, personnel deployment, frequency of events, and to what purpose or end the event takes place).
  • Also welcomed are endorsements from secondary nominators attesting to the excellence of the public education undertaking, news articles, and testimonies from participants.Prior nomination does not exclude consideration of a nominee in subsequent years. Self nominations are also accepted. Final nominations are due by January 6. Preliminary inquiries are encouraged. Contact Patrice L. Jeppson at 215-563-9262 or  pjeppson@kern.com.

Largest Council House Found at Moundville

Renewed excavation efforts at the site of a Native American council house at Moundville, near Tuscaloosa, Alabama, have revealed it is the largest such structure ever found in the Southeast. The large, square structure was an earth-covered wooden building, with narrow entrance tunnels bordered by timber walls. The structure's outside dimensions are 50 feet by 50 feet, and its interior is 38 feet by 38 feet. Recent radiocarbon dating efforts indicate the structure was built in the early 1400s.

The earthlodge, a place where chiefs of the Moundville Indians met with their council to make important decisions, was first uncovered in June 2001. The team discovered the structure during the University of Alabama Museum's annual scientific dig, where professional and academic instructors guide lay people in archaeological techniques. On the surface of a large mound, they unearthed the burned, collapsed remains of the rare structure. Ceramic smoking pipes, decorated pottery fragments, a stone ax head and bits of native copper have been recovered.

A few earthlodges have been found in the southern Appalachians and in Georgia, but until the 2001 find, archaeologists did not believe they existed as far west as Alabama's prehistoric Moundville. At its peak in about 1250, Moundville was the largest city north of Mexico, home to about 3,000 people. From A.D. 1000 to 1500, Mississippian Indians constructed large earthworks in Moundville, topped by temples, council houses, and the homes of their nobility. The Moundville Archaeological Park contains more than two dozen of these surviving flat-topped mounds, remnants of a ceremonial and economic center whose trade routes extended across the entire southeastern United States. For more information, check the Moundville web site at www.ua.edu/academic/museums/moundville/

Excavations Undertaken at Double Ditch Indian Village State Historic Site, North Dakota
Double Ditch Indian Village is a spectacular earthlodge village site near Bismarck, North Dakota, that overlooks the Missouri River on the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail. The site, named for the presence of several fortification ditches, was inhabited by the Mandan Indians between about 1500 and 1781. At its peak, the population of the village was roughly 2,200 people. Residents of Missouri River earthlodge villages, like Double Ditch, traded among themselves, with other nomadic Indian tribes, and later with Euro-American traders. The site is plotted on the Lewis and Clark Expedition maps.

Archeological fieldwork in the summer of 2002 revealed several buried fortification ditches. These features, as seen on maps resulting from geophysical work done prior to excavation, are similar to those from villages dating before the 1600s. Recovered artifacts suggest the site might have been occupied as early as the late 1400s. During the summer excavations, nearly 900 visitors received guided tours, including tourists from 12 states and Germany and India. One of the project's goals was to enhance interpretation and educational programs about Double Ditch and Mandan Indian life before, during and after the Lewis and Clark visits.

The summer field school was a collaborative effort of the State Historical Society of North Dakota, the PaleoCultural Research Group (PCRG) of Flagstaff, Arizona, the University of Missouri-Columbia, the University of Kansas, and the National Park Service. For more information, contact Timothy Reed, State Historical Society of North Dakota, at 701... or treed@state.nd.us.

Dickson Mounds Museum Celebrates 75 Years

The Dickson Mounds museum, Lewistown, Illinois, celebrated its 75th anniversary on September 8. The museum and its township were celebrated in a new exhibit and gathering of local residents. Dickson Mounds also held an Illinois Indian Heritage Celebration on August 25, which over 650 people attended. Presentations were give by John Froman, Chief of the Peoria Tribe, and by Dr. Robert Warren, Illinois State Museum anthropologist. A variety of programs on Illinois birds will be presented in February and March. For more information, contact the museum at 309... or check the web site at www.museum.state.il.us/ismsites/dickson/.

Cahokia Mounds Cuts Hours

Due to state budget cuts instituted in September, Cahokia Mounds, Collinsville, Illinois, was forced to reduce their days of operation from seven to five. Programs continue at the site, however. A new Native American astronomy program has been added. It introduces the site's Woodhenge, demonstrates equinoxes and solstices, discusses ancient cultures' view of the universe, and tells stories of Native American sky mythology. The program was presented to over 1,600 visitors during the fall. For more information, call 618-334-7316 or visit the web site at www.cahokiamounds.com.

Kentucky and Uruguay Cooperate on Video/Website Project

The Kentucky-Uruguay Cultural Heritage Education Project premiered its educational video, The Prehistoric Mounds of Uruguay: Linking the Past and the Future/Los Constructores de Cerritos de Uruguay: Uniendo el Pasado y el Futuro on July 25, 2002 at the Uruguayan Embassy in Washington, D.C., and the launch of its bilingual website (http://www.dinacyt.gub.uy/proykent ). The video and website form the core of a collaborative educational initiative linking educators and children in the northern and southern hemispheres in a joint exploration of the cultural heritage of both Uruguay and the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

At the project's website, http://www.dinacyt.gub.uy/proykent, visitors select either English or Spanish, and then explore the various links. For example, visitors can find out about the indigenous past of Kentucky and Uruguay, read about archaeological findings and special events, learn about what archaeology is and why archaeologists do it, and view pictures of artifacts and sites from both places. Teachers will find resource lists, while students can try activities or read stories written by students about their own archaeological fieldwork experiences at a Kentucky rockshelter or a Uruguayan mound. Both teachers and students can exchange information and raise questions with their counterparts and with project personnel. 


Resources Available from SAA
The Society for American Archaeology (SAA) has produced a variety of educational resources that are available to help students, teachers, and the general public learn more about archaeology. Most of these resources are available free from the Society's web site (see www.saa.org/education/edumat.html )for a complete list). In addition to the web materials, the SAA offers brochures on careers and volunteer opportunities in archaeology, as well as publications for sale, such as History Beneath the Sea: Nautical Archaeology in the Classroom.

The SAA Manager, Education and Outreach, is another resource to consider when looking for information. The Manager is available to answer questions by email, snail mail, or phone, and has access to information about archaeology education resources from many sources. If you are having trouble finding appropriate resources for your classroom or for an outreach activity, the SAA office may be able to help, or find someone who can. For more information, contact Maureen Malloy, Manager, Education and Outreach, Society for American Archaeology, 900 Second Street NE, Suite 12, Washington, DC 20002-3557, phone: 202..., or email: maureen_malloy@saa.org.