2019 REARC Conference (REARC9)

Date:  - 

Venue: Center for Historic Preservation at the University of Mary Washington /  George Washington’s Ferry Farm

Content: 13 papers, 6 workshops, 54 participants

See: Conference review by Cameron Privette


Key Note: Ancient Brews Rediscovered and Re-Created

by Patrick E. McGovern

Patrick McGovern takes us on a fascinating journey back in time to the dawn of brewing when our ancestors might well have made a Palaeo-brew of wild fruits, honey, cereals, and botanicals. Early beverage-makers must have marveled at the magical process of fermentation. Their amazement grew as they drank the mind-altering drinks, which were to become the medicines, religious symbols, and social lubricants of later cultures.
McGovern recounts how the re-created Ancient Ales and Spirits of Dogfish Head Brewery came about as he circles the globe—to China, Turkey, Egypt, Italy, Scandinavia, Honduras, Peru, and Mexico. He interweaves archaeology and science, and tells the stories and struggles in making the most authentic versions of these liquid time capsules as possible. Accompanying homebrew interpretations--brimming with unusual spicy, fruity, and malty aromas and tastes--and matching meal recipes help bring the past alive, as our senses and imaginations travel “Back to the Future.”

About Patrick McGovern

Patrick E. McGovern is the Scientific Director of the Biomolecular Archaeology Project for Cuisine, Fermented Beverages, and Health at the University of Pennsylvania Museum in Philadelphia, where he is also an Adjunct Professor of Anthropology.
His academic background combined the physical sciences, archaeology, and history-an A.B. in Chemistry from Cornell University, graduate work in neurochemistry at the University of Rochester, and a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Archaeology and Literature from the Asian and Middle Eastern Studies Department of the University of Pennsylvania.
Over the past three decades, he has pioneered the exciting interdisciplinary field of Biomolecular Archaeology which is yielding whole new chapters concerning our human ancestry, medical practice, and ancient cuisines and beverages.
He is the author of Ancient Wine: The Search for the Origins of Viniculture (Princeton U., 2003/2004), also translated into French and Italian; 2nd ed. with Afterword due out in October 2019). A wide range of fermented beverages are dealt with in Uncorking the Past: The Quest for Wine, Beer, and Other Alcoholic Beverages (U. California, 2009/2010, also translated into Korean and Japanese), which follows human ingenuity in making fermented beverages before and after our ancestors came “out of Africa” 200,000 years ago and traveled around the world.
His latest book, Ancient Brews Rediscovered and Re-created (with Homebrew Interpretations, Meal Pairings, and Mood-enhancing Atmospherics including the appropriate music, attire, and setting), was published in June 2017 (WW Norton, New York, Japanese translation now being prepared). It tells the scientific, experimental, and personal backstories of how the Dogfish Head Brewery series of Ancient Ales and Spirits came about (nine re-created brews thus far). Ranging from galactic alcohol to the beginnings of life on earth to how our early ancestors reveled in extreme fermented beverages of every kind, the book lays the groundwork for how to go about bringing the past alive in as authentic a way as possible. It sheds new light on the earliest biotechnology of our innovative species. Dogfish Head has been one of the fastest growing craft breweries in the U.S., and its first and premier Ancient Ale, Midas Touch, is its most awarded brew and one of the best-selling honey-based fermented beverages in U.S.
Popularly, Dr. Pat is known as the “Indiana Jones of Ancient Ales, Wines, and Extreme Beverages.”



Student Perspective on Printing the Past: SC in 3D
Victoria Peck and Morgan Condrey

Printing the Past: SC in 3D is a collaborative project between Coastal Carolina University students and faculty with the Horry County Museum. The project involved the creation of an exhibit that highlights accessibility through the use of 3D printed artifacts from the museum’s collections. 3D printing and scanning technology were used by the students and faculty to create size and design accurate models of the artifacts that would be able to be touched and experienced by visitors to the museum. The 3D printed prehistoric, historic, and natural history artifacts came together to make the story of Horry County accessible. This innovative project brings about a way of interacting with artifacts that considers the needs of those who cannot experience museums in a traditional manner. We aim to highlight the experience and skills gained through the process of exhibit creation while discussing our own thoughts and feelings throughout the project.


Sea-level Rise and Native American Shell Middens from the Late Holocene to Modern Day
Billie Rogers
Beginning 4,000 years ago, sea levels stabilized after years of rising due to melting ice and glacial forebulge subsidence. The rising sea created new saltwater marshes that took many years for organisms such as shellfish and saltwater plants to colonize. The stabilization of these marshlands most likely increased the value of their resources to Native Americans who lived around these areas. Shell middens and rings have been found along the southern east and gulf coast of the United States. Previous research has examined the use and reason for the locations of these rings. However, using shell midden sites at Hobcaw Barony, South Carolina as a case study, this project will move to the present day and examine how modern sea-level rise, weather events, and king tides affect the current state of shell middens. This will help us further understand the impacts of climate change related events on coastal archaeological sites.


3D Scanning and Printing for Archaeology: “Printing the Past: SC in 3D”
Carolyn Dillian and Katie Stringer Clary  
mclary@coastal.edu, cdillian@coastal.edu

Working with students in our upper-level archaeology and history courses, we collaborated with the Horry County Museum, Conway, South Carolina, to create a 3D scanned/printed exhibit that used best practices of universal design to increase accessibility to archaeological and historical collections for audiences with visual disabilities and sensory processing differences. Using 3D scanning and printing technologies, we created a hands-on exhibit, accompanied by braille, large print, and audio narration, that allowed our target audience to explore these often sensitive materials through touch. This allowed the Museum to reach individuals who otherwise may not benefit from artifacts housed in display cases with printed panel text. Students used 3D scanning and printing technology, created interpretive materials, and researched best practices for people with disabilities; and museum professionals learned about the process and its benefits through presentations at regional conferences. Here, we explain our methods and their application for archaeology, museums, and outreach.


Waites Island, South Carolina: Shell Modifications from Pottery
Allison Cappello

Numerous amounts of Mercenaria mercenaria shell discovered within the same area of shell-scraped late archaic ceramics on a prehistoric site at Waties Island South Carolina. This has raised a fascinating question: is there a distinctive modification left on M. mercenaria after its use for ceramic creation? Researching to find the answer by experimenting with M. mercenaria shell on the sand tempered clays and microscopically identifying any modifications left on the shell, we can hope to find an answer. By defining the modifications, we can hopefully determine shell tools used in the past and identify them in the future.


Vlogging the past: making the stone age digital
Tim Messner

As practitioners of the past, we have a responsibility to disseminate our findings to the scholarly community and the public. To many researchers, conferences and publications provide the only avenue for accomplishing this task. This presentation highlights the value of Vlogs in experimental archaeological research to expand public outreach and scholarly engagement. I introduce the idea of developing a digital segment within conference proceedings. To highlight these points, I showcase a VLOG segment called: Beaver (Castor canadensis) teeth as tools? This Vlog examines the utility of beaver incisors for adze work. Experiments were conducted using a variety of incisors in an antler socketed adze. Findings suggest teeth work well in this capacity, but only for a limited time. By showcasing this Vlog, I hope to highlight the utility of digital media and to spark conversations related to the future of digital experimental archaeology.


How could I kill thee? Let me count the ways – 20 years of safe metalworking (With apologies to Elizabeth Barrett Browning)
Fergus Milton

Metalworking demonstrations are very popular with visitors to open-air archaeological museums such as those belonging to EXARC. Visitors, more used to experiencing life through their phone-screen, are fascinated with the sights and sounds of the skills first developed by our Bronze-Age ancestors. But inherent in the demonstration and teaching of these ancient processes are numerous dangers, both obvious and subtle: Arsenic, anthrax, inversion layer carbon monoxide and even water – the list of hazards is long and potentially bewildering to anyone starting out, or working in, the field of prehistoric metallurgy. 
In this thorough but light-hearted talk, I will draw on my 20 years’ experience in prehistoric metallurgy, to explore some of the key hazards and suggest simple and practical steps to eliminate or moderate the dangers.
Though focused mainly on the metalworking trades, much of the content will be relevant to other “hot” trades and general period demonstrators.


An Exploration of Cherokee Foodways 
Jane M. Eastman

Nixtamalization is the cooking process that transforms dried maize kernels into hominy. In addition to slipping the seed coat and doubling the size of the kernel, nixtamalization also makes available essential amino acids and niacin in the corn. In the absence of this alkaline -processing, a maize-rich diet has serious negative health implications. Nixtamalization is currently understood by many archaeologists to be the cultural breakthrough that made Mississippian lifeways possible in the Southeastern US. Students in Anth 320 Experimental Archaeology at Western Carolina University are focusing on the unique Cherokee applications of this method to their foodways and those of their Mississippian ancestors. This paper will introduce our project for this semester and will report on the early results of our experiments.


From old to truly ancient: replicating food and culture
Scott Stull

Modern food culture includes both innovation and historic practices. Using a range of food replications from relatively recent times to the Neolithic, this paper will explore why we replicate the things we do, and what different aspects of learning about the past can arise from these different arenas of replication.


Evidence for Early Dentistry from a Native American Burial in the Southern Chesapeake Region, Virginia
Kerry S. González

In May 2018, an emergency excavation of two Native American burials likely dating to the sixteenth century was conducted in the Southern Chesapeake Region of Virginia. The ensuing analysis of the human remains showed evidence for dental intervention in one of the individuals. A large circular carious lesion in the mandibular left second molar led to consultation with several dental and physical anthropology experts. The tooth was subsequently examined with optical focus-stacking microscopy, periapical radiography, cone beam computed tomography, and micro-CT scanning to image the carious lesion. The imaging revealed compelling evidence for purposeful removal of decayed tissue. Scanning electron microscopy was also utilized to attempt to identify the tools and methods employed in the treatment of the tooth. This paper will discuss the analyses and conclusions drawn from the studies as well as potential experimental research avenues such as replicating the procedure with primitive tools.


An examination of the durability of different lithic material types used as scrapers: Implications for lithic preferences during the Paleoindian and Transitional periods in the Middle Atlantic region
Alaina Helm
It is well known that Native Americans demonstrated a preference for different lithic material types during different time periods. In the Middle Atlantic region, during the Paleoindian period (10000 to 1120 BP), there was a strong preference for micro-cryptocrystalline material such as chert and jasper. In the same region, during the Transitional period (4300 – 2800 BP), there was a preference for argillite and metarhyolite and these were traded throughout the region suggesting they were highly valued. All lithic types used in this experiment flake well as demonstrated by the successful creation of fluted points and relatively thin broad spears. Why were argillite and metarhyolite ignored during the Paleoindian period? The goal of this presentation is to describe an experiment devised to test the functional effectiveness or durability of these five material types. The results indicate that argillite and metarhyolite are less effective as scrapers then chert, jasper, and quartzite and that chert is the most effective material of those tested.


Cultivating Chenopod: Experimental Investigations into an Extinct Cultigen of the Eastern Agricultural Complex
Amber Rounds

4,000 years ago, people cultivated and domesticated a variety of plants native to Eastern North America. Among these was the crop Chenopodium berlandieri ssp. jonesianum (chenopod). The domesticated form of this crop has long gone extinct. My research focuses on the wild progenitor of C. berlandieri and employs an experimental approach to assess harvest yields, ecological relationships, and processing techniques. This presentation reports on the controlled cultivation and harvesting experiments carried out over the year of 2018, as well as the results of the nutritional analysis of cooked chenopod seeds. The data discussed illustrates the efficiency of two harvesting techniques, highlights the impacts of weedy competition on the growth of C. berlandieri, and shows how the management of this crop impacts the resulting seed yield. This research gives us insights into pre-maize agricultural practices and systems by presenting new knowledge about one of the most prominent crops of the Eastern Agricultural Complex.


The Little Man Who Wasn’t There - Looking into negative space
Neil Peterson

As experimentalists we regularly undertake activities that will leave lasting traces, yet there are times that a record of what wasn't there is as important as the results from the experiments.  In the summer of 2007 DARC undertook one of a number of smelt experiments, but with a small difference.  A fresh coating of sand was first placed over the entire working area, and the day after the smelt activities a full archaeological drawing of the site was created. The different kinds of slags that are created during a smelt and their distribution around the smelt area and locations of various objects can be of significant interest to field archaeologists. Even more interesting are the places where nothing is to be found - perhaps if we look in those negative spaces perhaps we can find the little man who was there.


Atlatl Dart Velocity: Accurate Measurements and Implications
Ryan Grohsmeyer

The atlatl and dart was a widespread hunting tool for many Paleolithic peoples. Interestingly, its use was often discontinued in favor of the bow and arrow, while a few cultures retained both technologies. New measurements of atlatl dart velocity indicate darts flew at 17–35 m/s, while arrows shot from wooden bows tend to fly twice as fast (35–60 m/s). While this results in similar ranges of kinetic energy for darts and arrows (~10–80 J), due to their greater mass darts tend to have twice or thrice the momentum of arrows. Atlatl darts were likely sufficient for hunting megafauna, but because arrows can reach a target in half the time required for an atlatl dart, bows and arrows were likely favored for hunting smaller prey with faster reaction times after megafauna became extinct. Atlatls and darts were likely retained when they offered particular advantages or held cultural significance.  


Demonstrations at George Washington's Ferry Farm

Indigenous skills and lifeways
Patawomeck Nation

Bronze Casting
Fergus Milton

Glass Beads
Neil Peterson
Wilfrid Laurier University

Bow Drill Fires
Tim Messner PhD
SUNY Potsdam

Atlatl Competition
Ryan Grohsmeyer PhD
Corning Research and Development Corporation

Flint Knapping
Nate Salzman
Education and Exhibit Specialist
Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum
Saint Leonard, MD 20685

Jane Eastman Phd
Western Caroline University