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HMS Investigator : Diving an Arctic Shipwreck

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A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

The Source of

Romes Lost
Aqueduct
Return
to the
Trail of Tears
Coronados
Deadly Siege
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2. SneferuThe Pyramid Builder
3. HatshepsutFemale Pharaoh
4. AkhenatenHeretic Pharaoh
5. TutankhamenThe Lost Pharaoh
6. TutankhamenA Murder Theory
7. Ramses the GreatThe Early Years
8. Ramses the GreatThe
Twilight Years
9. The Great NubiansEgypt Restored
10. Alexander the Great
Anatomy of a Legend
11. The First Ptolemies
Greek Greatness
12. CleopatraThe Last Pharaoh

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MARCH/APRIL 2012
VOLUME 65, NUMBER 2

CONTENTS
features
24 Saga of the

Northwest Passage
Discovering evidence of an
ill-fated mission in the frigid
waters of the Arctic

BY ALLAN WOODS

32 New Life for the Lion Man


Using recently uncovered
fragments, archaeologists may be
able to finally piece together one of
the worlds oldest works of art
BY JARRETT A. LOBELL

34 Romes Lost Aqueduct


Searching for the source of one of
the citys greatest engineering
achievements
BY RABUN TAYLOR

41 Coronados Deadly Siege


Hundreds of metal artifacts pinpoint
the possible site of a bloody battle
between conquistadores and a
Puebloan people
BY JULIAN SMITH

46 The Pearl Trade


Archaeologists excavating on the
shores of the Persian Gulf search for
what may prove to be the source of
the worlds longest-lived economy
BY ANDREW LAWLER

24 Parks Canada archaeologists


examine the top-yard truss of HMS
Investigator, a polar vessel that sank
after becoming trapped in ice in 1853.
It is not known why this piece of the
ship was buried on shore.

Cover: The grotto of Santa Fiora,


where the Roman aqueduct Aqua Traiana
may have had its source.
COURTESY OF RABUN TAYLOR

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16

10

14

departments
4 Editors Letter
6 From the President
8 Letters
Remembering a coal-mining past, alternate uses
for a fulacht adh, and is this a cave painting of a
rhinoceros or an elephant?

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on the web
www.archaeology.org

9 From the Trenches


Archaeologists uncover artifacts from the
dedication of Teotihuacans Pyramid of the Sun, new
nds at Stonehenge, DNA veries the authenticity
of Paleolithic dappled horses, and the
Sex Pistols were here.

22 World Roundup
Infant remains tell how common breastfeeding
was in nineteenth-century England, a luxury Swiss
watchmaker is inspired by the Antikythera mechanism,
where diplomats visiting Japan once dined, and
drought reveals remains of space shuttle Columbia.

53

Letter from Tennessee


Excavations at the untouched site of a U.S. Army
fort are providing a rare look at the Trail of Tears,
along which thousands of Cherokee were forcibly
moved to Oklahoma.

68

More from this Issue


Head to www.archaeology.org/investigator
to take a video tour of the shipwreck
and to see a slideshow of paintings of the
vessel done by a crewmember. To see footage
of archaeologists tracing the source of
Romes Aqua Traiana, go to
www.archaeology.org/aqueducts

Interactive Digs Read about


the latest discoveries at the Minoan site of
Zominthos in central Crete; at Johnsons
Island, a Civil War site in Ohio; and at
El Carrizal in Veracruz.

Archaeological News from around


the worldupdated by 1 p.m. ET every
weekday. And sign up for our e-Update so you
dont miss a thing.

Stay in Touch Visit Facebook to like

Artifact
A coin from a more than 1,000-year-old Viking hoard

ARCHAEOLOGY or follow us on Twitter at


@archaeologymag.

reveals the name of a previously unknown king.

Follow your own path in Texas. To plan your own Texas


adventure or to order your FREE Texas State Travel Guide,
Accommodations Guide and Texas Map,
visit Travel Tex.com.

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j2IFHRIWKH*RYHUQRU(FRQRPLF'HYHORSPHQWDQG7RXULVP

EDITORS LETTER

Our Need to Know

Editor in Chief

Claudia Valentino
Executive Editor

Deputy Editor

Jarrett A. Lobell

Samir S. Patel

Senior Editors

Nikhil Swaminathan
Zach Zorich

ur need to know who we are pushes us to discover what weve been. Some answers
come to us from a variety of quarters and in a variety of ways in this issue.
In Saga of the Northwest Passage (page 24), reporter Allan Woods takes us
to Mercy Bay in the high Arctic, the locus of activity surrounding the excavation of HMS
Investigator. This vessel originally set out in 1850 to rescue other ships of the British Navy
that were looking for the Northwest Passage. Instead, Investigator became trapped in ice
and eventually sank. Now a Parks Canada underwater team is bringing her crews heroic
story back to life.
Human endeavor could be seen as operating
on an equally grand scale in the engineering
works of the Roman Empire. Archaeologist
Rabun Taylor, in Romes Lost Aqueduct (page
34), writes of his teams search for the sources
of the monumental Aqua Traiana far north
of Romeand offers an invaluable primer in
hydraulics in How a Roman Aqueduct Works.
By contrast, artifacts of the slightest, most
delicate sort are beginning to tell a tale in
the Persian Gulf. As archaeologists unearth
evidence of pearl diving and trade going back
some 7,000 years, contributing editor Andrew
Lawlers story, The Pearl Trade (page 46),
tells us that human fascination with pearls for
personal ornamentation may have been the
regions first economic driver long before
the age of oil.
In Letter From Tennessee: Return to the
Trail of Tears (page 53), writer Marion Blackburn brings us word of excavations in the
Cherokee National Forest. There, archaeologists from two universities and the U.S. Forest Service are uncovering evidence of both the
trail itself and Fort Armistead, one of the many stops along the way for the 13,000 Cherokee
who were forcibly relocated out of the Appalachians in 1838. The work is instrumental in
keeping evidence of this chapter in United States history from being lost forever.
And, in New Life for the Lion Man (page 32), by executive editor Jarrett A. Lobell, we are
treated to what a more than 30,000-year-old work of art would have looked like as archaeologists endeavor to restore it. We arent ashamed to say that we fell in love with Lion Man.
Of course theres more from new evidence of a Viking king to the latest findings of
Coronados ignoble expedition, from new discoveries at Teotihuacan to the preservation
of punk rock graffiti.

Claudia Valentino
Editor in Chief

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Editorial Assistant

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Jessica Woodard

Creative Director

Richard Bleiweiss
Contributing Editors

Roger Atwood, Paul Bahn, Bob Brier,


Andrew Curry, Blake Edgar, Brian Fagan,
David Freidel, Tom Gidwitz, Andrew Lawler
Stephen H. Lekson, Jerald T. Milanich,
Jennifer Pinkowski, Heather Pringle,
Angela M. H. Schuster, Neil Asher Silberman
Correspondents

Athens: Yannis N. Stavrakakis


Bangkok: Karen Coates
Islamabad: Massoud Ansari
Israel: Mati Milstein
Naples: Marco Merola
Paris: Bernadette Arnaud
Rome: Roberto Bartoloni,
Giovanni Lattanzi
Washington, D.C.: Sandra Scham
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ARCHAEOLOGY March/April 2012

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FROM THE PRESIDENT

Archaeological
Institute of America

Dedicated and True

Located at Boston University

OFFICERS
President

ACH YEAR AT ITS annual winter meeting, the Archaeologi-

Elizabeth Bartman

cal Institute of America observes a moment of silence in


honor of members who have died during the prior year.
It stands as a moving tribute to individual achievement and as a
reminder of our collective identity as an organization devoted to
archaeology. I would like to remember just a few of these individuals here. As you will see, people come to archaeology from
many quarters and contribute to it in many ways.
William Lawrence Larry Lehman III (19502011), a longtime
member and president of the Dallas/Ft. Worth Society, exemplified the volunteer spirit that infuses our AIA societies. He taught
history and logistics management at Richland College in Dallas, and in its Rome Study Abroad
program. Lehman, who was also a business consultant, first became interested in archaeology
when he enrolled in a summer course at the field school run by Greg Warden, at the Etruscan
site of Poggio Colla, near Florence. Thereafter, from 2002 to 2007, Lehman brought his
considerable talents to the position of operations manager for the site.
Frederick A. Cooper (19362011), a member of the Minneapolis Society, taught at the
University of Minnesota for most of his academic career. An inspiring professor beloved
by his many students, he was awarded the AIAs first Undergraduate Teaching Award in
1996. Although best known for his work on the Temple of Apollo at Bassae in Greece,
a study to which he devoted more than 20 years, he also wrote on such decidedly nonGreek and nonarchitectural topics as Duccios iconic painting, the Maest. In his many
field projects in Greeceamong them the Bronze-Age Palace of Nestor at Pylos, and
the Heroon at MesseneCooper combined a broad knowledge of antiquity with deep
technical expertise in surveying.
The death of Lewis Binford (19312011) in April made national headlines. Father of
the new archaeology, Binford moved the discipline beyond a narrow focus on collecting
and cataloguing artifacts by applying the scientific method to the study of the human
past. He is also known for using anthropological theory to solve archaeological problems.
His pioneering study of caribou hunting among Alaskan Eskimos, and what it tells us
about ancient hunters, constituted a new approach, which we now call ethnoarchaeology.
In his later years, in order to understand how cultures might be shaped by factors such
as climate change, Binford constructed a database using information from more than
300 traditional cultures.
Dedication, passion, and innovation defined the lives of these different individuals. For
each of them, archaeology was a central concern, and each responded to the discipline in
his own way. Together, their lives exemplify the breadth of archaeology and the many ways
in which it touches peoples lives.

First Vice President

Andrew Moore
Vice President for Outreach and Education

Pamela Russell
Vice President for Professional Responsibilities

Laetitia LaFollette
Vice President for Publications

John Younger
Vice President for Societies

Thomas Morton
Treasurer

Brian J. Heidtke
Chief Executive Officer

Peter Herdrich
Chief Operating Officer

Kevin Quinlan

GOVERNING BOARD
Susan Alcock
Michael Ambler
Carla Antonaccio
Cathleen Asch
Barbara Barletta
David Boochever
Julie Herzig Desnick
Michael Galaty
Greg Goggin
Ronald Greenberg
Michael Hoff
Jeffrey Lamia
Lynne Lancaster
Robert Littman
Elizabeth Macaulay-Lewis
Heather McKillop
Shilpi Mehta
Naomi Norman, ex officio
Maria Papaioannou
Eleanor Powers
Paul Rissman
Glenn Schwartz
David Seigle
Chen Shen
Charles Steinmetz
Douglas Tilden
Claudia Valentino, ex officio
Shelley Wachsmann
Ashley White
John J. Yarmick
Past President

C. Brian Rose
Trustees Emeriti

Norma Kershaw
Charles S. LaFollette
Legal Counsel

Mitchell Eitel, Esq.


Sullivan & Cromwell, LLP

Elizabeth Bartman
President, Archaeological Institute of America
Archaeological Institute of America
656 Beacon Street Boston, MA 02215-2006
www.archaeological.org

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ARCHAEOLOGY March/April 2012

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July 2228, 2012

Mining Memories of
West Virginia
As a native West Virginian, I traveled U.S. 119 many times and crossed
Blair Mountain (Mountaintop Rescue, January/February 2012). Being the
granddaughter of two coal miners, I
have experienced life in coal camps or
company communities. I remember
miners, black from head to foot, and
widows struggling.
The mountains may be foreverthe
coal is not. Alternative and sustainable energy is possible and profitable
without destroying the environment
to reap profits from finite resources in
such a manner.

I would suggest that these constructions


were used for the tanning of leather.
Many of the site characteristics you
mentionlocal water source, soaking
tub, wood ashes, heated rocks, and local
botanicals, like peat or tree barkare all
important in tanning. Also, the isolation
from dwellings coincides with traditional
locations of tanneries because of the
stench of the process.
Kelvin Kreymborg
Denver, CO

Beverly Henderson
Jackson, OH

Alternative Uses for


Fulachta Fia
I am a weaver, and the first thing that
came to mind when I saw the photo of
the fulacht fiadh (Mystery of the Fulacht
Fiadh, January/February 2012) was that
they might have been used as retting
(soaking) ponds for making flax into linen.
Kristine Franklin
Hibbing, MN

The Irish of the day were concerned


with cattle and hunting. One of the big
threats to large animals in boggy areas
is losing the animal in the bog. The animals, domestic or wild, try to go to open
water to drink but then get trapped. So
why not make a simple structure that
gathers water short of the dangerous
areas? These troughs would likely get
stale after a period of time and become
havens for all sorts of nasty parasites.
Why not drop in a few hot rocks and
purify the water?
Brian and Wendy Connolly
Pittsburgh, PA

ARCHAEOLOGY welcomes mail from


readers. Please address your comments
to ARCHAEOLOGY, 36-36 33rd Street,
Long Island City, NY 11106, fax 718-4723051, or e-mail letters@archaeology.org.
The editors reserve the right to edit
submitted material. Volume precludes
our acknowledging individual letters.

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Rhinoceros? Or Elephant?
In Drawing Paleolithic Romania (January/February 2012), we ran a photo from
Coliboaia Cave and wrote that it clearly
shows a rhinoceros. Many readers wrote us
to dispute our (and the researchers) interpretation. Here are a few of the comments:
The drawing looks much more like
an elephant with its trunk raised. The
points that may look like rhinoceros
horns are probably tusks.
Cinda Glenn
Cincinnati, OH

Perhaps the rhinoceros is behind the


elephant.
John P. Taylor
West Plains, MO

Cave art expert Jean Clottes responds:


We always interpret images with what we
know best, which may be misleading when
out of context. In the Ice Age, there were no
elephants in Europe, only mammothsand
Paleolithic artists did not draw them like
that. In particular, they always showed the
big hump of the mammoths head in strong
relief. The Coliboaia rhino head is quite
typical of the way they rendered rhinos, with
their two horns and sketchy ears.

ARCHAEOLOGY March/April 2012

LATE-BREAKING NEWS AND NOTES FROM THE WORLD OF ARCHAEOLOGY

Under the Pyramid of the Sun

rchaeologists working in a
tunnel beneath Teotihuacans Pyramid of the Sun
have unearthed two caches of artifacts that may have been meant to
consecrate the massive buildings
construction around A.D. 200. The
ancient city, which lies about 40
miles north of Mexico City, was
once a major spiritual center with
the Pyramid of the Sun as its largest
monument. The research team, led by Alejandro Sarabia of
Mexicos National Institute of Anthropology and History,
expanded a tunnel that was originally excavated in the 1930s
and dug additional tunnels out to the sides. The tunnels
revealed a small artifact cache near the center of the pyramid
and another larger cache about 125 feet away. The excavations

www.archaeology.org

A greenstone mask and projectile


points (above) were part of an
offering found in a tunnel at the
base of Teotihuacans Pyramid of the
Sun (left). The pyramid is one of the
largest monuments in Mesoamerica.

also uncovered four sacrificial burials, three of them holding children,


in dierent locations.
The cache at the center of the
pyramid contained a pyrite and slate disk with a human
figure made of obsidian placed on top of it. Projectile points
as well as seashells and a few stone blades surrounded the
figure. The larger cache comprised 11 clay pots dedicated
to a rain god, obsidian and stone blades, projectile points,
the bones of an eagle, and fragments of feline and canine

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FROM THE TRENCHES


skeletons. Among the most intriguing
artifacts were three carved greenstone
figurines that depict human beings
and a greenstone mask similar to those
found in the tombs of some especially
wealthy Maya rulers. It was the first
such mask to be found in a ritual setting at the site and does not appear to
have been part of a grave.
The excavations also revealed that
other buildings had stood on the site
before the pyramid was built. The
team happened upon the walls of
three dierent buildings and another

Around A.D. 630, in western El


Salvador, the volcano Loma
Caldera erupted, burying the
buildings, roads, and fields of a
Maya farming community in up
to 20 feet of ash. As with other
cities and villages that have
suffered this fate, this town,
today affectionately known as
Joya de Cern (the jewel of
Cern) is incredibly well
preserved. Though the site is in a
tropical environmenta setting
not conducive to the
preservation of organic
materialsarchaeologists have
discovered individual corn
kernels, food residue in pots,
two species of ants, and
thatched roofs with the remains
of mice in them, alongside
buildings and massive amounts
of pottery. The only thing

Within a cache of artifacts, archaeologists discovered clay pots with


decorations dedicated to a rain god
similar to Tlaloc, the Aztec god of rain.

wall that may have surrounded a plaza


or ceremonial space, providing some
information about the early phases of
construction at the site. Saburo Sugi-

missing from the site are the


bodiesthe fates of the residents
of Joya de Cern remain a mystery.
Discovered in the mid-1970s, the
site has been excavated exclusively
by Payson D. Sheets of the
University of Colorado at Boulder.
According to Sheets, when tourists
ask Salvadorans what the biggest
tourist attraction in the country is,
they jokingly reply, Guatemala.
Sheets hopes that sites such as
Joya de Cern, a UNESCO World
Heritage Site since 1993, will take
their place alongside the Maya
hotspots of Mexico, Guatemala,
and Honduras.
The site
Joya de Cern dates to the Maya
Classic Period (A.D. 300900) and
differs from most well-known Maya
sites because it is predominantly a

yama of Arizona State University and


Aichi Prefectural University in Japan,
the archaeologist who directed the
excavations, expects even more intriguing finds will be discovered beneath the
pyramid. There is a good chance of
finding the tomb of a ruler in the next
year or two, he says.
ZACH ZORICH

nonelite sitea place where about


200 ordinary Maya lived, worked,
and prayed. According to Sheets,
the Maya of Joya de Cern lived
surprisingly well. So far, 11 buildings
have been found, including living
quarters, storehouses, workshops,
kitchens, religious buildings, and
a community sauna. A quarter
of the pottery found there is of
a multicolored variety imported
from the Copn Valley. Casts of
crops and fully stocked shelves
entombed by ash have been found,
conrming that people there grew
corn and manioc as staples. A big
surprise came this summer when
Sheets and his team discovered
a sacbe, a formal road that heads
south from the towns religious
complex. The site is easy for visitors
to navigate. There are walkways
and well-trained guides, as well
as a restaurant/caf, modern
bathrooms, a gift shop, and an airconditioned museum.
While youre there
Joya de Cern is just a 45-minute
taxi ride from the capital of San
Salvador, and your driver will be
happy to wait for you while you
tour the site. Three miles south is
the Maya site of San Andres, the
primary elite center in the Classic
period, with pyramids, an elevated
sacred plaza, and a modern visitors
center. Back in San Salvador, the
David J. Guzman National Museum
of Anthropology is a must-see. And
for adventurous types, the surng in
this part of El Salvador is considered
among the best in the world.
MALIN GRUNBERG BANYASZ

10

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ARCHAEOLOGY March/April 2012

Greek God Invents


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goddess transformed her into a statue of perfect stone. Dionysus
stopped partying for a moment and wept. He spilled his wine and
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FROM THE TRENCHES

French Femme

nside a kiln whose roof had collapsed,


archaeologists excavating at the site of
Villers-Carbonnel on the banks of the
Somme River in northern France, uncovered
a rare terracotta female figurine. According
to project archaeologist Franoise Bostyn,
the discovery is exceptional due to both
the completeness and rarity of this type
of female representation at Middle Neolithic sites. Bostyn believes that the figurine,
which shows evidence of burning, broke
into pieces during firing. It is likely that her
team was able to recover all the fragments

Roman Bath Tiles

A
because the object was never removed from
the kiln. The figurine, which measures just
over eight inches long, was created by the
Chassey culture, named for the site where
evidence of the culture was originally found.
The Chassey culture flourished in central
and southern France between 4200 and
3600 B.C. Similar figurines have been found
at other Chassey sites. According to Bostyn,
the stylistic unity of these female representations probably reflects some sort of shared
ideology and can be considered a mark of
the cultural identity of the Chassey people.
JARRETT A. LOBELL

12

t the beginning of the second


century A.D., the emperor
Trajan founded Plotinopolis
(Plotinas city) in honor of his wife,
Plotina. It soon became an important Roman city in the eastern area
of Greece, known in antiquity as
Thrace. Like most Roman cities of
its day, Plotinopolis had a public bath
structure. Digging where he believes
the baths were located, archaeologist
Matthew Koutsoumanis has recently
unearthed the large and well-preserved
mosaic that once covered the bath
buildings floors. Thus far, 104 square
feet of mosaics have been uncovered,
which Koutsoumanis believes is about
one quarter of the entire floor surface.

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He hopes to have the entire mosaic


exposed by spring 2012.
The mosaics, which date to the
second half of the second or the
early-third century A.D., show various scenes from Greek mythology,
including the stories of Leda and
the swan and the labors of Hercules,
as well as a great variety of intricate
multicolored geometric patterns.
Finding these mosaics has been
really thrilling, says Koutsoumanis,
who has been digging at Plotinopolis
for more than 15 years. It feels like
totally new, exciting information is
there for us every day, just waiting
to be discovered.
NIKOS ROUPAS

ARCHAEOLOGY March/April 2012

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FROM THE TRENCHES

New Discoveries at Stonehenge

tonehenge and its surrounding


area continue to oer new information about how the prehistoric site was used. A ground-penetrating
radar survey led by Vincent Ganey
of the University of Birmingham has
revealed evidence of two large pits that,
when viewed from the Heel Stone, a
small standing stone near the entrance
to the site, align with sunrise and sunset
on the summer solstice. The pits may
have held wooden posts or standing
stones, and the area between them and
the Heel Stone may have been used for
summer solstice rituals.

ome of the stones from the site


were the subject of a dierent
study, by geologists Rob Ixer
of the University of Leicester and
Richard Bevins of National Museum
Wales, to determine where they came
from. The researchers used a technique

called petrography, a common tool


for geologists for more than 100 years.
It involves looking at extremely thin
slices of rock under a microscope and
describing the way the minerals that
compose it blend with one another to
form a unique textureas distinctive
as a fingerprint. By comparing rock
fragments from some of the sites
bluestones (a generic term used to
describe stones outside the sites iconic
center) to samples from a rhyolite
outcropping at Preseli Hills in West
Wales (above), Ixer and Bevins were

able to narrow down the area where at


least one stone had been quarried to a
six-by-15-foot space. The information
could lead archaeologists directly to the
places where Neolithic people cut the
rock that was made into Stonehenge
up to 5,000 years ago. The geologists
have examined about 700 pieces of
rock from Stonehenge but have only
completed analysis on a few pieces
of rhyolite. Ive been at this for 20
years, says Ixer, but it is really just
the beginning.
ZACH ZORICH

Weaving with Dog Hair

he oral history of the Coast


Salish peoplea collection
of tribes that have inhabited
the Pacific Northwest and the west
coast of Canada for more than 10,000
yearsincludes mentions of a Pomeranian-like dog that was bred specifically so its woolly hair could be used in
textiles. Analysis of protein fragments
from blankets more than 85 years old,
one of which was obtained in 1803 by
Meriwether Lewis and William Clark,
seems to support the stories.
Of nine Coast Salish blankets
examined, scientists found that dog
hair was used in five. Goat hair, on the
14

other hand, was in all of them. In a


situation when the goat hair supply
was limited, the yarn was made to the
right thickness by adding dog hair,
allowing a larger supply of
yarn, explains Susan Heald,
coauthor of a study published
in Antiquity and a senior textile
conservator at the Smithsonians National Museum of the
American Indian, which supplied three of the samples.
The dog hair seems to have
been incorporated into common nonceremonial blankets
and disappears from them not

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long after contact with European


explorers, who arrived in the late-eighteenth century with cheaper textiles.
NIKHIL SWAMINATHAN

ARCHAEOLOGY March/April 2012

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Reeling In
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FROM THE TRENCHES

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wo 11-square-foot pits dug


in Jerimalai Cave on the east
end of East Timor, an island
nation o northwestern Australia, have
provided some of the earliest evidence
of fishing technology. Though there
is little evidence of fishing activity
beyond 10,000 years ago, fragments
of fish hooks found in the cave date
to between 16,000 and 23,000 years
ago, making them
hem the oldest ever
recovered. A more complete
hook dating to
o 11,000 years ago
was also found
d at the site.
The inch-long
long hooks, all of
which were made of shells from
sea snails, would have been
used to catch shallow-water fish,
such as grou-per and snapper, says Sue
OConnor,
an archaeologist at Australian National
al
University, who
coauthored a study
on the finds in Science. They would
have had a fiber line attached to the
shank, and bait put on the hook, she
explains. Then, they would be cast
or lowered into the water and left
stationary.
Fish bones were also found in the
deposits. Oshore species, such as
tuna, account for nearly 50 percent
of the remains dating to earlier than
7000 B.C. After that, shallow-water
and reef species start to dominate,
likely due to warmer climate and the
proliferation of reef habitat. The variety of the bones depicts the humans of
the time as skilled seafarers capable of
fishing many species in both shallow
and deep water.
NIKHIL SWAMINATHAN
ARCHAEOLOGY March/April 2012

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FROM THE TRENCHES

Egypts Art Before the Pyramids

etroglyphs found near the village of Qurta in southern Egypt


have been confirmed as the
first known Paleolithic artwork in
North Africa. They were dated using
a technique called optically stimulated
luminescence on sand that had piled up
against the rock face where the images
were carved. The team of archaeologists
from Belgium, Australia, and the United
States showed that the carvings are
at least 15,000 years old and possibly
much older. Before this research, the
idea that Egypt had any Paleolithic rock
art had been controversial.

The site consists of at least 179


figures deeply carved into sandstone.
Many depict animals in a more naturalistic style than was used in later
petroglyphs at sites nearby. Some of the
most remarkable petroglyphs are less
naturalisticstylized images of people

with large buttocks,


similar to ones made
in Europe around
14,000 years ago.
According to Dirk
Huyge of Belgiums
Royal Museums of
Art and History,
these images could
be evidence of an
indirect link between
very distant cultures.
Since 2005, when
the team first published descriptions
of the art at Qurta,
four or five other
sites with images made in a similar
style have been identified about 45
miles south of the site. One find provokes another, says Huyge. Qurta
has opened up a whole new area of
Paleolithic art research.
ZACH ZORICH

Rock Art Goes Rotten

enmark Street, in Londons


West End, contains a series
of terraced houses dating to
the late seventeenth century. In the
nineteenth century, the street was
18

notorious for poverty and prostitution,


and by the twentieth, it had become a
hub for musicians, music shops, and live
venues. The Rolling Stones and David
Bowie have histories there, and Steve
Jones, founding guitarist of the seminal
punk band The Sex Pistols, squatted
at 6 Denmark Street, once home to
a silversmith. Archaeologists interested in the history of antiestablishment,
working-class punk music
and culture have documented drawings on walls
there by Sex Pistols member John Lydon (a.k.a.
Johnny Rotten) in the
1970sprofane graffiti
and caricatures of himself
(right), Jones, band manager Malcolm McClaren
(left), bassist and singer

vk.com/englishlibrary

Sid Vicious, and others. The cartoons


and grati are representative of early
punk in their rude, rebellious themes and
could also represent a move by Rotten
to take control of the band, of which he
was not an original member. This very
archaeological record oers something
visceral and immediate, generating
unique insight, wrote
independent archaeologist
Paul Graves-Brown and
the University of Yorks
John Schofield in their
paper about the site in
the journal Antiquity. We
could sense their presence as unruly ghosts,
lounging on the sofas
and writing on the walls,
though not all of them are
dead just yet.
SAMIR S. PATEL
ARCHAEOLOGY March/April 2012

Dappled
Horse
Paintings
Decoded by
DNA

enetic material from the bones


and teeth of wild horses, some
of which died more than
20,000 years ago, has answered a longstanding debate about some Paleolithic
cave artists: Were these ancient painters
realists, depicting the natural world they
saw around them, or did they portray
more imaginative representations?

An international team of scientists


examined ancient DNA from predomesticated horse remains found in
Europe and Siberia. The team found
gene variants common to domesticated
spotted horses in more than 20 percent
of their samples. Though the finding
doesnt rule out some ancient creative

license, the artists could have seen spotted horses in the wild. In Proceedings
of the National Academy of Sciences, the
researchers report, At least for wild
horses, Paleolithic cave paintings were
closely rooted in the real-life appearance
of the animals.
NIKHIL SWAMINATHAN

JOURney into the heart of History


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April 24 - May 10, 2012

BALI

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With Dr. Claire Calcagno
May 12 - 26, 2012

greece

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June 3 - 15, 2012
Egypt in england
With Professor Bob Brier
June 15 - 24, 2012

scotland

With Dr. James Bruhn


August 4 - 19, 2012

One of the paintings in question, The


Dappled Horses of Pech-Merle, in a cave in
southern France, is a nearly 25,000-yearold depiction of horses with spotted
coats. While spots are seen in many
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and thus would not have coexisted with
humans in the Paleolithic.
That belief turned out to be wrong.
www.archaeology.org

Hike the inka trail


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August 10 - 22, 2012

...And Much More!

India Cambodia & Laos Egypt


Mongolia Maya World Turkey
Costa Rica American Southwest
Easter Island Ethiopia Belize

1-800-552-4575 www.farhorizons.com
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19

FROM THE TRENCHES

The Vikings
Crystal
Compass?

transparent calcite crystal found


30 years ago on a ship that sank
in the English Channel in 1592
could help explain how Vikings were
able to sail from Norway to North
America 1,000 years ago without magnetic compasses.
The sailors likely relied on the sun
and the stars as their guides. Now
researchers from Frances University
of Rennes have demonstrated how a
crystal called an Iceland spar (found in
Iceland and Scandinavia, among other
places), which was recovered from the
shipwreck, could be usedeven on a

Mysterious Mass Sacrice

n a grisly discovery, Peruvian archaeologists have found the remains of at least


62 people who appear to have been ritually sacrificed about 1,000 years ago.
Some were tied at their extremities, dismembered, or decapitated, while others showed bone trauma, suggesting each had been thrown from a great height.
The burials lie beneath a wide plaza, stretching between mud-brick mounds in the
Batn Grande site near the city of Chiclayo. The location amid ancient ceremonial
mounds, as well as the deliberate ways in which people were butchered, may indicate that the sacrifice was part of a religious ritual, says archaeologist Carlos Elera,
director of El Museo Nacional de Sicn, who made the discovery in July 2011. They
were in very forced positions, suggesting sacrifice, but for now, we can only guess
to what end, according to Elera. Numerous food oerings, such as shellfish, and
llama and dog bones, were found nearby. The bodies were arranged in two roughly
concentric circles, perhaps evidence of two separate mass burials, says Elera. The
plaza was a center of civic and religious life for the Sicn culture, which reached its
apogee from about A.D. 900 to 1150.
ROGER ATWOOD

20

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cloudy dayto ascertain the suns position to within a few degrees.


When light passes through the crystal,
it is double refractedthe light is split in
two, creating an eect similar to a 3-D
movie viewed without light-polarizing
glasses. According to the authors, as a
person holds up the crystal to the sun
and rotates it, theres a particular angle
at which the two beams of light appear
equally bright. By holding the spar at the
same orientation and scanning a cloudy
sky for a point where the beams line up,
Vikings could locate the sun through
cloud cover. Vikings could have exploited the high sensitivity of the human eye
to small contrasts, the authors write in
Proceedings of the Royal Society A.
NIKHIL SWAMINATHAN

ARCHAEOLOGY March/April 2012

REVEALED: Massive Hoard


Makes Silver Dollar History
American Entrepreneur Sells off Silver Fortune
hen miners found silver in
Virginia City in 1857, they
knew theyd struck the
mother lode. For the next twenty years,
silver flowed faster than water out of
the Nevada desert. It was a Wild West
bonanza. After years of frenzied mining,
the vein began to dry up and the town
slowly died with it. It seemed like there
was no more silver to be found in
those hills.

Until I got a call from a Wild


West friend.
He was sitting on a collection of silver
coins, minted just after silver was found
in Virginia City. With the silver market as
strong as it is, he decided that it was time
to sell off his collection. We had hit the
mother lode again.

Actual size
is 38.1 mm

A few bags become thirty!


To call my friend a coin collector is an
understatement. When he said he had a
few 1000-coin bags of silver coins I was
interested. When those silver coins turned
out to be New Orleans Mint Morgan
Silver Dollars from the 1880s I was
intrigued. And when those few bags
turned out to be thirty, I was astounded.
My buddy wasnt sitting on a collection,
he had a hoard!
For a man who loves only the best
things in life, I guess I shouldnt have
been so surprised.

One of the largest Silver Dollar


hoards in decades
For serious numismatists, hoards can
come around once in a lifetime. Silver
hoards are enormous collections of coins
that have been stored away, often secretly,
for safekeeping. With silver prices steadily
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Most assumed that hoards of Morgan
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until now.
Morgan Dollars are some of the most
coveted coins on the market today. And
with the hot silver market, most dealers
cannot keep Morgan Dollars around for
long. Due to this heavy demand, especially
for the finest quality pieces, the price

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Note: GovMint.com is a private distributor of worldwide government coin issues and is not affiliated with the United States government.
Facts and figures were deemed accurate as of December 2011. GovMint.com, 2012

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WORLD ROUNDUP
ALASKA: In a pit house
dating to around A.D. 1200,
archaeologists uncovered
a cast-bronze buckle that
appears to be East Asian
in origin and older than the
house in which it was found.
The oldest known cast bronze
in Alaska, the artifact may
have been part of a horse
fitting, perhaps traded in from
as far away as Manchuria. It
was probably used as a charm
semaker by
or noisemaker
a locall Inupiat
an.
shaman.

TEXAS: The last issue


of ARCHAEOLOGY detailed
sites at risk (Top Ten
Discoveries of 2011),
including those exposed
by the drought in Texas.
In addition to wrecks and
human remains, receding
waterlines revealed
a mysterious 4-foot
aluminum sphere. NASA
officials confirmed that it
was a fuel-cell tank from
the space shuttle Columbia,
which was destroyed
during reentry in 2003.
Along with other remains
from the shuttle, it can
teach us something about
the effects of high-speed
atmospheric reentry.

22

GRENADA: People on the tiny island


of Carriacou may have feasted on
animals imported from South America
over 1,000 years ago. Remains of
South American animals, including
piglike peccaries, armadillos, and
guinea pigsnone of which are native
to the island todaywere excavated
from prehistoric middens. The find
suggests regular contact between
natives and people on other islands
and the mainland, but because the
bones are scarce, archaeologists think
only a select, high-status few got to
eat these exotic treats.

ENGLAND: Using
stable isotope
analysis, researchers
examined remains of
infants from the crypt
at Christ Church in
Spitalfields, London,
to study breastfeeding
in the 18th and 19th
centuries. They
found that prolonged
breastfeeding was common in the 19th century
among this relatively well-off population,
which does not necessarily agree with the idea
that more women were entering the workforce
at the time as a result of industrialization. The
breastfeeding mothers of these infants may
have had the means to hire wet nursesor
they may have been homebound due to an
economic downturn.

SWITZERLAND: High-end Swiss watchmaker


Hublot has created a wrist-mounted version of the
Antikythera Mechanism, the mysterious 2,000-yearered from a Greek
old astronomical machine recovered
5
shipwreck in 1901. It contains 495
imeter
precision elements in a 3x4-centimeter
m
package. The manufacturers claim
that it is the first watch inspired by
da
an archaeological finding. Would
wrist-mounted sundial count?

vk.com/englishlibrary

PAKISTAN: Life in the


4,500-year-old Indus city of
Harappa is thought to have been
relatively peaceful. A new analysis
of human remains excavated
at the site found that while the
overall level of violence in the city
was on the low side for a statelevel society, it was not evenly
distributed. Some communities
endured much higher levels
of trauma, inflicted on women
in particular, suggesting a
potentially brutal social hierarchy.

ARCHAEOLOGY March/April 2012


A

By Samir S. Patel
CHINA: A cracked skull may be the
oldest known evidence of interpersonal
aggression among modern humans. A
CT scan of the skull, which is around
130,000 years old and known as Maba
Man, revealed evidence of severe blunt
force trauma, possibly from a clubbing.
Remodeling of the bone around the
injury, however, shows that he survived
the blow and possibly was well cared
s injury
for after his
s or
for months
s.
even years.

JAPAN: An excavation at a train yard


in Dazaifu has revealed the remains
of two large, prestigious buildings,
as well as expensive eating utensils
and pottery. The finds, including tin
and copper
alloy spoons,
Chinese and
Korean pots,
and Nara
tricolored
ware (the
finest
tableware in
Japan at the time), date to the 8th
and 9th centuries. The assemblage
appears to identify the site as a
diplomatic facility, mentioned in
ancient documents, that housed and
fed envoys from China and Korea.

PAP
PAPUA
NEW GUINEA: The
se
seafaring Lapita, who
se
settled the South Pacific
mo
more than 3,000 years ago,
were not thought to have
lived in Papua New Guinea.
Findings from a new dig there have overturned that idea.
The remains of several villages, including stone tools,
shell ornaments, and thousands of pottery fragments
have been discovered. The site is both unusually deep
including pre- and post-Lapita sequencesand perhaps
the largest Lapita landscape yet discovered. According
to researchers, the site opens a whole new chapter in
Pacific history.

www.archaeology.org

OMAN: Its often


thought that
modern humans
emerged from
Africa through the
Arabian Peninsula
by hugging its
shores, which may
have protected
them from swings in
climate. However,
100,000-year-old
stone tools found
in the Dhofar
Mountains suggest
that some people
traveled over the
now aridthough
once wetinterior.
The find adds
another layer of
complexity and
understanding
to the path that
modern humans
took on their way
around the world.

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23

Saga of the
Northwest
Passage
Discovering evidence of an ill-fated
mission in the frigid waters of the Arctic
by Allan Woods

24

vk.com/englishlibrary

ARCHAEOLOGY March/April 2012

t was well past midnight this past July and the roundthe-clock Arctic sun was shining on Mercy Bay.
Exhausted Parks Canada archaeologist Ryan Harris
was experiencing a rare moment of rest on the rocky
beach, looking out over the bays dark, ice-studded
water. Around him, a dozen red-and-yellow tents lined
the shorelinethe only signs of life. Every day for the previous
two weeks, work had started by mid-morning and continued
nonstop for 16 hours. Night and day had little relevance in the
murky, near-freezing waters. Along with Parks Canadas chief
of underwater archaeology, Marc-Andre Bernier, Harris has
overseen more than 100 dives at this remote inlet of Banks
Island in Aulavik National Park, exploring the wreck of HMS
Investigator, a British vessel that has sat on the bottom of the
bay for more than 160 years.
Harris and a small team of archaeologists had discovered
Investigator in 2010 and returned in 2011 with a larger team
to dive, study, and document the wreck, which holds a critical
place in the history of Arctic exploration. Twenty-five feet
below the surface, Investigator sits upright, intact, and remark-

ably well preserved. Silt covers everything below the main


deck, entombing the ocers cabins, the ships galley, and a
full library. The archaeologists had intended to leave the wreck
and its artifacts where they had lain since the polar ship was
abandoned, trapped in ice, on June 3, 1853. Artifact recovery
was not part of their original plan, but that plan changed after
their first few dives.
The team was instantly surprised by the number of artifacts
they sawmuskets, shoes, and hunks of copper sheathing
rested on Investigators upper deck, dangled o the hull, or lay
haphazardly on the sediment. Leaving these artifacts behind in
Mercy Bay would have made them vulnerable to the icebergs
that regularly scour the bays floor, including the ones the sixman dive team had been dodging since their arrival.
Each piece fished from the water was a clue to life at sea
aboard a ship during a period of British fervor for Arctic
exploration. The captain of Investigator, Robert McClure, was
originally sent to find and rescue two ships, HMS Erebus and
HMS Terror, that Sir John Franklin had led into the Arctic in
1845 to discover the long-sought Northwest Passage connectArchaeologists from Parks Canada set up
camp at remote Mercy Bay, in the high Arctic,
to explore the wreck of HMS Investigator, a
British polar vessel that became trapped in ice
in 1853 and later sank.

www.archaeology.org

vk.com/englishlibrary

25

ing the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Investigators voyage ended,


without sight or word of Franklins ships or crew, when it was
set upon by ice in Mercy Bay. After 39 months at sea, the listing ship sat, slowly being crushed on all sides, for three frigid
yearswith no Inuit encounters, no British search parties,
and no relief. For much of that time, McClure and his crew
of 60 were desperate and under constant threat of starvation,
until a surprising rescue in the spring of 1853. Fifty-five men
survived the ordeal.

N JULY 2010, AFTER months of study to pinpoint Investiga-

tors resting place, the actual discovery of the wreck took


just a few minutes. Harris was in the bay in an inflatable
boat testing sonar equipment when the wreck came into
range. The four hours of video gathered on that trip showed
that the ship was, in essence, frozen in time, protected by the
cold water and opaque, light-blocking ice cover. It would be
a year before they could return with cold-water diving equipment to have a closer, more detailed look. Over that year, the

A sonar image (top left) shows the intact, iceberg-scoured


wreck of Investigator. Archaeologists found much of the ships
protective copper sheathing (top right), including numerals to
indicate its load based on how low it sat in the water. Visible
sheathing was measured (right). Among the artifacts retrieved
was a long musket (above) that may have belonged to one of
the Royal Marines aboard the ship.
26

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ARCHAEOLOGY March/April 2012

Parks Canada team pored over photographs and examined


glowing gold ultrasound images that showed timber from
the wreck scattered across the upper deck like matchsticks.
They sought and received the blessing for a more intensive
exploration of the wreck site from the 136 residents of Sachs
Harbour, an Inuvialuit (Inuit from the western Arctic) community on the southwestern tip of Banks Island, the closest
permanent community, some 125 miles away. In addition to
the underwater work to document the wreck, archaeologist

We had not really envisioned the number of artifacts that


were visible and exposed on the deck. So, basically, we had to
improvise, says Bernier.
Someone ripped the lid of a large black storage case o its
hinges to use as a cradle to lift a bent and corroded musket
from the frigid waters. A large food cooler was loaded with a
shredded, twisted, oxidized sample of the copper sheathing
used by the British navy to reinforce their Arctic fleet for contact with icebergs. To protect a fragile rectangle of encrusted
felta novel addition to Investigator that was intended to keep
the ship watertightHarris fashioned a cover out of absorbent
chamois, ripped up an old black T-shirt to place underneath it,
and sandwiched the artifact between floorboards taken from
the boat that had shuttled them between land and the wreck.
The artifacts then made a more than 4,000-mile journey, by
helicopter, Twin Otter plane, and commercial airliner, to the
Parks Canada conservation lab in Ottawa, where they are being
conserved and studied today.

for McClures Arctic


odyssey, according to diaries and other accounts written
by McClure and his crew. In January 1850, Investigator
MPROVISATION WAS ALSO CRITICAL

On this map of the western


Canadian Arctic (above), the red
line follows Investigators path as
it sailed into Prince of Wales Strait
and then backtracked around
Banks Island to Mercy Bay. The
green line shows the crews course
out of the Arctic after rescue.
Investigator crewman Lieutenant
Samuel Gurney Cresswell painted
the ice-bound ship (right).

Henry Cary led a land-based survey


and excavation team of Inuvialuit
archaeologists, conservation ocers, and park sta. It fell upon
Cary to shuttle the 8,820 pounds
of equipment up to the 74th parallel,
including tents, a three-week sup-ply of food, two boats, diving gear,,
compressors, recording equipment,,
surveying tools, and 20 barrels forr
collecting fresh drinking water.
d
The archaeologists came prepared
b they werent
for delays, nasty weather, and polar b
bearsbut
prepared for the number of artifacts that needed recovery.
Harris, Bernier, Cary, and their crews had packed cameras,
lasers, and measuring tapes to document the sites but fewer
items to help them retrieve, excavate, or transfer artifacts.
Recovering the wrecks finds quickly used up their small toolkit for stabilizing artifacts: foam padding, tongue depressors,
and gauze bandages.
www.archaeology.org

ocers,
and the o
cers, sailors, and
marines on board
b d set saill from Devonport, England.
l d But the
ship lagged behind its traveling companion, HMS Enterprise,
which cleared out resupply ports along the way. In Honolulu,
McClure heard rumors that his mission would be called o if
he continued to fall behind. So he made a gamble, abandoning
the traditional 60-day route into the Arctic, and followed an
untested course due north through the gauntlet of the Aleutian
Islands. He trimmed a month from his journey.

vk.com/englishlibrary

27

McClure pushed into the Prince of Wales Strait, which


separates Banks and Victoria islands, and then set o with a
six-man crew across the ice on a sled, hoping to find a path
through to the Northwest Passage. After days of travel, on
October 26, 1850, his team spotted open water (now known as
McClure Strait), and well-known Melville Island beyond. This
was it: the Northwest Passage. But actually navigating the ship
there would prove much more dicult. After McClure and his
crew spent a winter stuck aboard Investigator in the Prince of
Wales Strait, on the southeast side of Banks Island, McClure
doubled back to circumnavigate the island in search of the
open water he had seen from the sled. By the end of the summer of 1851, McClure had sailed into the strait that now bears
his name and reached the Bay of Gods Mercy (now Mercy
Bay) on the north side of Banks Island, in the middle of the
Northwest Passage. In the bay, ice set in and did not give way.
Almost immediately, the men were put on two-thirds
rations, though they found deer and Arctic hare to hunt on
shore. In the spring of 1852, McClure sent a sled team to seek

assistance on Melville Island, but they found no provisions or


sign of rescue. They left a message in the hope that search parties might visit there. Both health and spirits began to wane,
but there were a few reasons for optimism. As the ships supply
of venison was depleted, Sergeant John Woon (later decorated
for valor on the mission) felled two musk oxen647 pounds of
fresh meat. And as the symptoms of scurvy started to appear,
they discovered a stash of wild sorrel and prepared salads to
push back the disease.
This was a totally alien landscape to them and yet, at the
same time, men at least 10 or 15 years younger than me had
been to India, Australia. They had sailed all over the world. So
the idea of a new landscape was nothing unusual for them,
says Cary, who is 35. But I think being stuck there would have
played on their emotions.
McClure watched his men grow sicker and weaker. In
September 1852, losing hope, he devised a plan to send half
the crew away for a better chance at rescue, while he and
the remaining 30 would wait in Mercy Bay for another year
An underwater
archaeologist floats beside
the Investigator wreck.

28

vk.com/englishlibrary

ARCHAEOLOGY March/April 2012

before abandoning the ship. At the same time, unbeknownst


to McClure, HMS Resolute, another British polar ship,
had arrived at Melville Island and had found the message
McClures crew left earlier that year, outlining Investigators
predicament and position. It was the first word anyone had
received from McClure in years and reason enough to send
a search party to Mercy Bay.
On April 7, 1853, as McClure prepared to send his teams
out in search of help, the first of Investigators crew succumbed to scurvy. McClure and his first lieutenant walked
along the shores of Mercy Bay, trying to figure out how to dig
a proper grave in the permafrost for Boatswain John Doyle.
In the distance, they saw what McClure later described as an
image of one of his own men being pursued by a bear. As the
apparition approached, it took on the shape of Lieutenant
Bedford Pim of Resolute.
The heart was too full for the tongue to speak, McClure
later wrote.

Cary was examining not only what materials McClures men


brought to the north and stashed, but also what items were
taken (or left behind) by Inuits who later mined the cache for
clothing, or materials for hunting and cooking.

JULY 2011, HELICOPTER


malfunctions kept Bernier,
Harris, and the final load of
equipment from reaching Mercy
Bay for three days. For Harris,
the logistical challenges were
frustrating. For Bernier, they
were agony. He had sat out the
2010 trip when Investigator was
first discovered, so he was dying
for a look at the wreck. A second
aircraft was called in and finally
got everyone and everything
to camp. Harris and Jonathan
Moore, a British-born underwater archaeologist, slipped into the
water above Investigator for the
first time at 10:22 p.m. to assess
the site, check for safety hazards,
and decide what could be done.
In 2010, the water had been crystal clear, so the wreck was visible
from the surface. This time the
water was hazy and murky, perhaps because of heavy runo from the melting snow and ice.
The two divers could see only 10 or 15 feet in front of them.
As we proceeded toward the hull, it gradually started to
loom out of the haze, Harris says. Its really an exceptional
shipwreck to behold, just sitting in this stately fashion, upright
on the sea floor. Its been heavily impacted by ice grinding
down on top of it over the years, but its held together impressively well. Its quite majestic.
While the divers explored the wreck, Cary led the search
for remains of the McClure expedition on land. In 2010, his
team had found a depot of supplies, known as McClures cache,
which the crew left on the shore of Mercy Bay as an insurance
policy for waylaid sailors like themselves. In studying the cache,
N

www.archaeology.org

Archaeologists documented and excavated terrestrial


sites, including McClures cache (top), where the crew
stashed supplies, and a stone cairn (above) that the
crew erected as a signal for passing ships.

The itemized list that McClure left at the site states there
were seven pairs of boots in the cache. Of those, the soles of
six pairs of those boots were left behind, unused by visiting
Inuits. This suggested to Cary that the soles were of no practical use to the Inuit. By contrast, cans appear to have been
coveted. Joe Kudlak, an Inuit patrolman with Parks Canada,
found a tin can believed to have originated with Investigator
a few miles south. An identical specimen was found at a kill

vk.com/englishlibrary

29

Archaeologists retrieved a double-sheave pulley from the ships rigging. An X-ray of the artifact reveals the British broad arrow
stamped onto the spokes of both of the pulleys brass sheaves.

site for musk oxen 15 minutes away by helicopter. Still others


have been found cut up and refashioned by Inuit into blades
and other cutting tools that incorporate bones, antlers, and
other more traditional Inuit materials.
Cary also used the writings of Johann Miertsching, a Moravian missionary who had spent time with Inuit in Labrador and
was part of Investigators crew, to locate the whalebone remnants of a Paleoeskimo camp site dating back 2,500 years. A
new translation of those writings, plus a magnetometer, which
measures magnetic fields, also helped the team in 2010 find
the graves of the three crew members who died at Mercy Bay.
The bodies of John Eames, John Boyle, and John Kerr were
all found lying in a north-to-south line facing east, in keeping
with the Anglican tradition. Because of the permafrost, the
earth at the graves was still raised. The graves might have been
dug and filled in yesterday, Cary says, underlining for him the
power and permanence of the Investigator story.
It hasnt changed in 150 years. When youre standing at
McClures cache, the landscape that the men of Investigator
would have looked out at from the ship and from the shore is
exactly the same. Theres been absolutely no change whatsoever, he says. And when youre at the Paleoeskimo site, you
realize theres been no change for 2,500 years.
In the 2011 field season, Cary and his crew strapped a
high-resolution digital camera to the bottom of a helicopter
and photographed the area with the goal of testing the accuracy of a topographic map made in 1853 by Stephen Court,
the second master aboard Investigator. They also collected
several terrestrial artifacts, including the head of a barrel
believed to have belonged to the British military and a quartz
knife made at the Paleoeskimo site.
It was just sitting there, Cary says of the discovery.
They also recovered a large bell-shaped iron truss, first
located decades ago, that is believed to have supported Investigators topsail. It was found on the beach, buried under loose
rock on the shore. No one knows how it got there, but the
clamp section, once round, is now ovala testament to the
crushing power of Arctic sea ice.
30

N THE OTTAWA LABORATORY where the materials recov-

ered so far are being studied and analyzed, other rich


stories of McClures era and his adventures are emerging.
The bent, broken, and corroded musket, for example, likely
belonged to one of eight Royal Marines aboard the ship. The
iron, copper, and wood specimen is still soaking in a bath of
deionized water months after being recovered, but its in good
enough shape to see the markings on the butt plate.
1842, we believe, is the likely date of manufacture,
according to Harris.
Its kind of worn, says Parks Canada conservator Flora
Davidson, who runs the chemical baths used to remove the
saltwater from the artifacts and preserve the metals. Also
visible is the marking W&D, which the researchers believe
shows that the owner of the gun was posted to the Woolwich
Division of the Royal Marines, stationed at the Woolwich
Dockyards in London.
Possibly, the record might exist to attribute this particular
weapon to an individual, which makes it kind of exciting,
Harris says.
Each piece of copper sheathing axed to the hull of
Investigator is marked not only with its place and date of
production, but also with a broad arrow, showing it to be
property of the British navy. The same arrow shows up on
fasteners, bolts, and the tiniest tacks, as well as on X-rays of
a wooden rope pulley that Bernier raised from the wreck.
Initially, the pulley was covered in mud, but after some
cleaning, the archaeologists noticed that it also contained
several strands of cord. The lab showed that the cord
contained not just hemp, which was the primary choice of
material for rope back then, but also woolRogues Wool,
to be precise. They believe the fabric, now a muddy brown
color, was originally red, identifying it as the ocial rope
of Londons Deptford Dockyard.
Also in the lab, in a shallow basin, is what Harris refers to
as a potentially one-of-a-kind artifact. Soaking in water in
the basin is the gray, rectangular sheet of thick, coarse felt,
stained with bright orange patches of rust and little bolt

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ARCHAEOLOGY March/April 2012

holes. Harris black T-shirt, brought into service as a protective pad, peeks out from beneath it. The material is not
unlike todays felta pressed textilehowever, this sturdy
stu would have been used to waterproof ships. There are
stories of damaged vessels limping back to England only to
discover that their felt was all that had been keeping them
afloat. Drawings of Investigator show that the felt was placed
beneath the wood on the upper deck and all along the reinforced hull. This is a rare find, as few similar samples from
the period have been discovered or preserved.
Under the microscope, the felt yields a particularly Canadian surprise. It is woven from the guard hairs of beaver
peltsknown for their water resistant qualitiessuggesting that at least one North American pelt had made a round
trip to England and back again. Now the team at the Parks

HE IRONIES OF INVESTIGATORS tale are that what began


as a rescue mission required a rescue of its own, and that
the expedition eventually achieved the tasks that had
been set for Franklin and the now-lost HMS Erebus and HMS
Terror (for which Parks Canada is also searching). However,
Franklin and those earlier lost ships have long overshadowed
McClure, his crew, and their accomplishments. The 55 members
of Investigators crew who returned home to England received a
heros welcome and a 10,000 pound rewardhalf for McClure
and half distributed among the others. Despite their initial
acclaim, their eorts were largely forgotten. The Investigator
crew returned to a country that had largely tired of Arctic
exploration. It was felt that these expeditions had eaten up too
much time, too much money, and too many men. Perhaps a cold
death might have secured them more enduring fame.

Archaeologists from Parks Canada, on the shore of Mercy Bay,


examine the felt sheet recovered from the Investigator wreck
site. A rare artifact, the hearty fabric was applied along the
inside of Investigators hull and beneath her upper deck to
insulate the vessel and make her more watertight.

McClure and his crew, however, understood their achievement. It is known that while stuck in the ice, they celebrated
every October 26 (when McClure first saw the strait now
named after him) as the day that they had discovered the
Northwest Passage. Whats more, because they had entered
the Northwest Passage from the west and were rescued from
the east, those men were the firstby ship, foot, sled, and ship
againto make it all the way through the legendary northern
route between the oceans.
Our goal, Harris says, is to remove Investigator from the
margins of history.

Canada lab is looking into how the textile was producedby


hand or machineand examining the properties that made
it so well suited to service in the Arctic.
Not too many of these have been found, so were, in a way,
breaking new ground and asking questions that have never
been asked before, says Bernier.
Yeah, Davidson interjects. You keep on bringing in
these strange things, and when I consult my colleagues, they
just say, Good luck with that.
www.archaeology.org

Allan Woods is a writer and reporter at the Toronto Star. For


video of the Investigator wreck and a slideshow of paintings of
the ship, go to www.archaeology.org/investigator

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31

New Life
for the
Lion Man
Using recently uncovered fragments,
archaeologists may be able to
nally piece together one of the
worlds oldest works of art
by Jarrett A. Lobell

N AUGUST 25, 1939, archaeologists working


at a Paleolithic site called Stadelhole (stable
cave) at Hohlenstein (hollow rock) in
southern Germany, uncovered hundreds of
mammoth ivory fragments. Just one week
later, before they could complete their fieldwork and analyze the finds, World War II began. The team was
forced to quickly fill the excavation trenches using the same soil
in which they found the ivory pieces. For the next three decades,
the fragments sat in storage at the nearby City Museum of Ulm,
until archaeologist Joachim Hahn began an inventory. As Hahn
pieced together more than 200 fragments, an extraordinary
artifact dating to the Aurignacian period (more than 30,000
years ago) began to emerge. It was clearly
a figure with both human and animal
characteristics. However, only a small
part of the head and the left ear had
been found, so the type of creature it
represented remained a mystery.
Between 1972 and 1975, additional
fragments from excavation seasons
in the 1960s, which had been stored
elsewhere, and still others picked up
from the caves floor, were taken to the
museum. Yet it took until 1982 for paleontologist Elizabeth Schmidt to put the
new pieces together with Hahns earlier
reconstruction. Schmidt not only corrected several old errors, but also added
parts of the nose and mouth that made
it clear that the figurine had a cats head.
Although the artifact is often called

32

Lowenmensch (the lion man), the word mensch is not specifically male in German, and neither the gender of the animal nor
of its human parts is discernible. Five years later, to conserve
the figurine, the glue that held it together was dissolved. It was
then carefully put back together, revealing that only about two
thirds of the original had actually been recovered.
This changed in 2008, when archaeologist Claus-Joachim
Kind returned to the site at Hohlenstein. Kind removed
the old backfill from the hastily concluded excavation of
1939. Over the next three years, Kinds team found several
hundred more small mammoth ivory fragments. In 2009,
when we found the first ones, it was a huge surprise, says
Kind. But this is exactly the spot where the fragments of
the figurine were originally found, so I
knew right away that some belonged to
the lion man. It had clearly been damaged during the earlier excavations. Only
the larger pieces were collected and the
smaller ones left behind, he adds. Kind
was able to fit several of the new pieces
to form part of the back and neck, and a
computer simulation of the lion man was
created, showing the placement of several
more previously unattached fragments.
At the end of the 2011 season, all the
backfill will have been removed. There
will be no more pieces left, says Kind.
We hope that the lion man will finally
be complete.

vk.com/englishlibrary

Jarrett A. Lobell is executive editor at


ARCHAEOLOGY.
ARCHAEOLOGY March/April 2012

For more than 70 years, archaeologists


have been piecing together the lion
man out of mammoth ivory fragments
unearthed in a southern German cave.
The figurine (right) is currently on
display in the City Museum of Ulm, in
Germany. New pieces are being fitted
onto the back of the figurine (left).
Digital images (bottom, left and right)
are helping archaeologists envision
the way the figure will look when it is
complete. Newly found fragments (red)
and ones found previously that have
never been placed (green) are shown
as they will be fitted during a complete
restoration this year.

www.archaeology.org

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33

Searching for the source of


one of the citys greatest
engineering achievements
by Rabun Taylor

EW MONUMENTS THAT survive from antiquity better represent Roman pragmatism,


ingenuity, and the desire to impress than
the aqueducts built to fulfill the Romans
seemingly unslakable need for water.
Around the turn of the second century
A.D., the emperor Trajan began construction on a new
aqueduct for the city of Rome. At the time, demands
on the citys water supply were enormous. In addition
to satisfying the utilitarian needs of Romes one million
inhabitants, as well as that of wealthy residents in their
rural and suburban villas, water fed impressive public
baths and monumental fountains throughout the city.
Although the system was already sucient, the desire
to build aqueducts was often more a matter of ideology
than absolute need.
Whether responding to genuine necessity or not, a
new aqueduct itself was a statement of a citys power,
grandeur, and influence in an age when such things
mattered greatly. Its creation also glorified its sponsor.
Trajanprovoked, in part, by the unfinished projects
of his grandiose predecessor, Domitianseized the
opportunity to build his own monumental legacy in the
capital: the Aqua Traiana (Aqueduct of Trajan in Latin).
The aqueduct further burnished the emperors image
by bringing a huge volume of water to two of his other
massive projectsthe Baths of Trajan, overlooking the
Colosseum, and the Naumachia of Trajan, a vast open
basin in the Vatican plain surrounded by spectator seating for staged naval battles.
Upon its completion, the Aqua Traiana was one of the
11 aqueducts that, by the end of the emperors reign, carried hundreds of millions of gallons of water a day. It was
also one of the largest of the aqueducts that sustained
the ancient city between 312 B.C., when Rome received
its first one, and A.D. 537, when the Goths besieged
the city and reportedly cut every conduit outside the
city walls. At the time of its dedication in A.D. 109, the
Aqua Traiana ran for more than 25 miles, beginning at
a cluster of springs on the northwestern side of Lake
Bracciano before heading southeast to Rome. However, for all the aqueducts importance to the city, its
sources and the architecture that marked them have
eluded archaeologists despite centuries of searching.
Now, thanks to an unusual set of circumstances that
preserved them, the Aqua Traianas sources are being
brought to light at last. And for the first time, a wellpreserved, monumentalized aqueduct source associated
with a Roman aqueduct has been identified.

34

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ARCHAEOLOGY March/April 2012

Romes Lost
Aqueduct

Archaeologist Katherine Rinne


stands beside a large ancient
Roman springhouse that may
belong to the lost Carestia
spring, one of the possible
sources of the Aqua Traiana.
www.archaeology.org

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35

A team, including (from left to right), filmmakers Ted and Mike


ONeill, and archaeologists Rabun Taylor and Katherine Rinne,
is trying to pinpoint the Aqua Traianas source. The emperor
Trajan issued a bronze sestertius with his likeness (obverse)
to celebrate the aqueducts completion. The reclining god
(reverse) represents the aqueduct, and the arch suggests the
grottos at its sources.

aqueduct. These ancient remains were built in a style characteristic of the second century A.D., with concrete walls faced
with either brickwork or opus reticulatumstone squares set
in a precise diagonal grid. Both above- and belowground, the
water channel was vaulted with plain concrete and lined below
the vault with opus signinum, a cement that
the R
Romans had used for centuries
to waterproof floors, cisterns, and
aq
aqueducts. By contrast, the parts
o
of the Acqua Paola still flowing today show no evidence of
in
aancient masonry. In fact, a coating of modern cement entirely
in
ob
obscures what may lie in the walls
unde
underneath. The best evidence for
the mar
marriage of old and new is in the
dead sectors of the Acqua Paola, remote branches that no
longer contain water and have been mostly ignored by scholars
looking for evidence of the Aqua Traianas sources. In the nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, the landscape around
Lake Bracciano consisted of more open pasturage than todays
dense thickets that cover fiercely guarded private lands on the
lakes slopes. But even then, sustained searches yielded few

N 2008, DOCUMENTARY filmmakers Ted and Mike ONeill


began a project to reinvestigate Romes aqueducts. The
ONeills started to review the
existing scholarship on the aqueeducts and their sources. To these
ese
self-described archive rats, the results
werent at all satisfying. Scholars had repeatedly ignored or
misinterpreted valuable evidence from descriptive documents
dating from the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries
for example, Carlo Feas History of the Waters of Rome of 1832.
Soon, the Aqua Traiana became the focus of their research,
since they knew it had enjoyed an extensive revival centuries
after its construction. During the Middle Ages, the aqueduct
had fallen into ruin. In the early 1600s, Pope
Paul Van ambitious builder much like Trajan some 1,500 years before himundertook
Acqua Paola Bridge
construction of a massive new aqueduct. At
Aqua Traiana Bridge
that time, some standing remains of the Aqua
Hybrid Duct of Traiana/Paola
Traiana were probably still visible here and
Roman Cistern
there in the countryside. Many of the original
Roman Bath
TREVIGNANO
springs were still flowing. And it may have
ROMANO
been possible to locate buried sections of the
Santa Fiora
aqueduct by following its path underground.
The pope tasked his engineers with locating
Trajanic Bricks
the still-flowing springs, buying the land on MANZIANA
which they were located, and connecting them
to the planned aqueduct. Once again, waters
LAKE BRACCIANO
Hybrid Duct of
were brought to Rome from the slopes above
Traiana/Paola
PISCIARELLI
Lake Bracciano, this time under the name
BRACCIANO
Acqua Paola (Pauls Waters in Italian). Despite
the popes public assertion that he had relied on
ANGUILLARA
SABAZIA
the sources and remains of an ancient aqueduct
Legend
to build the Acqua Paola, nobody had ever been
Aqueduct
Hydrologic Feature
Continues to Rome
able to verify this claim, much less associate
Acqua Paola
Verified Aqua Traiana
the remains of the Renaissance aqueduct with
Unverified Aqua Traiana
those of any ancient aqueduct.
Verified Acqua Paola/ Aqua Traiana
0
2,000
4,000
6,000
8,000
Several above- and belowground sections of
Fosso
Meters
the Aqua Traiana are known today, but few of
them were directly incorporated into the popes A project map shows a portion of the aqueducts infrastructure and path.
Monte di Rocca
Romana

Oriolo
Romano

Fosso
dei Bagni

Fosso della
Calandrina

Fosso
della Fiora

Fosso Bocca
di Lupo

LAKE
MARTIGNANO

36

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ARCHAEOLOGY March/April 2012

Unlike the Aqua Traiana, substantial remains


of the Aqua Claudia, begun by the emperor
Caligula in A.D. 38 and completed by Claudius
in A.D. 52, still stand outside of Rome. The
aqueduct traveled for more than 40 miles
from its source and provided the city with an
ample water supply.

How a Roman Aqueduct Works

essentially man-made
streams conducting water downhill from the natural sources to the destination. To tap water from a
river, often a dam and reservoir were constructed to create
an intake for the aqueduct that would not run dry during
periods of low water. To capture water from springs, catch
basins or springhouses could be built at the points where the
water issued from the ground or just below them, connected
by short feeder tunnels. Having flowed or filtered into the
springhouse from uphill, the water then entered the aqueduct conduit. Scattered springs would require several branch
conduits feeding into a main channel.
If water was brought in from some distance, then care
was taken in surveying the territory over which the aqueduct would run to ensure that it would flow at an acceptable gradient for the entire distance. If the water ran at too
steep an angle, it would damage the channel over time by
scouring action and possibly arrive too low at its destination. If it ran too shallow, then it would stagnate. Roman
NCIENT AQUEDUCTS WERE

www.archaeology.org

aqueducts typically tapped springs in hilly regions to ensure


a sucient fall in elevation over the necessary distance. The
terrain and the decisions of the engineers determined this
distance. Generally, the conduit stayed close to the surface,
following the contours of the land, grading slightly downhill
along the way. At times, it may have traversed an obstacle,
such as a ridge or a valley. If it encountered a ridge, then
tunneling was required. If it hit a valley, a bridge would be
built, or sometimes a pressurized pipe system, known as an
inverted siphon, was installed. Along its path, the vault of the
conduit was pierced periodically by vertical manhole shafts
to facilitate construction and maintenance.
Upon arrival at the citys outskirts, the water reached a
large distribution tank called the main castellum. From here,
smaller branch conduits ran to various districts in the city,
where they met lower secondary castella. These branched
again, often with pipes rather than masonry channels, supplying water under pressure to local features, such as fountains,
houses, and baths.
R.T.

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37

traces of the older aqueduct. As recently as the


1970s, archaeologists from the British School
at Rome conducted an intensive survey of the
area. They were able to document previously
unknown fragments of the aqueduct, yet they
found no structures that could be identified
as marking a source.

FTER MONTHS OF SEARCHING through

archives, the ONeills realized that


scholars had been missing important
clues that could lead to sources of the Aqua
Traiana and perhaps even to some ancient
Roman architecture signaling their presence.
Although the post-Roman names of three
springsMatrice, Carestia, and Fiora, near the
town of Manziana, on the west side of Lake
Braccianoappear in reports written by the
Acqua Paolas engineers, it was always thought
that none of these springs had ever contributed to that aqueduct. The Santa Fiora spring
had been in constant use for decades by the
Orsini family, the dominant local landowners,
to power their profitable lakeside mills. But the
ONeills wondered if any of the three had also
supplied the Aqua Traiana almost 1,500 years
earlier. A few antiquarians in the 1700s and
1800s had claimed as much, but they had said
little to help later scholars identify the sources.
While a spring named Matrice exists
today, it has clearly been in use since preRoman times. The spring emerges from an
Etruscan irrigation tunnel called a cuniculus,
which dates to the sixth or fifth century B.C.,
but it bears no visible evidence of Roman
remains. Because the name Carestia is
unknown in the region today, the ONeills
focused on the Fiora as the possible source
of the Aqua Traiana. They knew that Pope Pauls engineers,
Luigi Bernini and Carlo Fontana, had measured the flow of
the Fioras water in the seventeenth century, and it had been
the most copious of all the springs in the region at that time.
After a quick glance at some maps, including the most recent
ones, they noticed a spot labeled Santa Fiora. To the ONeills
surprise, however, they could not initally find any detailed
description of this place anywhere, whether in modern or older
documents, so they resolved to find it for themselves.
Late in 2008, with the assistance of local ocials, the
ONeills gained entrance to the site called Santa Fiora, which
lies on a small farm at Manziana. What they saw, hidden
within a dense stand of trees, astonished them. Under a huge
overhanging fig tree, an almost perfectly preserved artificial
grotto peered out from the hillside. Just up the hill, they saw
traces of a structure that had once stood directly over it.
Subsequent visits to the archives would reveal that this was
a thirteenth-century church called Santa Fiora, dedicated to
38

An arch leading to the right-hand chamber at the Santa Fiora


springhouse (top left) has been walled in, leaving only a
small entrance near the crown. The right-hand chamber or
springhouse (top right) connects directly to the conduit of the
Aqua Traiana. One corner where the conduit exits the chamber
is rounded to assist water flow. Farther downhill, the conduit
(above) shows the variety of brickwork, opus reticulatum, and
waterproof cement used by Roman engineers.

the Madonna of the Flower. Although the church had a long,


well-documented history, it is almost unknown to scholars.
Church records appear in the archives of the Orsini family,
the local bishopric, and the hospital of Santo Spirito in Saxia
at Rome, which controlled the property from as early as 1238.
These documents contain a wealth of information about the
churchthat it was a hermitage, for example, and that it possessed a miracle-working portrait of the Virgin Mary. To judge
from ledges for lamps hacked into the walls, it would seem that
the hermits actually lived in the grotto itself.

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ARCHAEOLOGY March/April 2012

Although only the central chamber opens to the exterior,


the grotto is divided into three side-by-side chambers of different sizes and shapes, each having its own vault and light
shaft. Originally, broad archways pierced the walls dividing the
chambers. With the exception of a neatly preserved stone arch
across the front of the grotto, almost the entire structure was
made of ancient Roman concrete, brick, and mortar. Traces
of the original sky-blue fresco also remained on the vaults. A
niche centered in the back wall of the middle chamber would
have once held a standing statue. It was the focal point of the
entire original space and was clearly intended to inspire reverence in the visitor. Although the identity of the statue, which
does not survive, is unknown, the likeliest candidates are either
Trajan or the resident nymph representing the local waters.
On the wall directly above the niche is a Renaissance-era
stucco frame bearing the Orsini family symbol, a five-petaled
flower. The correspondence to the name Santa Fiora may be
coincidental because the church predates the presence of the
Orsini in this area, but the family would have made the most
of it. In fact, this frame probably enclosed a frescoed image of
the Madonna della Fiora, the wonder-working portrait of the
Virgin mentioned in parish records. These records report that
the fresco was gradually destroyed by humidity.
A surprise also lay in the third right-hand chamber, which
can be entered through a small rectangular door just below
the crown of the right arch. On the other side of the door, the
floor falls away to its original level, revealing a pristine Roman

springhouse. The rooms concrete vault also preserves traces


of the original blue fresco, along with a cylindrical light shaft
at the center, creating an impressive space that could have
been seen from the central chamber. Some distance along the
downhill tunnel, the brickwork changes to opus reticulatum,
the Aqua Traianas signature diagonal grid pattern of masonry.
At this point, the thick waterproof opus signinum lining also
begins. At the juncture of these two points, a large vertical
manhole shaft, now blocked far above, penetrates the tunnels barrel vault. According to the landowners, this sector of
ancient aqueduct was still serving Manziana until 1984yet
it has remained eectively unknown to archaeologists.
A 1718 map in the state archives at Rome represents Santa
Fiora as a modest church with cropland, an orchard, a courtyard, a well with a water-lifting device in an adjacent tree, and
a tiny hut near the access road. But not everything is quite as
it may seem on the map. The well, which is labeled well of
running water, must be the large manhole that penetrated
the aqueduct tunnel, with its water source being the aqueduct
itself. Today, the sturdy masonry hut, whose label reads hatch
for water going to Bracciano, is still in place near the road
fronting the property. Inside the hut, a stairway leads down
to the junction of the Aqua Traiana and a modern conduit,
perhaps dating to the eighteenth century, that was built for
the town of Bracciano. This conduit originates at another
nearby spring. For all his power, the pope could not convince
the Orisini family to hand over the Fiora.

A 1718 map of the Santa Fiora church and its surroundings indicates several remains of the aqueducts hydraulic system.
www.archaeology.org

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39

Little remains of a collapsed bridge of the Aqua Traiana (top)


in the ravine called the Fosso della Calandrina. A hybrid
sector (above right) of the Aqua Traiana has a 17th-century
vault and an ancient Roman floor and walls. The channel atop
a bridge of the aqueduct (above left) has fallen into a creek,
revealing its opus signinum interior.

2010, the team focused on identifying the lost source called Carestia, said to be near the
church of Santa Maria della Fiora. A 1716 map from the
Orsini Archives at the University of California, Los Angeles,
had provided an essential clue to its locationan isolated
aqueduct section, drawn northeast of the church, labeled
channel that captured the lost waters called the Carestia,
and that conducted them to the Fiora. Now knowing to
search in the dense forestland to the northeast, the team
soon identified another artificial Roman grotto that is nearly
the Santa Fioras equal in size and architectural conception.
Here, the vaulted ceiling has split, its cylindrical light shaft
neatly sheared in half. The top of a central statue niche peeks
out above the forest floor.
Most recently, the teams objective has shifted to the dead
branches of the Acqua Paolathose that have fallen into disrepair because they are too remote to maintain. Since these dead
sections are dry and sometimes even broken, they can reveal
N THE SUMMER OF

40

more about their construction history than the living branches, as they
can be examined in cross-section.
The team can even crawl along the
channels to look for ancient masonry.
It has become clear that little of the
Acqua Paolas conduit in these areas
was built from scratch. Instead,
the aqueduct was a hybrid that sat
directly on the remains of the Aqua
Traiana wherever possible. In the
southernmost branch of the Acqua
Paola, on a farmstead at Pisciarelli
(the colorful appellation for regions
that piss forth water), the team
found indisputable evidence that the
Aqua Traiana had already been there
15 centuries earlier. The lower sections of the conduit, and the manhole
shaft piercing it, are built in precise
alternating bands of Roman brickwork and opus reticulatum. Across
a remote ravine to the north, the
team also encountered two aqueduct
bridges. One, in the characteristic
style of the Acqua Paola, was intact
but dry. Yet just downstream, a massive riven chunk of the Aqua Traianas
bridge lay on its side, exposing its
opus signinum floor. Part of a Roman
arch teetered over the bank above.
Violent floods must have washed this bridge out long before
the popes engineers arrived, forcing them to build a stronger
bridge just upstream. About a hundred feet of undamaged
conduit along the bank revealed the same hybrid construction
as the Pisciarelli sectorthe floor, walls, and opus signinum
lining of the Aqua Traiana were reused wherever possible, and
new vaulting was applied where it was needed.
Despite the presence of the sources in the heart of Italy,
it is remarkable that they, and indeed many of the remains of
one of Romes greatest aqueducts, had eluded archaeologists
best eorts to find them. Yet the surprising discoveries from
the past few years are beginning to uncover a piece of Roman
history that has been ignored, misunderstood, and even
completely unknown since the Middle Ages. One part of this
history arose from a popes desire to elevate his stature and
emulate one of antiquitys great builders, even reusing some of
Trajans earlier aqueduct in the process. Another is the small
church of Santa Fiora, which reflects the desire to preserve
the holiness of the spring that once fed the Aqua Traiana. As
the ONeills search continues, there is no doubt even more
of this history will be revealed.
Rabun Taylor is associate professor of classics at the University
of Texas at Austin. For video of the Aqua Traiana project, go to
www.archaeology.org/aqueducts

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ARCHAEOLOGY March/April 2012

A rich assembly of metal artifacts from the site of Piedras


Marcadas in New Mexico reveals the location of a violent
episode during Francisco Coronados expedition.
Top row: piece of copper armor, belt or strap loop, the
tip of a belt or scabbard, piece of lead shot
Middle row: broken dagger tip, caret head nail, chainmail link, two crossbow bolt heads, ornate belt loop
Bottom row: needle, lead button

Coronados Deadly Siege


Hundreds of metal artifacts pinpoint the possible site of a bloody battle
between conquistadores and a Puebloan people
by Julian Smith

N A DIRT LOT FIVE miles from downtown Albuquerque, Matthew Schmader, the citys archaeologist,
kneels to examine a sharp flake of obsidian. This
could have been from a weapon one of the native
troops brought up from Mexico, he says, referring
to the sixteenth-century Spanish expedition led by
Francisco Vzquez de Coronado. Cars hum past on Coors
Boulevard, and a breeze ripples cottonwood leaves along the
Rio Grande River, half a mile east. If the weather is good,
and sometimes even if its not, chances are Schmader will
be hard at work in this city-owned property surrounded by
housing developments.

www.archaeology.org

The site is pretty much the most important thing that has
happened in the past 20 years relative to our understanding of
Coronado, Schmader says. The ground is littered with pottery
fragments and hundreds of red marker tags staked in the dirt.
Each tag represents a metal artifactthe tip of a crossbow bolt, a
broken bucklefrom Coronados 1540 to 1542 expedition. The
first major organized expedition into what is now the southwest
United States, it ended in fighting and failure, setting an ominous
example for future relations with the regions native inhabitants.
Schmader stands up, brushes his knees and smiles. It never
fails to amaze me every time Im here, he says. I feel like I
was handed a gift from the archaeology gods.

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41

Y MOST STANDARDS, THE

Coronado expedition was a


disaster. Conquistadores funded the venture themselves
for the modern equivalent of $30 million, hoping to find
more native civilizations as wealthy as the Inca and the Aztecs
to trade with or conquer. Coronado put up his wifes Mexican
estates as collateral. It was a massive undertaking: 375 European
soldiers, along with their porters, African slaves, wives and children, 1,200 to 2,000 Mexican soldiers, and more than 1,000
horses and 5,000 head of livestock.
In a little over two years, the expedition traveled from
Mexico City into southeast Arizona, across New Mexico, and
on to central Kansas before turning around, a round trip of
almost 4,000 miles. They encountered thriving native cultures but found nothing like the fabled Seven Golden Cities
of Cibola, which were rumored to exist on the Great Plains.
Much of the expeditions exact route is still a mystery.
There are only five major confirmed Coronado sites: four in
New Mexico, including Piedras Marcadas, and one in Texas.
The numerous written chronicles of the journey are often
contradictory or vague regarding names and descriptions, and
it can be hard to isolate artifacts from Coronados party among
centuries of later Spanish activity.

42

An archaeologist sifts dirt in search of artifacts at the site of


Piedras Marcadas. Most of the sites artifacts have been found
on the grounds surface.

The expedition spent about 14 months living in the pueblos along the northern Rio Grande of New Mexico. At least
a dozen pueblos, collectively called Tiguex (TEE-wesh),
occupied the wide valley between the Sandia Mountains and
the volcanic escarpment across the Rio Grande, where the
cities of Albuquerque and Bernalillo are today. It was the
most fertile, prosperous, and densely populated region the
Coronado expedition had seen yet and had been occupied
for more than 500 years. Details of the inhabitants lives
were recorded in a letter sent back to Coronado by a group
of advance scouts.
The people seem excellent, more like farmers than warriors. They
have much food: corn, beans, melons, and [turkeys] in great abundance.
They dress in cotton, [bison] hides, and long robes made of [turkey]
feathers. They wear their hair trimmed short. It is the old men who
have most authority among them.

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ARCHAEOLOGY March/April 2012

ELATIONS

friendly at first. But


since the interlopers
had come from the tropics,
they were unprepared for
the Rocky Mountain winters,
and they soon wore out their
welcome with demands for
food, clothing, and shelter.
During the winter of 1540 to
1541, the expedition occupied
the pueblo of Alcanfor after
evicting its residents. Accusations of assaults on Puebloan
women were the final straw,
and in January 1541, the tribes
rose up in what came to be called the Tiguex War.
After several one-sided skirmishes, according
to Spanish chroniclers, the Puebloans barricaded
themselves in the strongest pueblo, called Moho,
and abandoned the others. During a two-month
siege, Coronados soldiers tried numerous times to
take the village by force. The chronicler Pedro de
Castaeda de Njera, who was on the expedition,
wrote that they threw down such quantities
of rocks upon our men that many of them were
laid out, and they wounded nearly a hundred with
arrows, several of whom afterward died on account
of the bad treatment by an unskillful surgeon....
When Moho finally fell, all the Tiguex pueblos
were abandoned. They were resettled after the expedition left,
but diseases brought by subsequent Spanish immigrants ravaged the region. Coronado returned to Mexico City bankrupt
and badly injured after a fall from his horse and was ocially
denounced for the abuse of natives during his expedition. He
never embarked on another and died in 1554.

RCHAEOLOGISTS HAVE known about Piedras Marcadas


since the 1920s, but it was in private hands until the
city acquired the land in 1988. Still, tribal representatives from the nearby pueblos of Isleta and Sandia identified it as an ancestral site and requested that no large-scale
excavations take place.
As Schmader leads the way across the site, its impossible
not to step on pottery fragments, as dense as a mosaic in places.
We estimate therere about 500,000 fragments on the ground
in just an acre or two, he says. Wide, low mounds ripple the
surface, none more than a few feet high. To see if these were the
remnants of adobe walls, in 2002, Schmader and others started
to map the site using electrical resistivity (ER). This consisted
of sticking two metal probes into the ground 18 inches apart,
then measuring the speed and strength of an electrical current
sent between them. The technique works well for locating
collapsed or buried adobe walls because of the contrast in
resistivity between the clay bricks and sandy soil. Schmader
pulls out a map of the site made from the ER surveys, showing

www.archaeology.org

A technique called
electrical resistivity has
been used to reveal the
outlines of the pueblo
walls without requiring
labor-intensive and
culturally sensitive
excavations.

WERE

three major sections of


room blocks surrounding
open plazas. Where the
signal is more muddled, he
explains, is where sections
with multiple stories collapsed, leaving larger piles
of bricks.
The first metal artifact, a wrought iron nail,
turned up on the surface in 2007. Schmader
immediately recognized
it as a sixteenth-century
artifact because of its
distinctive faceted caret
head. Richard and Shirley
Flint, who have written
or edited six books about
the expedition, confirmed
it as a probable Coronado artifact. Schmaders
team scanned the site with
metal detectors, making
multiple sweeps to make
sure they found everything. What they discovered astonished
them: more than 1,000 sixteenth-century metal artifactsmore
than in all other Coronado sites put together.
Along with nails, wire fragments, and pieces of copper
sheeting, they found personal items, such as copper aglets
(tips to clothing laces), broken belt loops, a link of chain mail,
a copper awl, cast lead buttons, and a finely made purse hinge.
Almost all the items were found on the surface or buried less
than three inches deep, satisfying the current-day Puebloans
request for no excavation. Then there were the weapons: 32
lead balls, some mushroomed from impact; a steel dagger tip;
and 21 copper crossbow bolt heads, many bent or broken out
of their wooden shafts.
By the 1540s, crossbows were being phased out in favor of
the arquebus, an early musket. The Coronado expedition carried both, but it was the only expedition known to use copper
bolt heads from metal mined in Mexico. (Spanish expeditions
from the 1550s to the 1580s used harder iron bolt heads, and by
the end of the 1500s, the arquebus had become the projectile
weapon of choice.) Isotopic analysis of the lead artifacts at Piedras Marcadas came back virtually identical to ones found at the
Coronado site in Texas. Theres really no dispute [that] this was
a Coronado site, Schmader says, and so far nobody has argued.

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43

becomes: Was Piedras


Marcadas the besieged pueblo called Moho? According to Schmader, it fits the description in several
key ways. It is the largest known Contact-period pueblo for
50 miles along the Rio Grande, two to three times as big
as the next largest village. He estimates that it had 1,000
ground-floor rooms and several hundred more second- and
third-story rooms, possibly 1,500 in all. The total population
could have been over 3,000.
Schmader thinks the wealth of artifacts at the site and
the way they are distributed suggests at least one large battle
took place. Many items are broken, including bullets and
bolt heads, implying they were used in combat. Since the
expedition was so far from home, its members had to carry
or make everything they needed. They didnt throw anything
away if they could help it, Schmader says. You walked 3,900
milesyou saved everything.
The artifacts appear to be concentrated outside the walls, as
if they were lost or broken during a struggle to enter. Schmader
walks to the south of what was the central roomblock and
points to a concentration of marker tags near the wall mound.
I think the Pueblo people barricaded themselves inside this
roomblock and fortified it. The Spanish attacked from south
to north, hurled themselves against the walls, but they couldnt
break through. Other apparent clusters of artifacts in the
southeastern corner of the central plaza and inside an aboveground kiva may indicate other areas of fighting.
The evidencesuggests that there is meaningful patterning
in the distribution of bolt heads and indeed of other artifacts,
HE OVERARCHING QUESTION

44

says Glenn Foard, a battlefield archaeologist from the University of Huddersfield, who has visited the site. I can see how
important this and other sites of the Coronado expedition
will be to advancing our understanding of the way in which
European technology of war was actually applied in the Americas. Charles Haecker of the National Park Services Heritage
Partnerships Program, who worked at the site in 2008, calls it
extremely significant for the same reason. It shows physical
evidence of how the Spanish conducted their methods of warfare: You get your enemies into an enclosed space like a plaza,
control the entries and exits, and slaughter them.
During the siege, the Spanish also diverted the spring that
supplied Moho with water. As Njera wrote in his chronicle,
The lack of water was what troubled the Indians most. They
dug a very deep well inside the village but were not able to get
water, and while they were making it, it fell in and killed 30
persons. For Schmader, the strongest evidence that Piedras
Marcadas is Moho is a large crater at the western side of the
central roomblocks plaza. Surrounded by dirt on three sides, it
measures 55 feet by 75 feet across and four to six feet deep. The
ceramic artifacts found in the piles of dirt around the crater are
the same age as undisturbed artifacts on the surface, suggesting
the soil was removed over a short period of time toward the
end of the sites occupation, between 1540 and 1600.
Archaeologist Matt Schmader sits at the bottom of an
excavation pit located inside what he believes may be a well
that collapsed, killing 30 peoplean incident mentioned in
Coronados expedition chronicles.

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ARCHAEOLOGY March/April 2012

Other Coronado experts disagree with


Schmaders assessment. Richard Flint points
out that two chroniclers describe Moho as
being en un alto, or on a height, which made
it hard to subdue. And it was close enough to
the river that some of the besieged Puebloans
slipped out at night, ran a short distance to
the Rio Grande, and tried to swim across.
[T]here were few who escaped being killed
or wounded, Njera recorded. Piedras Marcadas is half a mile from the river and barely
above the floodplain. Its some pueblo we
dont know from the documents is my guess,
Flint says, adding that the pit may have been
dug by ranchers or pothunters. In his opinion, the most likely candidate for Moho may
be an unexcavated mesa-top site near San
Felipe Pueblo, 30 miles north, called Basalt
Point, a smaller, more defensible location
thats closer to the river.
The question of matching Piedras Marcadas to a specific site mentioned in the
chronicles is important, says Clay Mathers
of The Coronado Institute, in Albuquerque,
who has helped interpret the sites artifacts.
Identifying one location makes it possible
to pinpoint others. For example, the pueblo
of Alcanfor, where the expedition spent five
months, is described as being three or four
leagues (about 12 miles) from Moho. A site
called Santiago sits on a blu above the river
about 11 miles northeast of Piedras Marcadas.
If Piedras Marcadas is Moho, then Santiago
is probably Alcanfor, Mathers says. On the
other hand, excavations in the 1930s at Santiago didnt turn up any residential debris, as
youd expect in a place the expedition occupied for so long. If Santiago isnt Alcanfor,
then thats one more argument that Piedras Marcadas isnt
Moho, Mathers says. Its kind of a domino eect.
The answer to the puzzle may lie at the bottom of the
mysterious crater. If it can be established as the collapsed
wellespecially if any bodies are unearthedthe argument
would be over. This summer, Schmader dug an eight-footdeep test pit in the crater, small enough to meet the current
Puebloans request for no large excavations. At the bottom, he
found an 18-inch-thick layer of adobe definitely derived from
the collapse of large adobe walls. Mixed in were pottery sherds
contemporary to the sites final occupation, from around 1525
to 1600. Schmader is digging two more test pits that have
produced evidence indicating that the original hole was dug
inside a square structure with parts of two walls missing. Many
similar villages had square kivas in their plazas, Schmader says.
My best guess is that they dug the emergency well inside a kiva
to hide their eorts from the Spanish, and it collapsed when
they undermined a wall.
www.archaeology.org

Pottery sherds (top) lay in dense clusters on the ground


surface at Piedras Marcadas, possibly indicating that a large
Puebloan population lived there. A researcher (above)
conducts an electrical resistivity survey in search of the
remains of adobe walls.

Dark clouds are gathering over the Sandia Mountains, and


a chill wind carries the first snowflakes of a late fall storm. It
looks like Schmader will have to wait until spring to finish the
last two pits. In the meantime, hes trying to secure funding
for more remote sensing and metal detector surveys. When
the artifact analysis is complete, the goal is to put the items
on display at the city museum. With any luck, the story they
tell will be deciphered by then. Its easy to map artifacts and
read documents, Schmader says. Its much harder to put it
all together in a way that makes sense.
Julian Smith is a contributing editor at ARCHAEOLOGY.

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45

The Pearl
Trade
Archaeologists excavating
on the shores of the Persian Gulf
search for what may prove to
be the source of the worlds
longest-lived economy
by Andrew Lawler

7,000 years, people have settled


along the shores of the Persian Gulf, in what
one scholar calls one of the most inhospitable
regions on the planet. Despite its lack of natural
resources, such as water or fertile soil, what the
Gulf region did have was the worlds most reliable source of fine pearls, until they began to be grown artificially a century ago. The long history of pearls and pearling in
the Persian Gulf was, as a result, largely forgotten due to the
collapse of the natural pearl industry in the early 1900s. Soon,
the region came to be known only for exporting oil, despite
the fact that some of the cities lining the Gulfs coast actually
owe their early origins to pearls.
The luminescent gems have been prized as a symbol of
luxury since antiquity. The ever-increasing demand for the tiny
spheres not only attracted people to the Gulfs Arabian shores,
but also provided the raw material for an economy that may
have been one of the most enduring in the world. Nearly all
that was known about the ancient pearling industry came from
scattered mentions in texts that date only as far back as the
fourth century B.C. However, archaeologists working at sites
from Kuwait to Oman are now discovering evidence of ancient
pearls, pearling, and the pearl trade. Because of this, they are
beginning to understand the role the gem played in the region
at Neolithic villages, Bronze Age centers, and wealthy cities of
the eighteenth century. Says Robert Carter, an archaeologist at
the University College Londons new campus in Doha, Qatar,
The societies of the Gulf were shaped by the pearl oyster and
trade from the earliest days.
OR AT LEAST

46

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ARCHAEOLOGY March/April 2012

The once-thriving 18th- and 19th-century


pearling center of Zubarah sits on the
northeast coast of Qatar. At its peak around
1800, the city was surrounded by a 1.5-milelong wall with 21 still-visible round towers and
had a population in excess of 5,000.

www.archaeology.org

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47

Excavations at As-Sabiyah in Kuwait


have revealed a Neolithic center,
including a workshop where pearls
were strung.

F COURSE, ONE DOES not have to go to the Persian Gulf

to find pearls. They grow in cold or warm water, salty


or fresh, in a wide variety of mollusks, and come in an
array of sizes and colors. They are found in such disparate locations as Scandinavian fjords and the Mississippi River. Some
of the largest come from the Pacific Ocean, while a number of
the most extensive beds are o the coast of India. What always
gave the Persian Gulf the advantage over competitors such as
India was a fortunate combination of quality and quantity. The
perfectly round white pearls we expect today are extremely
rare in nature. Typically, only one in 10,000 oysters holds this
type of pearl, says Hubert Bari, a French gemologist who has
studied pearls extensively. But according to Bari, round white
pearls are found twice as often in the Gulf as elsewhere. And
one oyster in 400 there may contain at least some kind of

pearlthe best odds on earth. While beds along the Indian


coast generally produced pearls only once every seven or eight
years, the Persian Gulf waters provided a more regular supply,
Bari notes, making these pearl oysters a more reliable resource.
The reason for this remains unclear but is likely linked to the
unusually warm, shallow, and highly saline nature of the Gulf.
Their rarity made pearls fabulously expensive in the ancient
world. The topmost rank of all things of price is held by pearls,
wrote the Roman historian Pliny the Elder in the first century
A.D. Cleopatra invited Marc Antony to attend a mealthe
ancient worlds most expensive feastthat cost the fantastic
sum of 10 million sesterces. When he was seated, the Egyptian
queen ordered a goblet filled with vinegar. She took one earring o, and dropped the pearl in the vinegar, and when it was
wasted away, swallowed it, reported a horrified Pliny. The
other earring is said to have been split and used as earrings on a
goddess statue in Romes Pantheon more than a century later.
The origin of pearls was a matter of mystery and conjecture
to ancient writers. Pliny claimed that pearls rose to the seas
surface and swallowed dew to achieve their luster and beauty,
while other authors suggested that lightning hitting an oyster
produced the gem. One of the first clear references to the
pearl trade comes from Androsthenes, a Greek geographer,
who circumnavigated Arabia at Alexander the Greats behest
in the fourth century B.C. Androsthenes referred to an unusual
Persian Gulf pearling spans centuries: A more than
7,000-year-old pearl excavated at As-Sabiyah (left) is the
earliest pierced pearl ever discovered. And both motherofpearl (far left) and pearls have been found in Zubarahs
19th-century marketplace.

48

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ARCHAEOLOGY March/April 2012

type of shellfish that produces a stone which is


very expensive throughout Asia and is sold in
Persia and other inland regions for its weight in
gold. Isidorus of Charax, a geographer, who lived
around the beginning of the first century A.D.,
described men on rafts bringing up shells from
the deep that produced large pearls.

Pearls were very popular in the ancient Roman


world. A second-century A.D. funerary portrait from
the Egyptian city of Antinopolis shows a woman
wearing impressive pearl earrings and a gem and
pearl necklace.

XCAVATED ANCIENT PEARLS PREDATING the

Roman Empire are nearly as rare as early


references. In addition, as archaeological
artifacts, pearls present great challenges. Their
small size makes them easy for excavators to miss
without careful sieving. They are also fragile and
can degrade rapidly in the ground. Like many
gems, pearls are often passed down in jewelry, and
the stones are sometimes reused over generations,
making them dicult to date. Unlike mining or pottery making, pearling leaves behind relatively few artifacts. As to the
historical record, the dicult job of gathering oysters from the
depths of the sea usually took place well out of sight of scribes
and all but the most adventurous ancient travelers. Apart from
a few tiny pearls found during excavations in Bahrain in the
1990s, there was almost no archeaological evidence of ancient
pearling in the area until recently.
That began to change a decade ago. Just north of Kuwait
City, on a flat and uninviting stretch of coast called As-Sabiyah,
30 miles from the Iraqi border, a team co-led by Carter was
exploring the remains of a shell jewelry workshop in a Neolithic village. Taking extra care to pick out all the beads and
worked stone, excavators uncovered a tiny pearl only one-fifth
of an inch wide, with a delicate incision. It probably would
have been missed in a normal excavation, Carter recalls.
Radiocarbon dating of organic material found with the
pearl placed the workshop at 5300 B.C., making the gem the
oldest one yet found in a dated archaeological context. At the
same site, the team also uncovered the remains of a reed boat
covered in barnacles. The two discoveriesthe oldest-known
seafaring vessel and the oldest-known pierced pearloered
preliminary evidence that the people of the Persian Gulf
had found a way of life that formed the basis of the regions
economy until the early twentieth century.
Since the discovery at As-Sabiyah, archaeologists have discovered a number of pearls at other ongoing excavations from
Kuwait to Oman. A Danish team uncovered two unpierced
pearls while working on the Kuwaiti island of Failaka, just oshore from As-Sabiyah, which likely date to around the second
millennium B.C. A pearl dating to about 5000 B.C. was found in
a grave in Umm al-Quwain in the United Arab Emirates, at the
eastern end of the Gulf. Farther east along the coast of Oman,
near the capital city of Muscat, three perforated pearls were
discovered still clasped in the hands of a recently excavated
fourth-millennium B.C. skeleton.
At Al-Buhais in Sharjah, a United Arab Emirate near Dubai,
Hans-Peter and Margarete Uerpmann, from Germanys Tbingen University, found a remarkable tomb, dating to around
www.archaeology.org

4500 B.C., in which a womans pearls were found


strung on a necklace. She also had a single pierced
pearl on her chin bone. The pearls were probably
gathered locally from the oysters that were part
of the inhabitants diet, says Hans-Peter. Like
Carter, Uerpmann suspects that pearling may
already have started to become a sophisticated
venture at this early time, when the first protocities in Mesopotamia were forming. The technologies for diving, such as [seaworthy] boats and
the use of diving weights, were certainly known,
he says. Reed and wood degrade quickly in this climate,
however, and dating the few ancient stone weights found
along the Gulf is dicult since they were often reused and
typically are not found in dateable contexts. Both Uerpmann
and Carter say that there are not yet enough data to prove a
thriving pearl trade existed, although intriguing evidence to
support their claims is being discovered. Fishhooks begin to
appear in trenches from this period, as do objects made of
mother-of-pearl. Tbingens Philip Drechsler, who is digging
at a Neolithic site on the Saudi Arabian coast, says that 90
percent of the shells his team finds are from pearl oysters.
If pearls were, in fact, being systematically gathered at
this time, as Carter and Uerpmann both suspect, the gems
may be associated with the oldest long-distance maritime
trading network in the ancient world. As part of that network, in exchange for pearls, Mesopotamian merchants
may have traded a type of pottery, first found at the site of
Al-Ubaid in modern Iraq. Colorful Ubaid pottery is found
at sites dotted along the Arabian shores of the Gulf, includIraq
Kuwait
City
As-Sabiyah

Iran
Kuwait

Persian
Gulf

Bandar Abbas

Manama

Bahrain
Gulf of
Bahrain
Riyadh

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Qatar

Saudi
Arabia

Zubarah

Musandam
Peninsula

Strait of
Hormuz

Doha
Abu Al-Buhais
Dhabi

United
Arab
Emirates

Gulf of
Oman

Muscat

Oman

49

ing As-Sabiyah. It may have been a novelty item to Arabians,


who are not known to have made pots before that time. Until
more Iraqi sites are carefully excavated, it is too early to say
for certain how pearls may have functioned in this network.
Several Mesopotamian tablets dating to the third and second
millennia B.C. refer to a coveted stone called fish eyes, which
may be a reference to pearls, although scholars do not agree
on the translation of this phrase.
What is certain is that by the Roman and Byzantine periods, the Persian Gulf was famous for providing pearls to the
rich and powerful in Rome and Constantinople, and then, later,
to Islamic courts in Damascus, Baghdad, and Isfahan. Though
texts throughout this long era indicate that Arabians practiced
pearling, a dearth of Roman-era burials in the area, coupled
with the Muslim tradition of burying the dead without jewelry,
leave a gap in the archaeological history of pearling. According
to some brief texts, the Sassanian Empire, which collapsed
with the coming of Islam in the seventh century A.D., sought
to control the pearling trade and its profits from its heartland
in Iran. They also mention that pirates made occasional raids
on ships carrying the precious cargo. By the eleventh century
A.D., texts claim sultans from eastern Saudi Arabia took half
the pearls found by divers in Bahrain. A century later, travelers of the time say Julfar, at the far eastern end of the Gulf,
was a major pearling center and that 300 pearl fisheries were
scattered across the region. By the time Columbus sailed to
America, Bahrain had emerged, perhaps not for the first time,
as the preeminent pearling center, with 1,000 boats at its
wharves and beaches.

trade took place on boats and


in small villages and encampments. In Bahrain,
evidence has been swallowed up by rapid urban
development. Thus, filling in the later years of pearling is
dicult. One promising project is the University of Copenhagens excavation of the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century
city of Zubarah, on the flat and arid northeast coast of Qatar.
There, Alan Walmsley and his deputy director Tobias Richter
lead 50 Western excavators and 60 South Asian and African
workers on a decade-long projectlavishly funded by the
oil-rich Qatari government, which plans to restore the site.
Since 2009, the team has been finding some of the first solid
archaeological evidence for the pearl trade, beyond just the
gems themselves, in the form of a once-thriving city.
The sandy peninsula on which Zubarah sits divides the
upper and lower Gulf. Even today, it seems an unlikely place
to settle. Water is scarce and barely potable. (Zubarah means
bitter water.) There are no trees. In summer, temperatures
frequently soar above 120 degrees, while in winter, a strong,
cold wind blows across the sea. Yet, for a few brief decades
starting in the late eighteenth century, the city was the largest, wealthiest, and most cosmopolitan settlement along the
Persian Gulf. Abandoned long ago, the ruined city is, today, a
vast field of lumpy mounds of soft limestone and a local beach
rock that quickly crumbles. But it is also the most complete
and best-preserved pearling town in the Persian Gulf. The
crescent-shaped settlement encompasses 150 acres facing
a sandy beach, protected on the landward side by swamp
and a massive wall. Within the confines are the remains of
mosques, a fort and palace, stately homes of rich merchants,
and humble huts along the shore. This was the Gulf s most
important trading hub, says Richter. Zubarah oers an
unparalleled opportunity to study one of the most intense
periods in the pearling trade.
An Arab chieftain founded Zubarah in 1762 as the waning
Persian Safavid Empire lost control over the Gulf. Arab tribes
eagerly stepped into the power vacuum. Set up as a tax-free
port, Zubarah rapidly attracted both pearlers and merchants
from as far away as Basra in todays Iraq. Despite the citys
prosperity, there are only fleeting mentions in historical
records and no known contemporary accounts of life in the
city. There is only a passing mention of an earlier Zubarah by
a 1638 chronicler, who writes of a sleepy port town with 150
houses and a motley assortment of 700 inhabitants.
Using satellite photos and on-site surveys, archaeologists
have identified more than 500 houses encircled by a stone
wall, which spans more than one-and-a-half miles, punctuated
by 21 round towersevidence of the city in its heyday in the
late- eighteenth century. A nearly 500-foot-square inland fort
was built to protect the citys only water source, and a wide
canal was dug to that site in order to load casks of water onto
small boats. Small date plantations nearby provided some
OST OF THE PEARL

One of the nine courtyards (left) that surrounds Zubarahs


large main palace, whose size and grandeur are an indication
of the citys power and wealth during its heyday.
50

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ARCHAEOLOGY March/April 2012

An excavator at Zubarah uncovers a rare


wooden pearling box used by merchants to sort
pearls by size, shape, and color.

foodstus for inhabitants and passing shipsdozens of date


presses have been found in the city. At its peak, around 1800,
Richter estimates that as many as 6,000 people crowded
Zubarahs houses, streets, marketplace, and beach.
Zubarahs boom years, however, were limited. Ultimately,
given the shallow harbor and the lack of fresh water, the city
wasnt sustainable, says Richter. The ambitious canal project
was never completed. Wealth attracted jealous rivals. Accounts
say a 1782 attack by resurgent Persians was repulsed. The
sultan of Muscat burned the city in 1811, and a British captain
records the site as a ruin in 1824. Richter says that excavations
confirm that rapid decline. The settled town suddenly contracted to one-fourth its size and population after the initial
swell. The site was eventually abandoned, but from the 1820s
until the 1990s, Qatar and neighboring Bahrain argued and
occasionally fought over who owned this stretch of coast. The
dispute left the site largely o-limits for archaeologists until
now. Only a few small excavations had been conducted there
until Richters project began.
Among the artifacts discovered so far is a pearlers boxa
wooden container holding smaller boxes to sort dierent
shapes and sizes of pearlsmore than a dozen stone diving
weights, and a number of massive boat anchors. Pearling
may have accounted for only a portion of Zubarahs trade,
but its location near some of the best pearling beds in the
region hints at the importance of the gem to the citys
economy. Carter notes that the demand for pearls emanating from places such as China and Europe began to mount
in the late eighteenth century, matching Zubarahs rise. The

Heavy weights, like these from Zubarah, were tied to pearl divers
to help them descend into the Persian Gulf to gather pearls.

Copenhagen team has also found postholes that likely mark


the huts and tents in which pearlers and fishermen lived.
The poorer houses were close to the beach, notes Richter.
And photos [of Qatar] from the early twentieth century
show similar palm-leafed dwellings in which more modern
Bedouin pearlers may have lived. By contrast, Walmsley
and Richter have also found properties far from the beach,
where wealthy merchants inhabited large compounds with
private courtyards. The excavation also shows that Zubarahs
residents enjoyed services such as organized garbage removal.
They also used public spaces, including squares and a spacious
marketplace, to socialize and conduct business, making it a
city more modern than medieval.
Although by the early nineteenth century Zubarah ceased
to be a player in the industry, the demand for pearls continued
to escalate with a growing class of Western consumers. This
was the pearling heyday for the Persian Gulf. By 1835, one
British traveler estimated that the Gulfs pearl trade was worth
400,000 British pounds. By 1900, there were 5,000 pearling
boats plying the Gulf, employing 30,000 men, and the value
of pearls shipped from Bahrain alone nearly matched what the
entire Gulfs production had been in 1835. A survey conducted
shortly after the turn of the last century found that a quarter
of the entire population was engaged in pearling.
The massive demand for pearls eventually prompted
Japanese scientists to develop a way to grow them without
having to fish them out of the sea in huge numbers. By the
1920s, high-quality white cultured pearls flooded the market.
The Depression was a second blow, and by World War II, the
Persian Gulfs great pearling industry had dried up. Oil soon
provided an even more lucrative resource, drawing settlers
and merchants to the Gulf once again, and renewing the old
pearling centers, which had fallen on hard times. Meanwhile,
Carter, Walmsley, Richter, and others continue to search for
the hidden history of pearls in a region where some of its major
citiesAbu Dhabi, Dubai, and Kuwait Cityhave skyscraperfilled skylines. The pearling centers are still there, says Carter.
But now they have become capitals.
Andrew Lawler is a contributing editor at ARCHAEOLOGY.

www.archaeology.org
h
l

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51

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LETTER FROM TENNESSEE

Forest litter conceals a shallow groove in


Cherokee National Forest in Tennessee
the Trail of Tears.

Return to the Trail of Tears


Excavations at the untouched site of a U.S. Army fort are
providing a rare look at the path along which thousands of Cherokee
were forcibly moved to Oklahoma

by MARION BLACKBURN
Long time we travel on way to new land.
People feel bad when they leave Old
Nation. Women cry and made sad wails.
Children cry and many men cry, and all
look sad like when friends die, but they say
nothing and just put heads down and keep
on go towards West. Many days pass and
people die very much.
A Cherokee account from The
Oklahoman, 1929, cited by John Ehle
in Trail of Tears: The Rise and Fall of the
Cherokee Nation, 1988

www.archaeology.org

ts easy to miss this subtle groove,


covered in pine straw and vines,
worn in the ground of eastern
Tennessee. In the summer of 1838,
about 13,000 Cherokee walked
this path from their homes in the
Appalachian Mountains to a new,
government-mandated homeland in
Oklahoma. They traveled over land
and water and were held in military
camps along the way. Unlike other
settlers heading west, who saw in
Americas open expanses the hope of
a new life, the Cherokee traveled with

vk.com/englishlibrary

a military escort. They left behind


highly coveted land that was, even as
they walked, being divided up among
white land speculators.
The Trail of Tears was a journey of
some 900 miles that took approximately nine months to complete.
After they were rounded up from
their villages and homes, the Cherokee were assembled in large internment camps, where some waited for
weeks before heading out in waves of
approximately 1,000, following dierent paths, depending on the season.
53

As many as 4,000 died along the


way from dehydration, tuberculosis,
whooping cough, and other hardshipsby some accounts, a dozen
or more were buried at each stop.
Some escaped along the way and were
caught and returned to the march like
criminals. Still others refused to leave,
hiding out in the mountains, joining
others on small farms where, stripped
of tribal connections and burdened
with unclear legal status, they faced
an uncertain future.
Despite all our historical knowledge of the forced removal, there
has been little study of the archaeology of the trail, the internment
camps along the way, and the farms
that sheltered those who stayed
behind. The military forts that held
the Cherokee in crowded, unsanitary conditions have been largely
consumed by development or otherwise lost. The homesteads back
East, where resistors lived under
constant threat of arrest, went
undocumented. Buildings, roads,
farms, and floods have claimed
almost all of these sites. In addition to a lack of material evidence,
there has long been an uneasy, even
contentious, relationship between
Native Americans and archaeologists. Through neglect and distrust,
this sad chapter has been at risk of
54

fading from collective memory, taking with it any chance to understand


the relationships between refugees
and soldiers, and cultural information about the Cherokee themselveswhat they carried, how they
traveled, why they died.
That now stands to change. In
eastern Tennessee, archaeologists are
excavating the site of Fort Armistead,
a U.S. Army encampment that served
as a holding area and one of the first
stops for North Carolina Cherokee
on their forced journey west. Hidden
deep in Cherokee National Forest,
the site has managed to escape the
damage or destruction that has visited nearly every other significant trace
of the trail and camps.
Fort Armistead lodged as many as
3,000 Cherokee over several months
in 1838. Today, the site sits on about
four acres of a mountaintop clearing.
It consists of foundation blocks,
collapsed piles of chimney stones,
trash pits, and window glassplus
an enigmatic stone pipeall settled
gently into the ground, covered by
only a thin layer of dirt, leaves, straw,
and moss. For four weeks in the summer of 2011, archaeologists from

the University of North Carolina at


Chapel Hill (UNC), the U.S. Forest
Service (USFS), and Lee University
in Cleveland, Tennessee, held the
fourth field season at the site. The
same archaeologists also have been
conducting excavations about 35
miles east, across the North Carolina
border, at the sites of long-forgotten
homesteads where fugitive Cherokee
found refuge and community.
Any [Cherokee] who came from
North Carolina came through here,
says archaeologist Brett Riggs, an
adjunct associate professor at UNC,
of the Fort Armistead site. We have
an archaeological site and records
that speak directly to it.

pindly hardwoods and pines


surround the clearing. The
archaeologists began their
efforts in 2006 at the invitation of
USFS officials, who had just purchased
the property from private owners.
Artifacts have been found throughout
the immediate area, but the main digs
of the 2011 field season focused on a
space at the northern end about the
size of two city buses. Exposed cut
stones set in powdery soil, chimney

Archaeologists Lance Greene and Duane Esarey (top) discuss the excavation of
Fort Armistead. Archaeology student Joseph Gamble (above) uses a fine brush to
remove powdery soil from the foundation of the quartermasters house at the site.

vk.com/englishlibrary

ARCHAEOLOGY March/April 2012

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The remains of Fort Armistead are


surprisingly undisturbed. Archaeologist
Bill Jurgelski is able to use an ordinary
vacuum to remove the fine layer of dirt
that covers much of the site.

blocks, and the remains of fire pits


compose what was once the barracks
area. Another foundation there probably supported the quartermasters
residence, and a pit across the site
likely served as a powder magazine.
You are right in the footsteps of the
Cherokee, says Quentin Bass, an
archaeologist with the USFS. [Fort
Armistead] is the only example of
a removal-era fort that essentially
hasnt been disturbed since the soldiers left. Its the dream for an
archaeologistto find an untouched
site to explore and preserve.
These undisturbed remains of
apparently substantial structures
suggest that the federal government
poured significant sta and resources
into the fort during its military occupation. Beyond the barrack foundations, in a sunny opening in the tree
cover, is a key public place, the forts
parade ground. Wide dirt roads lead
right and left beyond that, and a gentle slope leads down to a creek.
Fort Armistead was formally established in 1832, ostensibly to protect
local Cherokee from gold prospectors.
It was the only U.S. outpost in the
Cherokee Nation, whose land at that
time extended from western North
Carolina and eastern Tennessee south
through Georgia and into Alabama.
56

The fort was near a corridor that


already served as a major source of
cultural interaction, where dierent
tribes traded, especially the Cherokee
and the Creek (also known as the
Muscogee). Cattle and pig rustlers,
slave traders heading to South
Carolina, gold miners, trappers, and
hunters all came through along this
route, known as the Unicoi Turnpike. Indeed, soldiers stationed at
the fort often appropriated goods
(including whiskey) for themselves,
Riggs says. For the next several
years, the fort was irregularly staed
and maintained.
Prior to the Civil War, trade and
land speculation in the South often
put businessmen and speculators at
odds with Native Americans who
occupied the land they coveted. The
federal response to this problem
was the Indian Removal Act, which
passed by a narrow margin in 1830.
The law marked a monumental shift
for the young nation by ocially
claiming Native lands for its expanding population and farming needs.
The act granted the Natives money
and land in the West if they left their
homes in the South. To sell the act to
the public, the federal government
asserted that Native Americans were
primitive migrantshunter-gatherers

vk.com/englishlibrary

who would not be able to modernize.


It was also cast as a measure to protect Natives from more violent eorts
to claim the land on which they lived.
However, it clearly overlooked that
many tribes throughout the Southeast lived in villages and towns and
were adept pastoralists, farmers, and
entrepreneurs, with strong spiritual
ties to their lands. President Andrew
Jackson, a land speculator himself,
championed the controversial act and
stood to profit from it. In the ensuing
decades, the legislation stoked moral
outrage that also helped fuel the abolitionist movement.
The Cherokee fought eviction
through ocial channels, eventually
winning support for independent status from the U.S. Supreme Courta
decision that prompted Jackson to
say, [Chief Justice] John Marshall has
made his decision; let him enforce it
now if he can. Harassment, uncertainty, and eroding negotiating leverage ultimately fatigued the Cherokee.
In 1835, a minority Cherokee group
agreed to relocation, or removal,
under the terms of the Treaty of New
Echota. Deportation might then have
seemed a kind of escape. The treaty
included $5 million for the tribe,
along with compensation for the land
and possessions they abandoned.
The Cherokee, which white Americans called one of the Five Civilized
Tribes, considered themselves American and wanted to join the growing
country as participating members. In
1827, the Cherokee ratified a constitution modeled after the American
one. They also assumed some aspects
of American culture, in an eort to
acculturate and escape the fate they
had seen befall other Southeastern
tribes, such as the Choctaw, the first
tribe to move to the West in 1830, or
the Seminoles, who violently resisted
removal from Florida.
ARCHAEOLOGY March/April 2012

there would be a guerilla war in North


Carolina. The military was poised for
an eventuality that never happened.
There was no insurgency and little
resistance when the military began the
roundup of the Cherokee in June and
July 1838. Most of them gathered what
belongings they could and came together in their town squares or waited for
a soldiers knock on the door (though
some did seek refuge in the mountains).
Coming together as they accepted their
fate became a final act of preservation
for their families, communities, and values, Riggs says. They were trying to
promote the cohesion of their group,
he adds. They were making a political statement, a moral statement.
They believed very strongly in the
ideals of this country and the moral
imperative to treat everybody fairly.

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The Cherokee were trying to play


by American rules, says archaeologist Lance Greene, who worked with
Riggs at UNC and now works at the
Fort Armistead dig. They were forming their own national government.
A large part of the population had
converted to Christianity. They sang
Christian hymns as they were marching. Theres still an image of savage
Indians living in tepees, but maybe
the Cherokee, more than anybody,
made an attempt [to acculturate]. But
ultimately it failed.
Despite the apparent Cherokee desire to join instead of fight,
the federal government began a
military buildup in preparation for
what it assumed would become a
long, bloody conflict. As part of
this militarization, they reactivated

Chaco &
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Pueblo
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;=D7<5-

BOYS/@16/3=:=5G
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7Tg]cO`S[]dW\Ua]]\Q][^ZSbS
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Fort Armistead in 1836 and occupied it with soldiers who marched


there from Florida. By the summer
of 1838, more than 7,000 federal
and state troops were stationed
throughout the Cherokee Nationa
remarkably high concentration for
Americas nascent military.
What drove their idea of a protracted conflict in North Carolina
was the unanimous opposition to the
Treaty of New Echota and strong
activism to prevent its ratification,
and then to have it annulled, Riggs
says. There were rumors afoot that
www.archaeology.org

These stones, surrounding the remains


of a tree that grew through the site
later, comprise a fire ring at the
soldiers barracks at Fort Armistead.

For Cherokee living in North


Carolina, Fort Armistead was the first
stop outside their home state. It held
as many as 800 to 1,000 for stays of
two or three nights. These included
not only the Cherokee, but also those
traveling with them, including Creek
and African Americans, some of them
slaves. They continued on to a series
of other outposts (there were up to

vk.com/englishlibrary

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OP]dSO\R^`W\bg]c`\SeORR`SaaPSZ]e7[^]`bO\b(
ES [OYS ]c` [OWZW\U ZWab OdOWZOPZS b] QO`STcZZg
aQ`SS\SR ]`UO\WhObW]\a 7T g]c ^`STS` \]b b]
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57

30 forts or stops along the trail) in


Tennessee, including Fort Cass, the
main holding site, near present-day
Charleston, which was known for its
especially unbearable conditions. In
summer 1838, when drought made
river levels so low that a planned river
route became impossibleand heat
made an overland course deadlythe
march was delayed until fall, leaving
thousands of Cherokee to languish
there to face disease and death.

nce the Cherokee were


moved and soldiers left in
1838, Fort Armistead was
abandoned. From the Civil War period through the turn of the century,
the site was privately owned, until it
was purchased by the USFS in 2005,
and archaeological exploration began
the next year.
We poked around and realized
that, in fact, the site had never been
plowed, Riggs says, a common fate

58

for many archaeological sites in the


Southeast. Many of the anomalies
that we were seeing on the surface,
which I thought were small piles
pushed up by a bulldozer, were melted
chimneys and cellar pits that had been
filled in [by settling debris]. Riggs says
the site is in as nearly pristine condition as you find in the East.
When you start, you are immediately within an archaeological feature.
You have to approach it with kid
gloves from the outset, he adds.
The 2011 dig season, which also
included Bass and students from
Lee University, focused on several
large architectural features, primarily the quartermasters house and
the enlisted-mens quarters. The
foundation stones easily emerged
from the surrounding dirt, lying so
near the surface that in many cases
soil could be removed by vacuum.
The archaeologists discovered a surprising solidity and permanence to

vk.com/englishlibrary

these structures, suggesting a highly


organized and militarized approach
to the removal of the Cherokee. In
addition, the stone most likely was
brought from up to five miles away,
indicating extensive manpower was
likely needed for the construction.
The structure was even more
substantial than we thought, Greene
says. Its almost a solid rock floor. If
you have something that heavy, then
youre almost building it as a foundation for a cannon. But they didnt
have that firepower at the camp.
They may have overbuilt some of the
structures to keep the soldiers occupied. They must have had a stonemason who was skilled enough to do
(continued on page 64)
Archaeologist Lance Greene crouches
in the deep pit that once served as the
powder magazine for Fort Armistead.
A wooden floor, found at its bottom,
kept the explosive powder dry.

ARCHAEOLOGY March/April 2012

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ARCHAEOLOGY March/April 2012

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(continued from page 58)


that work. The stone is cut to make
very tight joints. Theyve done some
fine stone work.
The seemingly grand military scale
of the fort was not necessary to control
the Cherokee, the demeanor of whom
has been described as subdued and
orderly. The fort grounds ordinarily
used for drills may instead have served
as a sleeping and cooking area for the
internees. Direct evidence of Cherokee
at the fortor anywhere along the Trail
of Tears for that matteris vanishingly
rare. Yet one find at Fort Armistead
not only confirms the Cherokee presence in the area before their removal,
but also suggests what sort of artifacts
might be unearthed that could help
reveal how the Cherokee and the soldiers stationed there interacted.
The broken remains of a carved
stone Cherokee pipe were discovered
at the site of the soldiers barracks. The
pipe, which was probably discarded
before it was fully carved, was found in
a deposit with military regalia that date
it to a time before removal. So while it
says little about the experience of the
Cherokee as they were interned there,
it implies that before removal, you
had Cherokees coming in and hanging
around the fort, Riggs says.
To find evidence of their presence
is amazing, Greene adds. [The soldiers and Cherokee] are dealing with
each other on a face-to-face basis. It
brings up those questions, makes you
think about what happened on the
ground. How could you explain this?
Other finds in 2011 include ceramics, such as pearl ware, and glass dating
the site to the removal period. A faceted blue glass bead, from the 1820s or
1830s, emerged from the foundation
stones (and may, in fact, be of Cherokee
origin). Also, more than 4,200 distinct
metal objects have been documented.

he excavation and study of the


site of Fort Armistead is beginning to flesh out the story of
those who left. Now, the Cherokee,
whose capital is Tahlequah in eastern
Oklahoma, number some 300,000
64

High-tech security, including cameras


and motion detectors, has been
installed at the fragile and significant
site of Fort Armistead. The sites
location remains a secret.

comprising the United States second


largest tribal nation. But the small band
of Cherokee who stayed behind left
a smaller but still significant legacy in
southern Appalachia.
It is estimated that about 400
Cherokee remained in North Carolina
after the others were removed. They
hid in the mountains where, unable to
trade publicly, they found ways to survive by cooperating with one another.
They often lived together in homesteads, and the Eastern Band of the
Cherokee, which today numbers about
10,000, descends from residents of
those homesteads.
In Andrews, North Carolina, just
over the border from his work at Fort
Armistead, Greene is excavating a farm
once owned by John Welch, a Cherokee, and his white wife, Elizabeth.
After removal, the state took over
their land. John avoided relocation to
Oklahoma because of his marriage, and
Elizabeth repurchased the farm, where
they further defied the Indian Removal
Act, Greene says. There, they sheltered
about a hundred Cherokee refugees. At
the homestead site, Greene has found
bones of rabbit, deer, and small game
animals, such as songbirds. Among

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the food traces, there is a notable lack


of long bones, which Cherokee often
cooked and cracked open for the marrow. Greene says this is a significant
cultural markerthe family continued
many Cherokee practices. One of
the strongest signs of that is the food
remains, he says.
The Welch settlement and others,
perhaps hundreds yet undiscovered,
will help explain the dierent experiences and separate paths of the two
groups of Cherokee split by the trauma
of removal. In a broad sense, for all
Cherokees, the removal is a watershed
event, Greene says. Its tied to the
broader tribal history of tragedy and
trauma. It divided the tribe, but also,
he suggests, forged the resilience and
character of the modern Cherokee.

n 1987, Congress designated the


Trail of Tears National Historic
Trail, about 2,200 miles across
nine states. Fort Armistead is on the
trail and is a remarkably fragile site.
Hidden cameras, motion monitors,
and a high-tech security system protect it from looters and unauthorized
visitors. Among the visitors allowed
at the site are Cherokee from Oklahoma, whose ancestors surely passed
through the fort.
For archaeology student Beau
Carroll, a Cherokee who grew up in
western North Carolina, excavating
at the site of Fort Armistead allowed
him to experience a deeper connection with his past. He remembers his
late great-grandmother telling him
of being sent to boarding school, as
many Cherokee children were, where
she was instructed to follow white
American traditions. She cried when
she remembered it, he says. Working
at the site gave him an indescribable
feeling, a really sad feeling.
When Im working, the archaeologist in me gets really excited, says Carroll. I forget where I am. But then I
take a break and look at that trail, and
I cant believe what happened.
Marion Blackburn is a freelance writer
based in Greenville, NC.
ARCHAEOLOGY March/April 2012

www.archaeological.org

EXCAVATE, EDUCATE, ADVOCATE

Philadelphia Meeting Sets Attendance Record

Attendees of the opening-night lecture offered at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of


Archaeology and Anthropology gather at a reception given afterwards.

ore than , people


attended the 113th AIA/
APA Joint Annual Meeting
held in Philadelphia from January 5th
through the 8th, 2012, making it the
largest meeting in AIA history. The
four-day conference brought together
archaeologists, classicists, epigraphers,
heritage specialists, and members of
the public interested in learning about
the latest archaeological research and
discoveries. The program included
more than 60 sessions and symposia,
approximately 300 papers, and several
special events that dealt with a wide
variety of topics, including recent
eldwork in the Mediterranean and
Near East regions, ancient urbanism,
religion, architecture, and pottery.
The meetings inaugural event was
an outstanding opening-night lecture

entitled Uncorking the Past: Ancient


Ales, Wines, and Extreme Beverages,
presented by Patrick McGovern,
scientic director of the Biomolecular Archaeology Laboratory at the
University of Pennsylvania Museum
of Archaeology and Anthropology.
McGoverns long involvement with
the archaeology of fermented beverages has produced several publications on the manufacture and role of
spirits and other alcoholic beverages
in the ancient world. His preoccupation has also resulted in collaborations with a national brewery
to produce ales inspired by ancient
brewing recipes. The lecture and
ensuing reception were hosted by the
University of Pennsylvania Museum
of Archaeology and Anthropology.
There were special events, includ-

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ing a plenary on death and burial


organized by AIA president Elizabeth Bartman. The plenary, rst in a
series of programs that will examine
traditional archaeological topics
in light of new methodologies and
techniques, featured archaeologists
from across the globe and examined
death and burial in Hellenistic Etruria, medieval Italy, Mesoamerica, the
American Midwest, and California.
Other sessions at the meeting
focused on cultural heritage and the
importance of protecting resources,
especially in areas aected by conict.
A special workshop, sponsored by the
Site Preservation Committee, initiated a new project that will dene best
practices and produce a document
that can be used as a primer for those
interested in undertaking preservation and conservation initiatives at
archaeological sites.

In addition to the sessions for professionals, several programs, including


the 12th Annual Archaeology Fair,
were tailored specically for the general public. The AIA is committed to
public outreach and provides information and opportunities for members of the public to interact with
archaeologists and experience rsthand what archaeologists do through
programs like the fair. The event
65

Excavate, Educate, Advocate

Dispatches from the AIA

was held at the Franklin Institute


on January 7th and was attended by
an estimated 1,000 people. Fair participants were able to visit with 10
dierent archaeological and cultural
organizations who let visitors try on
the armor of a Roman soldier, learn
about Maya mathematics, throw an
atlatl, make cordage and stone pen-

dantsand much, much more!


The AIA/APA Joint Annual
Meeting provides a forum for members of the archaeological community to interact with one another
and with colleagues in other related
disciplines. The meeting highlights
the latest research, initiates and provokes important discussions, allows

for the creation of new partnerships,


encourages scholarship, and generally
provides an invigorating environment
for people who are fascinated by the
ancient world and the discipline of
archaeology. We invite all of you to
join us in Seattle from January 3rd
through the 6th, 2013, for the 114th
AIA/APA Joint Annual Meeting!

A Glimpse into the Ancient Balkans

he Annual Meeting is only


one of the many programs organized and presented by the AIA.
The second half of the 116th AIA
Lecture Season launched in January. This year, over 100 speakers will
present approximately 300 lectures
at 109 AIA Local Societies. One of
our featured lecturers, supported by
the Samuel H. Kress Foundation,
is Yannis Lolos of the University of
Thessaly. Lolos specializes in landscape archaeology, the archaeology of
the Hellenistic city, and Greek and
Roman architecture and topography.
He will travel to seven local AIA
societies and speak about his exciting work at the ancient Greek city of
Sikyon, in the northern Peloponnese,

Adriatic Sea. Its construction was


initiated by the proconsul of the
Roman province of Macedonia,
probably in the mid-140s b.c. The
almost 700-mile-long road crossed
many nations and important cities
in what are now modern Albania,
F.Y.R.O.M., Greece, and Turkey.
Though large parts of this artery
have been destroyed, some sections

are still visible. In his lecture, Lolos


will follow the Via Egnatia from
west to east and track its history
through the centuries.
Visit www.archaeological.org/
lectures for a full listing of the
2011/2012 Lecture Program. Contact
your local AIA Society, or call 617358-4184 (lectures@aia.bu.edu) for
more information on events near you.

Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award winner, Mary Hollinshead, surrounded


by some of her students.

and on the Via Egnatia, the Roman


road that connected the eastern and
western parts of the Roman Empire.
While excavations at Sikyon
have typically focused on the citys
famous sculpture, painting, and major
architectural monuments, a 15-year
regional survey project led by Lolos
is documenting the rich and diverse
human presence and activity in the
city from the earliest times to the
modern era.
The Via Egnatia was the rst
Roman highway built east of the
66

AIA Award Winners


Gold Medal Award for Distinguished Archaeological Achievement: Lawrence Richardson Jr.
Pomerance Award for Scientific Contributions to Archaeology: David Peacock
Martha and Artemis Joukowsky Distinguished Service Award: Shelby Brown
Best Practices in Site Preservation Award: Donald Haggis and Margaret Mook
Conservation and Heritage Management Award: James McCredie
Outstanding Public Service Award: David Gill
Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award: Mary Hollinshead
James R. Wiseman Book Award: Michael Dietler
Felicia A. Holton Book Award: Jack Brink
Graduate Student Paper Award: Allison Emmerson, University of Cincinnati and
Margaret M. Andrews, University of Pennsylvania

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.DLODVK7HPSOH(OORUD,QGLD

Experience, travel - these are as education in themselves.


~ Euripides, ca. 480 406 B.C.

Fascinating itineraries with expert lecturers

call: 800-748-6262 web site:vk.com/englishlibrary


www.aiatours.org email: aia@studytours.org

ARTIFACT

art of a hoard of more than 200 silver artifacts, this coin tells a surprisingly
complete story about kingship at a time when Vikings from Scandinavia
vied with the resident Anglo-Saxons for control of northwest England. The

WHAT IS IT

Coin
DATE

ca. A.D. 900


MATERIAL

coins obverse (front) bears the inscription AIRDECONUT, which schol-

ars believe is an Anglo-Saxon translation of the Scandinavian name Harthacnut, a previously unknown Viking ruler. He is the first new Viking monarch identified since 1840.
The reverse has the letters DNS, an abbreviation of the Latin word dominus (ruler), and
REX, Latin for king. The use of Latin and the words cross-like arrangement is evidence that, by only a few decades after the Vikings began settling in Britain in the mid-

Silver
DISCOVERED

Silverdale,
Lancashire, northwest
England, September
2011
SIZE

Roughly an inch in
diameter

ninth century, they had converted to Christianity.

Despite the Viking rulers adoption of the Anglo-Saxons religion, the hoard
a collection of jewelry, ingots (molds for metal casting), and coins, all weighing more than
two pounds and constituting the fourth largest Viking hoard ever foundindicates that
territorial clashes had not ended. The collection, which would have been valuable enough
to buy a herd of cattle or sheep, was likely buried for safekeeping. It was not retrieved until
last year, when a metal detectorist discovered the hoard in a lead container lying slightly
more than one foot underground. He reported the find to local archaeological authorities,
and the artifacts were taken to the British Museum to be cleaned, analyzed, and conserved.

68

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ARCHAEOLOGY March/April 2012

Archaeological Tours
led by noted scholars

Invites You to Journey Back in Time


Caves and Castles (17 days)

Classical Provence (14 days)

Explore the Paleolithic cave art of northern


Spain and southwestern France with Prof.
Roy Larick, Cleveland State U. Beginning in
Burgos, tour highlights include Atapuerca,
the caves of Tito Bustillo, El Castillo, Gargas,
Altamira II, Le Mas dAzil, Lascaux II, Pech
Merle and Bilbaos Guggenheim Museum.
During our five-day stay in Les Eyzies-deTayac we will also visit the Dordogne
Valleys castles and medieval villages. By
good fortune, these sites are found in an
area renowned for fabulous food and wine.

Journey through the color-drenched


countryside of Provence with Prof. Ori Z.
Soltes, Georgetown U. As we travel from
Marseille to Arles, Avignon, Vaison-laRomaine and Lyon, we will visit some of the
best-preserved Roman monuments in the
world. Our tour also includes an opportunity
to walk in the footsteps of Van Gogh and
Gauguin. Fields of flowers, tile-roofed
villages and gourmet meals enhance this
wonderful experience.

Tunisia (17 days)


Join Prof. Pedar Foss, DePauw U., on our
in-depth Tunisian tour. We begin in Tunis
with Phoenician Carthage and the fabulous
mosaic collection at the Bardo Museum.
Tour highlights include the Roman city of
Dougga, the underground Numidian capital
at Bulla Regia, Roman Sbeitla, the Islamic
pilgrimage center of Kairouan and the
remote areas around Tataouine and
Matmata, unique for underground cities
and fortified granaries. Our journey takes
us to picturesque Berber villages, colorful
bazaars and lovely beaches.

Southern Spain (15 days)

Megaliths, Moors & Conquistadors


Spain evokes lovely white towns and the
scent of oranges, but it is also a treasury of
ancient remains including the cities left by
the Greeks, Romans and Arabs. As
we travel south from Madrid with
Prof. Ronald Messier, Middle
Tennessee State U., to historic
Toledo, Roman Mrida and into
Andalucia, we explore historical
monuments, Moorish architecture,
Crdobas great cathedral, the
splendor of the Alcazar in Seville
and end our tour in Granada with
the opulent Alhambra.

Peru (17 days)


Discover the intriguing empires of
the Inca, Lambayeque, Mochica,
and Chim peoples with Prof.
Gregory Zaro, U. of Maine.
Touring includes visits to Limas
museums, the Moche tombs of
Sipn, Trujillo, Tcume, Chan Chan,
the largest adobe city in the world, as well
as Cuzco and the sacred Urubamba Valley.
Tour highlights include Cerro Sechn,
renowned for its unique stone carvings,
the early temple-fortress of Chankillo
and amazing Caral, the oldest city in the
Americas plus, two days at Machu Picchu.

2012 tours: Malta, Sardinia & Corsica China: Sacred Landscapes Greece Oman Sicily & So. Italy Morocco Egypt
China: Silk Road Lebanon Israel Ethiopia Chile & Easter Island Gujarat India Sri Lanka Maritime Turkey...and more
Journey back in time with us. Weve been taking curious travelers on fascinating historical study tours for the
past 36 years. Each tour is led by a noted scholar whose knowledge and enthusiasm brings history to life and adds
a memorable perspective to your journey. Every one of our 37 tours features superb itineraries, unsurpassed service and
our time-tested commitment to excellence. No wonder so many of our clients choose to travel with us again and again.
For more information, please visit www.archaeologicaltrs.com, e-mail archtours@aol.com, call 212-986-3054,
toll-free 866-740-5130. Or write to Archaeological Tours, 271 Madison Avenue, Suite 904, New York, NY 10016.
And see history our way.

archaeological tours
LED BY NOTED SCHOLARS

superb itineraries, unsurpassed service

sECOND

MAYA
Davidson, NC

annual
at
the

lago
April 26-29, 2012

American Foreign
Academic Research
school

www.mayaatthelago.com