Monumental Decisions

 

Some Timely Thoughts for August 18, 2017

In 1996, I was asked to participate in a panel of scholars and prominent citizens in an open forum as the Commonwealth of Virginia struggled to decide whether the time had come to ditch its official state song, a slightly modernized version of Carry Me Back to Old Virginny, composed by African American songsmith, James Bland in 1878. Many found the song to be offensive due to its romanticization of slavery and its lyrics that used minstrel-like parodies of of African American speech. On the other hand, it was at that time the only state song in the country that had been written by an African American. My advice at the time was that a work of art that offends a substantial portion of the population should be somehow honored for what it is, but demoted from its public pedestal. It could not properly represent all the people of Virginia. Virginia decided to designate the song as “state song emeritus,” retired it, and went on to seek a new state song more suitable to Virginia at the turn of a new millennium.

One and a half centuries after the end of the Civil War, much of the South—the former Confederacy—struggles to decide what to do with symbols that trouble many citizens. One of these is the Battle Flag of the Army of Northern Virginia. This so-called “Confederate Flag” was never used as an official flag of the Confederacy, but it has nonetheless come to be viewed as symbolic of the South as a distinct “nation” within the larger United States rather than as a bottle flag of an Army that raised arms against the United States.

Similar symbols of the South are the numerous statues of leading generals and statesmen of the Confederate States of America that are found throughout the South. Like the old battle flag, they too have become bones of contention between folks who find them to be offensive reminders of a not-so-grand historic era of White supremacy, slavery and racism versus those for whom they are romantic and honorable memorabilia of a time and culture that formed the South into a distinctive cultural region of the nation.

Today the South deals with this question: Is it time to “retire” the monuments and symbols of the Confederacy? Nowhere is this question more important than here in Richmond, Virginia, the former Confederate capital, and no other display of public art and artifact in Richmond can begin to compete with the grandeur, beauty and intensity of feelings generated by Monument Avenue. Depending on who you are and what you know about the grand avenue and its monuments, you may view them as commemoratives to honor Confederate leaders, especially military leaders, or you may view them as disgusting and reprehensible reminders of the evils of racism. Perhaps you have never really thought about them in depth and they are simply the decorative artifacts of Richmond’s grandest public avenue.

It helps to understand what they were built for, and at this point I believe most knowledgable scholars would argue that they are clearly the product of the so-called “Lost Cause,” a massive cultural mythos evolved in the hope to have the South “rise again” after the period of Union occupation and Reconstruction. Southerners had it found humiliating and degrading to be forced to permit African Americans to vote, to own property, to get education, and to hold public office. No sooner had the occupation ended than the South immediately launched the oppressive Jim Crow era which aimed to undo the progressive actions of Reconstruction and to institute laws and extra-legal sanctions against African American (and other non-White) citizens. Thus began the long ugly rein of lynch mobs, the Klan, and segregation.

Richmond’s mayor, Levar Stoney has created a commission of scholars and prominent citizens of the city to address the possibility of finding acceptable ways to “contextualize” the monuments on Monument Avenue and, perhaps, elsewhere in the city as well. The mayor’s vision was to seek a solution that would teach the actual history of the monuments, warts and all, without having to take the extraordinary move of decimating an enormously important historic district and its unparalleled artifacts of both the beauty and the beastliness of Gilded-Age Richmond.

I was personally glad to hear about Mayor Stoney’s commission, because as an archaeologist-historian I am a firm believer in preserving our cultural artifacts precisely so that different communities and different eras have their opportunities to appreciate, interpret, loath, and/or love the manifold meanings such artifacts can elicit. I was equally glad to hear that the mayor extended the mission to include gathering public comment and input on the possibility of removing the monuments, especially because he added that he finds them personally offensive. He is African American and does understand what they meant to those who erected them and what they mean to many Richmonders and other Virginians today. Like that old state song, how can a landscape that is so public be permitted to stand when it is offensive to so many citizens.

So to return to my original question: who owns these artifacts of history and culture? Legally they belong to the City of Richmond, I suppose, but I question whether or not the Mayor or City Counsel have the ethical right to remove these monuments without some sort of city-wide, and perhaps even state-wide or nation-wide referendum. At the very least we need a long, ongoing, serious public discussion. As the Mayor’s commission discovered in its first public meeting, this will be a loud, emotional, not always rational discussion. There will be lots of heat before there is any clear light to light the way to a decision that can be broadly supported.

I find the so-called Confederate Flag offensive because it represents institutionalized racism. It always has done and it always will do, ever since it was taken up by the KKK and then again by post-1964 redneck racists opposing integration and civil rights enforcement. My thought about the flag is that if you view it primarily as a romantic icon of the South and Southern culture, then hang it on your living room wall and enjoy it. But keep it out of my face in public places.

I find the question of monuments to be a much thornier thicket, especially the monuments of the Confederacy on Monument Avenue. There is no question that these are major elements of the city’s architecture, landscape and history. They define a major central neighborhood—a neighborhood designated as historic and significant by the national, state and city governments. The monuments have stood for nearly a century and have, therefore, played a very significant role in the spirit and culture of Virginia’s capital. Most Richmonders, I suspect, can barely imagine what a loss they would feel if the city were to have them removed.

Nonetheless, it cannot be denied, that they, like that battle flag, came into being through the post-Reconstruction institutionalization of White supremacy in Virginia. It should not surprise anyone that some of our city’s citizens and visitors who understand that truth find them as offensive as I find the “Confederate” flag to be. Nothing could be more “in your face” than these huge bronzes of generals, an admiral and a president of the rogue nation Confederate States of America parading endlessly down the grandest boulevard in town.

My recommendation to the Mayor and his commission is this. Recent history reminds us pointedly that we have not outgrown the hunger by some to keep alive a state of White supremacy in Virginia and elsewhere in this country. Richmond has been making some very fine progress in conquering that evil in recent years. I am proud of my city, my home and its people for that reason. Let’s not make any rash decisions in the current environment of political rancor, the rise of the “alt-right” and the beyond-the-fringe element of White supremacists currently stirring their long-simmering pot in the Federal government. If the City feels a need to take some action sooner rather than later, then please don’t make it an irreversible one.

Let’s try something like this first. The City could seek help—financial help and planning help—from both the Virginia Department of Historic Resources and the National Park Service which has designated the district as a National Historic Landmark. The effort would be to continue considerably extend the mayor’s original plan of seeking the best practices for contextualizing the monuments. I would personally love to see fairly prominent signage at the major entries to the district on and adjacent to the Avenue. Such signage would state unequivocally that the district began shortly after the Civil War as a search to erect a monument to General Lee upon his death. That initial idea lay mostly dormant until after Reconstruction when it became perhaps the most prominent urban-art expression of The Lost Cause. Further signage at each statue could address both appropriate histories of the persons represented there, but they should also detail the complex meanings of the Lost Cause, the rise of the myth of Southern honor and chivalry as well as the unambiguous effort to subjugate African Americans and codify White supremacy in the South.

Perhaps the messages of such signage could be more extensively interpreted through a Monument Avenue museum: a small but purpose-driven institution perhaps run or advised by the Virginia Historical Society, the Valentine or the City, funded, one would hope by both private benefactors and public governments up to and including the National Park Service or other appropriate Interior Department entity. The mayor’s current commission might best give way to a permanent entity responsible to the city’s public for the ongoing interpretation of Monument Avenue.

This is just one citizen’s ideas, not even fully formed. That said, they are the ideas of someone who devoted most of his adult professional life to discovering, conserving and interpreting the history and culture of Richmond and its surrounding region of Central Virginia. I have probably given as much thought as anybody to the meaning of our material artifacts and how they can be used to help our communities progress towards an ever more enlightened understanding of our shared histories and destinies.

Archaeology of the Rocketts #1 Site

The link, below will take you to the complete Phase III excavation report of from a three-year urban archaeology project in Rocketts, the 18th- and 19th- century port of Richmond, Virginia. For my colleagues and I at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Archaeological Research Center, this was, by far, the largest, most complex, and most satisfying urban excavation we undertook in the 21-year tenure of the Center. Thanks to VDOT archaeologist Mary Ellen Norissey Hodges for providing the .pdf versions of the report.

Rocketts Archaeology (Dan Mouer)

The Pisspot in the Museum or What are you looking for? What have you found? What will you do with it now?

This is a mid-late 1990s update of a 1985 presentation.

I have written much about interpretation and critical narrative largely as they apply to method or epistemology. The word “interpretation” has another common meaning in our profession, however: one tied inextricably to story-telling. I am speaking of interpretation as the translation of archaeological findings to the public through museum exhibits, living-history programs, films, magazine articles and popular books. In 1985 Bill Kelso asked me to address colleagues at the Jamestown Archaeology Conference on the subject of “Public Interpretation in Historical Archaeology.” I looked around and found a gaping void. Oh, there were some programs, but, by and large, they were few and far between. My lecture was critical of our profession for failing to understand our broader purpose in society. That lecture, called “The Pisspot in the Museum and Related Tales,” stirred immediate controversy. On the one hand, some colleagues chastised me for advocating that we could dispense with site reports and move straight to producing coffee-table books (which I didn’t do), while others praised me for revealing archaeologists as the blind, incompetent, self-serving dolts we truly are (which I also didn’t do). The lecture was published in the Quarterly Bulletin of the Archaeological Society of Virginia, and, after publication, I received even more telephone calls and letters both condemning and applauding my views. I didn’t know then, and do not know now, what all the ruckus was about, but I had obviously touched a nerve.

Today (late 1990s), things have changed quite a bit.. In Virginia and Maryland many—perhaps most—historical archaeologists take considerable pains to tell their stories to the public. Many have made considerable study of the very process of public interpretation, its ethics, styles, and political dimensions. Today, there are many more archaeologists working in domains which lead directly to public interpretation. Our views of history have had some profound effects: particularly, I think, our democratic, inclusive, perspectives have helped illuminate the contributions of a vast diversity of real people to our cultural and national heritage. Perhaps this is one reason why archaeology has managed to survive, and even thrive, in an era of continually decreasing public funding for such “non-essential” pursuits.

Nonetheless, my appraisal remains largely unchanged. We, as a profession, are so caught up in our own concerns and language that, with some prominent exceptions, we don’t know how to talk to the public. It is something we try often to avoid, or to squeeze into our busy schedules and limited budgets. We still don’t understand our purpose in life. We are not contributors of factual knowledge so much as we are collaborators in public discourse. We are not actually solving problems about how human life actually works so much as we are contributing observations about how it can work. We still, for the most part, think that site reports are more important than news releases. We still appear in documentary films dressed in lab coats sitting in front of computers, rather than whooping it up on a site because we found something nifty. We still tend to talk to the public about how we are trying to figure out what life was really like rather than telling fascinating stories about our sites and their occupants which reveal in meaningful ways what life was really like.

People don’t travel hundreds of miles and spend thousands of dollars visiting Williamsburg or Shirley Plantation so they can improve their test scores or predict their neighbor’s behavior. They do it to have fun, to be enriched, to collect memories, to take pictures, to touch something old, to feel rooted. They don’t go to history museums to gather facts. They go to have a good time, to learn something, to reflect, to feel their own humanity, warts and all. We still think of our profession as a social science while the rest of the world looks towards us as part of the entertainment industry. Worse yet, by ignoring or denying the magic we sense in archaeology and stressing instead the fact-finding, calculating, truth-seeking image, we are opting out of our chance—our responsibility—to tell stories that challenge us all to change, that critique our own world’s shortcomings. Nearly any artifact we find on nearly any site could be used, creatively and intelligently, as a nexus drawing our fractured communities together in the bonds of our common experience.

What follows is excerpted and adapted from that old lecture. We’ve come a long way, but we still can use some prodding.

***

As a professor of archaeology I find myself each semester droning liturgically as I repeat the clever aphorisms of modern archaeological truth over and again to students. You’ve heard them before. “It’s not what you find; it’s what you find out.” Or, “archaeologists seek facts, not artifacts.” Of course, we repeat such profundities not only to students, but also to the seemingly endless hordes of fascinated masses who embarrass us with unsophisticated questions about our work, such as, “What are you looking for?” “What have you found?,” and “What will do with it now?.”

Whether our backgrounds and orientations come from history, anthropology, architectural history, art history, or cultural resource management, we archaeologists project our role to be one of lofty scholarly purpose and we often feel, somehow, that we are misunderstood high priests and priestesses trained in an arcane discipline to be keepers of knowledge which cannot fully be appreciated by mere mortals. We work desperately hard at convincing ourselves and others that we float in an ethereal plane far removed from base concerns with artifacts as artifacts. Rather, we insist, it is culture that interests us, that artifacts are only an avenue into comprehension of the complexities of socio-cultural systems, their feedback loops, evolutionary leaps, and normative patterns. We dissociate ourselves as best we can from the stigma of the treasure hunter and relic collector, and it rankles deeply that those who freely indulge themselves in such activities often call themselves archaeologists.

Real archaeologists perform rituals called “digs” in which they unearth relics of the society’s ancestors. These relics, even the most humble of them, are fawned over through a series of dances, incantations, and gestures imbued with great symbolic value. Nearly every scrap of brick and bone and broken dish is thoroughly cleansed. These magically charged objects are then written on in a language understood only by the practitioners themselves— a practice probably derived from Shang Dynasty Oracles or Mesopotamian Scribes. The relics are sorted into special reliquaries which a laymen would, in his ignorance, mistake for Dixie Cups, cigar boxes, and plastic zipper bags. Some are singled out for exceptional treatment by a specialist practitioner known as the Conservator. These objects are electrolyzed, vacuum impregnated, coated, and stabilized. The ritual relics always have the inscrutable black ink inscriptions. Each of these inscriptions is recorded in a catalog which is either a large book understandable only to the initiated or it is a string of electronic digits fed to a nearly ubiquitous idol called The Computer.

Another specialist practitioner is known as the Drafter and he or she spends endless hours making large numbers of mandalas known to the profession as section profiles, site plans, renderings and distribution maps. Archaeologists reproduce these mandalas and write pages of mystical wisdoms about them to be circulated among initiates in secret, limited-circulation journals, or they project them on screens while reciting jargon-laden incantations to gatherings of other archaeological practitioners.

The public knows little or nothing about these goings on, although they readily admit that archaeologists do magical things with relics that no one else really understands. However, the typical lay person believes that archaeologists recover relics because relics have intrinsic magical value. These relics, they suppose, are cleaned and reassembled as necessary, so that they can be placed in public display spaces known as museums. The lay public then goes to these museums on sunny Sunday afternoons, looks at displays of relics, and believes that the arcane knowledge of the archaeologist is transferred to them through a variety of insights gained by a mystical process called interpretation.

It is quite clear that the main reason archaeologists are supported by the public is because of the high value placed on the entertainment, insights and information received from interpretations of displays of artifacts in museums, schools, books and other such places. Since the public loves artifacts, they continue to pay large tithes of the first fruits of their annual harvests to the archaeological priesthood. Despite this, a great many archaeologists are not primarily concerned with public interpretation, especially that which involves the display of artifacts. They maintain that their function is strictly scientific and that they seek facts rather than artifacts.

That this is nonsense can be witnessed on any dig or at any gathering of practitioners. When unusual artifacts are uncovered at sites, there is a great ooing and ahhing. At conferences there are artifacts on display, slides of artifacts prolifically illustrate the delivery of professional papers. Journal articles are liberally peppered with photographs of artifacts. When archaeologists want to be recognized for their work they call press conferences and lead the photographers and video camera operators directly to tables lined with bottles, plates, swords, arrowheads, locks, keys and other relics. If archaeologists were not interested in artifacts why in the world would they spend so much time and effort dealing with them, talking about them, and showing them off to colleagues?

You might well ask why the public does not demand that more popular books be written and more displays prepared and more museums built so that they, too, may participate in the joy of artifacts through the rituals of interpretation. Some members of the lay public have come to learn a sufficient amount of arcane knowledge so that they can go out and conduct “digs” which are not authorized or supervised by the professional priesthood. They spend sunny Sundays at the digs with their friends in the bottle collecting club, the local historical society, the relic collectors’ fraternity, or the archaeological society chapter. Because these individuals are not “properly” initiated, they are sometimes condemned by professional archaeologists as treasure hunters and looters.

These folks, however, boldly display their artifacts. They place them on mantles. They take them to club meetings. Their children take them to schools and practice a laymen’s version of the interpretation ritual called “show and tell” right in their classrooms. They donate them to the local courthouse or library. Sometimes, they give their entire collections to the state, or to a museum or the local university in the mistaken belief that these objects will somehow be magically transformed and appear in interpreted displays for all to see. They are heartbroken to find that their precious artifacts are stuck in cardboard boxes and unceremoniously stashed with thousands of other artifacts in the basements of public buildings.

Due to the relatively small numbers of public interpretation programs, more and more archaeology is viewed as bad medicine and archaeologists are viewed as menaces to the construction of new shopping malls and highways. Even more important may be the growing tendency towards apathy or indifference towards concerns about the past. The public has even taken to electing officials who have a proven record of cutting through the archaeological red tape and bulldozing away sites which are viewed with increasing frequency as mere impediments to progress or threats to private property rights. To counter this trend archaeologists cry out saying we need to “educate” the public about the importance of our profession when, in fact, what we need to do is to simply provide more, and better, interpretation, for that is what the public pays us to do.

Archaeologists are, for the most part, supported by public institutions and/or public funds in order to dig up sites and their artifacts and to interpret these to the public in entertaining and enlightening ways. This proposition is easily tested. Clearly, the most successful archaeological programs in the Chesapeake region, for example, are those which have from the outset defined their purpose largely as one of public interpretation: e.g., Colonial Williamsburg, Historic St. Mary’s City, Alexandria Archaeology, Mt. Vernon, and Monticello. Even Jamestown, for a long time relatively quiescent as a focus of archaeological activity, continues to flourish as an institution of public interpretation spawned by earlier excavations, and is founding a future of re-interpretation based on new excavations.

Many archaeologists have done an exceptional job of public interpretation and, strangely, these are often singled out for quiet ridicule or skepticism by more “purist” practitioners. Colonial Williamsburg’s excavations at Martin’s Hundred are known and highly considered by millions the world over. Ivor Noel Hume’s book about the site is far more important than any technical site report. He is a brilliant interpreter of archaeology and, as such, he enjoys a tremendous popularity. I suggest that he also has been the object of a certain amount of skepticism and jealousy in the profession. I believe that Noel Hume’s dramatic presentations, masterful story-telling and opinionated style are frequently suspected of being a little too unscientific for a proper scholar. By and large we archaeologists do not seem to have the skills, personalities, budgets or proclivities to tell really good stories of our findings to the public, and we mistrust those who do. We truly believe that we are supposed to provide public interpretation, but we find a million excuses not to.

I propose that there are a number of reasons why we often fall short of what I have claimed to be our primary mission in society. As archaeologists we are trained in a wide variety of skills that help us recover artifacts, interpret stratigraphy, analyze data and draw conclusions. We are not, generally, taught how to present our understandings to the public. That is, we are not trained as writers, film-makers, media manipulators, orators, or museologists. If we, ourselves, do not have the skills or personalities to carry out these roles then it seems that we should certainly have such people on our staffs. But, we argue, we do not have enough staff just for the basics. We may not have budget enough to hire excavators, artifact processors, computer programmers, map-makers, managers, surveyors, conservators, drafters, etc. In fact, archaeologists are often used to working on shoe-string budgets and often pride themselves at being the consummate do-it-yourselfers. In addition to a myriad of technical skills, we expect ourselves to be experts in history, anthropology, geology, geography, soils, seeds, bones, architecture, ceramics, carpentry, joinery, coopery, iron-smelting, data-base management, etc.

In fact, we seem to be willing to gain professional or semi-professional expertise in dozens of technical fields while most of us continue to ignore or underplay the skills, time and costs of site and artifact interpretation. We believe that because we can take adequate slides and black-and-white photos of profiles and features that we don’t really need the tools and expertise of a professional photographer who can wield multi-kilo-watt-second studio flash lighting and a 4×5 camera to convert a lowly wine bottle seal or broken teapot into an image of wonder, a mirror for the imagination. (Use comparative pix here of 19t-c pipes photographed by Henry and 19th-c pipes from a tech report)We feel that we can get by with the basic drafting skills to draw our site maps and don’t reach further for the talents and training of an artist to transcend the sites and objects and breathe life into our data. Because we have mastered the jargon and literature of the profession and can write a paper acceptable to a national or international journal, we feel it is of secondary importance to put our knowledge into the clear, engaging prose of the professional writer and to produce books, magazine articles and teaching materials for the lay public.

Most archaeologists are overworked. We often feel we haven’t the time or resources to produce the site reports and professional papers demanded by our academic or professional positions, let alone to engage in “peripheral” work like public interpretation. I would like to suggest that we have our priorities backwards. We labor under feelings of great obligation and responsibility to turn out survey and excavation reports that will be circulated to few, read by fewer, and comprehended by fewer yet. But we feel these reports and papers are needed in order to receive the professional acclaim we require to keep our positions, be awarded tenure, get a raise, or qualify for the next big grant or contract. We justify this enormous amount of time spent producing arcanity as the necessary guarantee that our site’s “data” will be preserved, as if these reports were, themselves, true reflections of reality rather than our own interpretations. If the public read our reports they would be wise to us in an instant. They might well suspect such efforts as a bunch of in-group, self-serving, boundary-maintaining, career-enhancing, authority-establishing nonsense of no special interest to anyone but a handful of other archaeologists belonging to the same citation circle. We are not only cheating the public that supports our work, we are cheating ourselves of a great opportunity to communicate the joy, the love we have for our work.

Interpretation, make no mistake, is creative work. The messages we convey in an interpretive exhibit or well-written, accessible book are messages that will be carried to thousands, or millions. As with all such creative endeavors, we have great latitude in what we communicate. In case there are any doubts about this, I offer a case study which I often assign to my students.

The site is Curles Plantation, home of a succession of Randolphs between 1699 and 1799. By the time of the Revolution there stood here a mansion nearly 100 feet long, with a fine colonnade, a brick kitchen larger than most peoples’ houses, an ice house, a dairy and loft, a laundry, quarters, a storehouse, stables and dozens of other buildings. In the excavations of the 18th-century Curles mansion we encountered a posthole-and-mold feature beneath the former location of the mansion’s central passage. The post, which had been repaired at least once, appeared to have provided a mid-wall support for a massive sill beam, a stain from which could be seen clearly in aerial photos. Beside the beam stain ran a robbed brick foundation. We believe the brick foundation post-dates the post and signals the expansion of the house from a good-size (ca. 40 feet x 26 feet) hall-parlor plan house to that of a massive central-hall plan house more than twice the original length. Within the later of two post molds was stuffed the remains of fine Rhenish chamber pot with incised, painted, and sprig-molded decoration dating from the 1730s or 40s.

The problem I place before my students is this: how can we interpret the chamber pot to the public? I can report with mixed feelings that students don’t generally suggest preparing a large artist’s reconstruction of the pot showing it in actual use in Colonial times (although, perhaps Mr. Noel Hume could suggest an appropriately tasteful work of a Flemish master that would do the trick). Of course, interpreting the “technomic” function—if you will— of the pot could be useful in conveying to a lay audience something of the nature of life without flush toilets.

Communicating a sense of the everyday to foreign cultural situations is one approach, but we may prefer instead to make a political statement. Given the relatively meager material inventories of an average Virginian of the period, we can produce tangible evidence that, in comparison, the masters of Curles Plantation did indeed have very fine pots to piss in. We may even stretch the evidence to suggest the demeaning barbarity of slavery by illustrating servants emptying a master’s pot. Such an image emblazoned itself on my mind when, at the age of 12 or so, I first visited Monticello and its famous tunnel said to have been used for just such a purpose.

Perhaps your approach might be a technical one, showing the archaeological reasoning behind the reconstruction of the house-building sequence by using the pot to provide a terminus post quem to the filling of the post-mold. Such an approach may involve illustrating very similar dated pots from other sites or museum collections. Another archaeologist may choose to use this pot as a fine example of decorative arts and may illustrate the methods used in its potting and firing. Another may feel that here is tangible evidence of the socio-political and economic relationships between the mother country, the colonies and the Rhineland: the world-system at work. The pot may be augmented by a “scratch blue” copy from later in the 18th century to show the rise of British industry and to illustrate the effects of Colonial trade restrictions which helped lead directly to the Revolution. This same line of reasoning could be expanded to include stoneware pots of local manufacture that are abundant at Curles and other sites in the area in the years immediately following Independence. The Curles property also contains the remains of numerous salt-glazed stoneware kilns and tons of kiln furniture and wasters: potentially excellent illustrations of the rise of post-Revolutionary American industrial independence and the victory of entrepreneurship and capitalism. Of course, we could choose not to use the pot in an interpretive exhibit at all. That, we may decide, would place a vulgar emphasis on artifacts.

However we interpret the “meaning” of that pot, we are communicating directly our experience, our fascination, our own communion with the ancestors. We are completing the responsibilities of our positions and, if we are successful, we are providing incentives to the public to continue to maintain the support of archaeology—or even to increase that support. We might even find that, through exhibits, pamphlets, films, and popular books we are consummating our own desires of archaeology by doing what we love to do, sharing the experience with others, and receiving a certain satisfying modicum of congratulations and glory that it is not possible to achieve by simply publishing another journal article.

We must not continue to excavate sites without providing for public interpretation. We must not continue to look down on those of our colleagues who bring their findings to the public through the press or other means as somehow being unscientific publicity hounds. At the heart of the word “publicity” is the word “public,” and we are not so much shamans and priests as we are entertainers and educators, stewards of the public’s relics and interpreters of the public heritage. The more we appreciate that fact and exercise the responsibilities of interpretation, the more we will continue to witness a true public appreciation of archaeology and archaeologists: an appreciation that will pay real benefits of job security, increased budgets and well-deserved pats on the back.

Looking for My Past

I need some help from old friends and colleagues. When I retired from my position at VCU, it was necessary for me to simply walk away without looking back, without my files, and without my library–for a variety of reasons that don’t matter now. However, that means that I no longer have copies of most of the professional materials I wrote during my 28 years working in archaeology.

I am now trying to track down a large number of publications, conference papers, and project reports because I would like to make my contributions more widely available to current and future generations of archaeologists and historians. I am especially interested in copies of old conference papers, because I know I can usually find published pieces in libraries or online.

The following is a list of my professional works taken from my last C-V, dated 1999. Those marked with an asterisk are ones that I do have. All the rest I am looking for. If you have or know where I might find any of these, please let me know. I’d love to borrow hardcopies or pay for photocopies, etc. I will certainly appreciate your help!

Thanks,

Dan (danmouerATverizonDOTnet)


*Unpublished manuscript : Digging Sites and Telling Stories: Essays in Interpretive Historical Archaeology.

*Unpublished, unfinished manuscript: “In despight of the enemie”: The material culture of Jordan’s Journey. Editor of a collection of 12 papers on a major research project I directed.

Publications

*1999 “Colono” Pottery, Chesapeake Pipes, and “Uncritical Assumptions.” In I, Too, Am America: Recent Studies in African American Archaeology, edited by Theresa Singleton. University Press of Virginia, Charlottesville. Senior author with Mary Ellen N. Hodges, Stephen Potter, Susan L. Henry, Ivor Noël Hume, Dennis Pogue, Martha McCartney and Thomas Davidson.

*1998a “The ‘Mansions’ of Curles Plantation, ca. 1630-1860.” Henrico Country Historical Society Journal, Spring.

1998b “The Archaeology of Slavery.” Encyclopedia of Slavery, New York: MacMillan Reference.

*1998c “Archaeology Through Narrative: Captaine Thomas Harris, Gent.” Historical Archaeology, Volume 32, Spring 1998. Tucson: Society for Historical Archaeology.

1995 A Pocahontas for Every Season: Review of the 400th Anniversary Exhibit at the Virginia Historical Society. William and Mary Quarterly, Institute of Early American History, Williamsburg. Winter 1995

1995 “…the place where the pale ran”: Making history in the New Bermudas. Journal of the Chesterfield County Historical Society, Spring-Summer 1995.

1993 “A Parcel of Lumber,” “UFOs,” and “a Lot of Iron, Stone and Earthen”: Archaeology and Kitchen Interpretation. Food History News, Winter 1993.

1993 “Root Cellars” Revisited. African-American Archaeology, Spring 1993.

*1993: Chesapeake Creoles: An Approach to Colonial Folk Culture. In The Archaeology of Seventeenth- Century Virginia. Edited by Dennis J. Pogue and Carter Hudgins. Special Publication of the Archaeological Society of Virginia.

1992 The Confederate Navy Yard on Richmond’s Waterfront. In The Bulletin of the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities, Volume XI (1), Spring 1992.

1991 Digging a Rebel’s Homestead: Nathaniel Bacon’s fortified plantation called “Curles,” In Archaeology magazine.

1991 New discoveries at Jordan’s Point. In Notes on Virginia, Virginia Department of Historic Resources, Richmond.

*1990 The Formative Transition in Virginia. In The Late Archaic and Early Woodland Periods in Virginia Prehistory, edited by J. Mark Wittkofski and Michael Barber. Special Publication of the Archaeological Society of Virginia.

1990 A Review of Prehistoric Cultures of the Delmarva Peninsula by Jay F. Custer. For the Journal of Middle Atlantic Archaeology.

1989 The Excavation of Nathaniel Bacon’s Curles Plantation. In The Henrico County Historical Society Magazine.

1989 Beyond Fluted Points: Prospects for Paleoindian Studies in Virginia in the 1990’s. In Paleoindian Research in Virginia, edited by J. Mark Wittkofski and Theodore R. Reinhart. Special Publication 19, Archaeological Society of Virginia.

1986 The Thunderjar in the Museum and Related Tales. Quarterly Bulletin of the Archaeological Society of Virginia.

1985 Life on the Swamp: Cultural ecology and exploitation of the Chickahominy in history and prehistory. In Research in Action, Virginia Commonwealth University.

1985 An Excavation of the Point of Fork Site (44Fv19), Fluvanna County, Virginia. Bulletin of the Fluvanna County Virginia Historical Society.

1984 A Review of VCU Archaeology. Quarterly Bulletin of the Archaeological Society of Virginia.

1984 A Review of Monacan ethnohistory and archaeology. In Piedmont Archaeology, ed. by Mark Wittkofski, VHLC, Richmond.

1983 Social models: information, organization and exchange in regional research designs. In Upland Archaeology in the East, Barber and Tolley, eds., U.S. Forest Service.

1982 Region, ecosystem and world system: a role for archaeology in development anthropology. Proceedings of the International Symposium on the Problems of Development of the Underprivileged Communities in the Third World Countries. Indian Anthropological Association, New Delhi.

1981 The Elk Island Tradition: an Early Woodland regional society in the James River piedmont. Quarterly Bulletin of the Archaeological Society of Virginia (senior author with R.L.Ryder and E.G.Johnson).

1981 Powhatan and Monacan settlement hierarchies. Quarterly Bulletin of the Archaeological Society of Virginia.

1981 Down to the river in boats: the Late Archaic/Transitional in the Middle James River Valley. Quarterly Bulletin of the Archaeological Society of Virginia (senior author with R.L. Ryder and E.G.Johnson).

1977 Fission tracks: invisible clocks for the archaeologist. Artifacts, Vol.3. American Indian Archaeological Institute.

1976 The direct dating of cultural lithic material. Debitage, the Student Archaeological Society Newsletter, Vancouver.

Selected Monographs and technical reports

1996 An Excavation at the Cary Peyton Armistead House Site, Duke of Gloucester Street, Williamsburg, Va. Report prepared for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

1996 The Archaeology of Court End, A Neighborhood in the City of Richmond, Virginia. Virginia Commonwealth University Archaeological Research Center.

1995 Jacobs House: Archaeological Evaluations of an Underground Railroad Site. Report prepared for the Office of Planning and Development, Virginia Commonwealth University.

1994 Bermuda Hundred. Nomination report for the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Historic Landmarks Register. Presently under review by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.

1994 African Americans in Petersburg, Virginia: Historic Contexts and Resources for Preservation Planning, Research, and Interpretation. Report prepared for The City of Petersburg Department of Planning and Community Development. Project Director and senior author with Mary Ellen Bushey, Ann Creighton-Zollar, Lucious Edwards, Jr. and Robin L. Ryder.

*1994 Jordan’s Journey, Volume III: Preliminary Report on the 1992-1993 Excavations at Archaeological Site 44PG307. Report prepared for The Virginia Department of Historic Resources and The National Geographic Society. VCU Archaeological Research Center. Senior author with Douglas C. McLearen.

1994 Duncan Road: An Evaluation of Archaeological Sites along Route 670 in Dinwiddie County, Virginia. Report prepared for the Virginia Department of Transportation. VCU Archaeological Research Center. Senior author with Douglas C. McLearen. R. Taft Kiser, Christopher P. Egghart, and Beverly J. Binns.

*1993 Falls Plantation and the Confederate Navy Yard: An Archaeological Assessment of Richmond’s Eastern Waterfront. Report prepared for the William Byrd Branch, Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities. Senior author with R. Taft Kiser. VCU Archaeological Research Center.

*1993 Jordan’s Journey, Volume II: A Preliminary Report on the 1992 Excavations at Archaeological Sites 44PG302, 44PG303, and 44PG307. Report prepared for The Virginia Department of Historic Resources and The National Geographic Society. VCU Archaeological Research Center. Co-author with Douglas C. McLearen.

1993 An Archaeological Evaluation of the Hanover County Poor Farm Site. Report prepared for the Virginia Department of Transportation. VCU Archaeological Research Center. Senior author with Christopher P. Egghart.

*1992 Rocketts: The Archaeology of the Rocketts #1 Site, Technical Report. Report in 3 volumes prepared for the Virginia Department of Transportation. Senior author and editor, with contributions by Frederick T. Barker, Beverly Binns, R. Taft Kiser, Leslie Cohen and Duane Carter. VCU Archaeological Research Center.

1992 Jordan’s Journey: A Preliminary Report on Archaeology at Site 44Pg302, Prince GeorgeCounty, Virginia, 1990-1991. Report prepared for The Virginia Department of Historic Resources and The National Geographic Society. VCU Archaeological Research Center. Senior author with Douglas C. McLearen, R. Taft Kiser, Christopher P. Egghart, Beverly J. Binns, and Dane T. Magoon.

*1992 Magnolia Grange: Archaeology of the Courthouse Plantation. Final Report on a Volunteer Archaeological Project, 1988-1990. Chesterfield County Historical Society, Chesterfield, Va.

1991 The Reverend Samuel Davies and the Archaeology of Polegreen Church, Hanover County, Virginia. Nomination report for the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Historic Landmarks Register.

1991 “Jordan’s Journey”: an Interim Report on the Excavation of a Protohistoric Indian and Early 17th Century Colonial Occupation in Prince George County, Virginia. Report presented to the Virginia Department of Historic Resources. Co-author with Douglas C. McLearen.

1991 A Cultural Resource Survey for a Proposed Electric Power Generating Facility in Cumberland County, Virginia (2 volumes). Report prepared for Virginia Power, Inc. by Virginia Commonwealth University Archaeological Research Center.

1989 Archaeology in Henrico, Volume VI: Archaeology and History at Deep Bottom. Special publication of Virginia Commonwealth University.

1986 Prehistoric Cultural Occupations at City Point, Hopewell, Virginia. Report prepared for National Park Service Middle Atlantic Region, Philadelphia.

*1986 Archaeology in Henrico, Volume III: Phase 2 and Phase 3 investigations in the Upper Chickahominy and Upham Brook basins. Special publication of Virginia Commonwealth University.

*1986 Archaeology in Henrico, Volume II: An introduction to Phase 2 and Phase 3 archaeological investigations of the Henrico Regional Wastewater Treatment System. Special publication of Virginia Commonwealth University.

1986 (Editor and senior author) Archaeology in Henrico, Volume IV: Phase 2 and Phase 3 investigations on the Chickahominy Swamp and Fourmile Creek. Special publication of Virginia Commonwealth University.

1985 Archaeological Resources of the Richmond Metropolitan Area: Richmond Metropolitan Area Archaeological Survey (Volumes 1 and 2). Senior author with W. Johnson and F. Gleach. Special publication of the Virginia Division of Historic Landmarks and Virginia Commonwealth University.

*1980 Archaeology in Henrico: Investigations by the Dept. of Sociology and Anthropology,Virginia Commonwealth University, Vol. 1. Senior author with R.R. Hunter, E. G.Johnson, L.W. Lindberg, and J.R. Saunders; special publication of Virginia Commonwealth University.

 

Papers delivered at professional meetings, and selected public addresses

*1999 Revisiting Mapps Cave: Amerindian and Probable Slave Occupations of a Sinkhole and Cavern, St. Philip Parish, Barbados. Paper to be presented to the International Congress for Caribbean Archaeology, Grenada, July 1999. Senior author with Frederick H. Smith

*1998 A Conversation in One Act, Three Scenes and Two Centuries. Paper presented in the symposium “Archaeologists and Storytellers II,” at the annual meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology, Atlanta. Co-author with Ywone Edwards-Ingram

*1997 The True Story of an Ancient Planter, Captaine Thomas Harris, as Related by his Sonne. Paper presented in the symposium “Archaeologists as Storytellers,” at the annual meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology, Corpus Christi

1996 Urban Arrowheads: Virginia Commonwealth University’s Quest for the Prehistory of Central Virginia. Paper presented to the annual meeting of the Archaeological Society of Virginia.

*1995 Digging Sites and Telling Stories: History, Narrative, and the Culture Problem. Plenary Lecture, Conference on Historical and Underwater Archaeology, Washington, D. C.

*1994 Rebecca’s Children: Myths and the Indian in Virginia’s History. Banner Lecture Series, Virginia Historical Society.

*1994 Pink, Beige and Shades of Grey: Categories, Cultures, and the Problem of the Common. Invited keynote lecture for the conference on “Common Culture,” Historic Petersburg Foundation, June 1994.

1994 “…we are not the veriest beggars in the world:” The People of Jordan’s Journey. Presented at the Annual Conference on Historical and Underwater Archaeology, Vancouver, B.C., January 1994.

1993 An Update on the Curles Plantation and Jordan’s Journey Projects. Jamestown Archaeology Conference, Jamestown.

1993 Rocketts: Community and Diversity on Richmond’s Early Waterfront. Paper presented to the Conference on Historical and Underwater Archaeology, Kansas City.

1993 “A Parcel of Lumber,” “UFOs,” and “a Lot of Iron, Stone and Earthen”: Archaeology and Kitchen Interpretation. Paper presented in the colloquium To Have or Have Not: Interpreting Historic Kitchens, sponsored by the Culinary Historians of Virginia, Richmond.

*1993 Bermuda Hundred: Preserving a National Treasure. Oral presentation made to the Chesterfield County Historical Society at Bermuda Hundred.

1993 George Washington’s Indian Clothes: Native Americans and Colonists in 18th-Century Virginia. Presented at the annual meeting of the National Board of Regents, Kenmore Association, Fredericksburg.

1992 Chesapeake Creoles: An Approach to Colonial Folk Culture. Paper presented at the 1992 Conference on Historical and Underwater Archaeology, Columbian Quincentennial, Kingston, Jamaica.

1992 Jordan’s Journey: An Early Seventeenth-Century Fortified Plantation Village and Weyanoke Indian Settlement on the James River, Prince George County, Virginia. Paper presented to the Middle Atlantic Archaeology Conference, Ocean City, Md.

1992 Curles, Rocketts, and Jordan’s Journey: A progress report on three major excavations. Paper presented to the Jamestown Archaeology Conference, Fredericksburg.

1991 The “Upper Parts” of James River in the Virginia Company Period, 1607-1624: Archaeology at Jordan’s Journey and Bermuda Hundred. Paper presented to the Henries Foundation Conference, Richmond.

1991 Three Centuries on the James: Archaeology at Rocketts, Curles, and Jordan’s Journey. Paper presented to the Annual Meeting of the Archaeological Society of Virginia, Roanoke.

*1991 Rebecca’s children: a critique of old and new myths concerning Indians in Virginia’s history and archaeology. Paper presented in the symposium “Is Historical Archaeology White?,” at the Annual Conference on Historical and Underwater Archaeology, Richmond.

*1991 Postmodern archaeology: Tacking along a paradigmatic sea change. Plenary Introduction, 1991 Conference on Historical and Underwater Archaeology, Richmond.

1991 “My Father Told Me. I Tell My Son”: Native American ethnicity and education in Virginia since 1607. Invited lecture presented in the series “To Lead and to Serve,” sponsored by the Virginia Foundation for Humanities and Public Policy and the Jamestown Settlement Museum, Williamsburg.

1991 Jordan’s Journey and Curles: the 1991 season’s finds. Paper presented at the Jamestown Archaeology Conference, Washington’s Birthplace National Landmark.

1991 Historical Archaeology in Hopewell and Prince George. Presented to the Hopewell – Prince George Branch of the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities.

*1991 Chesapeake Creoles: approaches to Colonial folk culture. Paper presented at the Council of Virginia Archaeologists symposium on the Archaeology of 17th Century Virginia (May 1991).

1990 Progress reports: Jordan’s Journey, Rocketts Port, and Curles Plantation excavations. paper presented at the Jamestown Archaeology Fall Conference.

1990 “Jordan’s Journey”: a Progress Report on the Excavation of a Protohistoric and Early 17th Century Colonial Occupation in Prince George County, Virginia. (Co-author with Douglas C. McLearen). Presented at the Annual Conference of the Archaeological Society of Virginia.

1990 Chesapeake Pipes: another perspective? Paper presented to the Jamestown Archaeology Conference.

1990 “An Ancient Seat Called Curles”: The Archaeology of a James River Plantation:

1984-1989. Paper presented to the Conference on Historical and Underwater Archaeology, Tucson.

1990 Two centuries of Late Woodland Archaeology in the Virginia Piedmont. Overview paper: Virginia Prehistoric Archaeology Symposium No. 4, Roanoke, Va.

*1989 The Rebel and the Renaissance: Nathaniel Bacon at Curles Plantation. Paper delivered to the Middle Atlantic Archaeology Conference, Rehobeth Beach, Delaware.

1989 The Curles Plantation Project at the Five Year Mark: Retrospect and Prospect. Paper delivered to the Jamestown Archaeology Conference, Jamestown.

1989 Middle Woodland II Typology and Chronology in the Lower James River Valley of Virginia. Paper presented to the Middle Atlantic Archaeology Conference, Rehobeth Beach, Del. (co-author with Douglas C. McLearen).

1988 Nathaniel Bacon’s brick house and associated structures, Curles Plantation, Henrico County, Va.; Presented in the symposium “Varieties of the Virginia House: New Archaeological Perspectives on Domestic Architecture in Late 17th Century Chesapeake.” Annual Meeting of the Archaeological Society of Virginia, Hampton.

1988 From ‘house’ to ‘home’ in concept and context; opening remarks for the symposium: “Varieties of the Virginia House: New Archaeological Perspectives on Domestic Architecture in Late 17th Century Chesapeake” (symposium organizer). Annual Meeting of the Archaeological Society of Virginia, Hampton.

1987 The Lullabye of Broadspears: the Archaic-Woodland transition in the James River Valley. Paper presented to the annual meeting of the Eastern States Archaeological Federation.

1987 Farming, Foraging and Feasting: Powhatan Foodways and their influences on English Virginia. Presented to the Foodways Research Planning Conference Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, April 1987.

*1987 Everything in its place: Locational models and distributions of elites in colonial Virginia. Paper delivered to the annual meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology, Savannah, Ga.

1986 Town and country in the Curles of the James: geographic and social place in the evolution of James River society. (Senior author with Jill C. Wooley and Frederic W. Gleach) Paper

presented at the annual meeting of the Middle Atlantic Archaeological Conference, Rehoboth Beach, Del.

1985 What are you looking for? What have you found? What will you do with it now? Invited address delivered to the Jamestown Archaeological Conference, sponsored by the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities, Jamestown.

1985 The Occaneechee Connection: social networks and ethnic complexity at the Fall Line in the 16th and 17th centuries. Presented to the annual meeting of the Middle Atlantic Archaeological Conference, Rehobeth Beach, Del.

1985 Beyond exchange: ceramics and the analysis of political and social systems. Delivered in the symposium “Pottery Technology: New Ideas and Approaches,” Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association.

1984 Trading for a newer model. Invited discussion paper for the Symposium “Trade and Exchange in Middle Atlantic Prehistory,” Mid-Atlantic Archaeology Conference, Rehoboth Beach, Del.

1984 Excavations at Bermuda Hundred: the 1984 season. Presented to the annual meeting of the Eastern States Archaeological Federation, Annapolis, Md.

1984 Bermuda Hundred: from frontier fort to planters port (senior author with F.W. Bleach). Presented to the Mid-Atlantic Archaeology Conference, Rehobeth Beach, Del.

1983 The Henrico Project: 10,000 years in the swamp. Opening remarks and overview presentation for afternoon symposium on “The Henrico Project” (symposium organizer). Annual meeting of the Archaeological Society of Virginia.

1983 Floral remains, land-use and subsistence at the Reynolds-Alvis Site (co-author with F. Gleach). Annual meeting of the Archaeological Society of Virginia.

1983 Camps on Four Mile Creek: Late Archaic through Late Woodland land-use in a small stream valley (co-author with R.L. Ryder). Annual meeting of the Archaeological Society of Virginia.

1982 Region, ecosystem and world system: a role for archaeology in development anthropology. Delivered to the International Symposium on the Problems of Development of the Underprivileged Communities in the Third World Countries, New Delhi.

1982 Patches and plains: optimal foraging and the adoption of sedentism in the Middle Atlantic. Delivered to the Middle Atlantic Archaeology Conference, Rehobeth Beach, Del.

1982 Discussion and opening remarks: symposium on “The Early Woodland and the Adoption of Sedentism in the Middle Atlantic” (symposium organizer). Middle Atlantic Archaeological Conference, Rehobeth Beach, Del.

1981 The Elk Island Tradition: an Early Woodland regional society in the James River piedmont. Delivered to the annual meeting of the Middle Atlantic Archaeological Conference, Ocean City, Md. (senior author with R.L.Ryder and E.G.Johnson).

1981 Temper! Temper!: Prospects for compositional and materials science approaches to ceramics analysis in the Henrico Project. Delivered to the annual meeting of the Archaeological Society of Virginia, Roanoke. (co-author with Gordon J. Bronitsky).

1981 Social models: information, organization and exchange in regional research designs. An invited discussion paper presented to the Conference on Upland Archaeology in the East, sponsored by the U.S. Forest Service, Council of Virginia Archaeologists, and James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Va.

1981 Site and society: a polite assault on the “Gardner Method.” Delivered to the annual meeting of the Middle Atlantic Archaeological Conference, Ocean City, Md. (co-author with R.L.Ryder).

1980 Regional research designs: a social approach. Invited position paper for the “Regional Research Design” symposium, annual meeting of the Archaeological Society of Virginia, Abingdon, Va.

1980 Down to the river in boats: the Late Archaic/Transitional in the middle James River valley. Delivered to the annual meeting of the Middle Atlantic Archaeological Conference, Dover, Del.

1980 Barbarians and hillbillies: social perceptions and regional boundaries in the Late Woodland societies of eastern and central Virginia. Delivered to the annual meeting of the Eastern States Archaeological Federation, Albany, N.Y.

1979 The James River Survey: research methods and preliminary findings. Delivered to the annual meeting of the Archaeological Society of Virginia, Virginia Beach, Va.

1979 The evolution of historic settlement patterns in Henrico County, Virginia. Delivered to the annual meeting of the Middle Atlantic Archaeological Conference, Rehobeth Beach, Del. (coauthor with L.W. Lindberg).

1979 Regional ecology and settlement near the falls of the James River, Virginia. Delivered to the annual meeting of the Middle Atlantic Archaeological Conference, Rehobeth Beach, Del.

1978 Up Stony Creek without a cord-wrapped paddle: ceramic variation in the James River piedmont and coastal plain. Delivered to the annual meeting of the Archaeological Society of Virginia, Arlington, Va.

1977 Temporal, functional and social interpretations of Paleoindian point variation in eastern North America. Delivered to the annual meeting of the Eastern States Archaeological Federation, Richmond, Va.

1975 The application of system theory to models of cultural evolution. Presented to the annual meeting of the AKD Sociological Honor Society, Richmond, Va.

1975 Early man in Eastern North America: a regional approach. Delivered in a colloquium, Simon Fraser University Department of Archaeology, Burnaby, B.C.