Portsmouth African Burial Ground Consecration

On August 17th, 2014 IAC was honored to participate in a ceremony consecrating the ground in which black members of the Portsmouth community were buried in the 1700s.  Oscar Mokeme combined three waters — rain water, sea water, and well water — and poured them over the ground to create a sacred space for the burial ground.  The ceremony was moving and magnificent, and marked the beginning of the construction that will result in a Memorial for those buried there.

Our new Project Archaeologist

We introduce Jessica Cofelice as IAC’s new Project Archaeologist!

Setting it right by setting folks free

A couple of Fridays back, I attended the signing of Senate Bill 187, which took up the 1779 petition signed by 20 enslaved African-Americans requesting their freedom.  These 20 black men had served their “masters” and new country by fighting against the British in the War for Independence, but three years after the Declaration of Independence was signed, they were petitioning for their own liberty. 

The value of doing what you love

Oprah Winfrey gave the commencement address at Harvard this year, and she quoted theologian and civil rights leader, Howard Thurman:

Don’t ask yourself what the world needs.  Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

Memorial Day 2013 with my dad

I spent my Memorial Day this year with my father, who trained as a paratrooper in the early 1950s.  He signed up for 3 years and a few months after he was discharged, his unit was sent to Korea.  I went with him to Fayatteville and Fort Bragg this year, to participate in the All-American week the 508th Airborne hosts.  I learned alot about my dad through the experience, mostly gained from the Parade and Review of 19,000 active-duty paratroopers, who stood in formation for two hours under a relenting sun.

Spring Break 2013

Jake is out at Northern Arizona University pursuing his Masters degree, and Ellen and I went out west to assist him in his field survey at the Petrified National Forest.  Beautiful high desert with stunning lithics just sitting out on the surface!  I finally understood what “surface survey” really meant, which is in great contrast to the must-dig-to-find resources here in the Northeast.  We walked miles and miles of transects over the course of four days, and Jake found he has enough data for his thesis. It was great having someone else be in charge, for a change!

Fieldwork is under way

Our 2012 field season ended on January 2nd of this year — a long slog from an early spring (90-degree temps in March) to a deeply buried urban site in December that we kept from freezing by covering with hay.  Never underestimate the insulating quality of straw and grass!

Okay, in all seriousness now...

We had a mild winter and an early spring here, much like the rest of the nation.  That delightful weather has wreaked havoc on our typical writing schedule, which usually runs from mid to late December into at least mid April.  One of the things New England offers is the cycle of seasons, which for archaeologists means we get to hunker down in the office for a spell to get caught up with our analysis, studies, and paperwork.  We got a truncated winter season this year, and it means our deadlines for reports have gone by while w

Fluffy at the Lab

Because Fluffy lost her front horn in a river skimming accident, we had to rescue here and take her back to the lab.  Fluffy has become an integral member of the IAC staff and enjoys romping in our makeshift jungle.  She joins Trick, the office cat.

An unusual find...

One of the questions most often heard by archaeologists is whether we’ve found dinosaur bones.  Well, for the first time ever, IAC recovered an entirely intact Triceratops!  Meet Fluffy, who was snatched from the bank of the Tioga River.