News, Events, and Announcements


New 2008 Book by Dr. Mark D. Groover, Associate Professor

A new volume in the University Press of Florida series The American Experience in Archaeological Perspective, edited by Dr. Michael S. Nassaney (Professor of Anthropology, Western Michigan University).

"An excellent introduction to the material legacy of farming in the United States from the 1600s to the 1950s"--Donald L. Hardesty, University of Nevada, Reno

"Groover's approach directly challenges the common misconception by many agencies and state historic preservation offices, which consider farmsteads to be redundant resources without important information potential, by demonstrating a wide range of important research topics and results from the colonial era into the twentieth century."--Barbara J. Little, National Park Service

    From the early colonial period to the close of World War II, life in North America was predominantly agrarian and rural. Archaeological exploration of farmsteads unveils a surprising quantity of data about rural life, consumption patterns, and migrations across the continent.  Mark Groover offers both case studies and an overview of current trends in farmstead archaeology in this exciting new work. He also proposes a research design and makes numerous suggestions for evaluating (and re-evaluating) the significance of farmsteads as an archaeological resource. His chronological survey of farmstead sites throughout numerous regions of North America provides fascinating insights to students, cultural resource management professionals, or general readers interested in learning more about what material culture remains can teach us about the American past.  Farmstead archaeology is a rapidly expanding component of historical archaeology. This book offers important lessons and information as more sites become victims of ever-accelerating development and urbanization.

Series Description:
The University Press of Florida is proud to announce a new series in historical archaeology that focuses attention on a range of significant themes in the development of the modern world from an Americanist perspective. Each volume will explore an event, process, setting, or institution that played a formative role in the making of America. These comprehensive overviews underscore the theoretical, methodological, and substantive contributions that archaeology has made to the study of American history and culture. While these studies focus on historical archaeology in America, they will also have broader application to historical and anthropological inquires in other parts of the world.

Link to University Press of Florida web page


Plantations Without Pillars Monograph by Cabak and Groover
Recently Reviewed in Southeastern Archaeology

Review by Dr. Nicholas Honerkamp,
Professor of Anthropology,
University of Tennessee, Chattanooga;
Director, UTC Jeffrey L. Brown Institute of Archaeology

Southeastern Archaeology
Summer 2008 27(1):150-152.

 Plantations Without Pillars: Archaeology, Wealth and Material Life at Bush Hill. Vol  1, Context and Interpretation. Melanie A. CabAk and Mark D. Grover. Savannah River Archaeological Research Papers, No. 11 Occasional Papers of the Savannah River Archaeological Research Program, South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of South Carolina, Columbia, 2004. iii-xii + 254 pp., 150 figs, 74 tables. $18.00.

        As most of us are aware, there is a wide spectrum to be found in the quality of research reports in historical archaeology, be they academic or cultural resource oriented. Some are of the melancholy bare-bones variety, reflecting constraints on research time and funding. And then there are the truly remarkable efforts that stand as models for archaeologists of all stripes. Cabak and Groover’s exhaustively researched Plantations Without Pillars falls into this second category.
        The Bush Hill plantation (38AK660) is located in the Savannah River Site in Aiken County, South Carolina, on a Department of Energy nuclear research facility. The site was investigated as part of the Savannah River Research Program and it is the only antebellum plantation in the middle Savannah River valley that has been the subject of data-recovery-level research. As the title of the monograph implies, Bush Hill was a working plantation rather than a columned country estate. It was owned by four lineal generations of the same family and occupied from about 1807 to 1920. In the pre-Emancipation period, the plantation was an unpretentious but certainly successful cotton producing operation. A central theme of the research design for this site is defining and contextualizing the “working” versus “show” plantation distinction, with a goal of correcting the common “Gone With The Wind” stereotype of Southern plantation life. The authors waste little time in doing so: the first paragraph of their introductory chapter points out that only 5% of white males in the Old South even owned slaves in 1850. Cabak and Groover argue that for several generations of the Bush family—and imply that for many other mid-level planters like them—wealth was expressed primarily in land and labor ownership rather than over-the-top architectural extravagance and lavish material possessions. While this observation is not unique in plantation studies, the approach used in demonstrating it is unusual for its thoroughness and quantitative emphasis. 
        The authors begin by defining a plantation as “an agricultural operation where most of the agricultural products were raised through the use of enslaved labor…,” a definition that is not contingent on acreage or the number of slaves present. Besides distinguishing plantations from farms that lack slave labor, such a flexible approach accommodates the dynamic nature of plantation evolution. Linking the trajectory of plantation development to a Wallersteinian world system model, with a reliance on the scholarship of Francis Braudel, the authors propose a plantation typology that is defined by several variables. These include regional and temporal trends in demographics, settlement patterns, subsistence practices, economic characteristics (crops, land and slaveholdings, labor systems, wealth groups, etc.), material culture (architecture, material possessions, etc.), and social characteristics (including slave autonomy). They then seek to identify the range of variation among plantations within their study area, and also to define the relative socioeconomic position of the study household among other planters using census data and probate inventories. One way the latter goals are accomplished is to calculate Bush family financial averages from the census information and compare them to averages calculated from 15 names immediately before and after the Bush census entries. This allows outliers in the region to be easily identified. Corresponding differences in standards of living are then determined, as revealed archaeologically and from probate inventories. A strong point of this approach lies in the objective manner in which test implications concerning rich and poor are generated for comparison.
        Two chapters of Volume I are devoted to the archaeology of the Bush Hill main house and surrounding landscape. Besides the dual chimney I-house planter residence, features such as a well, outbuildings, a charcoal kiln, and a probable cotton press pit were located. The meticulous excavations at the Bush residence revealed that while it was a “rural symbol of prosperity and social status in the local community” compared to other residences in the region, it was at the same time anything but an ostentatious manor (p. 8-61). Similarly, luxury items and decorative goods were rare, especially early on: a “conservative consumer orientation” was seen in the mostly undecorated refined ceramics, locally made stoneware, low-quality domestic faunal remains, and inexpensive clothing and jewelry artifacts that were recovered. However, what the Bush family lacked in quality, it made up for in quantity, particularly in the second half of the 19th century when a spike in mundane consumer items and a wider variety of faunal species was measured. Despite the agrarian setting, the residents of the site were participating fully in the larger technological and consumer trends affecting the nation.
        Curiously, research devoted to the slave component at Bush Hill Plantation is conspicuous by its absence. Although the ultimate success of the plantation obviously depended on slave labor, slaves are examined primarily as a documentary reflection of the planter’s absolute and relative wealth. Apparently a slave presence occurs archaeologically at the site about 200 meters away from the main house, but it was not excavated, possibly as a result of CRM requirements (this is not explained). Considering how remarkably detailed the planter material conditions are delineated in this report, a comparison with the slave component would have been fascinating. So also would comparison of Bush Hill slave assemblages with other working or show plantations in the South. Given the thoroughness of the authors, however, that would have probably upped their output to a five- or six-volume report! As it is, there are three beefy volumes devoted to Bush Hill: hardcopy Volume I contains the essence of the documentary and archaeological information and analysis, and comes packaged with a CD version; Volume II (field methods, features, and artifact analyses) and Volume III (appendices) are also included as CDs. No index appears in either format, but of course the CDs are searchable. The hardcopy and digitized illustrations are in black and white. While this format is arguably at least as useful as color for field photographs, it would have been nice to see color artifact illustrations, if only in the digital version. It should be noted, however, that all the graphics in the three volumes are of uniformly high quality.
        These minor quibbles should not detract from what Cabak and Groover have accomplished at Bush Hill. Solidly grounded in theory, they bring an ambitious and thought-provoking methodology to elucidating the social, economic, and material context of a planter family through time. In so doing, they buck the atomizing tendency that is often seen in plantation studies by offering a systematic, quantitative, comparable analysis of both the document- and dirt-based data. Their work—and the challenge that it presents—deserves serious consideration by plantation researchers.




September is Archaeology Month in Indiana

September is Archaeology Month in Indiana. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology (DHPA) is extremely pleased to coordinate this event.

Archaeology Month provides an opportunity to celebrate and learn about Indiana archaeology. A variety of events are held each year during Archaeology Month by universities, museums, organizations and individuals throughout Indiana. These events may include archaeological laboratory open houses, artifact identifications, lectures on archaeological topics, archaeological excavations, and stewardship and avocational certification sessions.

Archaeology Month allows Hoosiers to learn more about the discipline of archaeology, the archaeological sites in our state, and the laws which protect these sites. A goal of this month is to increase public awareness and to minimize the myths and misconceptions commonly associated with the discipline. Join the fun! Celebrate archaeology and learn about Indiana's cultural heritage!

Link to Archaeology Month web page




This year’s Midwest Historical Archaeology Conference will examine the archaeology of diversity in the Midwest.  In rural and urban settings alike from southern Indiana to the furthest reaches of Michigan, a vast range of ethnic and social groups have made their homes in the Midwest beginning in the earliest moments of European contact.  The conference will explore how archaeologists have examined this rich heritage and the ways in which material culture provides a distinctive picture of social, cultural, and class diversity throughout the region. 

This year's conference will be organized around a series of presentations and discussions on some of the key archaeological research on Midwestern diversity, including studies of the earliest European colonizers, 20th century African-American urbanites, and 19th century farm communities.  Rather than conventional paper presentations, we've decided to have panel presentations guided by moderators who will focus on discussing social and cultural diversity in Midwestern historical archaeological research. 

Friday October 3 we will have an informal meet-and-greet on campus, and the conference panels will be on Saturday beginning at 9:00.  We are working on finalizing the panel presenters and schedule and should have a full schedule posted by the middle of August, but here are some of the folks who will be joining us.

Tentative Program Saturday October 4

Midwestern African-American Archaeology (two sessions moderated by Chris Fennell, Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; Dr. Fennell is the author of Crossroads and Cosmologies: Diasporas and Ethnogenesis in the New World [University Press of Florida, 2007], Co-Director of the New Philadelphia Archaeology project, and will receive the 2009 John L. Cotter Award from the Society for Historical Archaeology).  Tentative panelists include:


Jamie Brandon (Assistant Professor, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville; Arkansas Archeological Survey's Research Station Archeologist at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia; editor with Kerri S. Barile of Household Chores and Household Choices: Theorizing the Domesticity in Historical Archaeology [2004])


Anna Agbe-Davies (Assistant Professor, DePaul University; Director Bronzeville Archaeology project, Co-Director of the New Philadelphia Archaeology project)


David Gradwohl (Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, Iowa State University; author with Nancy M. Osborn of Exploring Buried Buxton: Archaeology of an Abandoned Iowa Coal Mining Town with a Large Black Population [1990], Co-founder of the Iowa State American Indian Studies Program, recipient State Historical Society of Iowa Petersen/Harlan Award for lifetime contributions to Iowa history)


Mark Hauser (Visiting Assistant Professor, Africana Studies Notre Dame University, author of An Archaeology of Black Markets: Local Ceramics and Economies in Eighteenth-Century Jamaica [forthcoming])


Terry Martin (Curator and Chairperson of Anthropology, Illinois State Museum, Co-Director of the New Philadelphia Archaeology project)


Margaret Wood (Assistant Professor, Washburn University; Co-Director, Nicodemus Kansas Archaeology Project; author “Fighting for our Homes”: An Archaeology of Women’s Domestic Labor and Social Change in a Working-Class, Coal Mining Community, 1900-1930 [2002])


Flordeliz Bugarin (Assistant Professor, Howard University; Co-Director Nicodemus Kansas Archaeology Project, author "The Past of a Child in the Hands of a Child: Working with Children on an Archaeological Dig" [Anthropology News, 2008])


Carol McDavid (Executive Director, Community Archaeology Research Institute, Board of Directors of the Levi Jordan Plantation Historical Society, Project Director for Public Archaeology at the Yates Community Archaeology Project of the Rutherford B. H. Yates Museum)

French Colonial Archaeologies (session chaired by Elizabeth Scott, Assistant Professor Dept. of Sociology and Anthropology, Illinois State University; editor, Those of Little Note: Gender, Race, and Class in Historical Archaeology [1994]; author French Subsistence at Fort Michilimackinac, 1715-1781: The Clergy and the Traders [1985]; Project Director, Green Tree Tavern, Ste. Genevieve, Missouri)


Terry Martin (Curator and Chairperson of Anthropology, Illinois State Museum, Principal Investigator for archaeozoological studies of Fort Ouiatenon, Fort St. Joseph,
and several sites in Illinois' French Colonial District (Fort de Chartres, the Laurens site, Cahokia Wedge)


Michael Nassaney (Professor, Western Michigan University, Director Fort St. Joseph Project, co-editor Interpretations of Native North American Life: Material Contributions to Ethnohistory [2000], The Archaeological Northeast [2000])


Robert Mazrim (Illinois Transportation Archaeology Program, author The Sangamo Frontier: History and Archaeology in the Shadow of Lincoln [2006], Co-organizer French Colonial Heritage Project)

Archaeologies of Class, Race, and Gender


Jay Stottman (Kentucky Archaeological Survey, author with Patti Linn of Bringing the Past Into the Future: The Reconstruction of the Detached Kitchen at Riverside, Director Riverside Archaeology Program, Lecturer University of Louisville)


Mark Groover (Associate Professor, Ball State University, author The Archaeology of North American Farmsteads [2008] and An Archaeological Study of Rural Capitalism and Material Life: The Gibbs Farmstead in Southern Appalachia, 1790-1920 [2003])


Beth Scott (Assistant Professor Dept. of Sociology and Anthropology, Illinois State University; editor, Those of Little Note: Gender, Race, and Class in Historical Archaeology [1994])


Carol McDavid (Executive Director, Community Archaeology Research Institute, Board of Directors of the Levi Jordan Plantation Historical Society, Project Director for Public Archaeology at the Yates Community Archaeology Project of the Rutherford B. H. Yates Museum)


Paul Mullins (Associate Professor, Dept. of Anthropology IUPUI, author Race and Affluence: An Archaeology of African American and Consumer Culture [1999], Director Ransom Place Archaeology)

bullet IUPUI Campus Center Map (from Mapquest)
bullet Driving directions to IUPUI--this page also has campus parking directions 
bullet IUPUI Campus Center

Getting here

The conference will be held at the Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis (IUPUI) Campus Center.  The Campus Center is located in walking distance of downtown Indianapolis and easily accessible from all directions.  Dining options in the Campus Center include Bamboo Asian Cuisine, Caribou Coffee, Chick Fil-A, and Coyote Jack's Grill. The University Place Hotel and Conference Center directly across the street includes Chancellor's Restaurant and Our Den sportsbar.  Many more dining, lodging, and leisure options are available in downtown Indianapolis including the White River State Park, which runs along IUPUI's southern border and includes the Indianapolis Zoo and White River Gardens, Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art, and the Indiana State Museum

The IndyGo Red Line bus route is free, stopping in front of the Campus Center and looping into downtown on a roughly 15-minute circuit. 

Those willing to drive a few minutes from campus can visit the Indianapolis Children's Museum, the Indianapolis Museum of Art, and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and tons more lodging, food, and leisure options are available in the suburbs. 


There are a ton of hotels in Indianapolis including many downtown within easy reach or walking distance of the IUPUI campus, and those looking to save some money can drive out to the suburbs and find even cheaper digs.  The Circle City Classic (a football game) is in town the weekend of the conference, so some downtown hotels will fill earlier than normal, but Indianapolis is utterly committed to car culture and its easy to drive into town from the suburbs.  The Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association page has information on hotels as well as Bed and Breakfasts.  Some suburban hotels along I-465 (the beltway circling Indianapolis) will offer rooms at 65$ a night, and downtown around IUPUI is more likely to run in the neighborhood of $175 or more depending on how many amenities you need.  We include some possibilities here, but feel free to email me or Chris Glidden if we can help out at this end.  You may also find unadvertised specials (or rooms reserved at places that say they're already full) at Yahoo Travel, Indianapolis.com, and hotels.com.

Downtown (all are very close but more pricey than suburban hotels)


University Place Conference Center and Hotel (850 West Michigan Street) is directly across the street from the IUPUI Campus Center and a nice place but also a little pricey.


Courtyard Indianapolis at the Capitol (320 North Senate)


Hyatt Regency Indianapolis (1 South Capitol)


Marriott Indianapolis Downtown (350 West Maryland)


Westin (50 South Capitol)


Sheraton Indianapolis (31 West Ohio)

There is no charge to attend the conference.  We do ask that you register so we can prepare name badges; we will post registration materials on the page in August 2008, so check back.  For more information contact Paul Mullins (317-274-9847) or Chris Glidden.


2008 Midwest Archaeological Conference
Hyatt Regency Hotel
333 Kilbourn Avenue
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
October 15–19, 2008

Robert J. Jeske, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair
Department of Anthropology
Sabin Hall 275B
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Milwaukee, WI 53201
414-229-5848 (fax)

Explore what the 2008 MAC has to offer...

bullet View the Call for Papers announcement >>>
bullet Register for the 2008 MAC Conference >>>
bulletSee what notable events you can attend >>>



SEAC 2008

November 12-15, 2008
Hilton University Place - Charlotte, NC

Register for the Annual Meeting |Submit an Individually Volunteered Paper or Poster | Submit a Symposium

The Hilton University Place is a completely non-smoking hotel about 8 miles northeast of downtown Charlotte, close to I-85. The room rate will be $121 plus tax (about 16% currently). Parking is free. For reservations follow this link. Deadline for hotel reservations is October 19, 2008. The conference rate is valid during Nov. 11-16.

Advance registration will be by check or on-line by credit card.
On-site registration will be by check or by cash.

Regular: $65.00 ($75 after October 10)
Student: $50.00 ($60 after October 10)

Proposals for papers, posters, and symposia:
On-line and mail in forms will be available soon.
The deadline for abstract submissions is August 29, 2008
Submit an Individually Volunteered Paper or Poster |
Submit a Symposium

Information about the Student Paper Prize.

Anyone may benefit from the guidelines for giving effective papers currently available on the student section of the SEAC web site

All papers are 20 minutes long; boards for posters will be 8 ft x 4 ft. Half-day symposia should have no more than 11 participants, including discussants. You must be a paid-up member to give a paper.

We will supply digital projectors for PowerPoint presentations. Organizers and presenters must supply laptops: more information about this available soon. There will be two, ancient, carousel slide projectors in reserve if necessary.

Book room:
Contact Janet Levy at jelevy@uncc.edu no later than August 27, 2008, if you want to have a table or tables in the Book Room. Please let her know the number of 6-foot tables you would prefer and the minimum number you can work with. All exhibitors are expected to donate to the Student Paper Prize.

Special Events:
Plan to attend a reception (free except for cash bar) at the Levine Museum of the New South (www.museumofthenewsouth.org) in downtown Charlotte on Thursday evening. Their permanent exhibit is "Cotton Fields to Skyscrapers: Charlotte and the Carolina Piedmont in the New South." Transportation will be provided.

The Spongetones return for another great dance on Friday night. Get a preview on MySpace at: www.myspace.com/spongetones.

Join us for a closing barbecue, Catawba Indian village, 18th century Back Country Farm, and temporary exhibit, "Swamp Things," at the Schiele Museum of Natural History in Gastonia on Saturday afternoon. There will be a moderate charge for food, but transportation will be provided.



SHA 2009 Conference
January 7-11, 2009
Toronto, ON, Canada

SHA 2009 Conference Call for Papers (PDF)

SHA 2009 Dissertation Prize Guidelines (PDF)

SHA 2009 Student Paper Competition Guidelines (PDF)
SHA 2009 Conference Accommodation Information (PDF)

SHA 2009 Conference Exhibitor Prospectus (PDF)


The 2009 conference theme speaks to Toronto’s place in the Great Lakes and its role as an early centre of interaction, exchange and trade between Aboriginal and European nations at the beginnings of the “New World Experience” for this part of the continent. It further speaks to the persistent frontier defined by the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River, and to the conflict between Aboriginal, French, British, American, and Canadian peoples over territory now divided by the Canada-United States border. The conference theme also invites topics beyond a regional focus, since Conflict and Trade, in the broadest application of the concepts, are universal dimensions of past and present life. Likewise Borders, to constrain, separate, and transcend, is a concept that plays out across the entire human experience, such as between urban and rural life, between genders, age and ethnicities enhancing identity, between the disciplines of archaeology, anthropology and history, between underwater and land based archaeology, and between the archaeologist and others who also claim an interest in and ownership of the past.

We hope that you will visit us in Toronto, a city that both celebrates and transcends its past and global present with vibrant and diverse museums, galleries, neighborhoods and cuisines that showcase all of the world's cultures that now call Toronto home.



Kudos to former BSU anthropology students and colleagues!

The Other Side of Middletown book praised in American Anthropological Association review (General Anthropology Bulletin of the General Anthropology Division, Spring 2007, Vol. 14, No. 1, pp. 15-16).

Link to pdf file



Plantations without Pillars: Archaeology, Wealth, and Material Life at Bush Hill

Site Report Available


The triple volume excavation report Plantations without Pillars: Archaeology, Wealth, and Material Life at Bush Hill by Melanie Cabak and Mark Groover is currently available from the University of South Carolina.  Data recovery excavations conducted at Bush Hill near Aiken, South Carolina uncovered the remains of a planter's residence occupied from circa 1810 to 1920.  Printed copies of Volume 1 (Context and Interpretation) are available for $18.00 including shipping.  Volumes 2 and 3 are included with Volume 1 on a CD in pdf format.  The CD versions of the report containing all three volumes are also available for free.  To obtain the report in printed or CD format, contact Gary Coleman, South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of South Carolina, Columbia 803-777-8170. 

Link to Plantations without Pillars: Archaeology, Wealth, and Material Life at Bush Hill, Vol. 1: Context and Interpretation (pdf file, 138 mb)


Excavated remains of planter's I-house at Bush Hill near Aiken, South Carolina.


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