Temple University Archaeology

Michael Stewart – A Day of Archaeology, July 2014

July 7, 2014
Today is a sit-in-front-of-the-computer day writing and sending emails to colleagues. It’s tough to be inside when the weather is great and the field beckons. But as archaeologists often tell themselves, there is no use doing fieldwork if you are not going to write about it.

I am working on two chapters to be part of an edited book on Paleoindians, the earliest native peoples known for the region, ca. 10,000 BC – 8,000 BC. One chapter deals with a deeply buried site in the Lehigh Gorge of the Delaware Valley that Paleoindians returned to multiple times. The reuse of the location makes it unusual in itself as the majority of camps are not reused, even though Paleoindians revisit similar types of landscapes. One reason for its reuse may be the site’s critical location in terms of travel routes through the area’s rugged terrain. We also have a new radiocarbon date for a style of Paleoindian projectile point that has only been dated once before in the entire United States. The second chapter summarizes what we currently know about a series of Paleoindian sites spread across a common landscape adjacent to the Delaware River. The amount of activity on this landscape also seems unusual, just like the Lehigh Gorge site, and one goal of ongoing research is to figure out why. In this case, a travel route combined with a source of useful stone for tool manufacturing may be in play. The work on the Delaware River sites involves working closely with amateur archaeologists and artifact collectors who have known about them for years.

Throughout the writing process I have been emailing my colleagues and co-authors with questions and requests for information, or help with putting together graphics. Soon (hopefully!) I will be forwarding complete drafts of the chapters to everyone involved for comments and further revisions. If you are interested, keep an eye out for volume II of, In the Eastern Fluted Point Tradition, edited by Joe Gingerich (University of Utah Press). And definitely check out the already published initial volume.

Michael Stewart
Department of Anthropology
Temple University, Philadelphia (USA)

A fluted point from (the archaeological site numbered) 36CR142, located in the Lehigh Gorge (Delaware Valley). The point was found by Jim Hunsicker. (Photo courtesy of Del Beck, a member of the research team).

A fluted point from (the archaeological site numbered) 36CR142, located in the Lehigh Gorge (Delaware Valley). The point was found by Jim Hunsicker. (Photo courtesy of Del Beck, a member of the research team).