D.C. Historic Preservation Office takes on Hot and Humid 2016 Day of Archaeology Festival!

Greetings and Happy Day of Archaeology (#DAYOFARCH)! The D.C. Historic Preservation Office (D.C. HPO) is proud to have co-sponsored and participated in D.C.’s Day of Archaeology Festival on July 16th!  This year marked the 5th Annual Day of Archaeology Festival, organized by the local non-profit Archaeology in the Community, and was held at historic Dumbarton House in Georgetown for the 2nd year in a row.  About 30 cultural resource-based agencies, firms, departments, and organizations participated, and over 500 visitors attended!  It was a huge success, and the D.C. HPO is thrilled to have reached out to so many eager children and adults, who now know more about their city’s archaeological past.

Dumbarton House, Georgetown. Photo courtesy of AITC.

D.C. HPO booths. Photo courtesy of D.C. HPO.

D.C. HPO booths. Photo courtesy of D.C. HPO.

It was all-hands-on-deck for D.C. HPO staff, interns, and volunteers- providing no less than four engaging archaeological activities and two archaeological displays. Activities included our staple ‘What is This?’ artifact guessing game, which has since grown to include prehistoric, historic, and faunal artifact categories of materials typically found in the mid-Atlantic region, and specifically from archaeological sites in D.C.

'What is This?' artifact guessing game. Photo courtesy of AITC.

‘What is This?’ artifact guessing game. Photo courtesy of AITC.

We brought along our ‘Mend Me’ historic ceramic mending exercise, where visitors tried their hand at refitting ceramic sherds. We have since added to the mending exercise, creating puzzles with whole images of ceramic vessels.  These have proved a great alternative for those unable to handle the actual ceramic sherds.

Children working on the 'Mend Me' exercise. Photo courtesy of D.C. HPO.

Children working on the ‘Mend Me’ exercise. Photo courtesy of D.C. HPO.

We also dusted off our Pinch Pot activity, and brought along quick-dry clay for visitors to make their own pots to take away.  Visitors could decorate their pots similarly to prehistoric Woodland Period pottery, using replica tools including sharks teeth, and cordage wrapped paddles. And, thanks to current District Leadership Program Intern Julianna Jackson, we added a new activity this year- Make Your Own Cordage!  Visitors were able to twine fibers into cordage or string, and then use it to create  a personal bracelet.  In doing so, visitors got a better idea of how prehistoric peoples made their own personal adornments but also how they would create cordage suitable for so many important purposes like fishing lines, snares, etc.

Assistant District Archaeologist Chardé Reid, center, and volunteer Hali Thurber, far right, helping children make pinch pots. Photo courtesy of D.C. HPO.

Capital City Fellow Christine Ames, left, and Assistant District Archaeologist Chardé Reid, helping children make pinch pots. Photo courtesy of D.C. HPO.

Make Your Own Cordage exercise. Photo courtesy of AITC.

Volunteer Lois Berkowitz making a cordage bracelet with a young visitor. Photo courtesy of D.C. HPO.

Volunteer Lois Berkowitz making a cordage bracelet with a young visitor. Photo courtesy of D.C. HPO.

Finally, the D.C. HPO had two archaeological displays.  The first was our Woodland Period pottery display, featuring  artifacts from the Barney Circle archaeological project.  Various  types of pottery sherds were on display and, to give the visitor a sense of what an unbroken pottery vessel might look like, we also provided a complete replica Woodland Period pottery vessel, courtesy of the Jefferson Patterson Museum Maryland Traveling Trunk and a 3-D printed scan of one by our colleague Dr. Bernard K. Means of the VCU Virtual Curation Laboratory. In this way, the display tied in nicely to the pinch pot making activity. In addition, the D.C. HPO also displayed a variety of replica containers, also from the Maryland Teaching Trunk, made from organic materials such as gourd, birch bark, reed basketry, and wood. These were commonly used prehistorically, but examples are rarely found in our local archaeological deposits and so we know little about them in comparison to the more durable pottery vessels.

District Leadership Program Intern Julianna Jackson, center, arranging the Woodland Period Pottery Display. Photo courtesy of D.C. HPO.

District Leadership Program Intern Julianna Jackson, center, arranging the Woodland Period Pottery Display. Photo courtesy of D.C. HPO.

Our second archaeological display contained a variety of artifacts  from the 2015 Yarrow Mamout Archaeology Project.  The D.C. HPO conducted a community-oriented archaeology project on the former property of Yarrow Mamout, a freed slave who purchased a lot in upper Georgetown in the early 19th century.  The 17,000+ artifacts are still being processed, and while we cannot definitively say yet if any are directly associated with Yarrow Mamout’s occupation, there are many artifacts that are datable to his period of ownership.  Much of the assemblage represents the households of the families that lived on the property following Yarrow Mamout, throughout the remainder of the 19th and into the 20th century.  Artifacts included personal items such as religious pendants, crosses, and buttons, including potential U.S. Navy and Union Civil War-era buttons, and a possible German Imperial WWI-era button.  A D.C. dog tag from the year 1922-1923, porcelain doll parts, a plastic toy soldier, possible gaming pieces, and quite a few marbles made up a rich and relatable exhibit to all.  In addition, a beautiful and complete agate pottery doorknob, a heavily corroded door bolt (identified via x-ray scanning from the Maryland Archaeological Conservation Lab), Chestnut Farms Dairy milk bottle, and Parke-Davis pharmaceutical bottle were also a part of the display.

Yarrow Mamout Archaeology Display. Photo courtesy of D.C. HPO.

Yarrow Mamout Archaeology Display. Photo courtesy of D.C. HPO.

District Archaeologist Ruth Trocolli, far right, talking to a visitor. Volunteer George Riseling, back center, manning the Yarrow Mamout archaeology display. Photo courtesy of D.C. HPO.

District Archaeologist Ruth Trocolli, far right, talking to a visitor. Volunteer George Riseling, back center. Photo courtesy of D.C. HPO.

In all, the D.C. HPO could not have pulled off such a successful Day of Archaeology Festival without its hard-working and amazing volunteer team.  Seven people gave up their Saturday to help us set-up, exhibit, and break-down our booths on a day when temperatures were 99 degrees Fahrenheit with 99% humidity!  Our volunteers have shown nothing but love and support to our archaeology program, and we could not effectively do this type of public outreach without them. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

D.C. HPO Volunteer Team:

Lois Berkowitz

Mia Carey

Hali Thurber

Justin Uehlein

George Riseling

Becca Peixotto

Lauryl Zenobi

D.C. HPO Staff Team:

Christine Ames, Capital City Fellow

Julianna Jackson, District Leadership Program Intern

Chardé Reid, Assistant District Archaeologist

Dr. Ruth Trocolli, District Archaeologist

2013 Day of Archaeology Festival Thank You!

The D.C. Historic Preservation Office (DC HPO) would like to thank everyone who came out and supported the 2013 Day of Archaeology Festival!  Thank you for stopping by our table and participating in our activities, we really enjoyed having you.   We would also like to thank Archaeology in the Community, for hosting the D.C. festival. 

It was a very successful event!

For those of you who wish to learn more about the DC HPO, within the Office of Planning, please navigate to our website.

The DC HPO presented on Prehistoric Pottery and Historic Ceramic assemblages, found in DC archaeological sites.  Displays were complete with signage and artifacts.  Visitors were engaged in a variety of activities, such as the “What is This?” game, where visitors had to guess the identity and function of artifacts on display.  The Stratigraphy Exercise, where visitors matched artifacts to associated soil contexts.  And, finally, the Pinch Pot making station, where visitors make their own clay Pinch Pots using prehistoric-themed tools and techniques.  It was a huge hit with the kids!

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Day of Archaeology Comes to the District of Columbia!

Day of Archaeology

Howard University at the Day of Archaeology

On July 30th, 2011, Archaeology in the Community, Inc brought together a diverse set of archaeological organizations to celebrate archaeology in the Chesapeake. This festival is particularly exciting in DC, where Ruth Trocolli (DC SHPO) has been working tirelessly to promote the importance of archaeology in conjunction with DC heritage.  Organizations began to set up in Garfield Park, a few blocks from the US Capital, at 9am.

JPPM Activities

In attendance was Maureen Malloy from the Society for American Archaeology, Louis Berger Group, Inc., Dr. Ruth Trocolli (City Archaeologist) and Charde Reid (Assistant City Archaeologist) with the Washington D.C Historic Preservation Office, Carol Ebright representing Maryland’s Native American Liaison Committee (CFMA), Tiffany Raszick from the Cultural Resources Division of the Maryland State Highway Administration (MDSHA),  and Kelly Cooper and Patricia Samford from Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum. Also in attendance were Howard University’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology represented by Dr. Flordeliz Bugarin and students Ashelee Gerald (Senior), Takisha Black (Senior), and Eva-Maria Tobin (Junior).  Nurse Kristina Foster manned the First Aid station and Dominique did some of the most amazing face painting I’ve ever seen!

Tiffany (MDSHA) and Carol (CFMA) educating about prehistory in Maryland.

Although the kids loved the face painting and balloons, they were really riveted by the varied activities.  Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum (JPPM), the State Museum of Archaeology, taught kids how to make pinch pots that they could take home with them, and let them try out all kinds of prehistoric tools. At the Howard University booth you could make marbles and bead necklaces. The DC Preservation Office had artifacts from DC archaeology sites to touch and identify, and the Society for American Archaeology helped kids dig through sand to find and analyze “artifacts” like a real archaeologist!

Making Pinch Pots

Dr. Ruth Trocolli (DC SHPO) showing off DC artifacts.

Over 150 DC and Maryland residents came to learn more about archaeology yesterday, even though temperatures were over 90 degrees.  Music from a group of live musicians, lead by Dava Sykes (bass) with Mike Pryor (piano) and Trae Couter (drums), and the sounds DJ Earth 1ne, who kept spirits high (thanks also to sound engineer Tony Smith, who also volunteered his time and equipment to the cause). The archaeologists representing all of the organizations really appreciated the excitement and fun that this group of artists brought to our celebration of archaeology.

Musicians at Day of Archaeology festival

Amazingly enough, everyone involved volunteered their time; the only pay was pizza! Archaeology in the Community, Inc (AITC) could not have reached so many residents without the hard work and enthusiasm of so many wonderful volunteers, many of whom were not archaeologists. And thank goodness for our interns Saamerikes Hetep Anderson, and Tariq Haqq from The Mission Continues. They passed out flyers all over Washington DC  in 100 degree heat all week long.

Archaeology in the Community organizing volunteers.

We can’t wait to do it again next year!

A beautiful Day for Arcaheology!