Guest Post: The Archaeological Conservancy

When Kelley Berliner of The Archaeological Conservancy contacted us about sharing some recent developments in their organization, we thought that members of the AIA Narragansett might be interested in their ongoing efforts to acquire and protect significant archaeological sites. Kelley, who wrote the post below, is the new Field Representative for the region. If you are interested in submitting a guest post to the AIA Narragansett Blog, please contact us!

The Archaeological Conservancy continues to expand in the Northeast

2014 marks the 34th year of The Archaeological Conservancy’s efforts to permanently preserve the nation’s most significant archaeological sites. As the only national nonprofit organization dedicated to this cause, the Conservancy has now protected over 465 sites in 41 states, including some considered to be America’s most remarkable and famous. Without taking action many of these sites would have been destroyed and the information that they contain lost forever. Once sites are acquired, they are managed as permanent open-space, archaeological research preserves which are available to professional archaeologists for research; and descendant communities for passive use. Any excavations conducted must guarantee that part of the site will remain unexcavated and undisturbed in accordance with an ethic of conservation. In order to pursue diverse sites in all areas of the United States, the Conservancy operates through five regional offices. The Eastern Regional Office is located in Frederick, MD, and handles the area from North Carolina to Maine.

In its more than 10-year history in Frederick the Eastern Regional Office has doubled its holdings to over 50 sites dating from the Paleo through the 19th century. This includes sites at Lamoka Lake, NY; Thunderbird, VA; the Royal Blockhouse at Fort Edward, NY; the Pamplin Pipe Factory, VA; Ely Mound,VA; King’s Quarry, PA; and Contentnea Creek, NC.

Recently, the Eastern Office has acquired the PE Soapstone Quarry, located in central Virginia. It is the largest and most intact soapstone quarry that has been found in the state thus far. Another recent acquisition is the well-known, 16th century Cayadutta Mohawk village near Johnstown, NY. The village site is featured in archaeologist Dean Snow’s Mohawk Valley Project and it is where Snow conducted excavations in the early 1980s. In 2013, the Conservancy also acquired several other important Iroquois village sites across New York and made advances in the acquisition of several sites in Pennsylvania and Virginia. In Maryland, we have wrapped up our project with the Maryland Historic Trust to compile a database of all National Register eligible sites.

In addition to saving important sites, the Conservancy also publishes American Archaeology magazine and offers archaeological-based tours throughout the Americas. These tours are generally 1-week long bus trips that take visitors to important archaeological sites and museums in the area. The Eastern office offers tours focusing on themes of the Colonial Chesapeake, the French and Indian War, and Iroquoia, with plans to add a tour of the Archaeology of Canada. The eastern regional office’s next tour will visit sites connected to the French and Indian War in September of 2014.

The Conservancy’s eastern regional office is led by Andy Stout. Kelley Berliner is the region’s new Field Representative. They can be reached at 301-682-6359 or tac_east@verizon.net. Nationally, the Conservancy has also expanded its staff and it is launching a new website and outreach initiative for 2014. For more information on the Conservancy and to join its nearly 25,000 members, see their Facebook page or visit them on the web at http://www.americanarchaeology.org

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