Spring 2020 Newsletter

From the desk of the IUMAA Director

Click here to read a message from the Executive Director of the Indiana University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Ed Herrman.

From the desk of the GBL Director

Click here to read a message from the GBL Director, April Sievert.

From the desk of the GBL Curator

Click here to read a message from GBL Curator, Melody Pope.

This Semester at the GBL!

Getting Our Move On

Jennifer St. Germain, Collections Manager

When the Glenn Black Lab first opened its doors in 1971, it became the new home for two important collections. These consisted of the 2 million artifacts excavated from Angel Mounds under the direction of Glenn Black and a collection of over 400,000 artifacts transferred from the Indiana Historical Society. The GBL’s collections have grown significantly in the five decades since then and now total over 5 million artifacts and specimens. The collections also include associated records, reports, photographs, maps, films, field notebooks, library resources, archives, and other forms of documentation that chronicle the history of research and curation activities at the GBL.

There are also a large number of people for whom these collections hold meaning and value, including students, staff, researchers, tribal partners, volunteers, school groups and other patrons. Moving the collections safely from the building is a responsibility we undertake on behalf of them all.


Our enormous task officially began in October of 2019 when plans for major renovations to the building were announced to coincide with the merger of the GBL with the Mathers Museum. Planning the move included creating spreadsheets, timelines, and long lists of needed supplies. The entire staff chipped in to quantify the volumes of collections and materials in every space, identify appropriate boxes and packing materials, hire and train new assistants, and help get this move off the ground.

Large mobile carts were purchased and assembled to help transport more than 6000 artifact boxes to an offsite storage facility. Prior to moving, every box has to be evaluated, weighed, and barcoded for tracking in our collections management system. Heavier boxes over 35 lbs are split into multiple boxes to meet new shelf weight restrictions, and most boxes are padded out with ethafoam or other protective materials to better cushion artifacts for transportation (Fig. 1). The completed boxes are then loaded onto mobile carts, transported to our interim storage location, and re-shelved onto barcoded shelving units, often with the assistance of a mobile hydraulic lift. Between November of 2019 and when facilities closed for Covid-19 in March of 2020, the staff and students had moved nearly 3,800 boxes, totaling over 35 tons of artifacts! A special note of thanks goes to our collections assistants, Amanda Pavot, Noah Sandweiss, and Cally Steussy, who shouldered (literally!) much of this box moving work.

Prior to our closure due to COVID, we also started photographing and measuring our extensive collection of ceramic vessels before they get packed (Fig 2). These images and dimensions will help IUMAA staff plan for exhibits, research, and new storage and display solutions over the next few years.
Although the work of packing and moving collections has been suspended, we’ve continued to work remotely on renovation blueprints, new storage layouts, database updates, and other plans for the merger and future reopening as IUMAA. Moving the GBL collections may be challenging, but the renovation work and greatly improved storage conditions and workspaces will be well-worth the effort.

Collections Updates

Amanda Burtt

As assistant curator, I have worked closely with Dr. Melody Pope during the spring 2020 semester to help supervise both the Saving America’s Treasures – Angel Mounds Rehousing Project and with packing the type collection for the approaching move. Both projects rely heavily on student hourly workers and I have had the privilege of working with an amazing group of IU grads and undergrads. We accomplished a lot before we had to shut down for the Covid 19 pandemic. When the spring semester began, the SAT team passed the awesome milestone of finishing rehousing all faunal remains from the Angel Mounds site! We began working with the faunal material in the summer of 2019 and have had help from many dedicated students. While rehousing the fauna, we also began a type collection for Angel fauna, which essentially is a collection of extraordinary animal
bones (bears, cougars, raptor, etc.), interesting pathologies, or especially complete specimens. Additionally, the SAT crew identified 29 individual specimens of domestic dogs that will be investigated as part of my dissertation research. I am teaming up with Dr. David Polly and the IU Grand Challenges initiative to have isotopic analysis done on the dog remains to better understand the diets of dogs at Angel Mounds.

Since finishing the faunal rehousing, the SAT crew moved on to ceramics. We were all well trained and running smoothly with ceramic rehousing when we closed for the pandemic. Before closing, Dr. Pope and I established protocols for packing the type collection and had several students trained. We made good progress in a short time, likely due to the exceptional students who
were assisting the project.

While working remotely, my efforts have concentrated on organizing documents for future SAT work that will help streamline the project once it resumes. I have also been investigating application software for use in the new IU MAA. This new technology is evolving and there are a lot of exciting options to be considered.

Besides working on all the important GBL projects, I continue to work on my dissertation. In April, a volume that I both coedited and contributed a chapter, Dogs: Archaeology Beyond Domestication was published with the University Press of Florida. Very exciting! Currently, I am preparing a manuscript on wolf dietary behavior to be submitted this month, also very exciting!

Library

Kelsey Grimm, Librarian

In preparation for the renovations of our building and merger into IUMAA (prior to quarantine), the library collections were busy being packed into boxes! As of March 20th, 563 boxes of materials were packed and housed on shelves ready to be moved. As soon as we can get physically get back to work packing will resume, and then most of the library collections will be moved alongside the archaeological collections at the Auxiliary Library Facility (ALF).

Image down library aisle full of brown boxes.
Library collections in boxes (March 2020, photo courtesy Kelsey Grimm

No worries, though! Researchers will still have access to the materials while moved out… we’ll just need a few days lead to time to pull and transport them for you!

Congratulations! Dr. Watts Malouchos!

GBL Research Scientist, Liz Watts Malouchos, successfully defended her dissertation on May 5th. Her dissertation, Assembling Mississippian Communities: Integration and Identities in the Angel Hinterlands, explores relationships between the Angel Mounds center and outlying sites in the southwestern Indiana region. She conducted a non-invasive magnetic survey of the Stephan-Steinkamp site in Posey County, Indiana and detected at least 83 houses at the site. She also undertook targeted excavations of houses and domestic features. She found that one quarter of all the known houses in the countryside were precisely oriented in the same direction as Mound A and Mound F, the oldest mounds at Angel, and were aligned to the movements of the moon. She also noted a unique region-wide practice in which Mississippian Angel peoples collected millennia old stone tools from local Middle Woodland period sites for recycling and reuse. She argues that the lunar alignment of regional houses and mounds and reuse of ancient stone tools were integral practices for creating and maintaining Angel group identities and relationships across the region.

Image of woman holding piece of pottery as if explaining it.
Dr. Elizabeth Watts Malouchos

Volunteers, Student Workers, and Part Timers!

Thanks to all of those who worked with us this semester:

Archaeological:

  • Mackenzie Cory
  • Ariel Creal
  • Carley Divish
  • James Edens
  • Preet Gill
  • Mara Gordon
  • Maclaren Guthrie
  • Conner Hayes
  • Anne Hittson
  • Grace Nelson
  • Amanda Pavot
  • Karrigan Perkins
  • Ryan Peterson
  • Jorge Rios Allier
  • Haley Rogers
  • Brenna Roller
  • Noah Sandweiss
  • Emily Schopmeyer
  • Lauren Schumacher
  • Sheree Sievert
  • Matthew Staats
  • Cameron Strause
  • Cally Steussy
  • Evan Weis

Library:

  • Patrick Sovereign

Social Media and Outreach

  • Josie Myers

Be on the lookout for our new social media profiles!

From the Desk of the IUMAA Director – Spring 2020

Collage of Mathers Museum and Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology signs
Collage of Mathers Museum and Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology signs.

With the Spring 2020 semester now officially closed, I wanted to update you on our efforts on a number of fronts. But first, I would like to wish all of our student volunteers and employees a healthy summer, and I want to say thank you to our graduating students many of whom have been an important part of our family for years. Last fall we began work on the monumental task of bringing together the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology and the Mathers Museum of World Cultures into one new institution, the Indiana University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (IUMAA), and redesigning our building, exhibits, and the way we work. In many ways, the process has been like combining two families to create something bigger, stronger, and more diverse. We now face many of the tasks that go along with combining households: we are building a new home, and moving out of familiar spaces, all of this while working in a global pandemic!

Our building renovation is addressing outdated and inefficient HVAC and other infrastructure, and because these issues have far-reaching implications for the safety of our collections and the people who care for it, our renovation is still on track in spite of COVID-19. The pandemic situation has meant that we’ve been conducting our planning meetings and collections work online via Zoom. Not being together has been difficult, but we are committed to doing whatever we can to slow the spread of this disease. Soon enough we’ll all be back in the building working hard to continue preparing for the move and renovation.

We’re excited about the plans for the building and will share those broadly once they are finalized—for now we can say that you’ll notice improvements to our entrances and programs spaces. Major changes will encourage visitors to explore the behind the scenes work of the museum more easily. People will be able to see what kinds of work takes place in our laboratories, storage, and analytical spaces, while improvements to collections accessibility will facilitate student, collaborator, and faculty research. New technologies and techniques are also planned for exhibit halls that will create even more meaningful learning experiences.

As you might imagine, the COVID-19 pandemic has rendered our timeline is somewhat uncertain and a little fuzzy, but we are still hopeful that in early 2022, we’ll be able to welcome you into our new museum and laboratory. Until then, we hope we’ll see you around campus and online. During the time we are under renovation we’ll still be conducting programs, hosting research, and participating in the life of the campus. I hope you’ll follow along with all or our efforts and activities via social media and the IUMAA website. Please stay safe and healthy.

Warm regards,
Ed Herrmann, IUMAA Director

From the Desk of the GBL Director – Spring 2020

You can take the archaeologist out of the archaeology laboratory, but I don’t think you can take the laboratory out of the archaeologist. In being separated from the physical lab space for both work and teaching, I’ve been thinking more about how the world outside of a physical building, holds the collections, assemblages, sites, and material culture that archaeologists and museum folk value and interpret. I made a foray into the woods that surrounds my house in Unionville to get a break from Zoom and visited an old midden, a dump of materials discarded from the early to mid 20th century. It was a common practice to dispose of unwanted and broken things into pits or drainages, especially before landfills and trash pickup became common.

Tossed into a natural drainage off the top of one of the many ridges in northwest Monroe county, the materials in the midden include metal, glass bottles, ceramics, all testifying to the people who once lived on the land. I know that previous residents include a family that has inhabited the ridge continuously since the 1840s, and descendants still live right next door. I came upon an empty bottle of Esquire Scuff-kote shoe polish, broken dishes, a glass electrical insulator, a tiny medicine bottle, and a very swell vacuum tube, among shards of window glass, rusty metal sheeting and many broken canning jars in shining clear and turquoise in the sunlight. This is a small archaeological site, associated with specific people. The site is too recent to be classified as a Historic Period archaeological site by the state of Indiana. However, it is a site nonetheless. I looked at and noted many pieces, but left them in place or in situ, as archaeologists would say. Field recording of artifacts gets you information without disturbing or having to curate the materials. Someday I will come back and make a map of the site.

Collage of three images taken in the forest of discarded materials.
Left: insulator; middle: household midden; right: vacuum tube
Images courtesy April Sievert.

When we get back into the Glenn Black Laboratory, it will be to pack up and move the collections. Then we will pack up and move our office to a temporary location. Soon after the demolition and construction crews will enter to create a redesigned space, one with enhanced visibility and accessibility, flexible learning spaces, and better collections care. It will be a bit sad to see furniture and fixtures that have been there since the GBL opened in 1971 (pretty shabby now), moved out, but the prospects for getting better materials and ergonomic design is so welcome. Not everyone shares my fondness for the mid-century modern look of the GBL, but elements of that design are classic. And it’s ironic that in 2021 the building would become eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, by virtue of turning 50 years old.

Although it will be hard to say goodbye to the old Glenn Black Lab, come back and see us in 2022 when the complex will reopen as the Indiana Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, with the Glenn Black Laboratory under that umbrella, carrying on the archaeological research and teaching activities that it always has.

April Sievert, GBL Director

From the Desk of the GBL Curator – Spring 2020

Collage of three images: on left is curator at desk, middle is a group of people working in type collection room, right is artifacts in numbered bags.

This is the last newsletter before we officially merge with the Mathers Museum of World Cultures to become the Indiana University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (IUMAA). While the GBL will retain its identity and spirit as part of the IUMAA, this seems somehow like a moment to pause, if only for a second. We really have not had much time to reflect on all the changes that are rapidly taking place with the flurry of packing, tracking, moving, lifting, bar coding, and ordering supplies (more carts please!). A pandemic was certainly not part of the plan. But here we are. I was a student at IU in the 1970s and had the good fortune to work on projects and collections at the GBL. One of the best parts of my job now as Curator is working with students who are just starting their careers. The few times I have been in the building since closing reminds me of just how important all of our graduates, students and volunteers are to the work we do. They truly are the backbone of the place, and for me the inspiration to get through all of the packing, moving, rebuilding, restructuring, and merging. When we reopen, the GBL will be an improved laboratory for learning, exploring and research. Despite the flurry of the BIG MOVE OUT, we also managed to conduct some business as usual:

  • We began the second year of the three-year IMLS/SAT Grant – Curating Angel Mounds Legacy Collections. The faunal collection rehousing was completed and by March 12 we had rehoused 12% of the ceramic collection boxes. By March 12, 359 rehoused Angel boxes were deposited at the new IU repository, ALF3.
  • We continued to provide curation services for collections under a cost share agreement between USDA Forest Service, Hoosier National Forest and IU/GBL.
  • We facilitated transfers and documentation work for IU NAGPRA and Hoosier National Forest.
  • The registrar team continued work on accession files.
  • We accepted two donations. From the Arkansas Archaeology Survey, Parkin Archaeological State Park, on behalf of Robin Gay Walker of Wilsonville, Oregon, we received a stone pipe from the Bone Bank site. From IU alum, Kenneth Tankersley, University of Cincinnati, Department of Anthropology and Geology we accepted items from his research at the GBL, including color slides from 1984 excavations at the Arrowhead Arch site and speleothem petrographic thin sections from Wyandotte Cave.
  • We facilitated access to the collections for three visiting researchers. Cheryl Munson, Indiana University, Department of Anthropology selected carbonized botanical samples from Wyandotte Cave for identification and carbon dating. Munson also conducted research on aragonite pipe fragments from the Mann site and Arrowhead Arch. Pat Trader, Gray and Pape, Inc. conducted comparative research on partially reconstructed ceramic vessels and sherds from the Martinsville Plaza site (12Mg52) comparing them to ceramics from other recently excavated Oliver Phase sites in the White River valley. PhD student and GBL Assistant Curator, Amanda Burtt, initiated exploratory research to study the diets and health of dogs from Angel Mounds. Melody Pope provided exploratory work and training in the Materials Science lab for IU graduate student Ryan Peterson who is researching ancient copper technologies (Figure 1). These varied research efforts are exciting and demonstrate the breadth of the GBL collections and the kinds of research they support.
  • As for the Big Move Out, 3,757 boxes have been deposited at ALF3, and one quarter of the type collection has been packed. This was a huge effort and accomplishment on the part of the GBL collections team (Figures 2, 3, and 4).

A BIG THANK YOU to the entire GBL collections and registration team!!

Melody Pope, Curator of Collections

Identifying Animal Species in the Angel Mounds Collections via Teeth

by Maclaren Guthrie

Color, close up image of the front of an animal skull
Fig. 1 Raccoon cranium (Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology, 2019)

Hi everyone, it’s Maclaren Guthrie back with another blog post! This time I’m excited I get the opportunity to talk about something that’s really of interest to me lately – identifying animal teeth.

Though this rehousing angel mounds project is all about the physical rehousing and conservation of the angel collection, we do see a lot of really interesting artifacts in our daily routines. This first segment of the project is focused on the packing crates of moldy bones due to our method of need-oriented rehousing. While our main task is to locate mold and deal with it and the task of putting these artifacts into new bags and boxes, a lot of us can’t help but try and figure out what type of animal’s bones we may be looking at.

For me, I’ve been particularly interested in the identification of animals by their teeth. We find quite a few teeth on a day to day basis, which is really cool and helps to show what species were hunted, eaten, or present in the lives of the Mississippian people at Angel Mounds. Teeth are a great way to identify this information because teeth are less likely to decay because of their density.

Multiple mandibles (jaw bones) in a line vertically
Fig. 2 Various animal mandibles (Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology, 2019)

Prior to this project, I was not the most experienced in identifying animal teeth with the exception of cows and pigs due to their common presence on historic archaeological sites. Lucky for this project we have Amanda Burtt, a zooarchaeologist, on staff to help us with our identification questions – which we have lots of.

So far, the most common animals we have been rediscovering in the collections are raccoons, deer, and fish which is unsurprising for the most part. We have definitely found some other cool species in the collections through identifying teeth, such as bear, river otter, opossum, dog, beaver, bobcat, and various rodentia. We’ve also found multiple bird beaks.

Image of the front of a bobcat jaw bone, has pointed front tooth
Fig. 3 Partial bobcat mandible (Glenn A. Black Laboratory of ARchaeology, 2019)

Identifying animals, specifically by just looking at teeth or possibly a mandible, can include a few different strategies which can really depend on experience in working with faunal remains. For me personally, as I don’t have much experience in this area as of now, I go through a little flowchart in my head to help me narrow down what animal the teeth could belong to. First, the size – this is a helpful observation that should start me off in the right direction whether I am looking at just a tooth or a mandible with or without the teeth still attached. Next, I look at the shape of the tooth. If it has a mostly flat crown I know it could be a molar, if it’s long and pointed it could be a canine, etc. Knowing what kind of tooth you’re looking at is important because the shape of that specific tooth gives you an idea of what type of animal that would have a tooth that looks like that – i.e. a wolf would have larger canine teeth than a raccoon, or a carnivorous animal like a dog would not have flat-topped molars like herbivores like deer or omnivores like humans. Having multiple teeth together, perhaps still in a mandible, is even easier since you can tell whether or not the individual was homodont (one type of teeth) or heterodont (multiple types of teeth) which would also allow us to tell what the animal could have eaten and therefore give us hints to what species the animal may have been. Fortunately for us, Amanda Burtt also brought a handy comparative collection that can help with this process for teeth and other animal bone identification.

Gloved hand holding a partial jaw bone, teeth are much flatter than bobcat
Fig. 4 Partial beaver mandible (Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology, 2019)

Teeth are also helpful in ageing an animal. For example, we can tell whether or not an individual is a juvenile or adult based on if the teeth are deciduous “milk” teeth or permanent dentition since most mammals are diphyodont and have two sets of teeth throughout their life. Another way teeth can be aged is due to wear – it seems only logical that the more worn a tooth is the older the individual would have had to been to have used it enough to wear it down. There can be other factors that effect this, though, as different diets wear teeth differently. An example of this in the Angel Mounds rehousing project is various raccoon molars, usually still attached to the mandible, have been noted to have very worn down molars. This could mean they were older or they could have been eating a harsher diet that was harder on their teeth.

Raccoon jawbone on table, teeth are short but pointed
Fig. 5 Raccoon mandible with worn molars (Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology, 2019)

A lot of information can be gained by studying animal teeth that can then help us better understand the people of Angel Mounds and beyond. Knowing the species, and sometimes age and diet of said animals, gives us more of an insight into the daily lives of the animals and the people they most likely came into contact with. Teeth are a great resource to use since they are often found in the archaeological record.

Fall 2019 Newsletter

From the Desk of the IUMAA Director

Click here to read a message from the Executive Director of the Indiana University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Ed Herrman.

From the Desk of the Director

Click here to read a message from the GBL Director, April Sievert.

From the Desk of the Curator

Click here to read a message from GBL Curator, Melody Pope.

Group of people around artifacts on table in type collection room.
Plains Anthropological Conference tours at GBL (October 2019)

This Semester at the GBL!

Plains Anthropological Conference

The 77th Plains Anthropological Conference was held in Bloomington, Indiana on October 16-19, 2019. The Conference was organized by Dr. Laura L. Scheiber and Amanda Burtt of the Indiana University Anthropology Department. This was the first year the conference was held in Bloomington!

The Plains Anthropological Society promotes the study of North American
Great Plains cultures, and encourages the exchange of ideas and information at its annual Plains Anthropological Conference. The society encouraged papers, posters, and organized sessions on topics related to Anthropology and Ethnohistory on the Great Plains and adjacent regions.

Amanda stands next to her poster "Ripe for Research"
Amanda Burtt at the Plains Anthropological Conference poster session (October 2019)

Poster Session

Amanda Burtt organized a poster session with members of the Saving America’s Treasures Angel Mounds Rehousing Project for the Plains Anthropological Conference. The poster session was titled: Rediscovering Angel Mounds.

Abstract:

Research presented in this poster session highlight the ongoing efforts of the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology in rehousing collections from Angel Mounds. Excavations at the Angel Mounds site (12Vg1) conducted during the WPA era recovered more than two million artifacts. With a Federal Save America’s Treasures grant, these collections are being removed from their original paper bags and boxes and upgraded with archival grade bags, tags, and boxes. A team of graduate and undergraduate students have been instrumental in this process, learning about curation practices while rediscovering the material remains of Angel Mounds residents. Posters represent various aspects of curating this legacy collection and the interests of those that have been on the front lines of this exciting project including research on curation practices and community involvement in archaeology, as well as archaeological investigation into food-ways, tool use, and fauna remains from Angel Mounds.

Molly stands next to her poster "Keeping UP with the Collections: issues with documentation of artifacts from Angel Mounds"
Molly Mesner Bleyhl at the PAC poster session (October 2019)

New Collections to the Library & Archives

This summer and fall, the archives have received several marvelous donations! Cheryl Munson brought boxes of records related to her work on GE Mounds; Kevin Crouch donated a few boxes of books and reports to be added to our collections; and Jonathan Reyman, former curator of the Illinois State Museum and member of the GBL Advisory Board, donated the papers of the Feather Distribution Project.

Image from back of lecture hall towards Jonathan Reyman pointing at screen.
Dr. Jonathan Reyman’s lecture on the Feather Distribution Project (September 2019)

The Feather Distribution Project, organized and coordinated by Dr. Reyman, collected over 14 million naturally molted feathers over a 34 year period from around the country to donate for use in the Pueblo nations. This archive of documents will be organized and a finding aid created in the near future!

In the digital-realm, Patrick Sovereign has been digitizing the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology Reports of Investigations abstracts and submitting them to Indiana University’s ScholarWorks database. To date he’s uploaded 117 of the more recent report abstracts.

Exhibits

Trowel & Brush Society

In August, a lobby exhibit called Trowel & Brush opened to highlight images and archival materials of past field schools run by Glenn Black. The name comes from The Trowel and Brush Society, which began in 1948 when Glenn Black thought to start an organization made up of those students who had worked at Angel Mounds under his tutelage. This exhibit showcases many images from past field schools at Angel Mounds and remembers the students who were part of this institution’s story.

Animal-Spirit-Human

We said goodbye to our latest Headdy Gallery exhibit this semester. Items were rehoused in November in preparation for the upcoming spring collections move.

You Are There 1939: Exploring Angel Mounds

You can still visit the Indiana Historical Society exhibit and interaction about Angel Mounds at the History Center in Indianapolis! Guests are transported back to the Depression era as workers with the Works Projects Administration study Angel Mounds, the once-thriving Mississipian town located in southern Indiana. Learn how archaeologists and workers survey the land, excavated artifacts, and process their findings.

Campus Archaeology Symposium

Organized by Elizabeth Watts Malouchos

On September 6th, 2019, archaeologists from IU campuses across the state and the wider Midwest convened at the Wylie House Museum (WHM) for IU’s first Campus Archaeology Symposium. The Campus Archaeology Symposium was inspired by the recent collaboration between the GBL and WHM to explore early campus landscapes and document and preserve campus cultural heritage at the 1835 home of IU’s first president Andrew Wylie. Funded through IU’s Office of the Bicentennial, the Campus Archaeology Symposium was organized to explore the buried archaeological record of the historic campus and to discuss how to balance university growth with preservation of campus cultural resources.

The symposium has held in the WHM’s Morton C. Bradley Jr. Educational Center, a restored 19th century barn, the perfect setting steeped in local history and charm to host our speakers and guests. The symposium started out with a delicious bagel breakfast spread and a welcome from GBL Research Scientist Liz Watts Malouchos. Next, the WHM Director Carey Champion and WHM Outdoor Interpreter Sherry Wise introduced the history of the Wylie House and a missed opportunity for archaeology (the foundation of the original Wylie carriage house was disturbed during a construction project) that inspired the partnership between WHM and the GBL. Then, GBL Director, April Sievert introduced our recent collaborative research project that culminated in a 2018 field school investigating two subterranean greenhouses at Wylie House that were used to overwinter flowers starting in the 1860’s. IUB Anthropology graduate student Molly Mesner Bleyhl presented next and spoke about the unique experiences of learning to do archaeology in a local and familiar landscape. Liz Watts Malouchos followed and provided a summary of the many recent campus archaeology projects at Wylie House and other locations on campus like the Griffy Research and Teaching Preserve and Campus Farm and Hinkle-Garton Farmstead. IU Historian James Capshew presented on the history of place-making at IU and how early students participated in sculpting the IUB natural and cultural landscapes that we know today. To round out the morning, John Summerlot Coordinator for Military and Veteran Services and IU history buff and Spencer Bowman IU undergraduate student and Bicentennial intern discussed their research on IU’s illusive centennial timecapsule buried at the original Seminary Square Campus. Undergraduate students and GBL/WHM interns Lauren Schumacher and Maclaren Guthrie also presented posters on their original research on campus archaeology and material culture at Wylie House.

After a delightful lunch was enjoyed on the lawn next to the WHM garden, the symposium moved to archaeological projects and programs farther afield from our Bloomington campus. Jay VanderVeen from IU South Bend presented on his recent campus excavations and research linking participation in archaeological field schools to increased civic engagement. Paul Mullins from IUPUI followed and shared his research on the displacement of black communities to make way for the downtown Indianapolis campus. Then, Mark Schurr from Notre Dame University described how he combines traditional collegiate field schools with high school field schools to explore UND’s Old College. GBL Curator Melody Pope spoke about campus archaeology projects during her tenure at the Iowa Office of the State Archaeologist on the University of Iowa’s campus. Finally, we had the great pleasure of hosting two keynote speakers: Lynne Goldstein, founder of the Michigan State University (MSU) Campus Archaeology Program (CAP) and Stacey Camp, CAP’s current director. MSU’s Campus Archaeology Program is the premier campus cultural resource program and serves as a model for sustainable, successful campus archaeology that we at IUB strive to replicate. Dr. Camp spoke about current CAP initiatives and the benefits of student learning and professionalization through exploring campus archaeology and history. Dr. Goldstein relayed the journey of her work in educating MSU’s administration in the importance of campus cultural heritage and leveraging the foundation of CAP. We here at the GBL were inspired by the interesting research and results of recent IU campus archaeology projects and how our colleagues across the state and at other academic institutions have built and sustained successful campus archaeology programs, preserving university past into the future.

Outreach

D&D and Archaeology

Kelsey Grimm, GBL librarian, hosted a successful event at the Monroe County Public Library in September discussing the connections between Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) and archaeology. Archaeogaming is an emerging field of study dedicated to the archaeology both of and within games. Open world games, like Dungeons & Dragons, have culture, civilizations, and a history. Players that have an understanding of basic archaeology concepts can find their gaming experience enriched.

First Thursday

Collaborating with the Wylie House Museum, the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology showed off some of the artifacts found during 2018 summer excavations at the Wylie House!

Volunteer and Student Appreciation!

Thank you to all who gave their time this semester!

Collections: Jorge Luis Rios Allier, Ariel Creal, Preet Gill, Maclaren A. Guthrie, Anne Hittson, Victoria Kvitek, Amanda Pavot, Ryan PEterson, Brenna Roller, Noah Sandweiss, Lauren Schumacher, Matthew Staats, Cally Steussy, Cameron Ricci Strause

Library: Patrick Sovereign

Programming: Josie Myers

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From the Desk of the IUMAA Director

Collage of Mathers Museum and Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology signs.
Image of Mathers Museum (left) and Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology (right) signs.

Thank you for being a part of the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology community.

I am thrilled to begin my tenure as Executive Director of the Indiana University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology with a note about our plans for this new museum. As you may have heard, the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology (GBL) is merging with the Mathers Museum of World Cultures (MMWC) to form the Indiana University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (IUMAA) on the Bloomington campus. Much of my archaeological training occurred during my five years at the GBL, where I spent most of my time working with collections and conducting fieldwork. I am excited to return to work with those as well as the Mathers collections. Perhaps more importantly, I am happy to work with Director April Sievert and the passionate and dedicated museum staff and faculty professionals—who average more than 20 years of experience per person in areas such as museum administration, outreach and education, curation, exhibit planning and design, material culture analysis, and ethnographic and anthropological research.

As a university museum and laboratory at a research one institution, the IUMAA will focus on the creation, dissemination, and curation of cultural knowledge. Continuing in the tradition of the MMWC and the GBL, the museum will foster education at all levels through collections-based teaching, exhibits, and research focused on our extensive and rich ethnographic and archaeological collections from around the world – including from the unique Angel Mounds Site, our largest collection. We intend our collaborative efforts to include work with many IU departments, professors, students, teachers, K-12 students, and the general public. Traditional Arts Indiana will help us engage with people enmeshed in the creative processes currently being documented in Indiana today.
The IUMAA will also work with indigenous communities and engage with tradition bearers to bring their perspectives to Indiana audiences. We hope to collaborate with Native American tribes that were once present in Indiana to help bring their viewpoints to our audiences. My own research and teaching has involved collaborations with indigenous communities including the Maasai and Chagga tribes in Tanzania, Africa as well as projects with the Crow, Salish, and Kootenai in Wyoming and Montana, and I have always found these collaborations to be some of the most rewarding and important aspects of my work.

The two centers, which are currently housed in separate but adjoining buildings, are slated for necessary renovations starting next summer. Indiana University President Michael McRobbie has secured over $10 million for renovations, and additional funds from generous donors have helped support expanded and updated exhibits. Renovations will be extensive, incorporating replacement and modernization of mechanical and other infrastructure through the installation of new HVAC systems, electrical upgrades, and other improvements that will make our facility better for visitors, students, researchers, and employees. The GBL and MMWC will close in May 2020, renovations will be completed in the fall of 2021, and the new museum will open in the spring of 2022. We look forward to new teaching spaces, lab spaces, artifact study areas, compact shelving in curation areas, expanded exhibit space, and extensive technological additions that will facilitate our teaching and learning missions.

I am grateful to those who have warmly supported my arrival and the staff, faculty, and students who have welcomed me.

Ed Herrmann, IUMAA Director

From the Desk of the Director

If you read new Executive Director Ed Herrmann’s piece on the merger and upcoming renovations, you might imagine the magnitude of the change is in store for the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology and our sister organization, the Mathers Museum of World Cultures. The GBL opened in 1971, and now nears 50 years in age, so renovations are long overdue. If you’ve ever been in the Angel Repository, you know just how little room we actually have to work in, so I welcome the opportunity to update mechanicals, rethink spaces, and gain areas in which to work through more efficient storage and collaborative space development. From my perspective, this change provides an opportunity to think and build toward a future that serves and engages the campus, the region, and the world in new ways. As we work together I stand in awe of the staff of the Mathers Museum, without whose collegiality, imagination, and professionalism keeps me optimistic in light of mountains of work to do. When we re-open, I imagine a Glenn Black Laboratory of Archaeology, which will continue as a lab within the new complex, enhanced with new space for working, accessible and re-thought storage for comparative collections, capacity for distance education and collaboration, and new technologies.

We started off the semester with the Campus Archaeology Symposium, held in conjunction with the Wylie House Museum, and co-directed by Carey Champion and Liz Watts Malouchos. The symposium was supported by a grant from the IU Bicentennial, and allowed us to gather speakers from around Indiana in discussions of archaeology done on college campuses. IU has a rich history hidden beneath the surface, and our Wylie house project engaged students and recovered historic information related to IU’s early faculty.

In October the GBL helped support the Plains Anthropological Conference which came to Bloomington for the first time. I got to help lead a group of conferees to Angel Mounds, along with Melody and Amanda Burtt. If there is one thing that I’ve learned about archaeologists, it’s that if you take them to a site, forget the tour—they will scatter like autumn leaves.

In addition, we hosted talk by Dr. Jonathan Reyman, formerly of the Illinois State Museum, who told us about his long-term project to distribute legally-acquired molted feathers to members of tribes in the Southwest, including many Pueblo communities for use. We hosted multiple classes who used the gallery exhibits, and received tours or targeted talks. In all, it’s been a very exciting and busy semester, and the pace is not likely to change any time soon!

April K. Sievert's signature

April K. Sievert, GBL Director

From the Desk of the Curator

Three images in banner: students working on rehousing artifacts, Curating Angel banner and event, rehoused boxes.

The Curating Angel Rehousing Project, funded through the FY2018 Save America’s Treasures grant program monitored by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and National Park Service, began in earnest during the summer and continued into the fall with a team of between 10 and 15 students and staff. At this writing the curating Angel Team, led by Assistant Curator and anthropology graduate student Amanda Burtt, have rehoused 440 boxes of Angel faunal material. The rehousing project will preserve the collection and make it more accessible to researchers, and it is generating new research directions as we “re-excavate” the site through the rehousing process. Nearly every day we learn something new about the history, preservation and research potential of the legacy Angel collections. We have also started to compile zooarchaeology and bone tool comparative collections as part of the rehousing process. Over the summer and fall we got the word out about the rehousing project. In August, April Sievert, and Amanda Burtt took the Curating Angel project on the road to Angel Mounds as part of the sites birthday celebration. Sievert and Pope presented a paper on Curating Angel at the 63rd Annual Midwest Archaeological Conference, and Amanda Burtt organized a poster symposium, “Rediscovering Angel Mounds” for the 77th Annual Plains Anthropological Conference held in Bloomington, which included posters by 11 crew and staff involved with the project. This fall also marked a huge milestone for IU GBL collections. We have deposited 324 rehoused boxes of Angel Mounds collection materials into the new ALF3 repository! Before the end of the year that number will grow substantially!

Over the summer and fall, the archaeology collections received donations to our education collection from Cheryl Munson. We also received a transfer from the DNR Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology of the Wea Village Collection derived from three IUPUI field schools (1986-1988) directed by Rick Jones (former state archaeologist) and Neal Turbowitz. In addition to housing archaeological collections for the state of Indiana. The GBL is also a repository for federal archaeological collections. Over the summer and fall, two USDA Hoosier National Forest collections were transferred to the lab for curation. The curation staff also assisted 24 researchers with access to the collections and provided content for two exhibits, the IU Mobile Museum and the 800 Seasons: Change and Continuity in Bloomington, 1818-2018 exhibit, curated by Eric Sandweiss at the Mathers Museum of World Cultures.

On the research front, Pope presented findings from a microwear study she conducted on stone tools from several Central Plains sites at the 77th Annual Plains Anthropological Conference, and will follow this with a submission for publication to the journal Plains Anthropologist. Pope also conducted an assessment and pilot microwear study on a sample of end scrapers from the Mulvey Collection, site 12T4. This collection has great potential to inform on the protohistoric and early historic Wea/Miami trade in hides centered on the Middle Wabash valley. Research on the Black-era excavations at Angel Mounds is ongoing, oriented toward developing a collections-based research project focused on Mississippian house trajectories. Plans are also underway to begin research on the Angel type collections. Finally, Pope launched a project this fall to address the organizational structure of the GBL archaeological collections. One outcome of the collections structure project will be a collections-based publication, Indiana Archaeology through the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology Collections, which will aid future research and research-based exhibits that will enhance and support the newly envisioned IU Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.

Melody Pope's signature

Melody Pope, Curator of Collections

Mapping the Past at Angel Mounds with Geographic Information Systems

By David Massey

Image of a man standing in front of artifact boxes, smiling at camera
Image of David Massey (August 2019)

Hello! I’m David Massey, and I am a PhD Candidate in the Department of Geography at Indiana University. This summer I was working in the Glenn Black Lab rehousing faunal materials from Angel Mounds as part of the “Saving America’s Treasures” (SAT) project. It was fascinating to see the range of faunal material coming from the site, from the tiniest rodent teeth to drumfish jaws and deer antlers.

My research focus is on the use of remote sensing technologies to investigate archaeological sites. Remote sensing is a broad term that refers to the non-invasive acquisition of information about a physical landscape. While most remotely sensed data comes from satellites or aircrafts, drones fly much closer to the Earth’s surface and are able to collect finer resolution data. Archaeologists are increasingly using drones to survey landscapes for this reason. I’m currently working on a project at Angel Mounds using Light Detecting and Ranging (LiDAR) topographic models derived from an aircraft and a drone. This will help us understand the labor involved in constructing the mounds and what this tells us about the degree of social complexity among the inhabitants.

We’re very fortunate that Glenn Black had the foresight to systematically excavate Angel Mounds. After excavating at Nowlin Mound in 1934-1935, Black (1936) wrote that “if the results of any excavation are to provide an unimpeachable historical record of a prehistoric work, too much stress cannot be placed upon methodical technique and exactness of detail, no matter how trivial the feature may be.” This attention to what some at the time deemed trivial details enables archaeologists to discover and examine spatial patterns in the archaeological record through a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) database today. GIS is an essential tool for archaeologists because it allows for the analysis and visualization of large amounts of spatial data.

10 by 10 grid with numbers along each side, represents subdivison X11C
Example diagram of Angel Mounds subdivision X11C (Massey 2019)

Glenn Black divided the entire site into Subdivisions, Blocks, and Depths. Each Subdivision is a 100 x 100-foot square.  Within each Subdivision is one hundred 10 x 10-foot Blocks. Each Block is labeled from 0 – 9 along the y-axis and into Left and Right from 1 – 5 on the x-axis. Each Block is additionally separated into 6 categories of depth in feet: 0.0 – 0.4, 0.4 – 0.8, 0.8 – 1.2, 1.2 – 1.6, 1.6 – 2.0, and 2.0 – 2.4.  All this information can be displayed in GIS as a shapefile. A shapefile stores information about specific geographic features such as their location, shape, and attributes.

Satellite image of Angel Mounds with red boxes drawn over the top, locating relevant subdivisions for rehousing in 2019.
Locations of subdivisions on satellite image of Angel Mounds (Massey 2019)

This past summer we rehoused faunal material from 17 different Subdivisions. These records get updated in a Filemaker database and form the basis for the GIS database. The naming conventions of fields within the GIS and Filemaker database become very important at this point, because at least one must match for the data to be imported and joined correctly.

Below is an example of one Subdivision our team worked on this summer.

Aerial image of Angel Mounds subdivision X11C, with blocks of varying levels of black to represent concentrations of faunal materials rehoused in 2019.
Visual representation of faunal items rehoused from X11C (Massey 2019)

Subdivision X-11-C contains 1,936 faunal records and 88 of 100 Blocks currently have data associated with them. The total weight of all bone within X-11-C is 573.6178 kilograms, while the average weight of bone across all X-11-C Blocks is 5.86082 kg. It’s possible to see concentrations of bone across this Subdivision. In Figure 6, darker shading indicates a higher standard deviation across this Block compared to the mean (5.86082 kg), while lighter squares indicate lower standards of deviation. Depth information, which has not been added yet, would provide more chronological insight.  Moving forward, we hope to have all excavation data in a GIS database to conduct more sophisticated spatial analyses of faunal, lithic, and ceramic material to help us better understand the landscape around Angel Mounds. 


References:

Black, Glenn A. (1936). Excavation of the Nowlin Mound: Dearborn County Site 7, 1934–1935. Indiana History Bulletin, 13(7), 197 – 342.


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