Angel Rehousing Project, Part 5

Part 5 of Amanda’s Angel Rehousing Project blog series

by Amanda Pavot

I have returned with news!

First, this is going to be my last blog post of the semester. However(!), the current plan is to continue to make blog posts about the project as it goes on. It’s just going to be different people writing. Maybe we’ll get more perspectives other than mine! Keep checking the blog for more updates!

More importantly, the Rehousing has started! It’s being divided into a couple of phases, those phases being “sort out the moldy bone boxes” and then “do everything else.”

~Issues in Curation~

Remember last post when I said that our NAGPRA team was pulling out AFOs and going through faunal remains to ensure that all sacred items and human remains are accounted for? Also, remember waaay back when I said that some of the boxes of artifacts have mold in them?

After opening boxes that had faunal remains in order to go through them, many of those boxes were found to have mold in them. Before our NAGPRA team can sort through those bones, they need to be cleaned up and rehoused into temporary bags and boxes. Only then can they be sorted through. Because it’s Very Important to get this done, cleaning up the moldy bone boxes is the priority right now. So here’s how it works:

First, we put on our respirators and nitrile gloves. That’s very important. Then we pull one of the moldy boxes. We take out one of the bags and look up the information written on the bag to find it in our digital database. Then we take the bones out of the bag, count them, vacuum off any mold (using a special attachment on the vacuum with the HEPA filter, which I think is cooler than it probably really is. The mold just comes right off, though!), and then weigh them. We get a new, archival-quality bag, write the information from the old bag onto the new one along with quantity and weight, and put the bones into the new bag. We also update the information in the database –for example, sometimes the number of artifacts in the bags and the number the database says we should have in those bags are different. Put the bag into a new box, move on to the next bag!

I left out a lot of the nitty-gritty details, but that’s basically how it works. We’re working in teams of two, one on a laptop with the database and one on the vacuum. When we finally finish all of the moldy bones, we’ll move on to the rest of the bulk collection. We’ll be training more people soon, and with more people we’ll be able to plow right through these boxes this summer!

I want to thank everyone who’s read these posts and has followed along so far. So: thank you! I’m looking forward to where this project is headed, and I hope you all are interested in it, too. I may be making some posts in the future, but, until then, have a great summer!

In September 2018, the GBL was awarded a Save America’s Treasures grant to rehabilitate and rehouse about 2.8 million artifacts from Angel Mounds over the next 3 years. These grants are administered by the National Park Service in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

This “Curating Angel” project will allow us to provide safe, long-term preservation of the artifacts and associated documentation from archaeological work at Angel Mounds and make these collections more accessible for research and education.

More about IMLS

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s libraries and museums. We advance, support, and empower America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. Our vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities. To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

(The views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this blog post do not necessarily represent those of the Institute of Museum and Library Services.)

Spring 2019 Newsletter

From the desk of the Director

Click here to read a message from Director April Sievert.

From the desk of the curator

Click here to read a message from Curator Melody Pope.


Anne Lacey, Kelsey Grimm, and Bob Wicks at MAC

Kelsey Grimm, librarian for the GBL, hosted a session in April at the 2019 Midwest Archives Conference in Detroit, Michigan. She, Bob Wicks of Miami University, and Anne Lacey of Kansas City, Kansas Public Library, presented “Collaborate and Listen,” in which they described the Wyandotte Heritage Digital Archive. This project, organized by Bob Wicks and hosted by the Wyandotte Nation, will bring together digitized primary source documents from repositories across the continent.

Ph.D. student Molly Mesner presented at the Midwest Archives Conference, alongside Wylie House Museum Director Carey Beam, concerning last summer’s campus archaeology project.

Curator Melody Pope presented research at this year’s Society for American Archaeology conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Head over to her ‘From the Desk of the Curator‘ to read more.

Collections news

Cataloging Collections

Malachai Darling has been continuing the book cataloging and completed the Jonathan Reyman collection, a set of books donated by the former curator of anthropology at the Illinois State Museum. Those can be found on our LibraryThing catalog.

Cleaning the Lilly Map

The Lilly Map

Sheree Sievert, a volunteer, has been cleaning the Eli Lilly map. It should be completed very soon, and will be on display in the Mather’s Museums’s fall exhibit, “800 Seasons.”

Wylie House Excavation

Follow our work at the Wylie House on our blog!

Save America’s Treasures Grant

In September 2018, the GBL was awarded a Save America’s Treasures grant to rehabilitate and rehouse about 2.8 million artifacts from Angel Mounds over the next 3 years. These grants are administered by the National Park Service in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The “Curating Angel” project will allow us to provide safe, long-term preservation of the artifacts and associated documentation from archaeological work at Angel Mounds and make these collections more accessible for research and education.

Amanda Pavot in the Angel Room

As the project gets underway, collections assistant Amanda Pavot is posting weekly updates on our blog. Click here to follow along!

More about IMLS: The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s libraries and museums. We advance, support, and empower America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. Our vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities. Follow IMLS on Facebook and Twitter!

Outreach news

Stephanie Holman, children’s librarian at the Monroe County Public Library, wrote and performed a story of Angel Mounds with support from the Indiana Historical Society and Storytelling Arts of Indiana. She debuted “Baskets of Dirt: the building, excavation, and interpretation of Angel Mounds” in early March at the History Center in Indianapolis. Look for more performances around the state in the coming year!

Part of the GBL’s “Postcards from the Past” activity

Lotus Blossoms was another absolutely treat this year! The GBL hosted a table with the activity “Postcards from the Past,” where students could identify artifacts found in the state of Indiana and try writing a postcard on the back. Thanks to everyone who came out to see us at Fairfield Elementary!

Hannah Ballard and Amanda Pavot at the Powwow

The GBL had a table at Indiana University’s 8th Annual Traditional Powwow on April 6th.

Exhibit News

Out With the Old: Hats of Archaeology”

Produced in conjunction with the Mathers Museum of World Cultures 2018 exhibit “Heads and Tales,” our exhibit “Hats of Archaeology” takes a look at the various head fashions used in Indiana archaeology throughout the last century. The hats may not have been chosen explicitly to make a statement, but by looking at these photographs from our collection, we can get a sense of how people thought about clothing throughout the last century. 

The exhibit closed in Spring 2019.

IHS Partnership: You Are There 1939

Throughout the past spring and fall, researchers from the Indiana Historical Society have been extensively using the archives for their exhibit You Are There 1939: Exploring Angel Mounds. Danny Gonzales and Dan Shockley visited the facility and were in constant communication with the GBL staff while preparing the exhibit. Uniquely, the “You Are There…” exhibits contain a section allowing visitors to simulate stepping back into the past by talking and interacting with actors; in this case you can talk to Glenn and Ida Black, William Rude, and other WPA workers at Angel Mounds. GBL staff members April Sievert, Melody Pope, and Kelsey Grimm spent a day teaching the “YAT” actors about Angel Mounds and the people of the WPA project. “You Are There 1939” discusses the history of the Angel Mounds Site from Mississippian occupation to today. The exhibit will be on display until August 2020 in Indianapolis at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center.

The new “Images from the WPA-era: Angel Mounds in 1939” exhibit in the GBL lobby

In With the New: “Images from the WPA-era: Angel Mounds in 1939”

In partnership with the Indiana Historical Society, the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology provided images, artifacts, and other primary sources to the development of the IHS exhibit You Are There 1939. An image exhibit was developed in the lobby of the GBL to showcase more of the historic images from 1939 Angel Mounds. The photos highlight some of the earliest, formalized archaeology conducted in the state of Indiana.

The exhibit opened in March 2019.

volunteer and student appreciation

           Collections: Hannah Ballard, Preet Gill, and Amanda Pavot

           Library: Malachai Darling, Sheree Sievert, and Ethan Shepherd

           Programming: Hannah Rea

Thank you to all who gave their time this semester!

Follow Us!

Facebook icon
Twitter icon of bird

From the Desk of the Director

From the desk of the director

April 25, 2019

Panorama of display area in the new Shawnee Tribe Cultural Center
Jayne-Leigh Thomas

Early 2019 brought a trip to Miami, Oklahoma, with Dr. Jayne-Leigh Thomas, Director of IU’s Office of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). We attended the Miami Winter Gathering and enjoyed the hospitality and fabulous food that the Miami provide, heard their winter stories, and got to do some stomp dance.

Ben Barnes and Ft. Ancient pottery

We also visited the sparkling-new Shawnee Tribe Cultural Center, and were greeted and shown around by Ben Barnes, Second Chief. The current exhibits feature displays of pottery from the Ohio Valley and chronicle the Shawnee’s journey to recapture ceramic art, based on archaeological prototypes. The have a slick interactive display that allows the visitor to look at different sherds under a microscope, and display the image of clay paste and temper on a large screen for comparing different pottery construction techniques. I was covetous.

Spring 2019 also saw additions to the community of scholars working on Angel Mounds projects. The office of the Vice President for Research has commenced a new project to add capacity for researching, preserving, interpreting, and promoting Angel Mounds deposits and collections. The project, or Angel Mounds Initiative (AMI), allies and aligns with work done through GBL, and through IU’s Office of NAGPRA.

Ed Herrmann

Dr. Ed Herrmann, of the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, directs these special projects. He has several years of experience working at Angel Mounds and other Midwestern sites, with expertise in geoarchaeology, remote sensing, and environmental reconstruction in Indiana and far abroad.

Christina Friberg

We also welcome Dr. Christina Friberg, who has joined the AMI as a post-doctoral scholar, having finished her doctoral work on Mississippian lifeways in the greater Cahokia region at University of California-Santa Barbara. Drs. Ed and Christina are working to aggregate all the data generated for Angel Mounds through the decades (a monumental task), build maps using GIS, coordinate the completion of technical reports, and assist where possible with curation efforts.

This all has made the GBL a very exciting and happening place, with repatriation, curation, and dissemination work all going on simultaneously, with Angel Mounds at the center.

April Sievert, Director

Fall 2017 Project

September 27, 2017

by Logan Carte, Cox Scholar

I am currently working in the James H. Kellar Library on a project that consists of coding and cataloging the books into a digital database to make searching easier. This is my second year at the Glenn A. Black Lab and I have greatly enjoyed it. Everyone here is extremely friendly and it is a very comfortable, laid-back place to work. I love working on projects due to the sense of achievement that I feel once they are completed.

The digital software I have been using is called Oxygen, which allows me to input the metadata from each book in order to allow the information to be viewed online. I first begin by finding the book on a website called Librarything, which allows me to catalog the books online using their service. Once that has been done, I then move over to a second website hosted by the Library of Congress, where I am able to find more information about the book and then input that data into Oxygen. Our librarian, Kelsey, has shown me how to catalog the books by using the Library of Congress classification number, or LC classification for short. This number is then copied from the Library of Congress website and pasted into an Excel document, which is then printed off on a labeling sheet and each individual LC classification is put on the bottom of the spine of each book. Cataloging the books by LC classification has seemed to be not only the easiest way to find a particular book, but also the most effective. This is because books are grouped by their LC classification, meaning that if a person is interested in a particular subject, all of the books in that subject are arranged together to make the process of finding one much more efficient and straightforward.

My name is Logan Carte and I am currently a sophomore at Indiana University studying management with a minor in financial literacy. I began working at the GBL last fall to help fulfill my scholarship requirement by working 8-10 hours a week in the library. I have worked on a variety of tasks including coding and cataloging the books, cataloging the theses and dissertations, as well as analyzing data from different tribes. I have greatly enjoyed my work so far in the GBL and I’m looking forward to another great year!

Projects, Projects, Projects

March 6, 2017

by Maclaren Guthrie

It’s safe to say that the GBL has kept me busy since my last blog post, I’ve worked on quite a few new things after finishing with the newspaper clippings. I have done a lot of research recently about historical burial grounds and how to enter them into state site files, as well as the legal land record. This is so Liz Watts Malouchos, the GBL’s research scientist, and I can add a previously unrecorded historic cemetery to the state records.

In addition to that research, a lot of my time has been spent identifying point types using the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology’s extensive type collections. The points I am identifying are a part of my grandmother’s large collection of finds from all over Indiana. Fortunately for me, she wrote down where the points were found which makes it a lot easier for me to identify them. I am also using Stone Age Spear and Arrow Points of the Midcontinental and Eastern United States by Noel D. Justice, the previous Curator of Collections at the GBL, to help me identify the points.

My favorite point in my grandmother’s collection.

My grandmother’s collection also includes some pottery that I am trying to learn more about. Specifically, a miniature vessel found near the Wabash River which Liz dated to the Mississippian period (1100 AD – 1400 AD), as well as some southwestern black on white and corrugated pottery from Hovenweep National Monument in Utah that was collected in the 1960’s.

Miniature Vessel, 1100 AD – 1400 AD