From the Desk of the Curator

From the desk of the curator

April 25, 2019

This winter and spring saw a flurry of activity on the lower level of the lab, including several upgrades to accommodate the work we will be doing to rehouse the Angel Mounds collections. With support from the Provost’s Office and the Office of the Vice President for Research, new electrical circuits were installed and a new air scrubber and additional dehumidifiers were purchased.  Rehousing the Angel Mounds Collection and moving the collections to ALF3 will be the focus of much of our work over the next three years.  The curation team has been doing extensive background research to understand how the collection was organized, assembling documents to aid in rehousing, building out databases, purchasing supplies, and conducting pilot rehousing test runs to develop work flows.  Collections assistant and Underwater Archaeology student Amanda Pavot has been writing blog posts on the pre-project work for a museum practicum project. You can find Amanda’s posts at The Dirt, the GBL’s blog. Blogs on the Rehousing Angel Mounds Project will continue over the duration of the project, so be sure to follow the project on our website and social media. Over the winter, the curation staff also processed three loans to IUPUI, two in partnership with Hoosier National Forest.  Researchers and students affiliated with IUPUI will work on collections to complete reports for the 2013 Angel Mounds field school, a pioneer homestead on HNF land, and will complete work on parts of the Rock House Hollow collection for a HNF NAGPRA request.

The GBL collections staff participated in several educational events and outreach activities. Professor Susan Alt’s Midwest Archaeology students were able to work with four collections over the course of the semester for hands-on-learning.  We also provided artifacts, images and consulting for the Indiana Historical Society exhibit, You Are There, 1939 Excavating Angel Mounds exhibit that opened in March 2019. Various staff members participated in the 2019 IU Powwow, Lotus Blossoms, and School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering Internship Fair; and conducted tours of our facility for Anthropology, SPEA, and Underwater Archaeology program classes.

Members of GBL staff with visiting educators Scott Bauserman and Rick Doss

Scott Bauserman, with the Westlane Middle School in Indianapolis, brought down a large artifact collection owned by the Metropolitan School District of Washington Township.  Our staff provided assistance to rebox the collections for its safe transport back to Indianapolis. 

I used the Erminie Wheeler-Voegelin Archives personal papers of Glenn Black and Eli Lilly to research the early archaeology of Glenn Black and Eli Lilly at Angel Mounds for a paper presented at the 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.  You can access information about the symposia presentations here.

Melody Pope, Curator


The Angel Rehousing project is made possible in part by the support of
the Institute of Museum and Library Services. In September 2018, the GBL received 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 IMLS.

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 www.imls.gov and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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

Angel Archives, Box 56

December 10, 2018

by Victoria Kvitek

Continuing where my last blog post left off, I am now about halfway through Indiana newspaper articles from the 1960s that mention Angel Mounds. I started coming across much longer pieces about the site mid-1964. These articles go into depth about Indiana’s pre-history as hypothesized based on findings at Angel. Earlier pieces have touched on these details but more frequently announced events that would discuss the excavation and its findings, or focused more on the political and economic logistics of acquiring and excavating Angel. My first explanation for this change was that by the mid-60s a) a critical mass of information had been collected about Angel, b) Angel had been a national monument and state park for a sufficient amount of time, and c) a level of widespread publicity about the site had been reached such that the public was finally informed and interested enough to know more about Angel as a place that they were welcomed to visit and feel entitled to inform themselves about as average citizens given the right and ability to learn about this heritage…that is, the mid-60s marked a transition of Angel’s status from the domain of academia in concert with governing bodies to that of academia in concert with the public….

But, a discovery made in the early stages of Glenn Black Lab’s collaboration with the Indiana Historical Society for an upcoming exhibit about Angel Mounds has caused me to question this theory, and wonder whether the lack of lengthy, juicy news pieces on Angel prior to the mid-1960s was due instead to a gap in the archive database I have been using.

Newspaper article with title "Washington Notebook..."
These articles go into depth about Indiana’s pre-history as hypothesized based on findings at Angel. Earlier pieces have touched on these details but more frequently announced events that would discuss the excavation and its findings, or focused more on the political and economic logistics of acquiring and excavating Angel.

Angel archives box #56 holds a folder of newspaper clippings from 1938 and 1939 published in the Evansville Courier/Evansville Courier and Press There are multipage articles about Angel, covering its purchase and the politics surrounding its acquisition as well as early findings at the site, quotes from Glenn Black, community and government opinion about the excavation, and large cartoons relating to these debates, along with illustrated and elaborated maps of the site. These articles are not included in the Newspaper Archive IU Libraries-linked database I have been using, and the Evansville Courier has not appeared on any database of digitized news articles I have found so far. Further, Hannah Rea has noted that newspaper articles in different Indiana cities early in the Angel excavation used different terms for the site, e.g. “Indian mounds”, “ancient mounds”. Searching for these phrases may pull up longer articles that include in depth information and conjecture about the project’s findings like that seen in the pieces from the 60s sampled above.

“Angel Mounds” in Indiana newspaper articles, Update 1: First Half of the 20th Century (1923-1959)

November 8, 2018

by Victoria Kvitek

The Project

For the past 3 weeks I have been searching IU Library’s Newspaper Archive resource for mentions of Angel Mounds archaeological site in Indiana newspapers following the site’s discovery early in the 20th century. The first article I found was from 1923, in the Evansville Crescent. This earliest mention is the only one from the ’20s, and the city the newspaper was from makes sense as Angel is located near Evansville. The short article is titled “Geology Class Explorers,” and briefly details a class trip to Angel, ‘six mounds that shed light on pre-historical America.’

The Newspaper Archive allows me to sort the remaining search results by decade, showing that there were  three mentions of Angel in the ’30s, all from 1938, the year the 400 acres of land Angel sits on was purchased by the Indiana Historical Society; 32 from the ’40s, illustrating the co-evolution of the public’s interest in the pre-history of Indiana that could be revealed by Glenn Black’s excavations and the state’s interest in and financial support of Angel Mounds’ development as a state park and historical monument; 42 from the ’50s which describe society meetings featuring guest lecturers (including Glenn A Black) and documentary screenings about the Angel excavation at local primary and secondary schools, weekend historical tours—free and open to the public—of Angel and other state monuments and important sites, IU field schools, and plans to consider Angel for national monument status.

Short summaries of each article’s focus are recorded in an Excel document along with the date, year, and city of publication, the title of article, and the newspaper in which it appeared.

Greensburg Daily News, 1941

Tipton Tribune, 1946

Highlights

1) Greensburg, 1941: “Angel Mounds of Evansville of Interest”

This article was of interest to me because it was the first mention I found describing an interaction between Indiana University and Angel Mounds/Glenn A. Black: that Black lectured at Alumni Hall in April 1941. I found the article in the Greensburg Daily News, and provides a lot of information about the early phases of the discovery of Angel Mounds, its purchase (including land formerly part of a farm owned by the Angel family, the site’s namesake), and excavation.

2) Tipton, 1946: “Round Town With The Tribune”

This is my favorite article so far: a column in an issue of the Tipton Tribune published just over a year after V-E Day includes a suggestion for a new veteran’s rehabilitation program from Glenn Black: participation in the Angel excavation. According to the article, Black had said that such a program would entail “light work…would get the men out of doors and give them something to think about besides themselves.”

3) Seymour, 1949: “Junior Red Cross Here Completes Book on Hoosierana For Chileans”

I think this one is so sweet: the Junior Red Cross chapter at a local high school had received a book about life in Chile/South America from a Chilean high school. They were working on compiling their own scrapbook-style guide to Seymour, IN/the Hoosier state in general to send to the Chilean students with the “goodwill ambassador” who would be traveling to visit the high school in the coming months.  The Seymour students included Angel Mounds among “drawings of famous historical objects” highlighted in the book.

4) Terre Haute, 1950: “Kiwanis Club Observes National Newspaper Week, Speaker Tells Wonders of Southern Indiana”

This last article is especially interesting in the context of the current climate regarding the media. A professor of journalism and then director of communications at IU, Mr. Laurence Wheeler, came to speak at a meeting of the Kiwanis Club about the important services that newspapers provide. He gave a ‘verbal column’ on the important history of Southern Indiana as an example of the kind of information that could be shared most effectively in newspaper form.

Community life: the Midwest of the early 20th century

Hoosier Historical Institutes Series

Spring, Summer, and Fall sessions—ranging from a few days to several weeks long—were attended by school teachers, professors, married couples, and other interested community members from towns across the state. The inaugural series were put on by the Indiana Historical Society, but before long other community groups and historical societies organized their own smaller versions of the institutes: weekend tours and field trips led by historians, archaeologists, and other lecturers and lay enthusiasts.

Women at Work

The acknowledgements of women working in archaeology has notably flourished in recent memory, but who were the pioneering American women of our profession? For over a century, women have taken on many roles in archaeology with varying levels of professional education and have been successful in contributing to the field. Whether toiling over lab work or excavating great features, these archaeologists have not always been given proper recognition for their work. This session highlights the contributions of several female archaeologists from across the Midwest and brings to light the often undervalued contributions of those who helped make archaeology what it is today. By telling these stories we hope to starts a conversation about the politics of recognition, and inspire others to provide a more complete understanding of women’s influence in shaping archaeology and the Midwest.

Abstract for “Women at Work: Acknowledging Women’s Legacy in Archaeology”

My inquiry into Midwestern female archaeologists began last year when the Indiana Historical Bureau sent a call for papers for their spring conference Hoosier Women at Work in the Sciences. Those of us working at the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology (GBL) got pretty excited. We wanted to find a way to participate because we knew that the records we use daily were often written by women. Women made a huge impact on the work accomplished here at the GBL. Thus began our journey…

After submitting my proposal for the conference and getting accepted, I began researching three particular women with strong ties to the collections of the GBL: Ida Black, wife of our namesake Glenn Black; Frances Martin, an aprofessional archaeologist who worked alongside Glenn at archaeology sites for years; and Erminie Wheeler-Voegelin, the maestra who orchestrated the Great Lakes-Ohio Valley Ethnohistory Project. Each woman had differing levels of education, influence, and immersion in their disciplines, but all contributed to growing archaeological and ethnohistorical work in the Midwest.

Ida can be seen in our image collections alongside Glenn at Nowlin Mound in the early 1930s; she was his constant companion throughout their years at Angel Mounds, too. Frances Martin received a college education, but viewed archaeology more as a hobby to enjoy every weekend. Erminie Wheeler-Voegelin held several college degrees and essentially founded the discipline of ethnohistory. Her work and foresight in the 1950s at Indiana University led to the creation of the Great Lakes-Ohio Valley Ethnohistory collection; a documentary assemblage made up of hundreds of primary and secondary documents pertaining to Native American occupancy of the region over three centuries. (It’s what I consider one of the laboratory’s greatest treasures.)

Image of archival boxes for the Great Lakes Ohio Valley Ethnohistory Collection
Boxes from the Great Lakes-Ohio Valley Ethnohistory Collection. (Image by Bailey Foust)

I presented a short talk on these women at the Hoosier Women at Work in Science, Technology, and Medicine in April 2017.

In conjunction to the historical research I was conducting on these women, several coworkers and I utilized the GBL’s image collections to create a photography exhibition showcasing some of the women documented working at past field schools. The online photo exhibit was set up in March 2017.

Black and white image of Frances Martin crouched at Yankeetown site.
Frances Martin at Yankeetown, 1950. (ICO N3383)

We couldn’t just stop there, though.

While researching Ida, Frances, and Erminie, I noticed the lack of readily available information on Midwestern female archaeologists. I found published books about old world, classical female archaeologists (think Greek/Roman/Egyptian), some concerning Southeastern and Southwestern American female archaeologists, but very little concerning the Midwest… (See below for a short bibliography detailing these works.)

That, I thought, was a problem.

Luckily, others I work with thought it was a problem too. Leslie Drane, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Anthropology at IU, and I coordinated a poster symposium for the 2017 Midwest Archaeological Conference held this past October in Indianapolis. We invited participants from the region to highlight notable women from Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, and Iowa. If we couldn’t find published materials about Midwestern female archaeologists, we were going to write them ourselves!

Nine participants created beautiful, thoughtful posters that can now be viewed on an online poster gallery hosted on the MAC website.

This isn’t the end of our inquiry. Several of us would like to submit our biographies to journals or history magazines in order to broaden our audience. Perhaps some other bigs things are in the works too?! Our work is only just beginning…


A bibliography  of female archaeologists and resources
  • Adams, Amanda. (2010). Ladies of the field: early women archaeologists and their search for adventure. Vancouver: Greystone Books.
  • Allsebrook, M. Nesbit, & Allsebrook, A. (1992). Born to rebel : the life of Harriet Boyd Hawes. Oxford [England]: Oxbow Books .
  • Browman, David L. (2013). Cultural Negotiations: the role of women in the founding of American Archaeology. University of Nebraska Press.
  • Classen, Cheryl. (1994). Women in Archaeology. University of Pennsylvania Press.
  • Cohen, G. M., & Joukowsky, M. (2006). Breaking Ground: Pioneering Women Archaeologists. University of Michigan Press.
  • Gacs, Ute, et al. (1989). Women Anthropologists: selected biographies. University of Illinois Press.
  • Kehoe, Alice B. & Emmerichs, Mary Beth. (1999). Assembling the past: studies in the professionalization of archaeology. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.
  • Nelson, M. Cecile, Nelson, S. M., & Wylie, A. (1994). Equity issues for women in archaeology. Arlington, VA: American Anthropological Association.
  • Wallach, Janet. (1996). Desert queen: the extraordinary life of Gertrude Bell: adventurer, advisor to kings, ally to Lawrence of Arabia. New York: Doubleday.
  • White, N. Marie, Sullivan, L. P, & Marrinan, R. A. (1999). Grit tempered : early women archaeologists in the southeastern United States. Gainesville: University Press of Florida.
  • Zeder, Melinda A. (1997). The American archaeologist: a profile. Walnut Creek, California: AltaMira Press.