Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Threatened! Junction Group in Ross County

Hello Everyone,

             As usual here in the US, archaeological sites are under constant threat of development. The laws aren't as strong here as they are in Europe for protecting heritage sites especially from developers. Part of this stems from we are colonizers of this land, Native Americans are not a part of many of our ancestries. If these were the sites of the American Revolution, or the Civil War, then maybe this conversation would be different. Actually, I know it would be. But here we are sitting at the eve of the possible destruction of a very large earthworks in Chillicothe, Ohio. This site represents the most intact Hopewell earthwork complexes not bisected by roads or development. Here is a link to the article: http://www.chillicothegazette.com/article/20140308/NEWS01/303080032/Conservancies-hoping-preserve-earthworks

I have included the text from the email I recieved today. Please read it and decide for yourself if this site is worth protecting. Please donate to help save it.

Archaeology Dude

Here is a link on how you can help:
http://www.earthworksconservancy.org/

Squire and Davis from earthworksconservancy.org
 
Results of Jarrod Burk's geophysical survey of the site, overlaid on a satellite image from .chillicothegazette.com

One of Ohio's major earthwork sites is threatened: the Junction Group in Ross County. It was made famous by Squier and Davis's map of the site from the 1840s. It is going to auction on March 18th and a consortium of organizations are working together to purchase it. A few years back another Squier and Davis site, Spruce Hill went up for auction, and it was saved through a similar effort that came through with a lot of wonderful support...we are attempting to do the same sort of thing now with the Junction Group.

Junction Group is a collection of nine small-to-medium sized enclosures, including Ohio's only known quatrefoil, found during a magnetic survey in 2005. The site covers about 20-25 acres but is part of a 89.4-acre field, and this is the parcel we need to buy if we are to save the site. The earthworks are located just at the SW edge of Chillicothe in an field with road frontage and nearby city water and sewage--in other words, a housing development could very likely destroy the earthworks if developers buy the land.

The Heartland Earthworks Conservancy (HEC) is one of the organizations leading the charge on the Save the Junction Group campaign. At this point we are seeking donation pledges, not actual money yet. Our goal is to get a grant to cover most of the cost of the acreage, but such grants require matching funds. This is where we all can make a difference! We need to raise the money to cover the matching funds. The grant application is underway and there is a good chance we will get the grant. While we would love to make an offer before the auction, we may be going to auction to make this purchase and this is why we are asking for pledges rather than money donations. This worked great for Spruce Hill, and we think it will work well again for Junction.

Please visit the HEC website (www.earthworksconservancy.org) for more information about the Junction Group, to see the 2005 magnetic data, and to make a pledge. Every bit helps and we greatly appreciate your support!

Thanks,

Jarrod Burks, President
Heartland Earthworks Conservancy


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Gas wells threatening region's archaeological sites - heraldstandard.com: New Today

Gas wells threatening region's archaeological sites - heraldstandard.com: New Today



Gas wells threatening region's archaeological sites

By Joyce Koballa

 

A pipeline installed for natural gas drilling operations that
runs through the middle of a farm on the north fork of Ten Mile Creek in Washington County is threatening the land, according to a Greene County archeologist who goes there to find artifacts and hunt.
The property is just one of many in southwestern Pennsylvania on the radar of Ken Gayman of Carmichaels, who is pushing
to protect archeological sites that he believes are being damaged or
destroyed by oil and gas extraction operations.

“There are no provisions in the Oil and Gas Act
to protect any archaeological and historic sites,” said Gayman. “Some date back 8,000 years.”

John Nass, anthropology professor at California University of Pennsylvania, called the potential disturbance of artifacts “a pressing issue.”
“It’s a major problem,” said Marc Henshaw, former president of the Mon-Yough Archaeological Society and member of its board of trustees.
Henshaw said that some oil and gas companies are not conducting property surveys before they drill, which is impacting archaeological sites.
He added the DEP doesn’t require property surveys when a company is drilling on a parcel of land that is less than 5
acres. That creates a problem when gas and oil companies purchase
numerous acres and split them into smaller parcels, Henshaw said.

Hundreds of archaeological investigations are conducted yearly in Pennsylvania, in compliance with the 1966 National Historic Preservation Act and the Pennsylvania History Code, according
to the state Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC), which evaluates various sites for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
“However, most gas well development sites fall outside of federal or state law and policy when it comes to historic and archaeological resources,” the PHMC website reports.
Proposed gas drilling projects do not come to PHMC for review to determine if they will have an impact on historic and archaeological resources — unless the projects involve a federal permit, or an area that is more than 10 acres, according to the site.
“As a result, neither the developers nor the PHMC
are aware of historic and archaeological resources that could be
impacted by such projects,” according to the PHMC site.

Gayman said drilling companies should hire a certified archaeologist to survey a property before constructing any
well pads, compressor stations, impoundment ponds used to store water, pipelines and roads leading to them to determine that they are not destroying any archaeological or historical sites.

“I recommend a provision be adopted in the Oil and Gas Act to protect these sites for myself and all the people in Pennsylvania,” said Gayman.
A member of several historical and archaeological organizations in Washington and Greene counties, Gayman serves as president of Izaak Walton League of America Shawnee Chapter of Washington County.
Additionally, Gayman chairs the Historic and
Esthetic program for the Shawnee Chapter of Washington County and the Harry Enstrom Chapter of Greene County.

“My concern is if they do it, then do it the right way so they don’t pollute the water and destroy archaeological sites,” said Gayman, who is also a member of the Mon-Yough Archaeological Society of Pennsylvania Chapter 3.




Tuesday, June 4, 2013

John Snowdon and Son's Vulcan Iron and Machine Works: 2013 Field Season

Hello Everyone,

           It sure has been a while since my last post, and much has been going on. For one, we reached above and beyond our Kickstarter goal raising over $1700! That allowed us to buy the required liability insurance and some much needed tools to continue excavations at the Snowdon and Son's Foundry. The second thing that has been going on is the excavation, with the help of volunteers. I'll briefly refresh everyone why the foundry is important not only locally, but nationally as well. 
           The Vulcan Iron and Machine Works has a rich history in our nation's early industrialization. It patterned and cast the first iron bridge in the United States, the Dunlap Creek Bridge in Brownsville, Pennsylvania. The foundry cast the half of the iron obelisk markers on the National Road, now Route 40. The foundry also built numerous steamboats and stationary steam engines some of which were used in the Mexican American War. 
           I want to share the first weeks field season photos with you, and hope you enjoy them.









Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Brownsville archaeology dig’s future at stake Group needs cash to continue at Brownsville site




Brownsville archaeology dig’s future at stake
Group needs cash to continue at Brownsville site


by Scott Beveridge
Staff Writer
sbeveridge@observer-reporter.com
Published Apr 2, 2013 at 11:17 pm (Updated Apr 2, 2013 at 11:17 pm)


Volunteer Sean Rothaar cleans part of a foundation uncovered last year at the site of the old Snowden Iron Works in Brownsville.


(Photos courtesy Marc Henshaw)




An old postcard shows Snowden Iron Works before it was razed to pave the way for Monongahela Railway in Brownsville in the early 1900s.

BROWNSVILLE – Volunteer archaeologists looking for clues about workers who built the nation’s first cast iron bridge, along with steamboats used during the Civil War, may have to call off a dig at the site of the foundry in Brownsville.


Marc Henshaw, lead archaeologist at the former John Snowdon Vulcan Iron & Machine Works, said he needs to raise about $1,000 to purchase liability insurance for the job or Fayette County, which owns the property, won’t led him continue to work at the site.


“The preservation is really excellent,” Henshaw said. “We’d like to get a sample of the whole complex.”


Armed with volunteers, some from nearby California University of Pennsylvania, Henshaw began excavating the property behind the Flatiron Building on Market Street last May and uncovered part of a building’s foundation three feet under the surface. The foundation will serve as a starting point to assist in locating other buildings on the property alongside the Monongahela River.


The team also found a 1906 penny, peanut shells, leather items, peach pits, bricks marked with the name Vulcan, part of an old wheelbarrow, failed iron castings and broken pieces of glass and ceramics.


The site is significant to U.S. history because it is where Snowdon cast Dunlap’s Creek Bridge in downtown Brownsville between 1836 and 1839, a span along an older section of the National Road that is still traveled to this day.


The foundry, which employed 110 workers, also created half of the mile markers along the National Road.


Bridge enthusiasts from across the country are drawn to the 80-foot-long span because it is a national landmark recognized as a breakthrough in technology by the American Society of Materials International, a distinction it also bestowed on the Statue of Liberty and Eiffel Tower.


Henshaw planned to spread the archaeology project over several years until the liability issue was raised. He also wants to raise another $500 for supplies through the website Kickstarter, a program that has experienced much success in funding mostly technology-related projects.


The dig has been challenging because workers need to chisel through stone and grit covering the property, remnants from the years it served as Monongahela Railways’ headquarters, beginning in the early 1900s.


The plant closed in 1889, and part of it later reopened as a tenement building for immigrant coal miners.


Henshaw is in Arizona finishing his doctoral degree and hopes to begin work again in Brownsville after he returns in May to teach an introduction to anthropology course at Cal U.


He said the dig would help to attract people to downtown Brownsville and serve to educate the public, hands on, about the region’s rich industrial heritage.


He also wants to create a mobile photograph and artifact exhibit on Snowdon to take to area historical societies to provide a broader awareness of local history.


For more information about the project, visit http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/casearchaeology/brownsville-archaeology-festival

Friday, March 22, 2013

Hello Everyone,


      Today we started our own Kickstarter to help fund excavations at the John Snowdon and Son's Vulcan Iron and Machine Works. As many of you who follow me have read, this site is of national significance especially in the realm of industrial archaeology and heritage. Please click on the link and check out our Kickstarter, then if you would like, please donate. Help us change the model for how archaeological projects get funded by placing the public at the forefront. Let's crowd source this project and get a green light to start digging this season!

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/casearchaeology/brownsville-archaeology-festival?ref=live

Saturday, February 2, 2013

A Plea for Help!


Hello Everyone,

  I know that we are still aways off from Brownsville Archaeology Month
in May, but the Mon/Yough Chapter for the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology is in desperate need of volunteers, members, and donations. At the present rate, the cost of insurance and the excavations cost over $1300. We need all of the help we can get to continue this project at the Snowdon Foundry. If you would like to join our club, the dues are $20 per year and we meet the 3rd Thursday of each month at California University Frich Hall Room #203. If you would like to donate to our organization so that we may keep educating the public about its rich heritage, please mail a check or money order to:

Mon-Yough Chapter #3
Carl Maurer Treasurer

45 Acheson Ave
Washington PA 15301

For information about our chapter and its activities, please contact me at: nemacolin.archaeology@gmail.com.


Thank all of you for your continued support!

Marc Henshaw
President Mon-Yough Chapter #3

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

New Mon-Yough Chapter #3 Brochure

Hello Everyone,


          I thought I would post the updated Mon-Yough Chapter #3 brochure. We are an archaeology club out of Southwestern Pennsylvania. For those of you who read my blog, the Mon-Yough has excavated various sites I talk about here such as the Gormley and Cox Houses, and the John Snowdon and Son's Vulcan Iron and Machine Works. Our specialization is integrating and educating local non-profit organizations who focus on historic preservation and the local community to come together and participate in archaeology at the "hands on" level. We also provide education resources to college students who are pursuing careers in Anthropology or Archaeology. Please download the brochure, and join up if you are passing through the area. The field season starts in May! Click on an image to enlarge it!