Spring 2011University Updates

History beneath us

Visiting instructor of Geology Chris Moore ’04 organized two public archaeology events: the “History Beneath Us” event in September at the historic General Lew Wallace Study and Museum in Crawfordsville, Ind., and a Public Archeology Day in May in Flora, Indiana.

Moore led the Crawfordsville group in mapping the site and excavating a former reflecting pool constructed by Wallace, best known as the author of the novel Ben-Hur. Over the summer of 2010, he also took two UIndy students to Sapelo Island, Georgia (above), to work with faculty and students from the University of Kentucky and University of Tennessee to investigate a Spanish mission site.

Moore presented papers at the Kentucky Heritage Council annual meeting and at the spring workshop of the Indiana Archaeology Council. In October he presented papers in two invited symposia—one at the Midwest Archaeological Conference in Bloomington, Ind., and another at the Southeastern Archaeological Conference in Lexington, Ky.

This past spring he published articles in Michigan Archaeologist and the peer-reviewed journal Southeastern Archaeology. He also coauthored a paper in the international Journal of Global Initiatives. Another paper will be published in December in the international journal World Archaeology.

Digging into the past
Senior archeology majors Jarod Maginot of South Bend and Carolyn Lewis of Santa Clara, Calif., were among those traveling to Georgia’s Sapelo Island for the archeological dig organized by Moore, using high-tech surveying equipment to search for remnants of a 17th-century Spanish mission. Lewis had chosen to attend UIndy because she wanted the chance to travel and to double-major in both Archeology and Anthropology, “which most colleges don’t offer,” she says.

“We spent almost a month searching for artifacts from 16th- and 17th-century Spanish missionaries who inhabited the northern end of the island nearly 400 years ago,” Moore says. “We’re trying to determine how several different groups of people lived and interacted with one another on the island.”

The mission was founded around 1610 and abandoned in 1684, when the area came under attack by French and English pirates and the indigenous Westo people, who were allied with the British. Relics found at the site—including shards of Native American and Spanish pottery as well as European beads and nails—confirm the 17th-century age.

“I think we made significant progress,” Moore says. “We have found at least one and maybe two mission-period structures, one of which I believe to be part of the mission complex. We are not 100 percent certain that we have the mission, but 100 percent certainty is rare in archeology.”

Hands-on experience
Moore believes Sapelo Island offers a great study opportunity. “Undergrads working on Sapelo are involved in every component of the archeological process, from research design to excavation to site interpretation. It’s truly a unique resource for our students. Most colleges teach theory only and don’t really show you how to do the nitty-gritty fieldwork.”

UIndy offers students many such opportunities. Carolyn Lewis also has traveled to Belize, where the University has ties to Galen University, to work on Mayan dig sites.

“It was a fantastic trip. I got to excavate the kind of stuff that you dream about digging up as a kid! I’m now finishing a paper on human sexual dimorphism to take to the Academy of Science in the spring. I’m not sure I would have been able to get all of this great experience had I chosen a different college. UIndy just offers so much.”

Marty
the authorMarty