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Chapter 20. North America (World Archaeology at the Pitt Rivers Museum)

Chapter 20. North America (World Archaeology at the Pitt Rivers Museum)

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Published by Dan Hicks

For further details about the book, and to order a copy, see http://www.prm.ox.ac.uk/world.html. World Archaeology at the Pitt Rivers Museum: a characterization introduces the range, history and significance of the archaeological collections of the Pitt Rivers Museum at the University of Oxford. In 29 newly-commissioned essays written by a specialist team, the volume explores more than 136,000 artefacts from 145 countries, from the Stone Age to the modern period, and from England to Easter Island. Pioneering a new approach in museum studies, this landmark volume is an essential reference work for archaeologists around the world, and a unique introduction to the archaeological collections of one of the world’s most famous museums.

For further details about the book, and to order a copy, see http://www.prm.ox.ac.uk/world.html. World Archaeology at the Pitt Rivers Museum: a characterization introduces the range, history and significance of the archaeological collections of the Pitt Rivers Museum at the University of Oxford. In 29 newly-commissioned essays written by a specialist team, the volume explores more than 136,000 artefacts from 145 countries, from the Stone Age to the modern period, and from England to Easter Island. Pioneering a new approach in museum studies, this landmark volume is an essential reference work for archaeologists around the world, and a unique introduction to the archaeological collections of one of the world’s most famous museums.

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Published by: Dan Hicks on Feb 14, 2013
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09/17/2013

 
20North America
Dan Hicks and Michael D. Petraglia
20.1 Introduction
On entering the main entrance of the Pitt Rivers Museum (PRM) and descending thestairs into the Court, the visitor comes face-to-face with a central display case titled‘Pottery from North America’.
1
Looking down on the case and the visitor, the 11-metrehigh Haida House Pole stands against the east wall of the Museum (1901.39.1). But as well as these iconic Native American objects, the PRM holds a wide, varied collectionof ethnographic, photographic and archaeological material from North America, someof which is displayed in the galleries, but most of which is held in storerooms. Thearchaeological collections come from across the United States, Canada and Greenland,from the Canadian Arctic to the southwestern deserts of the USA, and they span theentire length of the Holocene, from the Palaeoindian period and into the colonialperiod. There are
c.
4,930 objects recorded as from North America that are currently 
dened as ‘archaeological’. Of these,
c.
3,627 are from the USA ( 
Table 20.1
 ),
c.
720from Canada ( 
Table 20.2 
 ), and
c.
125 from Greenland. The remaining 435 objects arecurrently recorded only as ‘North America’, although further documentary research(especially for those objects transferred from the Ashmolean Museum) may provide
further detail for these objects. As with other chapters, the denition of what might
count as ‘archaeological’ or ‘ethnographic’ (and what has done in the past) is far from
clear-cut. As will become clear in this chapter, particular disciplinary and denitional
intersections come about in the North American collections, particularly in relationto the historical connections between ethno-archaeology, indigenous and historicalarchaeology, and ethnohistory. This chapter presents a characterization of these collections. It begins with adiscussion of the
c.
271 ‘archaeological’ objects from North America that were partof the PRM founding collection (20.2). It then discusses the collections from theNortheastern United States (20.3), the Southern United States (20.4), the MidwesternUnited States (20.5), and the Western United States (20.6), before considering thematerial from Canada (20.7) and Greenland (20.8). Brief conclusions are drawnin section 20.9. The archaeological collections from Hawai’i are not discussed here,but form part of the discussion of Polynesian material in Chapter 27. Similarly, thearchaeological collections from Puerto Rico are discussed with the Caribbean materialin Chapter 19. The PRM holds no ‘archaeological’ collections from the United States Virgin Islands.
1
Pitt Rivers Museum, Court, Case 153.a
Cite this paper as: Dan Hicks and Michael Petraglia 2013. North America.In Dan Hicks and Alice Stevenson (eds) World Archaeology at the Pitt Rivers Museum: a characterization. Oxford: Archaeopress, pp. 409-454.For further details on the book, and to order a copy, see http://www.prm.ox.ac.uk/world.htmlCopyright © Pitt Rivers Museum, Archaeopress, editors and individual authors 2013.The Pitt Rivers Museum’s database can be accessed through the museum’s website at http://www.prm.ox.ac.uk.Research enquiries about the collections should be addressed to:Head of Collections, Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford. Email: objects.colls@prm.ox.ac.uk
 
 WORLD ARCHAEOLOGY AT THE PITT RIVERS MUSEUM
410New Mexico642 Arizona391Pennsylvania321Oregon306Ohio224Georgia174 Washington, D.C.148 Texas132Florida119Massachusetts97New Jersey95Illinois78New York72Missouri70North Dakota66 Virginia56California55Indiana50 Arkansas45 Wisconsin40Kentucky32Colorado26 Alaska24Maryland24South Carolina24Minnesota23Idaho22Mississippi19North Carolina15 West Virginia14 Tennessee10Connecticut8Michigan7South Dakota6Utah6Louisiana4
Table 20.1 Number of 
‘archaeological’ objects  from the USA in the Pitt 
Rivers Museum, by State.
Province/ TerritoryApproximate number oobjects
 Alberta0British Columbia66Manitoba25New Brunswick1Newfoundland and Labrador60Northwest Territories0Nova Scotia106Nunavut140Ontario262Prince Edward Island0Quebec48Saskatchewan0 Yukon0Unknown12
 Total720
Table 20.2 Number of 
‘archaeological’ objects  from Canada by Province or Territory.
Oklahoma3Iowa2Rhode Island2 Alabama1Delaware1Maine1Montana1Nebraska1 Wyoming1Kansas0Nevada0New Hampshire0 Vermont0 Washington0Unknown State169
 TOTAL3,627
20.2 Archaeological material from North America in the Founding Collection
20.2.1 Overview
 Around 5% of the North American archaeological collections derives from the PRMfounding collection. These
c.
275 objects include
c.
130 artefacts from the USA,
c.
18artefacts from Canada,
c.
10 artefacts from Greenland. The remaining 
c.
116 objectshave no country of origin currently recorded on the PRM database. Some of theseobjects may have been acquired by Pitt-Rivers during his period of military servicein North America between 2 December 1861 and 30 April 1862 (Hamilton 1874:321)
2
– given by or purchased from individuals or even perhaps acquired through
his own collection in the eld. The early 1860s is a crucial transitional time for Pitt-
2
Pitt-Rivers’ return from Canada on the
 Niagara 
 was recorded in passenger lists published in the
 Manchester 
Guardian 
(30 April 1862).
Cite this paper as: Dan Hicks and Michael Petraglia 2013. North America.In Dan Hicks and Alice Stevenson (eds) World Archaeology at the Pitt Rivers Museum: a characterization. Oxford: Archaeopress, pp. 409-454.For further details on the book, and to order a copy, see http://www.prm.ox.ac.uk/world.htmlCopyright © Pitt Rivers Museum, Archaeopress, editors and individual authors 2013.The Pitt Rivers Museum’s database can be accessed through the museum’s website at http://www.prm.ox.ac.uk.Research enquiries about the collections should be addressed to:Head of Collections, Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford. Email: objects.colls@prm.ox.ac.uk
 
NORTH AMERICA
411
Rivers’ developing archaeological activities, and it is not impossible that he undertook surface-collection himself.
20.2.2 Northeastern United States
Of 
c.
130 archaeological objects from the USA in the PRM founding collection,
c.
77 arefrom the Northeast. Most of these ( 
c.
40 artefacts) are from the State of Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvanian objects include
c.
12 objects from West Chester, Chester County: 6stone axes and adzes (1884.126.104, 1884.126.115–116, 1884.126.171, 1884.126.198,1884.126.202), 2 bannerstones (1884.126.155–156), 2 stone pounders (1884.128.3),and 3 stone arrow-heads (1884.135.298, 1884.135.301, 1884.135.315). Also fromPennsylvania are 6 objects recorded as from the Delaware Water Gap, Monroe County:4 stone sinkers (1884.129.41–42, 1884.130.9–10), a stone pounder (1884.128.58), anda whetstone (1884.129.23). These were possibly from the collection of Pensylvanianantiquarian Benjamin Franklin Peale, from whom John Evans acquired objects fromthis site (see 20.3.2 below; cf. Evans 1897a: 247).
3
  The Pennsylvanian collections in the PRM founding collection also include a stonearrow-head from Darby, Delaware County (1884.135.195), a stone axe from Lancaster(1884.126.202), and 2 stone sinkers from Susquehanna (1884.130.11–12). Some 18further objects are recorded as simply from ‘Pennsylvania’, with no further geographicaldetail: 8 stone axes and adzes (1884.56.20, 1884.126.117–120, 1884.126.168–169,1884.126.181), 5 stone sinkers (1884.130.14, 1884.130.16–19), 4 stone arrow-heads (1884.135.189, 1884.135.229, 1884.135.263, 1884.135.299), and a stone chisel(1884.127.83). One of these stone axes (1884.56.20) appears to be the object describedby Henry Balfour in his 1929 paper ‘On Thunderbolts (continued)’, where he describes(with an illustration)‘a ground stone celt of hard, slatey stone, with blunted cutting-edge and withdecorative notching along the top. Pennsylvania, USA. Pitt-Rivers Collection. Thesmall hole for suspension has evidently been drilled with a stone borer, and suggeststhat similar ideas as to the nature of such celts became prevalent in N America, andthat the celts were preserved as amulets, though possibly by European settlers ratherthan by natives’ (Balfour 1929: 169).Beyond Pennsylvania, the remaining Northeastern artefacts in the PRM founding collection are from the States of New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Maine. There are
c.
22 objects from the State of New York, most of which comprises acollection of 
c.
19 stone arrow-heads from Utica, Oneida County, purchased fromthe dealer Bryce McMurdo Wright (1884.135.190–194, 1884.135.199, 1884.135.209,1884.135.212, 1884.135.261, 1884.136.269–270, 1884.136.272, 1884.136.291–292,1884.136.305, 1884.136.321–322). Also purchased from Wright is a stone axe recordedas from Bedford, Orange County (1884.126.322). A further stone axe (1884.126.197) isrecorded as from ‘New York Prov.’, and another stone axe is simply recorded as from‘New York’ (1884.126.218). There are 6 objects from the State of Massachusetts: a stonearrow-head collected from Gill, Franklin County by geologist Edward Hitchcock (1793– 1864) (1884.135.238); a stone axe from New Bedford, Bristol County (1884.126.203);
3
In 1879, a paper in
 American Naturalist 
reported on excavations of ‘Indian graves’ by members of thePhilosophical Society of West Chester in November 1878, and drew comparison with other graves ‘openednear Delaware Water Gap a few years ago’ (Barber 1879: 297; cf. Barber 1877: 199). It is possible that someof the artefacts from the PRM founding collection from these two sites relate to these excavations – althoughthe collection of banner-stones and stone drill-points by members of the Westchester County HistoricalSociety was also reported by Charles Rau – with whom John Evans appears to have been in contact (see20.3.2
 
below) – in 1881 (Rau 1881: 539–40).
Cite this paper as: Dan Hicks and Michael Petraglia 2013. North America.In Dan Hicks and Alice Stevenson (eds) World Archaeology at the Pitt Rivers Museum: a characterization. Oxford: Archaeopress, pp. 409-454.For further details on the book, and to order a copy, see http://www.prm.ox.ac.uk/world.htmlCopyright © Pitt Rivers Museum, Archaeopress, editors and individual authors 2013.The Pitt Rivers Museum’s database can be accessed through the museum’s website at http://www.prm.ox.ac.uk.Research enquiries about the collections should be addressed to:Head of Collections, Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford. Email: objects.colls@prm.ox.ac.uk

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