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Levanna by Jack RossenLevanna was a famous and well-visited archaeological site in central New York, along the eastern side of Cayuga Lake, during the Great Depression. It was primarily known for its spectacular animal effigies. But were they real or forgeries? Jack Rossen takes us on a journey through the 1920s and 1930s, the era of an outdoor museum, and professional attempts by the Society for American Archaeology (SAA) to suppress it. Larger than life characters include Arthur C. Parker, future President of the SAA, William A. Ritchie, future State Archaeologist of New York, and Harrison C. Follett, the entrepreneurial archaeologist. The book also takes us through the 2007-2009 re-excavation of Levanna and the related 2011-2014 excavations at the Myers Farm site. Along the way, Cayuga history is reinterpreted as more peaceful than previously believed, and the case is made for a Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy more than one thousand years old. An older confederacy is more in line with oral traditions than previous archaeological ideas of a brief confederacy that began either just before or after European contact. The work was conducted through the framework of indigenous collaborative archaeology with leaders of the Cayuga and Haudenosaunee Confederacy. The narrative approach includes stories of the contemporary people, both Native and non-Native, who protected the site, supported the research, and provided ideas, wisdom, inspiration, and friendship.
Acorns and Bitter Roots by Timothy C. MessnerStarch grain analysis in the temperate climates of eastern North America using the Delaware River Watershed as a case study for furthering scholarly understanding of the relationship between native people and their biophysical environment in the Woodland Period People regularly use plants for a wide range of utilitarian, spiritual, pharmacological, and dietary purposes throughout the world. Scholarly understanding of the nature of these uses in prehistory is particularly limited by the poor preservation of plant resources in the archaeological record. In the last two decades, researchers in the South Pacific and in Central and South America have developed microscopic starch grain analysis, a technique for overcoming the limitations of poorly preserved plant material. Messner's analysis is based on extensive reviews of the literature on early historic, prehistoric native plant use, and the collation of all available archaeobotanical data, a review of which also guided the author in selecting contemporary botanical specimens to identify and in interpreting starch residues recovered from ancient plant-processing technologies. The evidence presented here sheds light on many local ecological and cultural developments as ancient people shifted their subsistence focus from estuarine to riverine settings. These archaeobotanical datasets, Messner argues, illuminate both the conscious and unintentional translocal movement of ideas and ecologies throughout the Eastern Woodlands.