We have cracked 40,000 Views…

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A new school year, a new face – SEAC Underground, meet Morgan Smith.

Hello all,

When we started this blog, it was initially supposed to be a venue for grad students to share their thoughts about Southeastern Archaeology. I felt like we were pretty successful with that, and we built a blog that routinely gets several hundred hits per post and close to 33,000 total views.

In other words, this site has turned into a giant bullhorn, but the frequency of the posts has dropped dramatically. Why? Several of us graduated and landed jobs. So, instead of writing blog posts as a “dissertation distraction,” I make powerpoints and go to meetings. Based on my conversations with Meg, Alice, and Matt,they are doing roughly the same.

After batting a few emails around, I have decided to hand over my spot on the blog to someone else.

So, everyone, meet Morgan Smith, the person who will keep up to date on the comings and goings of Paleoindian Archaeology in the southeastern US.

Here’s the blurb from his departmental page:

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Cahokia, the “neato” factor, and the devil in the details…

I’ll be honest. While I focus on the the Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene, I have to admit that the goings-on during Mississippian period are pretty interesting.

Does this means that I’m going to drop fluted points and dive into bags of shell-tempered pottery? Nope.

However, I’ve been plowing through books and articles on the Mississippian period, and I get pretty excited when I come across fun topics like a potential mega-flood at Cahokia.

I like soils. I like Southeastern Archaeology. This seems, for lack of better words, “neato!” I read the popular synopsis (because let’s be honest…I found out about this from facebook), briefly contemplate why “Mega-Flood!” isn’t a B-movie on Netflix, and then think, “Well, if T.R. Kidder says that flooding was a big problem at the end of the Archaic period in the Mississippi River valley, why not during the Mississippian period as well? Seems reasonable.” I then go about my merry way.

What rarely ever gets as much press are the follow-up responses. In this case, I only know about a recent response to the Cahokia megaflood hypothesis because I’m friends with one of the co-authors, and I saw it on her academia.edu page (i.e. the facebook for nerds). It appears that the relationship between the abandonment of Cahokia and the frequency of “megafloods” has some serious problems.

So, I leave two questions for my fellow Southeastern Archaeologists…

1) What is going on with this Cahokia Mega-Flood business?

2) Do we have an academic version of the click-bait problem?

Update: Here’s the reply to the Baires et al. article by Munoz et al. 

Is nothing sacred? The National Register vs. National Security?

Did anyone else catch this email yesterday from the SAA?

Society for American Archaeology
April 30, 2015
Dear SAA member,

Thanks very much for your help in trying to stop the House Armed Services Committee from including an anti-NHPA amendment in the FY2016 National Defense Authorization Act. The provision, which was offered by Representative Wilson (R-SC), enables the heads of federal agencies to remove from the National Register, for reasons of national security, those properties under their control that are listed on the Register. In addition to the advocacy by our membership, the National Trust, NCSHPO and the American Cultural Resources Association weighed in with strong opposition. In spite of our best efforts, however, the amendment was approved yesterday afternoon by a vote of 35 to 27.

The problematic language is now included in the House version of the FY2016 NDAA and will head to the House floor. It is our understanding that the chamber could consider the bill during the second half of May. Should a Member of Congress offer an amendment to remove the anti-NHPA provision from the bill, we will send you another action alert.

Thanks again, and please contact me if you have any questions.

My reaction?

The Curious Case of the Cinmar Biface…

For those of you who don’t follow Paleoindian archaeology, this is the Cinmar biface…

Proponents of the Solutrean hypothesis argue that it was dredged up, along with with remains of a mammoth dated to 22,760 ± 90 RCYBP, off the mid-Atlantic coast. It’s on the cover of their book. If you have an academia.edu account, you can read about it in more analytical detail here.

With that being said, this article came out yesterday in Journal of Archaeological Science (it’s open access – so you don’t need a subscription).

After reading it, this was about what my reaction was like…

Topper Clovis and Alt-J

Derek Anderson and I spent some time this past week at the Topper site in South Carolina excavating part of the Clovis component with a few volunteers. On a whim, I set up a GoPro in roughly the same spot every day and set it to take a picture ever 60 seconds. The music is one of the instrumental tracks from Alt-J’s “An Awesome Wave.”