|WPA crew at site of Fort LeBoeuf in Erie County|
This is a reminder post for a free Learn at Lunchtime program scheduled for October 4th, 2013 at The State Museum. Please join us at 12:15 in the Galaxy Room of the State Museum for a presentation and book signing. Out regular blog on Fort Hunter archaeology will be posted after this event.
Shovel Ready: Archaeology and Roosevelt’s New Deal for America (2013, University of Alabama Press) was born out of a desire to acknowledge in 2010 a pivotal development in the history of American archaeology—the 75th anniversary of the Works Progress Administration, or WPA. The WPA was one of a series of work relief programs created as part of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s (FDR) New Deal efforts to combat the economic, social, and spiritually crippling effects of the Great Depression. In addition to helping build schools, roads, and other aspects of the nation’s infrastructure, the WPA and other work relief programs funded archaeological investigations across the USA, including throughout Pennsylvania.
As Shovel Ready shows, these New Deal investigations in Pennsylvania and across the USA are not idle historical curiosities, but rather created a lasting legacy that scholars can return to time and time again, sometimes with the benefit of radically new technologies. The two chapters of Shovel Ready dedicated to Pennsylvania archaeology clearly demonstrate this. Bernard K. Means’s chapter on the Somerset County Relief Excavations uses radiocarbon dating and other methodological developments to date these decades-old Monongahela village excavations. Janet Johnson looks at how historical archaeology developed in Pennsylvania, and how our knowledge of the French and Indian war from a documentary and archaeological perspective is shaped by New Deal-funded research.
For more information, visit PAarchaeology.state.pa.us or the Hall of Anthropology and Archaeology at The State Museum of Pennsylvania .