The paper on the Late Archaic wall trench structure from the Davidson site (Ellis and Keron 2011) discusses a similar structure from the Rock Hearth site in Berrien County, Michigan. I was unaware of the structure until reading about it in the Davidson paper. Chris Ellis was kind enough to make available sections of the original report (Garland et al.1990), from which the figure at the right is taken. Two radiocarbon estimates place the age of the structure at around 3700 BP. I have added the reference to the Bibliography section, and the structure will be included in the next issue of the Database.
Above: Plan view of Late Archaic wall trench structure from the Rock Hearth site (reproduced from Garland et al. 1990:Figure 42).
The first issue of the EWHADP database (and some figures with explanation and brief discussion) is available here. Feedback on the organization of the database would be very helpful. I'll incorporate that feedback, as well as additional data, in future versions of the database. Enjoy!
I have edited the Bibliography section to include references for all the citations listed in the Structures section. If you find any typos or omissions, please let me know and I'll fix them. These references should also cover the structures that will be in the first iteration of the database (coming soon).
Bibliographic information is good, but having access to the actual publications is better. While many of the publications listed in the bibliography will not be available online, I suspect that a significant number of them will be. I see a potential opportunity for some crowd sourcing here: please let me know if you can specify a link to an electronic copy of any of the publications on the Bibliography page. Ideally the links should be open access (e.g., publications NOT kept behind journal subscription walls). Links to the webpages where authors post pdfs of their work, such as academia.edu, would be particularly good. Some reports, theses, and dissertations may be available online from libraries, the web pages of CRM firms, or research/compliance institutions. Please take a moment to look at the references associated with the structures in the geographic areas you are familiar with. Know a link? Let me know.
Welcome to the Eastern Woodlands Household Archaeology Data Project. As explained on the About page, the initial purpose of this site is to assemble information about prehistoric residential structures in eastern North America. As I learned while gathering data for a 2013 paper in the Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, much of the information about these structures is to be found in theses, CRM reports, and unpublished manuscripts. The farther afield I got from my primary research area (the Midwest and Ohio Valley), the more difficult it was for me to locate house data I could use. Each time I attend a conference or give a talk involving house data, however, I learn about excavated houses that I did not know about and someone expresses surprise about the number of excavated houses that he or she did not know about. This indicates to me that something is missing in our mechanisms for sharing information.
I blame the "grey literature" problem for this situation: much of the important information that is produced through CRM and academic research activities in eastern North America is not ultimately published in any form that makes it widely known or easily available. I believe this contributes to a regionalization of research in this country, hurting our ability to assemble datasets of sufficient size and/or spatial scope to address large questions of prehistory. If information about a site is only known or available to a handful of people who happen to have a paper copy of the report on their shelf, does it really exist? In one sense, yes, of course it does. I would argue, however, that we can do much better than we are at disseminating information.
This website is my attempt to address this issue. My first step is to make available the information I collected while assembling data for the JAA paper. The Structures by State/Province section of this site contains a state-by-state listing of sites currently in my database. These sites contain over 1100 prehistoric structures, some of which were not included in the analysis in JAA paper for a variety of reasons. I chose to organize the information by time period within each state because my guess is that such an ordering will be helpful to most users of this website. In the future, I hope to make the content of the site searchable by site name, time period, region, etc.
The listing for each site is currently minimal: site name, county, and citation. References corresponding to the citations are arranged alphabetically on the Bibliography page. Some references are missing: in the coming days I will be systematically checking the site listings vs. the bibliographic information to address any omissions. In the future, I would like the citation(s) in each site listing to link directly to the full bibliographic information. I would also like to link those bibliographic references directly to publications that are available online, in cases where that is possible. I would love to be able to provide copies of reports, theses, articles, book chapters, etc., on this website, but I do not believe I will be able to do that legally.
I have made available as an Excel file the dataset I used for the JAA paper. After some checking, cleaning, and formatting, I plan to make available all the data that I currently have in my database as Access and Excel files. I will probably also produce a shapefile for ready use in ArcGIS.
I hope those of you interested in household archaeology in eastern North America will help build this site by contributing information (firstname.lastname@example.org) and spreading the word. With participation, I suspect we can rather quickly double the number of structures in the database and construct a tool that will be useful for addressing a number of important issues that articulate with the household archaeology of eastern North America.
Andrew A. White