Monday, February 07, 2005

The new Philadelphia Project is having a field school. Here is the information:


May 24, 2005 to July 29, 2005.

Sponsored by the National Science Foundation Research Experiences for
Undergraduates Program.

* APPLICATION DEADLINE: For Best Consideration -- March 25, 2005.

Application forms and additional information are available by following
the links for the New Philadelphia project on the University of Maryland's
Center for Heritage Resource Studies web page, at:

Additional background information is available from the University of
Illinois web pages, at:

* Field School Objectives:
The New Philadelphia story is both compelling and unique. Many studies in
historical archaeology that concentrate on African-American issues have
focused on plantation life and the pre-emancipation era. The history of
New Philadelphia is very different. It is a chronicle of racial uplift and
centering on the success of an African-American family and their ability
to survive and prosper in a racist society. In 1836, Frank McWorter, an
African American who was born into slavery and later purchased his own
freedom, acquired 42 acres of land in the sparsely populated area of Pike
County, Illinois, situated in the rolling hills bounded by the Illinois
and Mississippi rivers. He founded and platted a town, subdivided the
property, and sold lots. McWorter used the revenues from his
entrepreneurial efforts to purchase the freedom of sixteen family members,
with a total expenditure of $14,000 – a remarkable achievement. Families
of African American and European American heritage moved to the town and
created a multi-racial community. New Philadelphia likely served as a
stopping place for the "Underground railroad" as enslaved African
Americans fled northward escaping the oppression of southern plantations.

The history of New Philadelphia serves as a rare example of a multi-racial
early farming community on the nation's Midwestern frontier (Walker 1983).
The town's population reached its peak of about 170 people after the Civil
War, a size comparable to many Pike County communities today. However, by the end of the century racial and corporate politics of America's gilded
age resulted in the death knell for the settlement: regional
transportation investors routed a new railroad line to pass north of the
town. Many of New Philadelphia's residents eventually moved away and, by
the early 20th century, only a few families remained (Walker 1983).

This NSF-REU sites program will help enhance undergraduate education in
scientific methods and analyses in an ongoing long-term project at New
Philadelphia. The primary goals of the project are to:

1) Understand the town's founding and development as a multi-racial
integrated town;

2) Explore and contrast dietary patterns between different households of
different ethnic backgrounds by examining faunal and botanical remains;
3) Reconstruct the townscape and town lot uses of different households
from different ethnic backgrounds using botanical data and archaeological
landscape features;

4) Elucidate the different consumer choices residents of different ethnic
backgrounds made in a frontier situation and understand how household
choices changed with the increased connection to distant markets and
changing perceptions of racialization within the society.

The excavation and analysis of artifacts and archaeobiology data will
provide students with a hands-on learning experience and mentoring process
for students in an interdisciplinary setting. Ultimately, these different
data sets will be integrated and the students will gain an understanding
of the importance of scientific interdisciplinary research as they examine
the growth and development of the town. This research will elucidate how
individual members and families of this integrated community made choices
to create their immediate environment, diet, agricultural practices,
social affiliation, and consumer choices.

* Archaeological and Research Setting:
New Philadelphia in Pike County, Illinois is situated between the Illinois
and Mississippi rivers. Today, most of the original 42 acres have been
returned to agricultural use. Only a few scattered house foundations are
visible in the plowed fields.

This archaeology project serves as an excellent opportunity for students
to participate in many aspects of a scientific research program. Students
will be divided into teams and they will work collaboratively on an
assigned town lot in New Philadelphia. Prior to excavations, each student
will draw from the broader research goals of this project to create an
individual and focused research design to be addressed in the course of
their field school experience. The field school instructors will teach
students about the different archaeological theories used to formulate
such research designs, and the methods, sampling, and excavation
strategies used in archeology to explore those questions.

Each team will be responsible for helping to develop a research design,
retrieving archaeological data (material culture and archaeobiology data),
cleaning and cataloging the materials, data entry, and analyzing artifacts
and archaeobiological materials from one town lot. Student teams will work
closely in a mentorship situation with Illinois State Museum, Research and
Collection Center (ISM-RCC), University of Illinois (UI) and University of
Maryland (UM) staff in order to acquire the necessary skills to perform
scientific research. Each student will "specialize" in one form of
analysis and they will report on their findings at the end of the summer
session. This information will allow students to work as a team to
reconstruct the landscape and lifeways of residents of this historic town.

Evening lectures will be presented and the group will take several field
trips to local historic sites and museums during the ten-week course.

* Results:
At the end of the course student teams will make a presentation of their
results. Field school staff and members of the community interested in
this archaeology project will be invited to a half-day symposium to listen
to and discuss the results presented by each team member. The presentation will allow for the dissemination of new information as well as group assessment and constructive critique of the work of each field school participant and the overall project. With the help of field school
instructors, this presentation will introduce students to the skill of public speaking and it will help provide them the techniques for communicating scientific results to a public audience. After this presentation and discussion, student teams will assess evaluations and
create a strategy on how to best present this work to other audiences.
They can also provide their assessments of the priorities that should be
placed on the various research goals to be pursued in ongoing historical
and archaeological investigations at the New Philadelphia site.

* Project Location, Facilities and Student Stipends:
All students are required to be in Pike County on May 23th and the
instructions will begin on May 24th. New Philadelphia is about 75 miles
west of Springfield, Illinois, and 25 miles east of Hannibal, Missouri.
There is no mass transportation to the immediate area. The closest town is
Barry, Illinois (population 1400) where students will stay at the
Kinderhook Lodge. Lodging and meals will be provided during weeks 1-5
while staying in Pike County and students will be transported to the site
every day. During the weekends students are free to travel and explore the
region when fieldtrips are not scheduled. (The Kinderhook Lodge is located
between the towns of Kinderhook and Barry on Rt. 106).
During weeks 6-10 students will move to the dormitories in Springfield,
Illinois and work at the ISM-RCC. This facility provides a state-of-the-
art environment and it has vast collections and high quality research
laboratories and offices for anthropology, botany, geology, and zoology.
During the weekends students are free to travel and explore the region.

Students receive a $300 per week stipend paid on a bi-weekly basis.

* Application Procedure:
Each student is required to submit an application form, transcripts from
all colleges attended, two letters of recommendation, and an essay. For
best consideration, the final date for receipt of all applications
materials is March 25, 2005. This field school is sponsored by the
National Science Foundation's Research Experiences for Undergraduates
sites program, and will select students based on their scholarly ability
as well as their motivation and ability to perform scholarly and
scientific research. Students from underrepresented groups are encouraged
to apply. Students will be notified of acceptance no later than April 15,


Christopher C. Fennell
Assistant Professor
Department of Anthropology
296 Davenport Hall, 607 S. Mathews Ave.
University of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61801
phone: (217) 244-7309 fax: (217) 244-3490

New Philadelphia Archaeological Field School

No comments: