A New Deal for Southeastern Archaeology by Edwin A. Lyon

By Edwin A. Lyon

Recipient of the 1994 Anne B. and James B. McMillan Prize

This entire research offers a historical past of recent Deal archaeology within the Southeast within the Nineteen Thirties and early Forties and makes a speciality of the initiatives of the Federal Emergency aid management, the Civil Works management, the Works development management, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the nationwide Park carrier, and the Smithsonian Institution.

using fundamental assets together with correspondence and unpublished stories, Lyon demonstrates the good significance of the hot Deal initiatives within the background of southeastern and North American archaeology. New Deal archaeology reworked the perform of archaeology within the Southeast and created the root for the self-discipline that exists at the present time. With the present emphasis on curation and repatriation, archaeologists and historians will locate this quantity worthwhile in reconstructing the historical past of the initiatives that generated the various collections that now fill our museums.


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On the basis of limited evidence, Holmes believed that burial mounds and earthworks were rare in the area except where influenced by the Mississippi Valley culture. Shell heaps were found along the shores. Holmes's Georgia-Florida area included the Florida peninsula and part of southern Georgia. He classified the aboriginal inhabitants of this area into the Muskhogean and Timuquan stocks. He knew that "shell heaps" existed along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, rivers, and lakes, and that burial mounds were I4 Southeastern Archaeology before the Depression widespread.

In 1924 P. E. Cox, the state archaeologist, completed a preliminary survey of Wolf and Obed rivers in Pickett County. The Tennessee State Archaeological Society was organized in 1924 with a membership of approximately sixty. 65 The University of Texas worked in east Texas before the 1930s. James E. Pearce, the first chairman of the Department of Anthropology, had little training in archaeology but understood the importance of archaeology in Texas. In 1919 he received support from the Bureau of American Ethnology for archaeology.

The universities of Texas and Kentucky were alone in developing large archaeological programs in the 1920S. But amateur archaeology developed in other southeastern states. Little archaeology in Louisiana developed from local resources. George E. Beyer was a German trained in biology at the University of Berlin who became curator of the museum at Tulane University in 1893. Beginning in 1896 he received some funds from the Louisiana Historical Society for archaeological work. He dug Southeastern Archaeology before the Depression I9 and surveyed in a number of Louisiana parishes.

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