Case Studies in Historical Archaeology

Case Studies in Historical Archaeology

by William Hampton Adams

This web page provides links to a series of case studies in historical archaeology. These case studies provide summaries of the historical and archaeological research about a site or locality, often using oral history as a major source for information.

Historical archaeology is the study of European colonialism after A.D. 1415, through both historical and archaeological records. Historical archaeology focuses mostly upon the colonists and their descendants, but also looks at the effects of colonialism on indigenous peoples.

If you would like to contribute a case study to this series, please contact: Only completed projects or long-term projects with substantial work accomplished will be accepted. Format your submissions in a similar look to the ones here. If you would be willing to write two versions, with one aimed at grade school children, please express your willingness to do this.

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About... historical archaeology, including links to information about other projects in historical archaeology.

ARCH 3006 Historical Archaeology of North America.

Click on the Images Case Study Synopsis
Silcott, Washington An extinct community in southeastern Washington, dating from 1880s to 1930s. Archaeological fieldwork conducted in 1972 and 1973.
Fairbanks, Alaska In 1992 and 1993, archaeologists excavated two saloons, a warehouse, and dump sites in preparation for a new bridge in downtown Fairbanks. These sites dated from 1901-1940s and provide a large assemblage of Klondike goldrush era artifacts
Bay Springs, Mississippi A community developed around a grist and sawmill after 1836. In 1852, a cotton mill was built. It burned in 1885. Archaeological fieldwork conducted in 1979. Unlike much industrial archaeology, the workers' houses were excavated as well as the mill.
Waverly Plantation, Misissipppi In 1836, George Hampton Young established Waverly Plantation in Mississippi. The archaeological work done in 1979 focused on the freed slaves as tenant farmers.
Gachlaw Village, Yap Ethnoarchaeological survey of a low-caste village in southern Yap, Federated States of Micronesia. The survey was conducted in 1989 as part of the Micronesian Resources Study sponsored by the National Park Service and the Micronesian Endowment for Historic Preservation.
Taroa, Marshall Islands Taroa, an island in Maloelap Atoll in the Republic of the Marshall Islands, was a Japanese administrative center in 1920s and 1930s. In 1937, preparing for war, Japan begin construction of a large airbase. The base was heavily bombed and shelled, but not invaded, leaving the garrison to starve. Archaeological survey was done in 1989 to record this important site.
St. Mary's Churchyard, South Australia St. Mary's Churchyard Cemetery is the oldest Anglican cemetery in South Australia, established in 1847. In the rear of the churchyard were buried scores of paupers, too poor to afford a burial. These unmarked burials are being disintered, studied, and prepared for reburial. Currently being done.
Kings Bay, Georgia Archaeological research was conducted on six plantations on the southern coast of Georgia in 1979-85. Primary focus was on the Kings Bay Plantation, the James King Plantation, and Harmony Hall Plantation. These excavations focused on not only the planter's buildings, but also the slave quarters.
Khirbet Khuweilefeh, Israel An ethnoarchaeological study of the Bedouin and their use of a cave for dwelling in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in the Negev Desert of Israel.
Fort Yamhill, Oregon Fort Yamhill was established by the U.S. Army in 1856 and closed in 1866. Archaeological survey and historical research confirmed the locations of the fort buildings.

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All information is copyrighted, 2000, by William Hampton Adams. All rights reserved.

Last updated Tuesday, July 4, 2000.