NEARA is not an archeological society, but evolving trends and available academic and scientific research impacts all our studies. We have sponsored research and excavations supervised by accredited archaeologists. Many of our members have participated in projects sponsored by amateur archaeological societies, state and local agencies agencies and historical commissions as well as projects under contract with private owners.
WHY CONDUCT A PROFESSIONAL INVESTIGATION?
When we realized that we had a well-preserved group of stone mounds, a supportive owner, and a site that was readily accessible, NEARA, through Ros Strong, approached Deborah Wilson, an open minded Maine archaeologist, to see if she would be interested in supervising an investigation of the site. She was, and suggested that her colleague Mark Hedden, a specialist in Maine rock art, be included in the team along with NEARA volunteers.
Read the full article (PDF): Big Dig In Bingham by Suzanne Carlson, NEARA Journal, Vol. 38 No. 2,Winter, 2004
One of our long-time members, Dr. Edward J. Lenik, wrote a marvelous little book in 1977 that is a superb guide and resource for the amateur historical archaeologist. Entitled Weekends in the Soil, it was originally published by the Archeological Society of New Jersey; and although it is now out-of-print, Dr. Lenik holds the copyright and has authorized NEARA to make it available as a PDF for download.
You are highly encouraged to have a look at it, and I’m sure you will find the material fascinating and helpful. Here is an excerpt to give you a taste: “By now it should be evident that the archaeologist is something more than just a ‘digger.’ His role is, in a very real sense, similar to that of a detective. Through careful excavation, observation, and recording of the evidence in the ground, the archaeologist attempts to reconstruct previous events. Much like Sherlock Holmes, the archaeologist must use powers of observation and common sense along with the knowledge of history to find out what happened in the past.”
As heritage preservation standards have strengthened over the past 40 years, many of the undertakings described in this book would not now be done by an amateur without the supervision of a qualified archaeologist. NEARA and other organizations often do provide such supervised opportunities for amateurs to participate, and being familiar with the material in Dr. Lenik’s book will be a tremendous asset in that case. Furthermore, most of the guidance can just as well be applied to the researching and recording of sites without disturbing them, to which all of us can contribute our efforts.
Read the full article (PDF): Weekends in the Soil.
Rob Carter presents an explanation of both the science and methods of radio carbon dating in clear and compelling language geared to NEARA members.
Read the full article (PDF): Radio Carbon Dating of the Newport Tower by Rob Carter, NEARA Journal, Vol.41 No. 2, Winter 2007
Tool and Techniques of Field Work for Field Archaeologists, by Martha Joukowsky, 1980 Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ
The author explains step-by step the duties of the archaeological staff and the hows and whys of snevironmental study, surveying and excavating sites , with details about methodology of field photography, artifact analysis and the collection of materials. Although published in 1980, it is still an invaluable guide to the practice of archaeology.
For more information visit the Archaeological Instutute of America, https://www.archaeological.org/
Although pricey, the British Journal Antiquity is the gold standard for journals in Archaeology and anthropology, https://journal.antiquity.ac.uk/