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 complete learn presents a heritage of latest Deal archaeology within the Southeast within the Thirties and early Forties and makes a speciality of the tasks of the Federal Emergency reduction 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using fundamental assets together with correspondence and unpublished reviews, Lyon demonstrates the nice significance of the hot Deal initiatives within the historical past of southeastern and North American archaeology.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 this day. With the present emphasis on curation and repatriation, archaeologists and historians will locate this quantity precious in reconstructing the historical past of the initiatives that generated the various collections that now fill our museums.


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5 billion to $45 million and a decline in income from the tobacco crop of two thirds. 3 In the cities unemployment increased until by 1933 many southern cities had at least 30 percent unemployment. So in March 1933 in the United States "the fog of despair hung over the land. One out of every four American workers lacked a job. Factories that had once darkened the skies with smoke stood ghostly and silent, like extinct volcanoes. "4 Franklin D. Roosevelt had been elected president in November 1932 and was inaugurated in March 1933.

91 The achievements and deficiencies of southeastern archaeology before the New Deal were shown clearly in the Conference on Southern Prehistory sponsored by the National Research Council in Birmingham from December 18 to 20, 1932. Professional and amateur archaeologists and ethnologists attended the meeting; many would become important figures in New Deal archaeology. The chairman was Clark Wissler, an ethnologist. Other ethnologists present were Ralph Linton and John Swanton. A number of southern universities were represented: University of Arkansas (Dellinger), Louisiana State University (Kniffen), University of Texas (Pearce), and the University of Kentucky (Webb).

62 Early archaeology in Georgia was the work of Charles C. Jones (1831-1893). He published Monumental Remains of Georgia in 1861, followed in 1873 by Antiquities of the Southern Indians, Particularly ofthe Georgia Tribes. He was interested in earth mounds and in what he called refuse piles, which reminded him of Danish shell middens. 63 He believed that southern mounds had been built by Native Americans. In 1931 William H. , described the work of Jones at Stalling's Island: "Col. ,,64 Archaeology in Tennessee with local support was limited before the New Deal.

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