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2018 VAS Annual Meeting

March 10, 2018

Join us for our Annual Meeting where we will be celebrating our 50th anniversary!

The meeting is free, but we encourage attendees to voluntarily pay the Museum’s admission fee: Adults: $7; families: $20; seniors, students, children: $5; museum members and children under 6: free.

9:00 – 9:30 Welcome Reception

Greet new and old friends and warm up with a cup of coffee!

9:30 – 10:15 Shays’ Settlement Project

Steve Butz

Shays’ Settlement Project which is the first formal archaeological study of the ruins of a fortified 18th century settlement located in the mountains of Southern Vermont near the New York/Massachusetts border. The settlement was founded by Captain Daniel Shays and his fellow refugees after they fled from Massachusetts following the uprising he commanded there in 1787. Incredibly, this lost piece of American history lay hidden and untouched for over 200 years, until its rediscovery in April 2013.  My lecture on the Shays’ Settlement Project weaves together the tale of the present day archaeological investigation; the story of Shays’ heroic life as a captain in the Continental Army; his role in the infamous rebellion that bears his name; the founding of the settlement, and his impact on American law. The discovery of the settlement has revealed a lost piece of American history, and is one of the most significant archaeological sites in Vermont today.

10:15 – 10:45 Otter Creek – Results from Recent Work

Gemma-Jayne Hudgell, Ph.D., Northeast Archaeology Research Center, Inc.

Historically, Otter Creek is one of Vermont’s major thoroughfares, and evidence for thousands of years of Native American use of the river is found at archaeological sites located along its banks. Over the past 10 years, Green Mountain Power (and previously, CVPS and Omya, Inc.) have sponsored cultural resource management activities along the Otter Creek related to various FERC hydro relicensing efforts. Archaeological work, conducted on their behalf by the Northeast Archaeology Research Center, Inc., has included erosion monitoring, geomorphological studies, phase I survey, phase II testing, and phase III data recovery investigations, including a number of public education opportunities. The sites identified or investigated illustrate occupation along the riverbanks throughout the last 7,500 years, dating from at least the Middle Archaic up to the Late Woodland period, with a scattering of historic Euroamerican sites as well. Archaeological work has focused on the areas of various river impoundments related to select GMP hydro facilities, including sections of the river upstream of its confluence with the Lemon Fair River through the towns of Weybridge, New Haven, and Middlebury, and farther upstream in Proctor.  These include the many beautiful settings surrounding a number of Otter Creek’s substantial falls: Huntington, Beldens, Paper Mill, and Sunderland Falls. As the current stewards of the river and its embankments, with these investigations, GMP have demonstrated their commitment to CRM practices and Vermont history.

10:45 – 11:15 Inadvertent Discovery and Collaborative Mitigation at a Pre-contact Site Along the Cherokee Trail of Tears on the Nantahala National Forest in North Carolina

Andrew Triplett, Green Mountain and Finger Lakes National Forests

In May 2013, a Pre-contact site (31MA749) was accidentally damaged by US Forest Service personnel working on a project that had not been cleared through the proper channels. This unfortunate situation became even more difficult because the site was located in very close proximity to intact sections of the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail. Through collaboration with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, and the North Carolina State Historic Preservation Office, the US Forest Service was able to mitigate the damage and repair the site. This unfortunate accident served as an example for the FS and the Tribes as an example for what to do when accidental site damage occurs and how to prevent future occurrences. I want to use this presentation as an example of how I intend to manage the Heritage Program on the Green Mountain National Forest.

11:15 – 11:45 Faces in Stone – 3D LiDAR Scanning Results of the Bellows Falls Petroglyphs

Brennan Gauthier, Vermont Agency of Transportation

In anticipation of the future rehabilitation/replacement of the Vilas Bridge in Bellows Falls, Vermont Agency of Transportation(VTrans) Brennan Gauthier and Vermont State Archaeologist Jess Robinson teamed up with the VTrans Survey Unit to scan the Bellows Falls petroglyphs in 3D. Taking high resolution scans from multiple angles, the resulting 3D model has enabled Brennan and Jess to capture details that have become nearly invisible due to years of exposure to the elements. These panels of petroglyphs have been documented dozens of times in a range of formats since the earliest days of Euro-American exploration in the 1700s. This series of 3D scans is the latest form in a long lineage of scholarly interest in the carvings.

11:45 – 12:15 Early Results from Archaeological Investigations and Educational Outreach at the Galick Site

Ellen Spensley Moriarty, CCV  and Matt Moriarty, Castleton  University

Over the last two summers the South Champlain Historical Ecology Project (SCHEP) has conducted archaeological investigations at the Galick Site in West Haven, VT.  These investigations have highlighted a large Precontact and Historical site with an 11,000-year history.  This research has been accompanied by major education and outreach initiatives supported by the Lake Champlain Basin Program, the Vermont Archaeological Society, and other organizations.  Children and young adults participated in a program of school and field visits, while adult participants enrolled in college classes or worked as volunteers. In this presentation we share some of the preliminary results from our archaeological research, while highlighting the early findings of our educational outreach endeavors.

12:15 – 1:30 Lunch Break
1:30 – 2:00 Indigenous Lithic Sources Northeastern North America”, (ILSONENA) by Mark Brockmann & Barry Keegan

Mark Brockmann, CG, Chesterville, ME

Mark will speak about Local & Regional Ancient Lithic Sources, and display lithic replicates from the 2016 ILSONENA archaeological/ geological book. ILSONENA Comparative Lithic Sets, which accompany the book,  will be displayed, as well.

2:00 – 2:30 Preliminary Report on a Multi-Component Archaeological Site Adjacent to Otter Creek

Kerry Lynch, Archaeological Services at the University of Massachusetts

A multi-component site located immediately adjacent to Otter Creek was excavated by Archaeological Services at the University of Massachusetts prior to a bridge improvement project sponsored by the Vermont Agency of Transportation in New Haven, VT.  Despite the intrusion of pesky rodents, sizable roots, numerous earthworms, and a particularly problematic water table, the site contained beautifully stratified evidence of multiple occupations dating back about 6,000 years.  While UMass is still in the early stages of data processing and analysis, this presentation will describe our preliminary findings on this very interesting site.

2:30 – 3:00 A Synthetic Overview of Paleobotanical and Paleofaunal Remains from Champlain Basin Native American Archaeological Sites
Francis “Jess” Robinson, Vermont State Archaeologist, and Brett Ostrum

Understanding the environment in the Champlain Basin prior to large-scale human settlement, deforestation and reforestation, development, pollution, water damming and diversion, and human induced climate change, among many other factors, is critical to begin to understand how the health of the Basin today compares to those earlier conditions and to inform what changes we can reasonably hope to make in the future. Reconstructing the environment of the Basin in the pre-European past is not an easy exercise, however. In this paper, we wish to bring to your attention to another dataset that we have recently aggregated – the professionally analyzed remains of fire wood, and plant and animal foods recovered from all radiocarbon dated features (i.e. fire hearths, storage pits, refuse pits) where such material was present in the Champlain Basin. While the information presented here is not statistically analyzed, we are anxious to analyze these data more thoroughly in the near-future, and we are hopeful that when publicly released, they will spurn researchers within and outside of the social sciences to use them as data sets in their own analyses.

3:00 – 3:15 The VAS at 50 Years

Jacob Clay, VAS President

On June 7, 1968, the Vermont Archaeological Society was incorporated. This brief talk will pay homage to the organization’s past, highlight our achievements from 2017, and outline where we see the organization headed in the future.

3:15 – 4:00 Open business meeting – bring your ideas to share to help us chart the future of the VAS!


March 10, 2018




Vermont History Museum
109 State St.
Montpelier, VT 05609 United States
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(802) 828-2291

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