Women in Archaeology Podcast: The Importance of Intentional Communities with Stacy Kozakavich

I am a proud member of the Women in Archaeology Podcast and Blog!  We recently left the Archaeology Podcast Network to set out on our own and make new content.  Check out all of our older podcasts on the WIA website and on iTunes. You can listen to the podcast on iTunes as well!  Don’t forget to subscribe! Click Here to visit website and listen to the episode on the Women in Archaeology website.

On this episode . . .

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We explore the concept of intentional or “utopian” or “communal” communities throughout North America. Intentional communities include the Shakers, the Harmony Society, The Oneida community, Brook Farm, the Moravians, the Kawah Colony, and Mormon towns.

We visit with Stacy Kozakavich, the author of a new book by University Press of Florida, The Archaeology of Utopian and Intentional Communities, and ask her about her inspiration for the book, the role intentional communities have taken in shaping North America, and why they continue to be important in society.

As a thank you to our listeners, we have included a discount link for the book, direct from the publisher! Follow this link and use code: WA18 at checkout.

http://upress.ufl.edu/book.asp?id=9780813056593

 

Calamity Camp Mining Site

Perched on a remote mesa on the Uncompahgre Plateau lies one of the last standing examples of a vanadium-radium-uranium mining camp in Colorado: Calamity Camp.  This historic site, which contains a variety of well-preserved structures, housed the men and their families that mined the area from 1916 to 1980.  I’ve had the opportunity to explore the structures on two occasions, one to monitor the condition of the structures, and one to help establish a protection plan in the event of a wildfire.  Calamity Camp is a unique site, providing a window into the lives of the families who lived in this remote location; it would have been a harsh existence.  No running water, no electricity, etc. into the 1950s!  All that remains are a couple of rock structures, including a bunkhouse, a rock and cedar post barn, outhouses, and wooden cabins, as well as hundreds of historic artifacts.  When visiting places like Calamity Camp, keep in mind that it is illegal to remove any artifacts or harm any structures on public lands.  Furthermore, if you see a sign warning of numerous open mine shafts, keep your distance.

 For more information:

https://www.blm.gov/visit/search-details/627/2

http://www.historic7thstreet.org/remembering/decpdfs/calamity.pdf

Living History Museums, Part 2: A Brief History

Historians can trace the living-history movement as far back as 1881 to the European open-air museums and farms. Trying to highlight the past in the United States can be seen after the Civil War (Anderson 1982). This effort was rooted in the need to preserve what civic leaders and middle-class professionals considered to be traditional American beliefs and cultural values, especially with the influx of European immigrants.  Those within groups like Sons of the American Revolution tried to find ways to best display examples of their ancestral and national values.  Hoping to create a sort of shrine to the past, these places (mostly historic houses and landmarks) made history a place to visit.   A few traditional historic houses and farms later evolved into living history museums, but for many years these sites espoused and aimed to glorify the cultural values of the Founding Fathers through costumed interpreters and activities.

The most influential living history museum is Colonial Williamsburg.  In 1926, John D. Rockefeller was convinced to fund a project that would restore the entire Williamsburg community to the time of the American Revolution, since it was considered the birthplace of American liberty (Leon and Piatt:66).  Once completed, Colonial Williamsburg gained a reputation for authenticity, with restored houses and recreated activities. As early as the 1930s, costumed interpreters guided visitors throughout the museum.  Everything was neat and orderly (i.e. no representation of slavery or other grittier aspects of history), representing a bygone time lost to the urban post-industrial world.  Spurred by the national fervor created by Williamsburg, many more outdoor living history museums were created during the 1950s.  Again, a nostalgic era was portrayed with costumed hosts and craftspeople demonstrating life as it supposedly once was.

A more realistic interpretation of the past was born out of the cultural uproar of the 1960s and 1970s that spurred the deconstruction of outdated historical theory and the rise of ‘new social history.’  Long neglected subjects would become the new focus of this theoretical revolution: women, African Americans, working classes and confining political and cultural strictures.   The past was being explored in a variety of novel methods, from experimental archaeology to revolutionizing how the past would be presented.

Emphasis on the elite figures of the past (i.e. Founding Fathers) shifted to the common and ordinary.  As for living history museums, interpretive presentation shifted from simple craft demonstration to the social, economic, religious and political standing of various figures within the community.  The concept of first and third person interpretation was taken to a higher level: many living history sites strived to move from simply having guides give a passive interpretation of history to a more authentic experience by having history literally come alive.  There is still the trend at many historic houses and museums to keep an idyllic and comfortable sense of history, forgetting that the past had weeds and filth littering the roads, and that the people themselves carried a fine layer of dirt.  Interpretative programs continue to evolve and positive change has been seen at museums like Colonial Williamsburg by bringing the more uncomfortable aspects of history to life.

[Keep an eye out for Part 3: Criticism of Living History]

References:

Anderson, Jay. “Living History: Simulating Everyday Life in Living History Museums,”       American Quarterly 34 (1982), 290-306.

Leon, Warren and Margaret Piatt, Chapter 3: “Living-History Museums,” in Warren Leon and Roy Rosenzweig. History Museums in the United States: A Critical Assessment. Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1989.

Magelssen, Scott. Living History Museums: Undoing History through Performance. Lanham, Maryland: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 2007.

Marshall, Howard Wight. “Folklife and the Rise of American Folk Museums,” The Journal of American Folklore 90 (Oct-Dec 1977), 391-413.

Rosenzweig, Roy and David Thelen. The Presence of the Past: Popular Uses of History in American Life. New York: Columbia University Press, 1998.

Tivers, Jacqueline Tivers. “Performing Heritage: the use of live ‘actors’ in heritage presentations,” Leisure Studies 21 (2002), 187-200.

Movie Review: Queen of the Desert by Werner Herzog

Combining the cinematic extravaganza of Werner Herzog with the history of a truly inspiring woman should have resulted in an epic and inspirational film.  Gertrude Bell was an amazing woman who was crucial in establishing an archaeological context for the Middle East, founding the Iraqi Archaeological Museum, and as well as being an important figure behind the construction of the Middle East (see the links below to learn more).  So, obviously, the movie focused on the most interesting aspects of her life, right?  Not quite.  Herzog created a cinematically lovely film, but completely missed the mark by focusing on Bell’s romantic relationships.  And, those relationships were poorly represented.  I found myself fast-forwarding through portions of the movie, which does not bode well for the rest of the film.  Unfortunately, Herzog took a strong female heroine and reduced her and her actions as responses to unrequited love with relatively boring individuals.  The movie felt bland and stilted. If one must focus on relationships, why not combine the romance, adventure, and her many accomplishments? Or, how about just her exciting adventures?  I would watch ‘Gertrude of Arabia’ in a heartbeat.  I hope another director tries to showcase the fascinating life of Gertrude Bell!

Links:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00xhh2q

https://trowelblazers.com/gertrude-bell-awesome-in-arabia/

https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/queen_of_the_desert/

Adventures in Rock Art: Canyon Pintado National Historic District

“Halfway down the canyon toward the south, there is a very high cliff on which we saw crudely painted three shields or chimales and the blade of a lance.  Farther down on the north side we saw another painting which crudely represented two men fighting.  For this reason we called this valley Cañon Pintado,” wrote Fray Escalante on September 9, 1776.  I read these words on an interpretive sign while walking a dusty trail to view some of these painted images.  It’s thought that Father Dominguez and Father Escalante observed a variety of Native American pecked and painted rock art in this canyon as they traveled through the Douglas Creek Valley.  This area is now a popular recreation site, where you can explore prehistoric and historic pictographs and petroglyphs.

This 16,000 acre area is listed as a National Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places as an important historic property in understanding our nation’s past.  The rock art panels represent several time periods and cultures.  There are panels that were created by the Fremont, dating between 800 to 1150 AD; these images include animals, anthropomorphic figures, and geometric symbols.  The Ute created images like bear paws, horses, and hunting scenes between 1200-1881 AD.  Historic rock art includes ranching symbols, buxom ladies, and horses.  As always, when visiting archaeological sites, keep in mind that these places are incredibly fragile and need to be visited with respect.

For More Information:

https://www.blm.gov/visit/canyon-pintado-national-historic-district

http://www.nomadcolorado.com/canyon-pintado-rock-art/

http://www.coloradolifemagazine.com/Canyon-Pintados-Rock-Art/