The Human Family

Rattlesnakes in Cherokee ethnology

(Proto)historic records from excavation, archives, and ethnography

Over the past few weeks I have had the pleasure of participating in the Winter 2015/16 ETSU Archaeological Field School at a multi-component site on the Nolichucky River. One of the more eye-catching finds was a finely-wrought cazuela with a coiled rattlesnake motif punctated amidst the rim incising.


Rattlesnake cazuela recovered at 40Wg143 in January, 2016. Photo courtesy of Jay Franklin.



Lithic preforms

Unfinished points and knives

I’ve been working as a crew member on a Section 110 survey in the Southern Piedmont for the past few weeks. This past Friday (06 November 2015) I walked down to the water’s edge to take my lunch and spent a couple of minutes poking around on the surface before I sat down on my screen to eat.

archaeological survey

The beach where I took lunch. I recovered the preform on the surface under the evergreens in the center of the purple oval.


3 Cherokee fish weirs

Fishing weirs in the Tuckasegee and Little Tennessee

Tuckasegee River

Allman fish weir

The high visibility of the Allman weir in Webster is owing in part to its maintenance by post-Removal property owners.

To view this weir, find the pull off on River Road between Dillsboro and Webster and walk a few yards south. While it is possible to make out the weir through full summer foliage, it is most visible seen when the leaves are down.

Tuckasegee River; Cherokee; weir; fishing

The Allman weir in Webster, N.C.


Cherokee villages in the Nacoochee Valley

Nacoochee and Chota

The first detailed written account of the Cherokee Country is found in the journal kept by one of the officers serving in the 1715/16 expedition into the region that took place in the context of the Yamasee War. The journal documents the presence of two Cherokee villages in the Nacoochee Valley. Nacoochee was located somewhere on the eastern end of the valley; Chota was centered at the mound on the western end of valley.

Archaeology of the Nacoochee Mound

Chattahoochee River

Chota’s mound is a highly visible contemporary landmark, found even on the USGS Helen topo quad.


Wyandot landmarks in Upper Sandusky, Ohio

Pre-Removal Wyandot settlement traces in Central Ohio

Some work-related travel took me between St. Clairsville and Findlay last week. I planned out my return route so as to take me past Upper Sandusky, location of a Wyandot settlement from the Revolutionary War period to Removal in 1842.

I am vaguely aware of the importance of the Wyandot in the political and military affairs of the Old Northwest, and that they and the Cherokee were in conflict during the mid-18th century. In truth, they may well be the Iroquoian group about whom I know the least. I find that learning about settlement pattern stuff is the best way for me to begin to get a grip on any group’s social life and history. It’s helpful to me on paper and all the more so up close and personal.

With that in mind, feel free to enjoy the following photos from the couple of hours I spent piddling around Upper Sandusky last Wednesday (06 May 2015). (more…)

Grave Creek Mound: Adena monumental architecture

Photos from my visit to Moundsville, West Virginia

I visited the Grave Creek Mound and adjoining Delf Norona Museum this past Saturday (02 May 2015). I unreservedly recommend a visit to anyone with the slightest bit of interest in (pre)history, commemoration, and/or museology and who happens to find themselves in the general vicinity of Wheeling. Give yourself an hour or so to climb the mound and tour the modest exhibitions, then indulge yourself with an ice cream at the kitschy place across the street.

The physical address is 801 Jefferson Ave, Moundsville, West Viginia; GPS coordinates are 39.91690 -80.74352.


Northern side of Grave Creek Mound.


Cyberbullying at the drive-in; ‘The Force Awakens’ trailer

Millennial digital content via G.I. Generation analog technology and vice versa

I was stopped short earlier today as I drove between Wooster and St. Clairsville when I happened upon Ohio’s oldest drive-in in Strasburg.

18 April 2015 – It may be the 21st century, but you'll need cash on hand if you want into Strasburg, Ohio’s, 78-year-old drive-in.

18 April 2015 – It may be the 21st century, but you’ll need cash on hand if you want into Strasburg, Ohio’s, 78-year-old drive-in.


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