Traces on the land: The Importance of Managing Cultural Resources on Private Property

My name is Heather Carey and I am an archaeologist with the Shawnee National Forest and I’m going to give this presentation today in conjunction with Mary McCorvey who is the heritage program manager for the forest. We’re going to tag team this, so you’ll hear both of us speaking and just kind of piggybacking on each other when we have things to add. This is a topic that, from our understanding, hasn’t really been presented to you before as part of this workshop We thought it was really important that we offered last year to be a part of this year because we know that you know as natural resource land stewards that you obviously have placed value on the natural resources that are on your land, and there’s a pretty good possibility that you also have some really important cultural resources on your property. So we just wanted to talk to you about that. Maybe educate you a little offer you some suggestions for learning more about it Resources that you can go to to learn more about it as well as just make a connection with professional archaeologists that can help you to better understand your land. Part of this is because, we both work on federal land, but what is so important as a federal land manager is that the landscape or the land that you have, it really has a story of its own. Everything that has happened to that piece of land throughout history helps to create the existing conditions on the land today I think it’s really important you know when you’re looking at the different natural resources you have on your land to understand those in a historical context That’s why we kind of just wanted to talk to you, as well as offer you the the opportunity to ask questions of us or ask questions of historical or archaeological things that are on your land that maybe you’d just like to know more about So generally speaking cultural resources refer to, and I’m just going to largely read off of this and then probably add to it as we go, refers to landscapes structures, archaeological artifacts, and vegetation even that represents past human habitation and use. That’s really the crux of it, everything that you see on the landscape or on your property was left there by someone in the past whether it’s a yucca plant or whether it’s a log structure like is here or an inadvertently lost shotgun shell or arrowhead. Those are all things that have been lost or left intentionally by someone that has been occupied that piece of property at some point in the past. They really help us to provide glimpses or help us reconstruct, as Heather said, what what the layers of history that we have on all of our landscapes. It is important for us to know what’s on private property because sometimes we will find that sites on federal land creep over onto, not surprisingly, because people that lived here in the past may or may not have have recognized property boundaries. So you often find that sites actually straddle federal lands and private property as well. So it’s just nice to know those kinds of things Cultural resources can inform us about our evolving relationship with the natural world Obviously things change through time in in real life and they did in the past as well. So what we’re trying to reconstruct, as i said earlier, was all the layers of history that are actually located on each parcel of land that we have. It does create a fascinating tapestry of stories. Southern Illinois is extremely rich in natural resources, so it’s going to be extremely rich in cultural resources just because people were attracted to those natural resources So just to give you, I’m sure some of you are probably more familiar with the different historical periods in Illinois and also maybe like what you might find out there on the landscape, but for those of you who aren’t so familiar, professional archaeologists and avocational archaeologist we kind of divide history up into time periods because it allows us to more easily communicate with each other about a particular culture or time that

we’re speaking of. So we have the pre-contact period and that’s going to be primarily while it is going to be Native American, we divide that up into Paleo-Indian, Archaic, Woodland, and Mississippian. I’m sure that you’ve probably heard some of those terms before. The earliest peoples that we know of in southern Illinois are anywhere from like 14 to 12,000 years ago Throughout North America archaeologists are still discovering very early sites and there’s still a lot of work that’s going on to determine how Native Americans originally migrated into North America and maybe where some of those earliest settlements were located, but that’s the general time period that we have here in southern Illinois. At that point people were very very small groups of people and they were moving all over the landscape Moving regionally, basically following the natural resources and the animals that they needed to survive. Throughout time people became more settled and finally when we get to the woodland period that’s when we start seeing some semi-permanent villages, small villages and settlements. I’m sure most of you are familiar with the Mississippian period which is where we get some of the large sites For those of you who are familiar with Cahokia, east of St. Louis, that’s a Mississippian period settlement, a very large one. We do have smaller ones here in southern Illinois. Some of you might have visited Kincaid Mounds before, which is owned by the state or we have Millstone Bluff which is a small village that’s got petroglyphs and a cemetery and a number of other features That one’s located on the Shawnee National Forest and there’s a number of other Mississippian Era sites around as well. With those types of sites we find things like lithic scatters. For those of you who’ve ever gone out to a plowed field and walked around and found an arrowhead or you found some flint chips or flakes of chert, that’s what we’re talking about when we say lithic scatters. Of course then also sometimes you’ll find larger campsites or villages We have rock shelters. We were just talking, Bob’s going to be giving a presentation here at three o’clock. Southern Illinois is prolific with rock shelters. Lots of rock bluffs with overhangs and, of course, you know who wouldn’t use those as temporary habitation when you needed somewhere to stay. We also are very rich in petroglyphs and pictographs. We have a number of those types of sites here in southern Illinois A lot of them that have been identified are on federal or state property. However ,there are, I believe, there’s probably a lot more out there that are located on private property that professional archaeologists don’t just don’t know about yet or they haven’t been discovered yet So there are those types of sites out there again, also burial complexes with that. As Mary mentioned earlier, because southern Illinois is so rich in natural resources, we have an extremely high abundance of cultural sites A main point of that is because we’re located right in between the Ohio and the Mississippi rivers. During pre-contact times, those were the two super highways that came through the Midwest So you’ve got people traveling up and down those rivers moving, settling, moving resources That’s a big point for southern Illinois, why we are so rich in archaeological sites We also have a number of really interesting sites that are stone quarries. The Native Americans, of course as you know, we’re making a majority of their tools out of chert and southern Illinois is very rich in chert. We have a number of different types of chert that have different qualities which make them desirable for certain tools. Some of you may have heard of mill creek, this is a type of chert that is found near the town of Mill Creek ,which is south of Jonesboro in Union County. It comes out of the ground in really large nodules that can be easily worked and they make great large digging implements, big tools. So we find mill creek chert hoes

all over the Midwest and the plains and those were traded throughout the pre-contact period as well. Moving on, we have the historic period. Southern Illinois, we find, primarily Euro-American habitation. So we’ve got part of the upland south culture So people are moving into southern Illinois from Kentucky, Tennessee, that area, and they’re bringing a lot of that culture and those material items with them. We also have a significant African-American population and that occurs because of a number of different historic instances. We have large groups of African Americans that were migrating to the area prior to the civil war because Illinois was the closest free state, but we also have large African-American communities that move to southern Illinois right after the civil war once they gain their freedom. So they establish themselves here in southern Illinois We do have a very small contingent of historic Native American sites For those of you who are familiar with Shawnee Town Illinois, that was originally the site of a Shawnee Indian settlement during the 1700s and so it’s not a huge component of our historic period here in southern Illinois, but we do have historic era sites that are Native American related Just looking at the list on the screen there, these are some of the things that you could possibly find that are related to that historic period. I’m sure because southern Illinois was so thickly settled there’s practically a farmstead and a cistern on every 40 acres So a lot of you probably have the remnants of old farmsteads on your property You would find those by finding stone foundations, the stone-lined cisterns or maybe even concrete cisterns if they’re a little bit later We also have a number of bridges and roads, again because we have the river, there’s a lot of really early transportation routes that run through southern Illinois connecting the two rivers There’s also mines and cemeteries. We do have a number of historic era petroglyphs and pictographs as well and these range everything from some Native American pictographs that date to the 1700s all the way up to on the shawnee national forest we have um pictographs from Civilian Conservation Corps workers who were just leaving their mark on the landscape as they were building some of these recreation areas that we’re also familiar with now Artifacts are objects made or used by humans in a cultural or historical context. Examples from the pre-contact period might include chip stone tools which is what Heather was talking about, we call them projectile points as a group The smaller ones are true arrowheads but you can also get larger spear points things like that A lot of times you’ll find what we call a groundstone artifact, which it’ll be a cobble with a little indentation in it that would have been used as a nutting stones or to crack nuts As you can imagine, there’s lots and lots and lots of hickory and pecan and walnuts as part of our environment down here. So there’s lots and lots of nutting stones that we find sometimes by themselves, but most likely in a small campsite of some sort where they were actually harvesting the nuts. A lot of times we find animal bones. It’s not unusual to find all awl that was used as to poke holes into leather to be used as clothing or bag perhaps. That’s a very common artifact. Other bone tools that you might have would be toys or something to scrape down hides. With those are the kinds of things that you might find that were made out of animal bone and obviously most of those are going to be made out of deer bone just because that’s mostly what we find in the pre-contact or prehistoric context. Other things that you might find if you’re super super lucky would be, and when I mentioned things like this it’s things that I have actually seen in the archaeological record

Perhaps not on the Shawnee but somewhere else in southern Illinois, where I’ve seen a bear canine that had been drilled as a necklace and as well as a Canadian goose tibia that was drilled to be used as a flute So there’s all kinds of really cool stuff that are out there on the landscape. Other historic artifacts that you might find would include, as you can imagine, broken plates, bottles, a whole variety of bottles from foodstuffs to beer or alcohol bottles, finials for medicine (which are very very very very delicate) Other things that you might find of course are tools that were being used on a farmstead Nails, obviously, the type of nail that you find on a farmstead or at a site is going to lead you to assumptions about what that house might have looked like and or the barn. For example, if you find big framing nails on your farmstead on your property that’s going to tell you that the structure was a frame structure. Log cabins didn’t need to have those big framing nails You just had little finishing nails maybe for windows and doors and things like that The other things that you’re going to find are other things that people lost and are probably very sorry they lost, such as coins, buttons things like that. Weapon parts, those are all things that you might find on a archaeological site on on your landscape In addition to the actual artifacts, which are going to be the items that you can pick up, we also have archaeological features. Features are defined because they’re basically non-portable so they they are a result of human activity but you can’t just pick them up. Some of these features that we find here in southern Illinois are going to be like the earthen or stone mounds, buildings. We’ve showed several pictures of the remains of log cabins, but also more often than not we just find that the logs have rotted away or they’ve been demolished but we’ll still find the stone foundations. Those are really common. Chimneys that are left behind, both brick and stone chimneys and the cisterns and even the cellars. A majority of the cellars here in southern Illinois are just earthen cellars, so we’ll just find kind of a you know a square depression, a rectangular depression in the ground but also sometimes they are lined with stone Another really important one is transportation routes. As i mentioned earlier there’s a number of really important roads or transportation routes that go across southern Illinois. We have several very early roads that connected say like Fort Massac with Kaskaskia. For those of you that are familiar with the Trail of Tears, the Cherokee traveled through southern Illinois in 1838-1839 so that was a very important transportation corridor that we spend a lot of time recording and working to preserve and protect. You can see there on the screen there’s also a shot of the stone wall. I’m sure many of you who know have read a little bit about southern Illinois archaeology are familiar with the stone forts that we have here in this part of the country. That’s a picture of one of those stone forts and those are unique. I think there’s what 11 or 12 of them that date to the late Woodland Period, so that’s like 600 to 900 A.D. Some of those are located on the Shawnee National Forest and are accessible for public visitation. There’s others that are located on private property that you need to get permission to go see. But those are a very interesting type of site that we have here in southern Illinois. So that stone wall, which obviously was built by the Native Americans, would be an archaeological feature Also, you know I mentioned earlier cemeteries, we have cemeteries all over southern Illinois and there’s a number of efforts to document those. Usually there’s some local historians. I know in Pope County Carol Crisp has worked really hard on recording all of the cemeteries in Pope County and I know there’s other local historians that are doing the

same in other counties. So those tombstones again are archaeological features of that cemetery site So what’s interesting about southern Illinois, and archaeology and cultural or heritage resources in general, is that we have a lot of what we call or refer to generally as cultural landscapes. It’s a geographical area including both cultural and natural resources and the wildlife or the domestic animals that that are associated with that. It obviously includes, if it’s a cultural landscape, it includes an occupation by humans. What I have shown here is Millstone Bluff, which I would call it an archaeological site for sure, but it’s also a cultural landscape. As you can see it rises significantly higher than the surrounding forest in ridges and hills. So it’s a pretty awesome site and it’s probably what attracted the pre-contact Native Americans to that area, to that particular hilltop because it was so visible from around it. The other one that is shown in this slide is Fountain Bluff, which is on the Mississippi River flood plain just west of Murphysboro. It is a spectacular area that, as you can see, it’s surrounded by the Mississippi River on one side and the Big Muddy on the other side. So it was perceived to be, I think because of the proximity to the Mississippi, as a very special place by the pre-contact Native Americans. There’s a number of rock art sites that are located there and there’s thought to have been rock sites located in the Mississippi River at Grand Tower, but unfortunately the Grand Tower has been significantly altered by by Euro-American occupations there, and I believe they actually tried to blow it up to get it out of the Mississippi River to no avail obviously, but it has been significantly altered because of that So those are the kinds of things that you would consider a cultural landscape. I would consider a whole farmstead. If your property, you have a farmstead like that was established in the 1900s let’s say. Let’s say it was established in 1851 when the land was actually selling for 12.5 cents an acre, so that you could buy 40 acres for five dollars. You would have a home. You would have a cistern because you have to have that. You might have an orchard on your property at some point Obviously you’re going to have a barn for your livestock and perhaps for storing your your crops for winter. You’re going to have other food storage facilities like heather’s Cellar and then you’re going to have all that whole area of your property perhaps surrounded by a fence You might not be able to see that wooden fence anymore but you might see some rocks that had been toted down to that fence line and and piled up against it. That is a cultural landscape. That is an archaeological site, but it also is a landscape that is depicting an episode of historical interest or an event that occurred there. We’re doing a lot of research at Miller Grove, which is a pre-slave African-American community in Pope County. That whole community itself would be a cultural landscape in that it would be made up of the the natural features, the creeks that surround that site as well as all the farmsteads located within it. Then there’s a couple of natural features associated with it that were used by the the occupants of that area, Sand Cave and Crow Knob. Those are the kinds of things that you would pull together to actually see a cultural landscape. Obviously sites like Miller Grove are dependent up on the natural landscapes They are dependent on on being hidden away so you’re going to be dependent on not the cultural travel ways, but also the boundaries that are made up of the creeks in that general area. I think Miller Grove is surrounded like on three sides by creeks and pretty good size creeks as well. So those are the kinds of things that create that cultural landscape that we were talking about

The bottom of the slide is Fountain Bluff. That’s the one I was talking about being located on the Mississippi River floodplain west of Murphysboro So we’ve talked to you a little bit about what you might find out there, what cultural resources are, what artifacts are, what archaeological features are. Why is all this important? Well, as I mentioned earlier, cultural resources can really help landowners and communities appreciate and understand the effects of human activities and their resilience of nature. i love the idea of a landscape, a piece of land, it has a story. It has a life history and you have to investigate that history in order to understand what you’re seeing today It is very interesting to study some of these archaeological sites and look and see how these people utilize the landscape themselves. When you look at some of the small Mississippian villages you can see and envision where they had their corn fields. Where they were growing their crops and it’s just really fascinating to be able to look back on that landscape and kind of imagine what was there 500 to 1000 years ago and how they were organizing and planning that landscape around them in their lives Mary and I are both professional archaeologists but archaeology has been happening in some form or another in southern Illinois since the 1800s Just as as a note, this copper plate that you see on the screen here that looks like it has two dancing Native Americans on it, this was a plate that was located in Union County Illinois by some people that were digging for the Smithsonian in the late 1800s There are so many interesting things out there that can help us understand how both Native Americans and how Euro-Americans and African-Americans came to the wilds and wilderness of southern Illinois and tamed that and how they developed the land to best suit their own needs What are the benefits of protecting cultural resources? Stewardship of cultural resources and landscapes protect the character and historical significance of a place Landscapes provide scenic, economic, ecological, social, recreational, educational opportunities that help us understand our cultural heritage. Ongoing preservation of cultural resources provides a richer sense of place and quality of life for all and a legacy for future generations. The benefit here is, in many places and southern Illinois is not escaped from this, a lot of people have been able to take advantage of the some of the recreation areas on the shawnee national forest as an economic opportunity There are there are snack stands now where they didn’t used to be. There are campgrounds, there are cabins and other lodgings scattered all across southern Illinois. A lot of this can be related to not just places like Garden of the Gods although it is, but Pounds Hollow is located nearby. High Knob right there in on the same general area is the site of an old fire tower that was built by the ccc. There’s just a lot of heritage here in southern Illinois Yes the state and federal lands do manage a lot of those significant sites, but there’s probably a lot on private property as well that could become an economic driver perhaps or something that somebody would be interested in researching and contributing to the greater sense of what southern Illinois story is. A lot of it is just preserving it so that we always have it. That’s the point behind preservation laws that guide state and

federal lands is that we are protecting it now for future generations. I think the same goes for private property. There’s no laws There are few laws, I should say, directing individuals and landowners to preserve archaeological sites, but it is really a benefit to the future generations of the country that we are able to do this. Heather’s already titled this, but as you can see this is the kind of landscape that we’re talking about. Another part of our cultural landscape, this is the Trail of Tears that we’ve mentioned a couple of times already, but this is a road cut in Union County leading from the uplands down into the Mississippi River flood plains. This is the actual road that Cherokee Indians actually walked on to get to the Mississippi River and to cross into Missouri on a ferry and to continue their journey into Oklahoma. So, again, this is a priceless piece of history that actually has now been designated as a sacred site by all three of the Cherokee tribes in the U.S. These are the kinds of things that really contribute to the story of southern Illinois, and I’ll just add to that we have the section of the Trail of Tears that goes through southern Illinois is one of the smallest sections compared to some of our neighboring states. However we have, I think, nearly eight miles of the original trail that is relatively undisturbed and a lot of that is because of because it runs through areas of southern Illinois that have not been developed. In some of the other states the trail is no longer recognizable because of the development that has happened so again going back to what Mary was saying. I think we have a really unique situation here in that because so much of southern Illinois is rural and undeveloped. We do have some cultural resources and some cultural landscapes that are relatively undisturbed and I think that’s different than in a lot of the other parts of the country Locating cultural resources If you’re interested about what could be out there on your property, there are some places that you could key in on to see if you have anything. These artifacts can be found anywhere There’s random arrowheads out there that you can find somebody lost while they were hunting, but if you want to look for significant sites, the best places to look obviously are around water, because people are needing water. Particular land forms. We talked earlier about there’s quite a few bluffs and waterfalls, things like that in our area. Springs would obviously have to have water for both people and livestock and then we’ve mentioned a number of those transportation routes It’s going to be where people are moving through so looking, doing research and determining whether maybe you have some of those early transportation routes that traverse your property So we keep talking about transportation routes, but I think it’s one of our favorite things to talk about because they are so cool. When you see an old road cut on the landscape when you’re you’re traveling down a chip seal road and all of a sudden on either side of the road you can see an old road cut, that is part of the original cultural landscape of that particular area That’s how people were traveling to and from their homes. Keeping in mind that people didn’t travel very far back in the 19th century and even into the early 20th century. I have found that the transportation corridors that we have in southern Illinois have been in place, because they are topographically designed to be that corridor The one that comes to mind is there’s roads between Golconda and Cape Girardeau, no surprise. There’s roads that connect Golconda or Shawneetown and there’s little connectors in between all of those that connect, for example the Kincaid site which Heather mentioned, the Mississippian site down on the Ohio river to Cahokia. A lot of these were established even before pre-contact peoples were here. They were

originally identified used by megafauna at the time going from salt lick to salt lick. Salt licks in Missouri to salt licks in southern Illinois and over into Indiana as well and then down into into the Nashville area. So these roads are really really ancient and some of them can still be seen on our landscape today and some of them can’t be. Many of them have been plowed out but you can almost always see a remnant somewhere that would have connected it. The picture that I have on the on the right is another picture of the Trail of Tears over in Pope County and then down below is a map made by a surveyor in 1807 that is describing or it’s mapping actually the location between Kaskaskia and Lusk Ferry. And of course lusk Ferry was Golconda and Kaskaskia is on the Mississippi River so this they’ve actually as they were laying out the townships and ranges they actually recorded roads when they saw them in the general land office surveys at the time Again these roads are not just moving people, but they’re moving artifacts from one place to another. Whether pre-contact marine shells that we find in some of our archaeological sites that shouldn’t be there, but they obviously were traded for as well as other other things that are coming down the Ohio River and the Mississippi River and then connecting inland from Shawneetown or Golcanda and are found on farmsteads. Things like that, they’re just very interesting to study how people and ideas and artifacts were moving across the landscape Again, I see that we’re about 20 till three, so we’ll try to work our way through this You’re going to be looking for specific types of land forms. Caves, overhangs, high bluffs, stream terraces. I’m sure many of you who practice farming, you know after you’ve plowed up the field you can look through the field and you might find artifacts laying there, Another really interesting thing, and we had a call from one of the local wineries not very long ago trying to locate some early early apple trees in southern Illinois, but there are certain artifacts that you might find on a farmstead or elsewhere that are remnants of that farmstead that you wouldn’t recognize otherwise. Old apple trees that might be on your farm that may not be necessarily very healthy anymore, but may still be bearing fruit. The classic way to find a farmstead is a wolf tree. A wolf tree is a tree that would have grown up without a lot of surrounding forest around it and it was able to branch out and and be a a shade tree in your yard and those are the kinds of things that you might find that are related to human occupation on the landscape Cultural resources located or collected on your property are a great source of pride and connection to the past. Just to be sure when you do find artifacts on your private property, they do belong to you as the landowner However there’s protective steps to ensure that significant cultural resources are conserved for future generations and society in general These include doing research on the site or the property, inventorying it to see what is out there and then there’s a number of technical services that can help you to better understand what you have. The state historic preservation office which is under the Illinois Department of Natural Resources is available for consultation and can help as well as the Center for Archaeological Investigations at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale This is the point behind the stewardship of cultural resources to preserve them for future generations. The professional archaeologists like Heather and myself are available to help, but again working with the state Historic Preservation Office or other archaeologists within a state they can help you identify steps that you can take to help preserve. If it can’t be preserved to at

least document or record those archaeological sites, whether it’s a standing structure like is demonstrated here or whether it’s the remains of a farmstead foundation that you would like to preserve or at least record. Those are the kinds of things that we can help you with or can point you in the right direction of finding an expert who can help you There’s a number of different avenues of research if you’re kind of familiar with that kind of stuff. There’s a number of sources on the internet that are available that are free of charge that you can use and we can help point you in those directions. Otherwise, since we do this for a living, we can usually help you narrow down and focus on some stuff pretty quickly and would be happy to do that So as I said before, as we’ve been alluding to the point behind doing this whole presentation is to get you to think about cultural resources and be able to recognize them when you see them on your property and then learn how to record those sites for for future generations They might be prehistoric sites. They might be historic sites, but the point behind it is to be able to document those so that we can preserve them and as a point of pride I’m going to go through this quickly so we’ll have time for questions. We can help if you’re interested, if you do have a significant site on your property or you have an interest in preserving a site, we can assist you in developing a cultural or historic preservation plan that will allow that site to continue without disruption or without being disturbed in the future The same resources that we’ve talked about before, the Center for Archaeological Investigations at SIU, Heather and I, in normal days, I would be in Harrisburg and Heather would be in Vienna, but I’m pretty much teleworking now Having said that if you just call any of our offices and ask for the archaeologists they’ll be able to point in a direction and the same for Southern Illinois University and I think the next slide has more resources I’ll just go ahead these are the resources that are at Southern Illinois University, Mary McCorvey and Heather Carey at the U.S. Forest Service and then the Illinois Archaeological Survey and then there’s another sister organization called the Illinois Association for the Advanced Advancement of Archaeology, which is a group of individuals that are not professional archaeologists but are very interested in archaeology and preserving archaeological sites. I don’t think we have them as a slide but we’re happy to be able to share information about these and I think the park service also has a number of resources that would be available to you to learn about something that we call the National Register for Historic Places That’s the guiding documents on how we determine what are important sites in a particular area and then, Heather, if you want to go back to the cemetery one more or two more slides The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has a booklet that you can download that helps you in identifying and preserving cemeteries that might be on your property. Oftentimes they have tumbled down or they’ve been the source of vandalism or something along those lines It’s a really excellent guide and then they also do workshops on preserving those cemeteries So that’s a downloadable thing from the Department of Natural Resources that you can google and find yourself. I’ll add here at the Illinois Historic Preservation Division of IDNR, they do have a really nice web page that also talks about that cemetery preservation and has a number of

frequently asked questions that are presented to them a lot. There’s a lot of information there if you do find yourself a landowner that has a historic abandoned cemetery on your property and so I feel it’s very important to share this information with you. Human skeletons whether they’re pre-contact or historic cemeteries are protected by state law so nobody’s going to get in trouble if you have a cemetery on your property or if you find human remains eroding out somewhere that you think might be pre-contact. Nobody’s going to get upset, it’s just that we need to know those and they need to be preserved in place and when I say we, it’s not Heather and I. It’s the Department of Natural Resources archaeologists, but they are a prehistoric or pre-contact Native American cemetery is just as protected under that law as is a cemetery with tombstones in it I’ll just finally add, the Illinois State Archaeological Survey just started initiative a couple years ago and you can see the flyer for it here We want to preserve and protect these places, but really what’s important to us is the information that they can yield and so they’ve started an initiative to document private collections. If you do happen to have a private collection of artifacts from a site on your property, we as professional archaeologists would be really interested in documenting that just documenting where it came from what you have, probably photographing the artifacts. Again, they’re yours to keep. They’re not ours, but we’re just information and we’re really interested in that information that we can gain from knowing that site even exists out there All right, thank you so much Heather and Mary. We’ve had a few questions come in and I definitely want to encourage other folks to put some questions in the chat box if you want We’ll try to get to the ones we have time for The first one that I wanted to ask you both comes from a post. Somebody put in there that they were digging and planting bushes and they found some rusted things or some stuff in the ground and then that begs the question, when does something become an artifact or a cultural heritage versus kind of junk. Is there a difference between that or how do you delineate from just old junk or relevant items, if that makes sense Well, we don’t use the terminology old junk, but the National Historic Preservation Act identifies sites and artifacts that are in excess of 50 years old as eligible for inclusion on the national register. So that’s our guiding line, 50 years. But also, I think someone asked about a dump. Well dumps, I call them discard sites, they’re artifacts that have been intentionally discarded by someone, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the person that owns that land, discarded that. We find discard sites all the time that obviously are not related to the forest service or perhaps even anybody living nearby. Sometimes they’re really really old and sometimes they are like yesterday. So it depends on the context and that’s why you have to do a little research and homework when you’re recording or finding these sites on your land, on your property. A discard site by a road is probably a discard site by the road because it was handy to dump a refrigerator there or an old farm implement. Something like whatever or tin cans. Stuff like that. Otherwise, it’s probably more likely depending on where it is on your property or on the landscape it may be related to the actual occupants of the farmstead or the house that people are actually living there So there’s no easy answer except for the 50-year part. That’s the easy part and the rest of it is all about the context in which the artifact is located Okay, great. Do you consider or what’s your thoughts on historical ornamental plantings

We’ve seen that, if you go into the woods, you’ll find daffodils or yucca or lines of cedar and I know they are often associated with cultural sites. What are your thoughts on the relevance and the importance of preserving those as a cultural artifact of the landscape? I think you probably know the answer to that is that it’s part of the landscape, so it needs to be preserved as part of the landscape Heather, did you have any other thought? No, it probably puts us in opposition to some other of you, but I agree it is part of the landscape. Actually domestic vegetation, yucca plants, daffodils, irises, they a lot of times are a really big clue for us in helping to figure out where the structures were. Just how that the whole layout of the site, so those can actually be really helpful. They seem pretty menial and not that important, but they can be really helpful whenever we’re recording a site and we record daffodils and yuccas and daylilies and wolf trees on our maps just as much as we do the wells and cisterns and house foundations They are just as important for determining what kind of things were going on on that property Okay ,we have time for maybe one or two more questions. Is there a resource or resources out there that somebody can look at to see if there’s known artifact sites or cultural sites that are on their land or near their land? If somebody’s interested in digging into the history of their land, how do they do that? So, unfortunately, and Heather jump in here, but I’m just going to say unfortunately no there is not a resource, except for atlases. You’re welcome to check out any of the historic atlases for your counties that are usually divided in townships and ranges, so you should be able to find your property and if there was a house located on that or not. Other sites are protected by law, the site location is protected by law for fear of vandalism Okay, one more question somebody just asked what are the best management practices kind of for straddling the divide of managing pioneer cemeteries, so these are cemeteries that are within a prairie situation, managing them for headstone preservation versus managing for the native species? So you’ve got a give and take between managing your natural resources versus managing your cultural resources? It can be difficult, but I think there are ways to compromise. On the Shawnee National Forest, we have a pretty active prescribed burn program. We have done such things as wrapping the tombstones in old fire shelters so that they are not harmed and which still allows the grassland to be burned So I think there’s strategies that can be utilized to both protect the cultural resource as well as you know manage the natural resources