Civil War Archaeology Annotated Bibliography Annotated Bibliography

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Civil War Archaeology

Annotated Bibliography

Organizing a group of disparate resources involving Civil War archaeology is particularly challenging because of significant overlaps in goals and intent, and researchers' contribution are typically not amenable to being categorized in such a way (Odell, 2001). Many such resources describe the importance of such initiatives today or discuss them in general ways while others provide specific results of findings and the context of their cultural significance. Nevertheless, the major themes that emerged during the review of relevant resources for this purpose included the following:

Sources of Civil War Artifacts.

Significant Discoveries and Events.

Current Trends in Civil War Archaeology.

These major themes were therefore used to organize the various resources identified during the research process as shown at the bibliography.

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TOPIC: Annotated Bibliography on Civil War Archaeology Annotated Bibliography Assignment

Archaeologists have found that battlefields from all ages frequently yield valuable insights into what transpired during armed conflicts because they can provide archaeologically definable behavioral patterns (Orser, 2003). According to this author, "Because of the structured and ranked nature of military forces. Those who engage in combat usually fight in the established manners and patterns in which they have been trained. It is precisely this training in battlefield or combat behaviour that results in the deposition of artefacts that can be recovered by archaeological means and interpreted with an anthropological perspective" (p. 49). While interest in behavioral dynamics is no stranger to historical archaeology, battlefield archaeology remains a relatively new field of investigation; for this purpose, the battlefield investigation model developed by Richard Fox and Douglas Scott (1991) maintains that individual, unit and battlefield movements can be reconstructed by using various pattern-recognition techniques (Orser, 2003). In addition, the Fox and Scott model has been shown to be useful in predicting certain types of depositional patterns depending on the culture, training and organization of the combatant groups (Orser, 2003). Furthermore, the application of sophisticated forensic tools can provide modern archaeologists with even more insights into what actually happened during armed conflicts than the historical record might suggest. In this regard, Orser (2003) adds that, "Battlefield studies can yield information on combatant positions used during the course of the battle as well as details of dress, equipage and, in some cases, individual movements. Archaeological investigations can also retrieve information on troop deployments, firing positions, fields of fire and the types of weapons present" (Orser, 2003, p. 49). Finally, the studies of artifact patterning contained in many Civil War battlefields conducted to date have been able to identify unit or individual movement during the battle, weapon trajectory and range of firing by determining forces of projectile impact; considered from an anthropological perspective, then, battlefields are the physical and violent expression of the culture or cultures that came into conflict (Orser, 2003).

Annotated Bibliography

1. Sources of Civil War Artifacts.

Bright, Leslie S. (1990). Wrecked blockade runners of the Lower Cape Fear: Site environment and physical condition. Historical Archaeology, Special Publication No. 4, 127-30.

Civil War vintage gold and silver coins have been located by archaeologists working on both sides of Lockwood's Folly Inlet and are believed to have come from one or more wrecked blockade runners offshore; author reports blockade runners Elizabeth, Dare, Kate (Lenore, Leonora), Bendigo (Milly), and Ranger were wrecked or destroyed off Lockwood's Folly Inlet during the Civil War, and one or more of these wrecks may have contained treasure.

Brown, Ian W. (1999). Salt manufacture and trade from the perspective of Avery Island, Louisiana. Midcontinental Journal of Archeology, 24(2), 113.

Mines can provide valuable artifacts for historical archaeologists. For example, throughout the Civil War, every state in the Confederacy became involved in the production of salt at what has become known as the Salt Mine Valley site in Louisiana which has yielded rich deposits of Civil War-era artifacts.

Douglas, Joseph C. (2001). Miners and moonshiners: Historic industrial uses of Tennessee caves. Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology, 26(2), 251.

The author cites the results of archaeological digs of Tennessee caves used during the Civil War and reports that these locales frequently yield rich results for modern researchers: "Linked to broader cultural changes, these uses created unique assemblages and spatial relationships of artifacts that help identify the historic activities in caves. The presence of processing equipment for saltpeter mining and the arrangement of structural platforms relative to fireboxes for moonshine production are reliably diagnostic" (p. 251). The author also notes that the use of these caves by Civil War troops had a profound effect on their ecosystem that remains today.

Milner, George R. (2005). Nineteenth-century arrow wounds and perceptions of prehistoric warfare. American Antiquity, 70(1), 144.

Civil War cemeteries frequently provide modern archaeologists with an abundance of cultural artifacts. Approximately.2% of the entire population of the United States, the North and South combined, died each year on the battlefield during the Civil War; however, these estimates are based on an average of combat fatalities per year (but casualties were unevenly distributed over the course of the war) and the nation's population in the 1860 census. Complicating matters for modern archaeologists, though, is the fact that, "All cemeteries in use during the Civil War would not have had the same proportion of combat fatalities, even if only burials dating to this narrow window of time are considered. Some burial contexts, such as Confederate mass graves at Shiloh, would have an overabundance of skeletons with unambiguous signs of trauma. Those in sleepy backwaters far from battlefields would have few such casualties, even taking into account the remains that were shipped back home" (p. 144).

Orser, Charles E., Jr. (2002). Encyclopedia of Historical Archaeology. London: Routledge.

Battlefield archaeology has primarily focused on uncovering or tracing fortifications, especially earthworks, until recently. For example, archaeological investigations by Lee Hanson (1968) of the Civil War Water Battery at Fort Donnelson, Tennessee, was directed at identifying gun emplacements, including determining what type of guns were emplaced at the respective embrasures. Likewise, archaeological work by Lawrence Babits (1986) of another Civil War earthwork at Causton's Bluff, Georgia identified several previously unknown details of the construction of such bomb-proof shelters. A number of Civil War battlefields have also been investigated with metal-detecting equipment; for example, the author reports that William Lees completed the most comprehensive studies to date, one of which concerned the battle at Honey Springs, Oklahoma (1863) involving federal African-American, Native American and white troops and Confederate Native American and white troops. Another archaeological investigation was conducted at Mine Creek, Kansas, the site of an 1864 battle during Confederate general Sterling Price's raid into Missouri. The author notes that the Mine Creek investigations found that historians had incorrectly identified the battle site; in addition, the findings by Lees served to accurately identify much of the actual battle site and determined positions and movement of both the North and the South, which had been previously unrecorded or poorly documented in the historical record. Yet another Civil War battlefield was investigated by Douglas D. Scott was Monroe's Crossroads, North Carolina. According to the author, "Because this 1865 cavalry battle is little recorded in the historical record, archaeological investigation was the primary means to recover the site's history. The battle site, located within the boundaries of modern-day Fort Bragg, is used by the U.S. Army for small-unit leadership training exercises" (p. 27). Finally, the author reports that some other Civil War battlefields that were under investigation at the time of writing included research by Stephen Potter and Clarence Geier at Manassas, Virginia, and Anteitam, Maryland.

Raitz, Karl. (1995). Rock fences and preadaptation. The Geographical Review, 85(1), 50.

Edge fences and stone walls have provided historical archaeologists with some valuable insights into migration patterns and how freed slaves were incorporated into masonry during and immediately following the Civil War. During the period between 1850 and 1860, the number of Irish stonemasons increased across the Bluegrass counties in Kentucky; however, studies have found that after the Civil War, the number of Irish stonemasons declined steadily, being replaced by freedmen who worked as masons and by 1900, few Ireland-born stonemasons remained.

2. Significant Discoveries and Events.

Gaines, W. Craig. (1999). Civil war gold and other lost treasures: On the trail of various grey ghosts, blue bummers, bushwhackers, blockade-runners, Jayhawkers, Mossbacks, Copperheads, scalawags, and honest citizens and the hidden riches they left behind. Conshohocken, PA: Combined Publishing.

The author emphasizes that much booty remains undiscovered from the Civil War era, largely because of a paucity of reliable banks. "At a time when banks were generally not secure or insured, if there were any banks at all in the area, people hid their money and their heirlooms at their farms, plantations and homes. Many family fortunes were lost and not recovered due to the deaths and confusion of war" (p. 7).

Ingersoll, Daniel W., Jr. (2003). Myth, memory and the making of the American landscape. American Antiquity, 68(1), 189.

This author cites work by historical archaeologist Laurie Burgess that analyzes the competition to define spatial meanings at Arlington Cemetery in terms of politics and gender from the Civil War to… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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