ARCHAEOLOGICAL PAST AND PRESENT:
FIELD METHODOLOGY FROM 1930s RELIEF EXCAVATIONS IN
SOMERSET COUNTY, PENNSYLVANIA AND ITS RELEVANCE TO MODERN
ARCHAEOLOGICAL INTERPRETATIONS



BERNARD K. MEANS
ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY
 

ABSTRACT

    Federal relief programs funded archaeological investigations in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, during the 1930s and into 1940. Prehistoric rockshelter, village and camp sites were excavated, largely under the auspices of the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Field notes, correspondence, and published and unpublished documents are used to reconstruct the field methodology developed during the Somerset County relief excavations. The effectiveness of this field methodology is assessed, and the quality of the data obtained is evaluated. Two case studies demonstrate that the methodology developed and employed by the Somerset County relief excavations is remarkably similar to techniques used today. However, the utility of this information is hampered by inadequacies in data collection.


First appeared in Journal of Middle Atlantic Archaeology 14:39-63.
Original copyright 1998. Reprinted with permission from Archaeological
Services.

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