October 31, 2019

The Conservation Fund Announces Chesapeake Cultural Studies Grant Recipients

ARLINGTON, Va. — Eleven research, education and historical institutions and specialists have been awarded Chesapeake Material Cultural Studies Grants. Presented by The Conservation Fund—a national nonprofit dedicated to providing environmental solutions that make economic sense for communities—the grants will support the conservation, preservation and study of cultural artifacts from the Chesapeake region dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries.

Ranging from $15,000 to $25,000, the grants will help further research and expand current knowledge of artifact collections from previously excavated archaeological sites at Jamestown, Martin’s Hundred, Carter’s Grove, Kingsmill and other locations in the Chesapeake region to better understand and interpret the colony’s first settlers and their response to the new environment and climate.

“American history is intrinsically connected to the land. In Virginia and especially in the Chesapeake region, our land can tell a variety of stories going back multiple centuries,” said Heather Richards, Virginia state director for The Conservation Fund. “While we at The Conservation Fund focus on protecting the places where history happens and conserving important natural resources, we depend on our peers in the archeological field to research and interpret how human lives intersected with these places. We are honored to support their ongoing work with these grants.”

“One of the biggest impacts of these eleven grants will be the ability to explore some of the Commonwealth’s most important legacy archaeological collections with new questions and new technologies,” said Elizabeth Moore, State Archaeologist at the Virginia Department of Historic Resources. “These projects broaden our understanding of Virginia, and the broader Chesapeake region’s 17th and 18th century history, by addressing some of the under-studied groups, objects and sites represented in older archaeological collections. These studies, which will be shared with the public, help provide a more fulsome view of the complexity of our shared history.”

The grant recipients will use the funding to advance a variety of work, including:

The University of Alabama, in partnership with James Madison University, will document a collection of almost 4,000 glass beads that have been archaeologically excavated at Jamestown and investigate their abnormal composition through a complete morphological, elemental and spatial analysis of the assemblage.

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, will examine the relationships between people and plants in the diet and practices relating to food, economy and ecology of the colonial Chesapeake region from 1630 to 1730. The study seeks to document the availability and distribution of plant-based foods and commodities; their use and significance within and between colonial populations; and the impact of introduced plants and new plant management strategies on the environment.

The Virginia Nottoway Indian Circle and Square Foundation of the Nottoway Indian Tribe of Virginia, in collaboration with Buck Woodard (American University), Adriana Greci Green (The University of Virginia) and Elizabeth Bollwerk (Thomas Jefferson Foundation), will identify, describe, illustrate and contextualize rare indigenous textile artifacts and fragments preserved in archaeological and museum collections from the Virginia Coastal Plain.

St. Mary’s College of Maryland will use archaeological evidence to delineate the many ways by which Native groups in the Chesapeake’s major river drainages not only adapted to a colonized environment but actively shaped that encounter through strategies of resistance and selective adaptation. The team will also document the variety of responses to colonization in an effort to develop a narrative highlighting Native creativity, agency and point-of-view.

Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Department of Archaeology will conduct an analysis of colonoware—a type of earthenware pottery created by African Americans and Native Americans during the Colonial Era in America—by examining the stylistic, morphological and elemental characteristics of sherds and vessels recovered from seven sites spanning the 18th century occupation of Williamsburg and six concurrent plantation sites.

The Jamestown Rediscovery Foundation/Historic Jamestowne will identify and analyze over 90,000 animal bones recovered from Jamestown’s second well, dating to ca. 1610-1611.

James River Institute for Archaeology, Inc. will produce a technical site report for archaeological site 44IW0013, familiarly known as “Basse’s Choice” site. Located in an agricultural field in Isle of Wight County, adjacent to a 30-foot high cliff, the site was likely the property of early Virginia planter Giles Jones and dates to ca. 1625-1650.

Maryland Archaeological Conservation Laboratory at Jefferson Patterson Park and Museum will compile and present research on the material culture of the colonial horse in the Chesapeake so that archaeologists will be better able to recognize elements of horse furniture and understand the important role that horses played in the daily lives of people for transportation, leisure, sport and agricultural labor.

Fairfield Foundation will properly curate and provide a conservation assessment of the materials associated with two early European settlement sites in Gloucester County and to make accessible the data associated with these excavations through a synthetic multi-site excavation report.

The University of Maryland’s Historic Preservation Program at the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation will complete an in-depth study of the material culture of the Kippax Plantation Archaeological Site—including laboratory processing, creating a digital catalog, and standardizing attribute descriptions, ancillary artifact studies, and comparative analysis—and compose the findings into a final site report and book manuscript.

Edward A. Chappell, retired Shirley and Richard Roberts director of Architectural and Archaeological Research at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation seeks to publish the group of objects with strong provenance from an Anglo-Virginia household of about 1690—discovered at an archaeological site just off Jamestown Island—and to address, in accessible ways, its relationship to the expansion of material goods used in the Chesapeake region at the end of the 17th and beginning of the 18th century.

About The Conservation Fund
At The Conservation Fund, we make conservation work for America. By creating solutions that make environmental and economic sense, we are redefining conservation to demonstrate its essential role in our future prosperity. Top-ranked for efficiency and effectiveness, we have worked in all 50 states since 1985 to protect more than eight million acres of land, including nearly 70,000 acres in Virginia.

Contact: Ann Simonelli | The Conservation Fund | 703-908-5809 | asimonelli@conservationfund.org