Julia A. King, Professor of Anthropology, recently received a prestigious grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Dr. King received $4,000 from the NEH Chairman’s office to help fund a small two-day conference in May 2017 which brought together participants from a previous NEH-funded Collaborative Research Grant entitled: The Lower Potomac River Valley at Contact (ca. 1500-1720 AD). The conference provided an opportunity for collaborators to review, critique, and better integrate individual essays for a peer-reviewed manuscript with a hopeful submission date in September 2017. The book will describe the archaeological research focused on the history and development of the lower Potomac River valley before the age of George Washington. Dr. Barbara J. Heath, Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Tennessee, will serve as co-editor along with Dr. King. The conference was held at Stratford Hall, a historic house museum in Westmoreland County, Virginia and was additionally supported by the SMCM Provost’s office.
The book will consist of 14-15 chapters by different authors, all of whom participated in the original project which began in 2012. Collaborators, staff, and consultants assembled collections from 34 previously-excavated archaeological sites on both sides of the Potomac and used these assemblages to address three major topics related to Anglo-Native interaction: economic exchange and the rise of consumerism; the role of conflict, violence, and the threat of violence in the competition for resources; and the use of material culture to maintain or broker new or hybrid identities in a colonial setting. The project has resulted in several peer-reviewed articles, symposia at professional meetings, and the website colonialencounters.org. SMCM alumni Scott M. Strickland ’08, Mary Kate Mansius ’13, and Rebecca Webster ’16 attended the conference as participants and are preparing chapters for the book.
Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.