by Bernard K. Means

Yesterday I received in the mail copies of the most recent Pennsylvania Archaeologist, where my latest article was published “A Circular Village of the Monongahela Tradition: the Gower Site.” The Gower site was excavated by a Work Projects Administration (WPA) crew in the winter months of 1939.

Winter excavations at the Gower site.

An historic cemetery was built within the outlines of the Gower site, which made it easy for me to relocate this setting when I visited the site back in 2007, following publication of my Circular Villages of the Monongahela Tradition book.

McClintock family cemetery.

I find the Gower site intriguing because it does not really conform to the pattern seen at contemporaneous (13th century A.D.) villages in the region, which consisted of a pattern of houses arranged in a circle around an open central plaza.  There were two overlapping occupations at the Gower site: a semi-circular arrangement of houses and a palisaded enclosure with a few houses, two of which were unusually large.

Map of the Gower site, drawn by Edgar Augustine in 1941.

My newly published article focuses on the Gower site because the results from this site were not published back in the 1930s or 1940s, unlike all other village sites excavated by the WPA crew under the direction of Edgar E. Augustine. However, the site’s unusual arrangement makes it worthy of future study and my publication of findings from the site over 70 years after its excavation shows the enduring and continuous research potential of New Deal archaeological collections.

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