Welcome to Springfield Archaeology

Upcoming events


October 27, 2023 07:00 PM Eastern Time

Presenter: Bonnie Pitblado, PhD

Location: Wittenberg University – Shouvlin Center Room 105

AIA Event Calendar Link: here 

Ancient Apocalypse, Ancient Aliens and similar programming billed to the public as “documentaries” have a history of attributing the most remarkable archaeological sites in the Western Hemisphere to aliens or mythical human ancestors. Doing this, of course, insults the legacy of the very real people who initially reached and populated the Americas, leaving behind a rich material record. It also harms the contemporary Indigenous descendants of those most ancient Americans in important and tangible ways.

This talk explores a bit of the strange history of pseudo-archaeology that emerged before and even as archaeology became a discipline in what is now the United States in the late 1800s. It also touches on the ways that a fictional strain of “archaeology” continued alongside—perniciously drawing from—real archaeology throughout the 20th century, and how it is expressed today on the History Channel and Netflix in ways that intentionally mask its illegitimate interpretations of the archaeological record.

The final and most important part of the lecture highlights the real accomplishments of the human beings who populated the Western Hemisphere more than 12,000 and maybe as many as 20,000 or more years ago. By highlighting recent archaeological finds at sites like White Sands, New Mexico, where humans left now-fossilized footprints alongside those of Ice Age camels, mammoths, and dire wolves, the talk shows that we don’t need to make up narratives about the First Americans. Their remarkable accomplishments far outshine those of aliens, submerged Atlantians, and the other fictions the entertainment industry foists upon well-meaning viewers who are hungry to understand the deep past.

All presentations are free and open to the public.

Be sure to place your name on our email list to receive a reminder prior to each meeting. 

Past events

more than glitter: ancient jewelry in greece and italy

February 7, 2023 07:00 PM Eastern Time

Presenter: Alexis Q. Castor

Location: Zoom (register here)

AIA Event Calendar Link: here

Gold necklaces, earrings and other jewelry made by ancient goldsmiths s􀆟ll a􀆩ract a􀆩en􀆟on today. Their expert manufacture, intricate detail, and lavish use of precious metal evoke images of glittering women and men, enriching our understanding of Greek and Etruscan costume. But what do we know about how and when men, women, and even children, used jewelry?

I will discuss how people of all ages wore personal ornaments as protective amulets against harm, to show badges of office, to enchant, and to display wealth. Jewelry also served as wearable wealth that could be melted down in times of crisis. We explore ways that jewelry functioned as bridal gifts, heirlooms, and even played a role in espionage.

Beyond the shimmer of metal, we will see that these ornaments served as a beautiful, practical form of personal wealth.

Currents and Commodities: How Oceanographic Effects Influenced the Prehistoric Colonization of Islands

April 5, 2022 07:00 PM Eastern Time

Presenter: Dr. Scott M. Fitzpatrick

For many island societies worldwide, the acquisition and exchange of prized resources was fundamental to developing and maintaining social, political, and economic relationships. The patchiness of resources like stone, clay, tempering agents, shell, and animals often led to differential access which then helped to fuel the rise of social complexity.  This presentation considers questions of resource acquisition as mediated by oceanographic and wind conditions, comparing results from archaeological projects in the Pacific and the Caribbean.

Working the Night Shift: Life After Dark in the Ancient World

Oct 7, 2021 07:00 PM Eastern Time

Presenter: Dr. April Nowell

Location: Zoom (register here)

As twilight settled in the ancient world, a host of activities ensued, some of which were significantly different from what people did during the daytime. Some artifacts, features, and buildings associated with these activities were particular to the dark, while other material culture was transformed in meaning as the sun set.

So much of our economic, social, and ritual lives take place at night and yet, until recently, relatively little archaeological research has been undertaken specifically on nocturnal quotidian practices. Many tasks are uniquely suited to the affordances of nighttime. Night is often quieter, and its darkness provides refuge from heat and offers freedom from surveillance and from the demands of the day.

In this talk, I consider those who worked the “nightshift” in ancient societies—from the hunters, agriculturists, sewage workers, and ironsmiths to the poets, navigators, and rebellion leaders. Drawing on archaeological data and textual evidence, I argue that nighttime in the ancient world was anything but sleepy.