The 2015 archaeological Field School returned to the Tranquility Farm Site for the sixth year in a row. A group of 12 enthusiastic students and several terrific volunteers worked to further our investigation of Wabanaki life on Frenchman Bay. The weeklong excavations uncovered evidence of wigwams, fire hearths, and perhaps fish drying racks of the families living at the site several thousand years ago. Particularly exciting finds included several dense clusters of animal bones left over from long-ago meals, a cluster of broken pottery, and a small copper awl tip that demonstrates Wabanaki use of copper from the region well before the arrival of Europeans.
In addition to the field work portion of the week, participants heard from scholars and educators, including fish biologist David Haliwell, Penobscot Nation Tribal Historic Preservation Officer and archaeologist Chris Sockalexis, archaeologist Patricia Ayala Rocabado, and Abbe Museum Educator George Neptune.
Students included high school and college students, a home school teacher, a game warden/archaeology graduate student, a local restaurant owner, and an Abbe Museum Trustee. We also welcomed Field School alumni Molly Garson and Kate Pontbriand as supervisors-in-training. And of course, the ongoing success of the Field School would not be possible without the contributions of volunteer-extraordinaire Dee Lustusky, field supervisor Jane Clifton, and our fearless leaders, Dr. Arthur Spiess and Julia (Clark) Gray.
As part of the implementation of the Abbe’s new strategic plan, we’ll be taking a break from the field school in 2016. We’re excited to take some time to focus on the overall goals and direction of the Museum’s archaeological research, and we are looking forward to working with students and other archaeologists to carry out detailed analysis and publication of the results of more than two decades of Abbe Museum field schools.