Unearthing History: 2022 Virtual Lecture Series

Unearthing History: The discovery of a 12,500 year old Paleo-Indian site along the Farmington River in Avon. Join us for a virtual series of lectures, sponsored by a grant from the Lower Farmington River and Salmon Brook Wild and Scenic Committee that will cover the archaeology, genetics, ice age mammals, trade routes and food ways of early life along the Farmington River, with a focus on the Brian D. Jones Paleo-Indian discovery in Avon, Connecticut.

This 2022 VIRTUAL HISTORY SERIES is sponsored by Avon Historical Society, Avon Free Public Library and Avon Senior Center, in partnership with the Avon Land Trust, Farmington River Watershed Association, and the Institute of American Indian Studies in Washington, CT. 

Times are EST: Eastern Standard Time.  Events are free to attend. Webinars will be recorded; links appear at the end of this post and are available on the Avon Library’s YouTube Channel.

Saturday, June 25, 2022, 1:00-4:00 pm. In-Person Event: Artifact Identification Day. Bring your artifacts for identification! Free event, open to the public.

Presented by staff and volunteers of the Institute of American Indian Studies, Washington, CT. Paul Wegner, Co-Director; Craig Nelson, Member and Secretary of the Board of Trustees; Nancy Najarian, Collections Volunteer. The Institute will have selected items, from various time periods, on display for viewing. Event held at the Avon Senior Center, 635 West Avon Rd., Avon, CT 06001. ADVANCE REGISTRATION REQUIRED. Click here to register.

Thursday, September 15, 2022, 7:00 pm. Looking into the Past with Ancient DNA. Presented by Christina Balentine and Samantha Archer, PhD candidates and research scholars at the UConn Dept. of Anthropology. They will present a broad overview of ancient DNA (aDNA) research past and present, discuss the ethical considerations of working with priceless aDNA samples, and highlight their own dissertation research using aDNA. Register here

Thursday, October 13, 2022, 7:00 pm. Update on the scientific analysis of the Brian D. Jones site in Avon, CT since its discovery in 2019. Presented by David Leslie, PhD, Senior Prehistoric Archaeologist, Archaeological and Historical Services, Storrs, CT. Read the latest article about the site (1/2022)  here. He will present new findings based on artifacts and new analysis techniques. October is Connecticut Archaeology Month! Register here

Questions? Email Terri Wilson, President Avon Historical Society, president@avonhistoricalsociety.org

View the full Paleo 2022 FLYER

Completed 2022 programs:

Thursday, April 7, 2022, 7:00 pm. Ice Age Animals of New England presented by Dr. Sarah Sportman, CT State Archaeologist & Dr. Nathaniel Kitchel, Dept. of Anthropology, Dartmouth College.  They will present the Pope Mastodon (found in Farmington, CT on the grounds of Hill-Stead Museum) and the Mount Holly (VT) Mammoth, among other animals of the Ice Age. Watch the recording here

Thursday, March 10, 2022, 7:00 pm. What Genetics Teaches Us About the Peopling of North America  by Dr. Jennifer Raff, anthropological geneticist at the University of Kansas.  Presentation is based on her May 2021 Scientific American cover story “Journey into the Americas” and her new book, Origin: A Genetic History of the Americas being released Feb. 2022. Watch the recording here

Thursday, May 12, 2022, 7:00 pm. Paleo-Indian Peoples in the Northeast: Survival in the Ice Age and After, presented by Dr. Jonathan Lothrop, Curator of Archaeology, The New York State Museum. His focus is on the Pleistocene (Ice Age) into the Holocene period where Natives colonized 11,000-8,000BC. His research is on their technology, settlement and subsistence. He is a consultant on the Brian D. Jones site analysis.

According to Dr. Lothrop, the earliest indigenous peoples of the glaciated Northeast migrated  into the region shortly after 13,000 years ago, while this landscape remained in the grip of the last Ice  Age. Today, their ancient campsites are marked by small scatters of fluted points and other flaked  stone artifacts. This scant material record of these first peoples – known to archaeologists as  Paleoindians – testifies to an amazing story of ingenuity and perseverance in the face of daunting  challenges as they spread across the eastern Great Lakes and New England-Maritimes. How and when  did that peopling process happen? How did these people survive on this late glacial landscape? And  how did they interact with each other across these subarctic regions? In this presentation, we’ll review current evidence from recent and ongoing archaeological research that helps to answer some  of these questions. Finally, with the end of the Ice Age roughly 11,600 years ago, we’ll examine tentative indicators for how this abrupt climate change event may have affected these early peoples. Watch the recording here

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Unearthing History: 2021 Virtual History Series

Unearthing History: The discovery of a 12,500 year old Paleo-Indian site along the Farmington River in Avon. Join us for a virtual series of lectures, sponsored by a grant from Farmington Bank Community Foundation, that will cover the archaeology, geology, and anthropology of life along the Farmington River, including the Brian D. Jones Paleo-Indian discovery in Avon.

This 2021 VIRTUAL HISTORY SERIES  is sponsored by Avon Historical Society, Avon Free Public Library and Avon Senior Center.

Events are free to attend. Webinars will be recorded; links appear at the end of this post and are available on the Avon Library’s YouTube Channel.

THIS SERIES WILL CONTINUE IN 2022!

Questions? Email Terri Wilson, President Avon Historical Society, president@avonhistoricalsociety.org

View the full PDF here

Completed events:

Thursday March 4, 7:00 pm  -Digging into Deep History: Archaeology, Artifacts and Avocation. Presented by Scott Brady, President, Friends of the State Archeologist & Paul Wegner, Assistant Director, Institute for American Indian Studies Museum (IAIS), Washington, CT.  They will provide answers to questions such as what does an archaeologist actually do? How do they find the things they find, and what happens to these objects once they are recovered? They will discuss archaeology, its practice, and how avocational archaeology helps to involve the public while bringing much needed assistance to archaeologists in the field. Scott and Paul will share stories of excavations and important finds that contribute to Connecticut’s deep history. View the recording here

Thursday, April 8, 7:00 pm  – A Rift, not the River, made the Farmington Valley: the Geology of western Connecticut along US RT 44.  Presented by Howard Wright, Renbrook School Science Department Head.  This will be a first ever photographic journey focused on the geology of Route 44 in western CT and adjacent areas.  Understanding the geology of the area will help everyone “read” the local landscape with greater awareness and appreciation of why early people came here. View Part 1 here. View Part 2 here

Thursday, May 6, 7:00 pm – Connecticut Before History: The Deep Story of Human Settlement of the Farmington Valley.  Presented by Dr. Ken Feder, Archaeologist, Central Connecticut State University.  The Farmington Valley was originally settled by human beings more than 10,000 years ago. The Farmington River Archaeological Project, led by Feder, has revealed remains of the villages, hunting encampments, and quarries used by these first settlers. Much in the way the police investigate the scene of a crime, archaeologists locate, recover, and examine evidence that reveals the scene of a life lived in the past. Feder will discuss some of the sites his crews have excavated and share the stories that can be told of the lives of the people who lived, worked, and died in those ancient Farmington Valley communities. View the recording here

Thursday, September 9, 7:00 pm – Connecticut Native American Communities Past and Present. Presented by Dr. Lucianne Lavin, Director of Research and Collections, Institute of American Indian Studies, Washington CT.  She is author of Connecticut’s Indigenous People. What Archaeology, History and Oral Traditions Teach Us About Their Communities and Cultures, Yale University, 2013. She will explain how these indigenous communities were the first environmental stewards, astronomers, mathematicians, zoologists, botanists and geologists.  In reality these “pre-contact” tribes have been, and still are here, for more than 10,000 years. View the recording here.

Thursday, October 7, 2021, 7:00 pm.  Connecticut’s Paleo-Indian Sites. This final webinar will feature Dr. Zachary (Zac) Singer, Research Archeologist, Maryland Historical Trust and Dr. David Leslie, Archeological and Historical Services, Storrs, CT. Dr. Singer will present the excavations at the Templeton Paleo-Indian site in western Connecticut and Dr. Leslie will provide an update on the Brian D. Jones Paleo-Indian site in Avon as they begin their fourth year of analysis of the artifacts found there. Note: this event will run for 90 minutes with Q&A to follow.  October is Connecticut Archaeology Month! View the recording here.

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