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Racing the Clock to Preserve the Past… A community-based approach to managing Maine’s shell middens – A. Kelley & B. Newsom

February 25, 2019 @ 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Alice R. Kelley, Climate Change Institute & School of Earth and Climate Sciences, UMaine
Bonnie Newsom, Dept. of Anthropology, UMaine

The Maine Midden Minders is a volunteer, citizen science organization being developed to help document and moni-tor Maine’s eroding shell middens. These features are composed of mollusk shells, artifacts, and faunal remains, and archive up to 4,000 years of coastal occupation by the state’s indigenous population. Over 2,000 of these sites exist along the Maine coast, and virtually all are threatened by climate change. Only one or two middens are professionally excavated each year due to funding constraints. Valuable archaeological and paleoenvironmental information is lost to the sea with each storm. The Midden Minders program will train interested volunteers to document seasonal to an-nual changes at middens. Measurements are made using simple tools, and site conditions are documented using digi-tal photography. This information is collected into a specially designed database that will be used to identify vulnerable sites and allocate limited resources by researchers and cultural resource managers.

Alice Kelley is a geoarchaeologist with interests in past human/landscape interactions, cultural heritage preservation, and the application of ground-penetrating radar to the investigation of archaeological sites. Kelley is particularly inter-ested in investigating how changing climate has affected humans in the past, and its impacts on our cultural heritage. Bonnie Newsom is an Indigenous archaeologist interested in the pre-contact lifeways of Maine’s Native peoples. She seeks to humanize people in the past by exploring concepts of identity, social boundaries, and human agency. Newsom has worked in the cultural resources management sector, as well as serving as the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the Penobscot Indian Nation.



February 25, 2019
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
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