When people think of archaeology, they commonly think of unearthing
the remains of ancient civilizations in Egypt, Greece, Rome,
Central or South America. But some fascinating history can be found
in your own New Jersey backyard -- if you know where to look.
Richard Veit takes readers on a well-organized guided tour
through four hundred years of Garden State development as seen
through archaeology in Digging New Jersey's Past. This illustrated
guidebook takes readers to some of the state's most interesting
buried treasures and tells us what has been learned or is being
learned from them. The diverse array of archaeological digs, drawn
from all parts of the state, includes a seventeenth-century Dutch
trading post, the site of the Battle of Monmouth, the gravemarkers
of freed slaves, and a 1920s railroad roundhouse, among others.
Veit begins with an explanation of the basic techniques used by
historical archaeologists. He explains how they know where to dig
and what sites are likely to yield important information. He then
describes excavation techniques: How do archaeologists go about
excavating a site? What happens to artifacts after they have been
removed? How are they cataloged, stored, and interpreted?
The book then moves through the state's history, from the
contact of first peoples and explorers, to colonial homesteads, the
Revolutionary War battlefields, cemeteries, canals and railroads,
factories and laboratories of early inventors. Such excavations
help us to better understand poorly documented historical episodes,
the lives of disenfranchised people, and the realities of
day-to-day life in the past. Veit concludes with some thoughts
about the future of archaeologicalresearch in New Jersey and with
suggestions on ways that interested individuals can become involved
in the field.
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