Anthropologist awarded grant to look at 1,400 years
Timelines are relative, such as the roughly five centuries of European presence in the Western Hemisphere that measure as a fraction of the 1,400-year period that a St. Mary’s anthropologist is studying, with a major boost from a national grant.
Julia King, a professor of anthropology at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, quickly observed this week that those many more centuries of life of the Rappahannock Indians in Virginia also are just a small part of the 8,000 to 9,000 years that people have lived in that area. Radio-carbon testing has shown that human beings arrived in what is now Pennsylvania and elsewhere in Virginia, she said, about 14,000 years ago.
“We’re just doing a smidgen,” King said, “when you think about it.”
The college announced last month that King, in collaboration with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, Chesapeake Conservancy and the state-recognized Rappahannock Tribe of Virginia, have been awarded a $240,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to trace the history and development of the Rappahannock Indians, from the year 200 A.D. to 1850. The college’s anthropology department began began studying the Rappahannock River valley’s history last year, joining an effort to provide interpretive support for a historic trail, amid the Rappahannock Indians’ receipt of recently returned riverside areas of their ancestral homeland.
The grant will allow the college and the Rappahannock Indians to expand the study of the river valley, according to a release, by examining archaeological collections in museums and conducting fieldwork throughout the watershed. In addition to focusing on the trajectories of movement into and within the Rappahannock valley, and how the Rappahannock people developed groups and political identities during those 14 centuries, the study will seek a better understanding of the reaction of the people living in the river valley to European contact and colonization.
“Native Americans were here thousands of years before that,” King said, and their descendants want to increase an awareness of that pre-colonial presence. “They wanted to get a long view of their history,” she said. “The purpose of this grant is to stretch the timeline.”
The vast breadth of the project is not just measured by the calendar, as the Rappahannock River’s run through southeastern Virginia, from Port Royal to Urbana, covers well over 50 miles.
“It’s also going to be a broad geographical area,” King said.
The timeline’s start in the year 200 coincides with an “explosion in sites,” she said. While the museums in Washington, D.C., and Richmond, Va., have substantial evidence to research those migrations and transitions, King also noted the importance of the evidence gathering already done at the scene, revealed “when we started talking to farmers, and looking at their collections.”
King’s research team, including anthropology instructor Scott Strickland and two undergraduate students, will continue doing field work and research of their own, along with Chief G. Anne Richardson of the Rappahannock Tribe and tribal members. A lot of that kind of work went in to support the application for the new funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
“We did a lot of research just to prepare for this grant,” King said.
Bird hunting begins today
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources has announced the state’s 2017-2018 early migratory game bird hunting seasons.
The season dates include one starting today, Sept. 1, for dove hunting, which will continue through Oct. 14, to be followed by a second second from Oct. 26 to Nov. 18, and a third season from Dec. 16 to Jan. 6, 2018.
The hunting seasons for woodcock run from Oct. 27 to Nov. 24, and from Jan. 12 to 27, 2018.
An early resident Canada goose season also begins today, Sept. 1, continuing in the Eastern zone until Sept. 15 and in the Western zone until Sept 25. Hunters are allowed to use shotguns capable of holding more than three shot shells. Shooting hours are extended to a half-hour before sunrise to a half-hour after sunset.
Give coats, share warmth
A “Share the Warmth” coat drive will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 9, at Gospel Tabernacle of Prayer Church in Clements, hosted by the church’s Community Evangelist Outreach Ministry. Donations will be accepted, and coats will be given away on a first-come, first-served basis.
For more information, call Juanita Butler at 301-481-1644 or the church at 301-760-2966.
Eat breakfast Sept. 10 at Valley Lee firehouse
An all-you-can-eat breakfast will be served from 8 to 11 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 10, at the 2nd District Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad building, located at 45245 Drayden Road in Valley Lee.
The menu will include scrambled eggs, home fried potatoes, pancakes, French toast, sausage links, ham, bacon, creamed chipped beef, sausage gravy, spiced applesauce, grits, hot biscuits, assorted juices, milk and coffee. For more information, call 301-994-9999.
Then, return and donate blood the next day
An American Red Cross blood drive will be held from 1:30 to 7 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 11, at the 2nd District Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad building, located at 45245 Drayden Road in Valley Lee. Call 800-REDCROSS to schedule an appointment.
Farm bill talk planned Sept. 13 in Leonardtown
The St. Mary’s Soil Conservation District, in partnership with the federal Natural Resources Conservation Service, will be hosting its annual local work group meeting at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 13, at the St. Mary’s Agriculture Service Center, located in Suite C at 26737 Radio Station Way in Leonardtown.
The soil conservation district will be seeking assistance in determining what practices or systems should receive priority funding for fiscal year 2018. Discussion will include a review of current fiscal year decisions and provide input on prioritizing local natural resource concerns for 2018 in St. Mary’s County and statewide across all U.S. agriculture farm bill programs.
For more information, call 301-475-8402, or go online to http://offices.usda.gov and www.md.nrcs.usda.gov.
Broadway review coming to Chaptico
Christ Episcopal Church in Chaptico will present a Broadway review featuring members of The Newtowne Players at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 16, in the parish hall located at 37497 Zach Fowler Road.
The dinner will feature an array of desserts, and the music will include selections from many favorite Broadway shows. As part of the evening’s fundraising, there will be a silent auction.
Make reservations by calling the parish hall office at 301-8843451, or send email to office@ cckqp.net by Sept 10. Child care will be provided. For more information and directions, go online to www.cckqp.net.
DNR offers discounted hunting licenses
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources is offering a new hunting license for first-time hunters.
For more information, call 877-620-8DNR (8367), or go online to http://dnr.maryland.gov/nrp/Pages/About-the-Apprenticeship-Hunting-License.aspx.
Julia King is a professor of anthropology at St. Mary’s College of Maryland.