Northeast Historical Archaeology


Paul R. Huey


Historical archaeology entered a remarkable period of growth and development following World War II and continuing through the 1950s and the first half of the 1960s. In addition to the pressing need for salvage archaeology at threatened sites, excavation occurred at many other sites for research purposes including reconstruction of historic buildings. New techniques of underwater exploration increased accessibility of shipwreck sites in the 1950s, and attention also focused increasingly on the problem of developing artifact typologies. Early in the 1960s statistical analysis and comparative study of archaeological data set a new direction, while an increasing number of excavations also occurred at military sites. In 1960 Stanley South organized the first professional society for historical archaeologists. Following this, Jack Mead in 1966 organized a separate group for historical archaeologists working in the Northeast, called the Symposium on Historic Site Archaeology. The federal Preservation Act followed later in 1966, and the Society for Historical Archaeology was formally organized in January, 1967.