Dampak COVID-19: Penggalian Arkeologi Tidak Berhasil

Dampak COVID-19: Penggalian Arkeologi Tidak Berhasil

Beberapa lapisan plastik dan membran geotekstil melindungi sisa-sisa pemukiman Neolitik yang disebut Ness of Brodgar di Orkney, Skotlandia. Terpal besar menutupi area di mana penggalian arkeologis dulu dilakukan, ditahan oleh ban bekas. Di bawahnya, seluruh situs telah ditimbun kembali dengan 5.000 karung pasir untuk melindungi batu halus dari kompleks bangunan besar. Penggalian sebelumnya telah mengungkapkan struktur yang berusia antara 3.300 hingga 2.400 SM, dengan temuan seperti tembikar, dinding yang dicat, tulang, dan peralatan batu.

Nick Card, direktur penggalian, tinggal di sebelah situs dan sering melihat ke luar jendela untuk memastikan penutup tetap di tempatnya, terutama saat angin kencang. Penutup belum dilepas sejak pandemi dimulai, dengan penggalian dibatalkan.

Waktu yang Sulit

Penggalian arkeologi menghadapi berbagai kesulitan selama pandemi COVID-19. Sebagian besar penggalian dikurangi ukurannya atau dibatalkan sama sekali, dan banyak yang masih belum diberi lampu hijau untuk dibuka kembali. Penggalian-penggalian yang telah dapat dilanjutkan menghadapi tantangan dengan langkah-langkah physical distancing, pembatasan perjalanan, pendanaan, dan banyak lagi.

Menghadap parit utama di Ness of Brodgar, menghadap ke arah Stones of Stenness (Hugo Anderson-Whymark)

Para arkeolog di seluruh dunia melakukan yang terbaik untuk beradaptasi dan melakukan penggalian yang mereka bisa, bahkan jika itu adalah sebagian kecil dari pekerjaan yang biasa mereka lakukan. Arkeologi adalah restorasi dan analisis sisa-sisa material, alat yang diperlukan untuk memahami sejarah. Tanpa itu, kemajuan tidak dapat dibuat dalam memulihkan masa lalu manusia.

Di tahun-tahun lainnya, Ness of Brodgar akan mendatangkan ribuan pengunjung situs untuk menyaksikan para penggali bekerja. Sekarang, ketidakpastian pandemi telah membuat sulit untuk merencanakan penggalian yang penting secara internasional ini. “Kami masih sangat di pangkuan para dewa, jadi untuk berbicara, di mana kami tidak tahu apa yang akan terjadi,” kata Card. “Kami tidak tahu apa pembatasannya, bagaimana keadaan permainannya mengenai peluncuran vaksin, terlalu dini untuk mengatakannya.”

Banyak penggalian menghadapi pemotongan ( Mikrogen / Stok Adobe)

Sementara itu, The Ness telah mengalihkan perhatiannya untuk meningkatkan kehadiran online-nya dan berbagi temuan situs saat ini dengan dunia. Card mengatakan pencapaian terbesar mereka adalah publikasi “The Ness of Brodgar : As It Stands”, monografi interim baru mereka yang menyediakan akun terbaru dari situs tersebut. Volume diterbitkan pada bulan November dan mereka terjual habis dalam waktu empat bulan. “Seribu eksemplar mungkin tidak tampak banyak, tetapi dalam istilah arkeologi, itu adalah buku terlaris,” kata Card.

Ada banyak penelitian yang sedang dilakukan, tetapi kerja lapangan yang sebenarnya, yang digambarkan Card sebagai permata di mahkota, telah dihentikan. Card mengatakan mereka harus segera memutuskan apakah akan melanjutkan penggalian tahun ini. Mencoba mengatur penggalian hingga 120 staf, mahasiswa, dan sukarelawan yang bekerja sekaligus sambil menegakkan peraturan COVID-19 bukanlah tugas yang mudah. “Ini mimpi buruk logistik,” kata Card.

Melanjutkan Pekerjaan Di Bawah Covid-19

Meskipun beberapa penggalian diizinkan untuk dilanjutkan, melakukan kerja lapangan dengan tetap mengikuti protokol COVID-19 merupakan tantangan. Mary Malainey, seorang profesor arkeologi di Universitas Brandon di Manitoba, menghabiskan musim panas lalu menggali di situs Olson, sisa-sisa masyarakat adat agraris pra-kontak, yang terletak 15 kilometer selatan Melita di barat daya Manitoba. Kursus lapangan mahasiswanya di situs itu dibatalkan, tetapi jumlah kasus yang relatif rendah di Manitoba pada saat itu memungkinkannya untuk melakukan penggalian kecil dengan para profesional lainnya.

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Malainey telah merencanakan untuk melakukan penggalian blok unit yang berdekatan di sekitar area yang diminati, tetapi sebaliknya, timnya harus menempatkan beberapa unit yang lebih kecil untuk menjaga jarak fisik antar pekerja. “Kami pada dasarnya beradaptasi,” kata Malainey. “Itu tidak ideal, tetapi bisakah itu dilakukan? Ya." Dia menjelaskan bahwa yang terbaik adalah mengekspos area yang luas sekaligus untuk mendapatkan pemahaman yang lebih baik tentang distribusi materi satu sama lain, tetapi tindakan pencegahan keselamatan COVID-19 didahulukan.

Banyak situs yang kosong ( kasih karunia / Stok Adobe)

Pandemi memperlambat penggalian, yang sangat disayangkan mengingat erosi sudah mempengaruhi situs. “Kami ingin menggali dan memulihkan material sebanyak mungkin sebelum hilang,” kata Malainey. Dia menjelaskan bahwa tepian sungai yang melewati situs itu runtuh dan artefak berharga, seperti peralatan tulang hewan yang dimodifikasi dan tembikar, sedang hanyut. “Ada aspek urgensi bagi kami,” kata Malainey, karena situs itu bisa hilang dalam beberapa tahun.

Erosi bukan satu-satunya hal yang membahayakan penemuan bersejarah yang penting. Penjarahan telah meningkat sejak awal pandemi. UNESCO mengadakan pertemuan tentang masalah perdagangan ilegal kekayaan budaya Juni lalu dan para ahli melaporkan telah terjadi "peningkatan penjualan barang budaya secara online, sebagian besar dari penggalian arkeologi ilegal."

Apa Masa Depan untuk Menemukan Masa Lalu?

Alicia Gooden, presiden Masyarakat Arkeologi Manitoba yang juga melakukan penggalian di situs Olson, menyatakan bahwa ada kebutuhan besar akan sukarelawan yang bekerja keras dan ulet untuk membantu arkeologi bertahan dari pandemi ini. “Kami adalah orang-orang yang sangat bersemangat dan sangat peduli dengan sejarah, warisan, dan arkeologi,” kata Gooden. “Ini akan menjadi tanggung jawab kami untuk melangkah dan melakukan sebanyak mungkin yang kami bisa tanpa mengharapkan pengembalian ekonomi, untuk mempertahankan ini.”

Arkeologi adalah disiplin ilmu yang mahal, yang telah mengalami penurunan di seluruh dunia baik dalam pendanaan publik maupun swasta. “Anda harus membuktikan kepada pemerintah bahwa ada tujuan dan nilai, dan melibatkan publik sehingga mereka menginginkan Anda,” kata Gooden. Karena semakin sedikit penggalian yang dilakukan, semakin sedikit penemuan baru yang dibuat, dan semakin sedikit kesempatan untuk menunjukkan kepada pemerintah manfaat yang dapat diberikan oleh arkeologi. Resesi ekonomi global karena COVID-19 dapat menimbulkan masalah lebih lanjut untuk pendanaan arkeologi.

Ketika dana penelitian berkurang, mahasiswa yang belajar arkeologi menghadapi masa depan yang tidak pasti. Penggalian universitas tampaknya memiliki tingkat pembatalan terbesar karena universitas bertanggung jawab atas kesehatan dan keselamatan siswa mereka, kata Raimund Karl, seorang arkeolog dan profesor di Universitas Bangor di Wales. Hal ini dapat merugikan satu generasi mahasiswa karena pengalaman kerja lapangan merupakan prasyarat penting untuk mendapatkan pekerjaan di bidang arkeologi.

Mempertahankan Pekerjaan di Lapangan

Kursus lapangan mahasiswa yang diizinkan untuk melanjutkan menghadapi tantangan dengan transportasi dan perjalanan. “Masalahnya bukan penggalian itu sendiri, masalahnya adalah membawa para siswa ke lokasi,” kata Karl. Murid-muridnya biasanya bepergian bersama ke situs mereka dengan minibus dan mencari akomodasi di dekatnya, tetapi COVID-19 akan membutuhkan kendaraan terpisah dan tempat tinggal terpisah untuk setiap rumah tangga. Selanjutnya, sekolah lapangannya di Inggris dijalankan dengan Universitas Wina, tetapi siswa di Austria tidak memiliki cara untuk masuk ke Inggris “Kerjasama lokal dan internasional jatuh karena keterbatasan perjalanan daripada pada kerja lapangan itu sendiri, ” kata Karel.

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Karena kurangnya kerja lapangan, banyak profesor arkeologi telah memasukkan penggalian arkeologi virtual ke dalam pengajaran mereka. Meskipun demikian, tiruan digital tidak akan pernah bisa menggantikan yang asli. "Ini adalah proses yang sangat intuitif, ada begitu banyak hal yang melibatkan suara dan bau dan fitur-fitur semacam ini yang tidak dapat Anda sampaikan tanpa benar-benar melakukannya," kata Laura Banducci, direktur penemuan di situs Romawi kuno. Gabii di Italia. Persepsi sensorik dalam arkeologi mempertimbangkan peran bau, rasa, tekstur, dan suara yang dimainkan dalam keputusan masyarakat masa lalu, tetapi tidak setiap arkeolog dapat mengambil manfaat dari pengalaman taktil langsung seperti itu di era COVID-19.

Situs Gabii telah menghasilkan banyak artefak berharga, termasuk harpy bersayap ini (Carole Raddato / CC BY-SA 2.0 )

Brendon Wilkins adalah salah satu pendiri dan direktur proyek DigVentures, sebuah platform untuk arkeologi partisipatif. Organisasinya berubah dari penggalian 10 situs setiap tahun menjadi tidak ada penggalian sama sekali pada Maret 2020. “Angka partisipasi kami yang sebenarnya setelah kami menggali lagi pada Juli turun 75 persen,” kata Wilkins. “Sekarang penawaran online kami meningkat sekitar 3.100 persen.” Bagi DigVentures, menyediakan video dan kursus arkeologi online sangat berhasil dalam melibatkan orang-orang selama pandemi. Wilkins mengatakan dia berharap penggalian dimulai lagi akhir tahun ini tetapi berencana untuk menjaga konten digital baru berjalan juga, merangkul model arkeologi hibrida.

Arkeologi Komersial

Berbeda dengan arkeologi akademis, arkeologi komersial telah dianggap sebagai layanan penting di banyak negara. Arkeologi komersial adalah bisnis nirlaba yang dilakukan oleh perusahaan swasta, dilakukan bersamaan dengan proyek konstruksi untuk menyelamatkan temuan apa pun sebelum lahan dikembangkan. Robert MacDonald, mitra pengelola Archaeological Services Inc. di Ontario, mengatakan bahwa pandemi menunda pekerjaan mereka dan mengurangi jumlah perekrutan mereka, tetapi mereka masih menyelesaikan musim lapangan mereka. Bagian yang sulit adalah menyediakan peralatan lapangan individual untuk setiap pekerja, karena begitu banyak yang biasanya digunakan bersama. “Secara keseluruhan, kami tampaknya mengelola dampak pandemi dengan sangat baik,” kata MacDonald.

Pandangan lain dari Ness of Brodgar (Jo Bourne)

Bidang arkeologi telah menghadapi perubahan besar sejak kedatangan COVID-19. Beberapa arkeolog optimis pada saat ini membuat rencana untuk menggali pada tahun 2021, sementara yang lain telah membatalkan musim lapangan sepanjang tahun. Melakukan arkeologi terbatas dalam penggalian yang dirampingkan mengikuti pedoman pandemi resmi, sambil menerbitkan lebih banyak penelitian dan menggunakan ranah digital untuk berinteraksi dengan publik, adalah norma baru. Karena pembatasan terus berubah, para arkeolog juga harus mau menyesuaikan dan beradaptasi.


Untuk menemukan jawaban tentang pembantaian ras 1921, Tulsa menggali masa lalunya yang menyakitkan

Api yang dinyalakan oleh massa kulit putih membuat banyak rumah dan bisnis di Greenwood menjadi puing-puing (seperti dalam gambar Palang Merah ini). Palang Merah memperkirakan 1.256 rumah dibakar dan 215 dijarah dalam pembantaian itu.

Palang Merah Nasional Amerika/Perpustakaan Kongres

Bagikan ini:

Pada tanggal 30 Mei 1921, Dick Rowland, seorang penyemir sepatu kulit hitam berusia 19 tahun, masuk ke dalam lift di pusat kota Tulsa, Okla. Apa yang terjadi selanjutnya tidak jelas, tetapi hal itu memicu pembantaian ras Tulsa, salah satu episode rasial terburuk. kekerasan dalam sejarah AS, dengan korban tewas diperkirakan mencapai ratusan.

Seabad kemudian, para peneliti masih berusaha menemukan mayat para korban. Penggalian baru telah membawa harapan baru bahwa orang-orang ini suatu hari nanti dapat ditemukan dan diidentifikasi.

Menurut beberapa akun, Rowland mungkin tersandung dan menabrak lengan operator lift kulit putih berusia 17 tahun bernama Sarah Page. Yang lain mengatakan dia menginjak kakinya. Beberapa ingat mendengar teriakannya. Yang lain bertanya-tanya apakah keduanya manis satu sama lain dan memiliki semacam pertengkaran kekasih. Apa pun yang terjadi, itu adalah saat yang berbahaya bagi seorang pemuda kulit hitam untuk terjebak dalam situasi genting dengan seorang wanita kulit putih muda.

Populasi Tulsa telah meroket menjadi lebih dari 100.000 orang. Sebagian besar penduduk Afrika-Amerika kota, sekitar 11.000, tinggal di bagian yang disebut Greenwood. Konsentrasi pengusaha yang berkembang di lingkungan itu membuatnya mendapat julukan "Black Wall Street" dari Booker T. Washington pada awal 1910-an.

Greenwood menjadi oase dari prasangka rasial dan kekerasan, kata Alicia Odewale, penduduk asli Tulsan dan arkeolog di University of Tulsa. “Anda bisa membeli tanah, menciptakan bisnis, dan membesarkan keluarga.”

Pada pergantian abad, kota-kota serba hitam bermunculan di padang rumput Oklahoma. Greenwood adalah salah satu komunitas tersebut. Banyak orang yang dibebaskan di Creek - orang-orang yang sebelumnya diperbudak oleh Muscogee Creek Nation dan dibebaskan pada tahun 1866 - telah menetap di daerah itu dan memiliki tanah sebagai anggota suku. Ditarik oleh industri minyak dan kereta api dan prospek kepemilikan tanah, komunitas Afrika-Amerika tumbuh. Pada tahun 1921, Greenwood memiliki rumah sakit sendiri, sistem sekolah, surat kabar, dan lebih dari 100 bisnis milik orang kulit hitam, termasuk 41 pasar, 30 restoran, 11 rumah kos, sembilan ruang biliar, dan lima hotel. NMAAHC

Namun di tengah kemakmurannya, Tulsa sangat terpisah: Oklahoma mengesahkan undang-undang Jim Crow segera setelah menjadi negara bagian pada tahun 1907, Ku Klux Klan memiliki andil dalam politik lokal, dan hukuman mati tanpa pengadilan adalah hal biasa. Tulsa mencerminkan ketegangan rasial dan kekerasan di seluruh Amerika Serikat setelah Perang Dunia I. “Ada semacam pandemi nasional teror rasial yang terjadi, dan sayangnya Tulsa adalah satu di antara seratus kota,” kata Odewale.

Sehari setelah insiden lift, Rowland ditangkap dengan tuduhan penyerangan yang meragukan. Desas-desus beredar bahwa dia mungkin akan digantung. Malam itu, massa kulit putih menyerbu Greenwood, membakar, menghancurkan properti, menjarah toko dan membunuh warga kulit hitam. Alih-alih melindungi lingkungan, penegak hukum membagikan senjata dan menunjuk penyerang kulit putih. Tembakan senapan mesin bergema di jalan-jalan Greenwood, dan pesawat pribadi menjatuhkan bahan peledak dan menembaki mereka yang melarikan diri.

Selama 24 jam, Tulsa adalah zona perang.

Pada malam 1 Juni, 35 blok persegi terbakar, ribuan rumah dan bisnis hancur dan sejumlah orang yang masih belum diketahui tewas di jalanan. Sebuah laporan Palang Merah dari tahun 1921 menunjukkan bahwa sekitar 800 orang terluka dan 300 orang tewas dalam pembantaian itu, meskipun jumlah korban yang dicatat oleh biro statistik vital Oklahoma hanya 36: 26 orang kulit hitam dan 10 orang kulit putih.

Massa kulit putih mulai membakar rumah-rumah Greenwood pada dini hari tanggal 1 Juni. Saat matahari terbit, gumpalan asap yang terlihat bermil-mil membubung di atas kota. Di sini rumah-rumah terbakar di ujung utara Detroit Avenue, tempat para anggota komunitas kulit hitam terkemuka tinggal. Masyarakat Sejarah Tulsa

Anggota bersenjata Garda Nasional Oklahoma mengawal sekelompok pria kulit hitam ke kamp interniran di aula konvensi Tulsa. Setidaknya setengah dari penduduk Greenwood ditangkap (kadang-kadang di bawah todongan senjata) dan dibawa ke kamp-kamp interniran di sekitar kota. Awalnya, Black Tulsans membutuhkan orang kulit putih untuk menjamin mereka agar dibebaskan. Beberapa dipenjara hingga seminggu. Masyarakat Sejarah Tulsa

Sejarah panjang rasisme, penyangkalan, pembelokan, dan penyembunyian pembantaian telah meninggalkan luka mendalam di komunitas kulit hitam kota. Satu abad kemudian, orang Tulsan masih memiliki pertanyaan: Berapa banyak orang yang meninggal? Siapa mereka? Dan di mana mereka dikuburkan?

Jawaban atas beberapa pertanyaan itu sekarang tampaknya dapat dijangkau berkat penyelidikan yang pada Oktober 2020 menemukan kuburan massal yang diyakini menampung korban pembantaian. Temuan ini membawa beberapa dari mereka yang kehilangan nyawa selangkah lebih dekat untuk dimakamkan dengan benar. Langkah-langkah di masa depan dapat melibatkan analisis DNA untuk memberi nama pada jenazah dan mungkin untuk menyatukan kembali orang mati dengan keluarga mereka. Tetapi prospek itu juga menimbulkan kekhawatiran tentang privasi. Orang-orang yang selamat dan keturunan juga telah memperbarui pencarian mereka akan reparasi dari kota dan negara bagian.

Sejak 2018, ketika Walikota Tulsa G.T. Bynum meluncurkan penyelidikan, keturunan Greenwood dan tokoh masyarakat telah bekerja berdampingan dengan tim ilmuwan multidisiplin dan memandu proses di setiap langkah. “Tidak hanya seluruh dunia menonton, anak-anak kami juga menonton,” kata Kavin Ross, sejarawan lokal dan keturunan penyintas pembantaian. "Apa pun yang kita lakukan, apa pun yang kita hasilkan, mereka akan melihat bagaimana kita memainkan peran dalam sejarah."

Selama penggalian uji pada Juli 2020, Kavin Ross menempatkan lilin di makam Eddie Lockard, salah satu dari hanya dua korban pembantaian yang makamnya ditandai di Pemakaman Oaklawn. Tubuh Lockard ditemukan di luar kota, dan dia mungkin telah ditembak mati oleh pesawat saat dia melarikan diri dari pembantaian. Mike Simons/Tulsa World melalui AP

Pada bulan Juni, tim memulai proses hati-hati menggali sisa-sisa dari kuburan massal dan menganalisis tulang dan artefak untuk petunjuk tentang identitas individu dan bagaimana mereka meninggal.

Budaya diam

Saat asap menghilang pada 1 Juni 1921, penduduk kulit hitam Greenwood yang masih hidup ditangkap dan dibawa ke tempat interniran. Ketika mereka dibebaskan beberapa hari kemudian, banyak yang mendapati diri mereka kehilangan tempat tinggal dan lingkungan mereka tidak dapat dikenali. Tidak ada yang diadili atas kejahatan yang dilakukan selama pembantaian. Beberapa bulan kemudian, Sarah Page memberi tahu pengacaranya bahwa dia tidak ingin menuntut. Jaksa distrik menolak kasus terhadap Dick Rowland. Page dan Rowland keduanya meninggalkan kota.

Selama tahun berikutnya, Tulsans mengajukan $1,8 juta dalam klaim terhadap kota hanya satu, pemilik pegadaian putih, yang menerima kompensasi. Beberapa orang yang selamat pergi. Mereka yang tinggal membangun kembali rumah dan bisnis mereka sendiri, terlepas dari upaya kota untuk memblokir upaya tersebut sambil menyalahkan penduduk Greenwood atas kekerasan tersebut.

Orang-orang menyaring puing-puing Hotel Gurley, yang dimiliki oleh salah satu pendiri Greenwood, pengembang real estat Black O.W. Gurley. Setelah membeli 40 hektar tanah di Tulsa pada tahun 1906, Gurley bersumpah hanya akan menjual tanah itu kepada orang kulit hitam dan sering memberikan pinjaman kepada usaha kecil. Keluarga Gurley mengklaim kerugian properti lebih dari $ 150.000 dengan kota. Pendeta Jacob H. Hooker/Masyarakat Sejarah Tulsa

Untuk waktu yang lama, orang-orang Tulsa, Hitam dan putih, tidak banyak bicara tentang pembantaian itu. Kisah itu dihilangkan dari catatan sejarah lokal, dan surat kabar tidak menulis tentang itu sampai beberapa dekade kemudian. Orang kulit hitam yang selamat tetap diam karena takut akan keselamatan mereka dan karena itu menyakitkan untuk diingat.

Kakek buyut Ross, Mary dan Isaac Evitt memiliki kedai juke Greenwood yang populer yang disebut Zulu Lounge, tempat orang-orang akan pergi untuk mendengarkan musik, menari, dan berjudi. Itu dihancurkan selama pembantaian, dan pengalaman keluarga adalah subjek yang sensitif bagi bibi buyutnya Mildred. “Dia akan marah … bahkan menolak untuk membicarakannya,” kata Ross.

Penduduk Greenwood pergi ke Dreamland Theater dengan 750 kursi (digambarkan sebelum pembantaian) untuk melihat film bisu dan pertunjukan musik dan teater. Masyarakat Sejarah Tulsa

Sementara kekerasan meletus di pusat kota Tulsa, orang-orang menonton film di Dreamland Theatre, tidak menyadari apa yang akan terjadi. Sekitar pukul 10 malam, manajer teater meminta semua orang untuk mengevakuasi gedung. Teater tidak bertahan malam itu. Masyarakat Sejarah Tulsa

Gereja Baptis Gunung Sion yang baru dibangun, yang menjadi sumber kebanggaan di antara orang Tulsan Hitam, didedikasikan hanya tujuh minggu sebelum pembantaian. Masyarakat Sejarah Tulsa

Pria bersenjata hitam yang ditempatkan di menara lonceng gereja Gunung Zion menahan massa kulit putih, tetapi akhirnya dikuasai oleh tembakan senapan mesin. Gereja kemudian dibakar. Itu dibangun kembali setelah pembantaian. Masyarakat Sejarah Tulsa

Orang Tulsan telah mencoba menemukan jawaban dan mencari orang mati sebelumnya. Desas-desus telah bertahan selama satu abad bahwa mayat dikubur di kuburan massal di sekitar Tulsa, dibakar di insinerator kota dan dibuang di Sungai Arkansas atau di lubang tambang di luar kota. Tapi tidak ada catatan kuburan massal yang pernah ditemukan. Catatan kematian dari periode itu jarang dan seringkali tidak lengkap.

Pada tahun 1997, ayah Ross, perwakilan negara bagian Don Ross, memperkenalkan resolusi bersama di legislatif Oklahoma yang meluncurkan komisi untuk menyelidiki pembantaian tersebut. Komisi memasang saluran telepon, dan Clyde Eddy menelepon untuk melaporkan apa yang telah dilihatnya.

Tumbuh dewasa, Eddy sering melewati Pemakaman Oaklawn dalam perjalanan ke rumah bibinya. Pramuka yang saat itu berusia 10 tahun sedang bersama sepupunya beberapa hari setelah pembantaian ketika mereka melihat peti kayu seukuran piano berserakan di tepi kuburan. Di dekatnya, orang-orang sedang menggali parit. Penasaran, anak-anak pergi untuk menyelidiki. Mereka mengangkat bagian atas salah satu peti dan melihat mayat tiga atau empat orang bertumpuk di dalamnya. Mereka membuka peti lain dan melihat hal yang sama. Saat mereka hendak membuka peti ketiga, para penggali kubur mengejar mereka. Anak-anak lelaki itu berlama-lama di pagar kuburan besi sebelum berjalan.

Kembali ke Oaklawn di usia 80-an, Eddy menunjukkan kepada penyelidik di mana dia melihat parit itu sebagai anak laki-laki. Sebuah penanda kuburan logam berbentuk Scottie sekarang berdiri di dekatnya. Sebuah tim konsultan ilmiah yang ditunjuk oleh komisi merekomendasikan penggalian di Oaklawn.

Tapi kota itu tidak pernah runtuh.

Pada saat itu, komisi terbagi atas banyak masalah, termasuk membayar ganti rugi kepada para penyintas yang hancur akibat pembantaian dan bagaimana melanjutkan penggalian dengan hormat. “Kami terjebak dalam politik hari ini,” kata Scott Ellsworth, sejarawan kelahiran Tulsa di University of Michigan di Ann Arbor yang mengerjakan investigasi 1997 dan yang baru.

Berniat melakukan hal yang berbeda untuk kedua kalinya, kota membentuk serangkaian komite untuk menjalankan penyelidikan yang diluncurkan pada 2018: satu untuk catatan sejarah, satu untuk penyelidikan fisik dan satu untuk memberikan pengawasan publik — terdiri dari anggota masyarakat yang menelepon tembakan pada setiap langkah proses. Ross memimpin kelompok ketiga. “Mereka yang duduk di kursi pengemudi,” kata Odewale.

Letak tanah

Sementara para penyintas membangun kembali lingkungan mereka setelah pembantaian, sebuah gerakan “pembaruan perkotaan” di tahun 1960-an — kebijakan yang ditujukan untuk membangun kembali daerah perkotaan yang menghancurkan bisnis dan rumah lokal — menggeser penduduk setempat menjauh dari Greenwood. Pembebasan lahan untuk pembangunan jalan raya, stadion baseball, dan kampus universitas telah secara signifikan mengurangi jejak Greenwood hari ini (berwarna merah) dari bentangannya pada tahun 1921 (berwarna abu-abu). Tiga kemungkinan situs kuburan massal ditandai dengan bintang.

Tulsa

C. Chang

Menggali

Pada musim semi 2019, sejarawan mulai menyaring tip dan wawancara dengan lebih dari 300 orang. Penyidik ​​​​menampi informasi dari saksi untuk prospek yang paling menjanjikan untuk menemukan kuburan massal: Pemakaman Oaklawn di sebelah timur pusat kota, Taman Newblock dan daerah Canes di barat pusat kota di sepanjang Sungai Arkansas, dan pemakaman Rolling Oaks Memorial Gardens di selatan kota.

Tetapi penggalian tidak segera dimulai.

“Ini bukan hanya tentang menancapkan sekop di tanah,” kata Kary Stackelbeck, arkeolog negara bagian Oklahoma di Oklahoma Archaeological Survey di Norman. "Anda harus memiliki cara yang lebih baik untuk mempersempit target Anda." Salah satu cara untuk melakukannya adalah dengan menggunakan teknologi survei tanah yang dapat mengungkapkan inkonsistensi antara lapisan alami sedimen.

Untuk survei, tim menggunakan gradiometer untuk mengukur variasi magnetik halus di tanah, pengukur hambatan listrik, yang mengirimkan arus listrik ke tanah untuk mendeteksi perbedaan kelembaban tanah dan radar penembus tanah, yang mengukur bagaimana pulsa radar memantul dari objek bawah tanah. memberikan petunjuk tentang ukuran dan kedalamannya.

Menggunakan ketiga teknik pelengkap meningkatkan peluang menemukan sesuatu, kata Scott Hammerstedt, arkeolog Survei Oklahoma lainnya. Misalnya, benda logam besar dapat mengganggu gradiometer dan kabel listrik mengacaukan pemindaian meteran hambatan listrik.

Arkeolog berjalan atau mendorong mesin di atas tanah seperti mesin pemotong rumput zig-zag. Kemudian mereka mencari anomali — seperti gelombang dalam pemindaian radar abu-abu atau bintik-bintik gelap pada pemindaian gradiometer. “Semua hal ini benar-benar mengambil kontras antara tanah di sekitarnya yang tidak terganggu dan fitur arkeologis yang kami cari,” kata Hammerstedt. Kemudian datang penggalian, untuk mengetahui apakah area kontras itu benar-benar kuburan.

Di Newblock Park, ditandai sebagai situs di mana orang telah melihat tumpukan mayat pada tahun 1921, pemindaian tanah tidak menghasilkan sesuatu yang signifikan. Di seberang rel kereta api dan ke hilir dari Newblock, Canes adalah area menarik lainnya.

Seorang pensiunan polisi Tulsa ingat melihat foto mayat yang ditumpuk di parit, yang ia temukan pada tahun 1970-an di antara kotak-kotak gambar yang disita dari studio foto setelah pembantaian itu. Dia mengenali daerah itu sebagai Tongkat. Itu sependapat dengan laporan saksi mata tentang mayat yang ditumpuk di gundukan pasir sungai dan dikubur di suatu tempat di sekitarnya. Hari ini, daerah itu menjadi tempat perkemahan orang-orang tunawisma. Radar penembus tanah menandai dua area di sana, masing-masing sekitar 2 kali 3 meter.

Mendaftar Untuk Yang Terbaru dari Berita Sains

Judul dan ringkasan terbaru Berita Sains artikel, dikirim ke kotak masuk Anda

Pemilik Rolling Oaks tidak memberikan akses ke penyelidik sampai saat ini, sehingga tidak dalam survei awal.

Akhirnya, tim mensurvei Pemakaman Oaklawn — di mana Eddy pernah melihat peti-peti berukuran piano itu seabad yang lalu. Rumah Pemakaman Jackson di Greenwood, yang melayani komunitas kulit hitam pada saat itu, telah habis terbakar. Tetapi pemilik Samuel Jackson dibebaskan dari interniran dan dibawa ke salah satu rumah pemakaman kulit putih di kota itu untuk merawat korban pembantaian kulit hitam yang mayatnya ditahan di sana. Penyelidikan tahun 1997 telah mengungkapkan sertifikat kematian orang-orang itu: Delapan belas pria kulit hitam dan seorang bayi dikuburkan di kuburan tak bertanda di suatu tempat di Oaklawn. Pada tahun 1921, Dunia Harian Tulsa juga melaporkan penguburan korban Black di kuburan. Di sana terletak Eddie Lockard dan Reuben Everett, satu-satunya korban pembantaian yang kuburannya ditandai — kemungkinan karena mereka dikuburkan setelah keluarga mereka dibebaskan dari tempat interniran.

Oaklawn memiliki tiga lokasi survei yang mungkin merupakan kuburan: area yang ditandai oleh penjaga kuburan sebagai tempat di mana para korban dimakamkan, tempat yang sesuai dengan deskripsi Eddy di bagian putih ladang pembuat tembikar — tempat pemakaman bagi orang-orang miskin — dan sebuah area di ladang pembuat tembikar Hitam di dekat dua kuburan yang ditandai.

Pemindaian telah menunjukkan area besar, 8 kali 10 meter di bawah permukaan dengan dinding yang berbeda di bagian yang ditunjukkan oleh penjaga kuburan. “Itu benar-benar memiliki ciri-ciri yang menunjukkan bahwa itu mungkin kuburan massal,” kata Stackelbeck.

Pelanggaran

Pada Juli 2020, setelah sedikit tertunda karena pandemi COVID-19, tim mulai menguji penggalian di Oaklawn. Sebuah backhoe memindahkan tanah selapis demi selapis, inci demi inci, sementara para arkeolog mengamati dengan cermat perubahan halus dalam warna dan tekstur tanah, dan untuk setiap petunjuk adanya penguburan.

Anggota komite pengawasan publik investigasi, termasuk Kavin Ross dan Brenda Alford (ditampilkan di sini di kiri dan paling kanan di parit penggalian), bertugas sebagai pemantau selama pekerjaan di Oaklawn. Juga ditampilkan adalah arkeolog Leland Bement dari Oklahoma Archaeological Survey (topi putih) dan antropolog forensik Carlos Zambrano dengan Kantor Kepala Pemeriksa Medis Oklahoma (topi biru). Kota Tulsa

Penggalian kuburan melibatkan pemindahan tanah hingga kedalaman beberapa kaki, kemudian mengisi kembali lubang kuburan dengan tanah itu. "Jauh sebelum manusia berjalan di sekitar Tulsa, pelapukan batuan sedimen yang terpapar unsur-unsur menciptakan lapisan tanah, dan ketika manusia datang dan menggali, lapisan-lapisan itu bercampur, menghancurkan karakteristik tanah asli," kata Deb Green, ahli geoarkeolog dengan Survei Oklahoma. Di Oaklawn, tanah dalam berwarna coklat kekuningan, dengan tekstur yang rapuh seperti lanau. Ketika dicampur dengan tanah lapisan atas abu-abu, warnanya menjadi lebih gelap dan mulai terasa seperti lempung padat dari waktu ke waktu. Kualitas-kualitas ini muncul baik di kuburan biasa maupun kuburan massal.

Selama penggalian arkeologi, tujuannya adalah untuk menghentikan backhoe sebelum menabrak pemakaman, sehingga para arkeolog mencari petunjuk lain yang mungkin ada. Tanah di atas peti mati dengan tubuh yang membusuk lebih gelap dan lebih tinggi karbon organik daripada daerah sekitarnya, dan kadang-kadang mengandung kantong udara. Paku dan engsel dapat melarutkan besi yang mengubah tanah menjadi merah, dan kayu yang membusuk dapat meninggalkan kerangka peti mati di sedimen.

Saat backhoe menggali lebih dalam, serpihan kayu, kaca, pecahan tembikar, dan artefak muncul ke permukaan. Sisa-sisa jalan bersejarah yang tumpang tindih dan sebuah kolam muncul dari tanah.

Bagan Warna Munsell dan Buku Survei Tanah USDA adalah dua alat utama yang digunakan ahli geoarkeolog Deb Green untuk mengkarakterisasi lapisan tanah pada penggalian uji Oaklawn. Kota Tulsa

Sementara anomali besar di situs yang ditandai oleh penjaga kuburan tidak mengungkapkan kuburan massal, itu menghasilkan berbagai artefak dari pertengahan hingga akhir abad ke-20. Kota Tulsa

Tim menemukan tulang. Tapi ternyata itu dari hewan ternak. Dengan lelah para peneliti menyimpulkan bahwa anomali yang mereka lihat dalam pemindaian kemungkinan merupakan tempat pembuangan tua untuk penanda pemakaman sementara, persembahan, dan puing-puing lainnya.

“Itu benar-benar mengempis karena kami merasakan tanggung jawab yang dalam dan ada begitu banyak penumpukan,” kata Stackelbeck. “Tapi begitulah cara kerja sains. Anda menyusun rencana permainan terbaik Anda, tetapi terkadang data tidak berjalan seperti itu.”

Asli 18

Tim kemudian mencoba menemukan kuburan yang dilihat Clyde Eddy, tetapi tidak berhasil. Akhirnya, para penyelidik mengalihkan perhatian mereka ke area ladang pembuat tembikar Hitam dan dua kuburan yang ditandai, sebuah situs yang mereka juluki 18 Asli, untuk 18 pria kulit hitam yang disebutkan dalam catatan rumah duka.

Berdasarkan akun surat kabar dan catatan rumah duka, tim mengira 18 Asli telah dimakamkan di kuburan individu, sehingga kelompok fokus pada anomali tanah yang tampak seperti kuburan tunggal. Backhoe kembali dan mulai mengikis lapisan tanah.

Pada hari kedua, menabrak kayu dan tulang. Kali ini tulangnya adalah manusia. Tapi itu masih membuat kelompok itu lengah.

“Penguburan pertama tidak sesuai dengan apa yang kami harapkan, karena [itu] adalah seorang wanita, dan peti matinya tidak polos,” kata Phoebe Stubblefield, antropolog forensik di University of Florida di Gainesville yang ikut dalam penggalian. tim dan bibinya kehilangan rumahnya dalam pembantaian. 18 korban asli dari akta kematian semuanya laki-laki dan dimakamkan di peti mati biasa. Membawa pelat logam sederhana yang bertuliskan "Saat Istirahat," peti mati wanita tak dikenal itu menyerupai penguburan orang miskin standar pada waktu itu. “Jika keluarga Anda tidak mampu membayar pemakaman yang lebih formal, kota membayar Oaklawn $5,04 untuk menguburkan Anda dalam peti mati berjajar dengan delapan sekrup dan sebuah piring di atasnya,” kata Stubblefield. Siapa pun dia, wanita ini mungkin bukan korban pembantaian, tersangka Stubblefield.

Forensic anthropologist Phoebe Stubblefield examines skeletal material from a soil sample at the Original 18 site excavation on October 20, 2020. City of Tulsa

But soil cores revealed that the disturbed area was bigger than a single grave shaft.

As the archaeologists followed the soil patterns and dug a trench, the outlines of fragile coffins began to emerge, along with human bone fragments, hinges and nails. The coffins are close together in two rows, possibly stacked. Samples of two coffin fragments revealed pine wood construction.

At the end of the burial pit were steps dug into the earth. “They were haunting,” Stackelbeck says. “You don’t need stairs to dig a grave for one person or even two or three people.”

The crew had unearthed a mass grave.

“Here was proof that there was truth buried underneath Tulsa,” says Ross, the local historian. “I felt justified.”

In that trench, the investigators found 12 coffins in all, but hinges and decaying wood suggest there are at least three more. “Based on the sheer number of individuals, this certainly meets the definition of a mass grave,” says Soren Blau, a forensic anthropologist at the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine in Melbourne, Australia. “This is not how we respectfully bury our dead,” Blau says.

While historical and preservation context varies, mass graves usually consist of a large, unmarked burial pit, sometimes with steps if dug by shovel or ramping to facilitate digging by machine.

Yellow markers flag some of the burials discovered at the Original 18 site at Oaklawn in October 2020. Archaeologist Kary Stackelbeck (center) crouches as she draws a map of the trench layout. Also shown are archaeologist Leland Bement of the Oklahoma Archaeological Survey and forensic anthropologist Heather Walsh-Haney of Florida Gulf Coast University. City of Tulsa

On June 1, the excavation and exhumation of the remains will begin. The unidentified woman’s burial gives researchers an idea of what they might find. Large bone fragments and teeth appear to be well-preserved, but smaller bones like vertebrae or thin rib bones likely didn’t survive as well.

Using trauma patterns and gender clues in the bones, Stubblefield, who also worked on the 1997 investigation, will assess whether the individuals in the mass grave are massacre victims. She’ll be looking for bullet wounds and shotgun trauma. If there are actual bullets, her team might be able to determine their caliber. Based on their location in the cemetery, the graves should be from the 1920s, when the only other mass casualty event would have been the 1918 flu pandemic. But there are no records of flu victims being buried in mass graves in Tulsa.

The researchers will also search the coffins for personal effects and textiles that could help reveal facets of the identity and social standing of the dead.

An excavation team member holds a coffin handle discovered in the north wall of the Original 18 trench. City of Tulsa

A metal coffin plate from the first burial unearthed at Oaklawn reads “At Rest.” Stubblefield suspects that the burial resembles that of a typical pauper’s grave. City of Tulsa

DNA insights and limits

Putting names to the deceased will be hard, and could take years. Because the death certificates of the Original 18 had scant details and listed most individuals as having died from gunshot wounds, no document has enough unique information to aid identification efforts. DNA would give the team its best chance at an ID, but after a century, any DNA extracted from teeth or bone may not be intact. Specialized techniques used to study ancient DNA might be needed (SN: 2/17/21).

If DNA is preserved, a clear set of rules will be needed to guide who has access to those sequences and what analyses can be done. “Academia loves genetic sequences,” Stubblefield says. “We don’t want to get the profiles and see 10 years of publications on Greenwood individuals without acknowledgement or communication with the community.” Cautionary tales come to mind, like the use of cells from Henrietta Lacks, a Black woman diagnosed with cancer in the 1950s, who was not told her cells might be used for research, yet those cells led others to profit, making important vaccines against polio and HPV (SN: 3/27/10). “There’s a frequent issue with the misuse of Black bodies in science,” Stubblefield says.

Finding relatives would require DNA from descendants. Consumer DNA testing companies, which have large databases, would give researchers a better chance of finding distant cousins, but using those comes with concerns about consent and privacy (SN: 6/5/18). Depending on company policies, that data can end up in public databases or accessed by law enforcement (SN: 11/12/19).

“You don’t want to ask people to participate in the reconciliation or resolution of historical trauma in a way that might put them at risk in new ways,” says Alondra Nelson, a sociologist at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J. In an ideal world, Greenwood-related DNA would be separated from a company’s larger database or handled through private labs, she says.

The project’s public oversight committee recently brought in a geneticist to talk about how DNA identification might inform the way forward. “It needs to be the community’s decision,” Stubblefield says. “We just want to make sure that privacy interests are addressed.”

The three remaining known survivors of the massacre, all 100 years or older, are suing the city for reparations. DNA results might play a role in future reparations efforts. “Genetics can provide people with inferences and context that allow them to make claims about the past and make claims about what’s owed to them in the present and future,” Nelson says.

John Wesley Williams and his wife Loula (pictured here in 1915 with their son W.D.) owned the Dreamland Theater in Greenwood, which was destroyed in the massacre. He worked as an engineer for Thompson Ice Cream Company, while she worked as a teacher. The couple also owned several businesses, including a confectionery and a garage. Tulsa Historical Society

While Greenwood was home to wealthy businessmen like O.W. Gurley, the area also had many small business owners like Emma Buckner. Two women are shown in her sewing shop on N. Hartford Avenue in Greenwood. It was destroyed in the massacre. Tulsa Historical Society

Greenwood rising

Reckoning with what happened in 1921 means looking at the victims as people, not just death statistics, Odewale says. “We need to talk about how they lived, not just how they died.”

Odewale leads an effort to understand the aftermath of the massacre. The goal of this work, which is happening at the same time as the mass graves project, is to search for signs of structural survival in Greenwood — building foundations, walls, anything that might have withstood the burning — and map how the neighborhood has changed since 1921.

Archaeologist Alicia Odewale’s team surveyed areas around Greenwood in fall 2020 using the same ground scanning as in the mass graves investigation. Looking at the scans, she says, “you can pretty much tell what’s probably a sprinkler system and what’s large and worth investigating.” Courtesy of Alicia Odewale

“We see cycles of both destruction and construction in Greenwood,” she says. “It’s not just a site of Black trauma but also one of resilience.” Geophysical surveys have already turned up promising excavation prospects, and Odewale and her colleagues will break ground this summer.

The mass graves project is about finding lost ancestors, Odewale says, while her project in Greenwood is about understanding the roots of the community. “We need both to move forward,” she says.

Much more work lies ahead to excavate and identify remains and uncover modern complexities associated with Tulsa’s buried past. The researchers hope to excavate more sites and revisit old ones. Tips are still coming in, this time through the city’s website.

“We have been waiting a hundred years for what we’ve found so far,” Ross says. “We hope that we don’t have to wait another hundred years trying to find the truth.”

Questions or comments on this article? E-mail us at [email protected]

Citations

S. Hammerstedt and A. Regnier. Searching for Graves From the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre: Geophysical Survey of Oaklawn Cemetery, The Canes, and Newblock Park. Oklahoma Archeological Survey Research Series 5. Published online December 16, 2019.


UNDERGRADUATE PROGRAMS

Undergraduates can focus their studies on archaeology through any of the following programs:

Ancient Studies (minor)
where students can do structured interdisciplinary work in ancient studies, which can include coursework in archaeology offered by various departments.

Anthropology (major) and (minor)
where one of the fields of inquiry is anthropological archaeology, which focuses on the earliest art, urbanism and development of states the Anthropology department is also the place to study scientific specialties often called upon by archaeologists

Classical Civilization and Anthropology (major)
where students explore the social orders and institutions of ancient Greece and ancient Rome and

Classics and Art History (major)
which emphasizes archaeological approaches to studying the Greek and Roman worlds.


Epidemics and pandemics are not equal-opportunity killers. Seen through the archaeological record, incomplete as it may be, these waves of death victimized the marginalized and most vulnerable populations wherever they struck.

In the U.S., the COVID-19 pandemic appears to be no different, striking Indigenous, Black and Latinx communities at far greater rates than white populations.

“What’s going on today is nothing new,” said Lynn Gamble, a UC Santa Barbara professor emerita of anthropology and editor of the journal American Antiquity.

Indeed, in a peer-reviewed paper published by the journal, Gamble and the editorial board examine the human costs — social, cultural, economic — of epidemics in ancient societies and consider “how the study of disasters, such as pandemics, can contribute to the growth of an archaeology that both furthers our understanding of the major challenges that humanity faces and supports the creation of equitable and scientifically supported agendas and solutions.”

In “Finding Archaeological Relevance during a Pandemic and What Comes After,” the journal takes a step away from its usual archaeology scholarship to put epidemics in social-historical context. The pandemic demanded it, said Douglas J. Kennett, a UCSB professor of anthropology and member of the journal’s editorial board.

“Yes, this is a departure for American Antiquity, but it is part of an overall trend in archaeology that is starting to address broad questions of contemporary relevance,” he said. “Archaeology is the only discipline that provides the long-term datasets necessary to put contemporary issues like the societal impacts of infectious disease into broader context. We know from past epidemics that rapidly spreading infectious disease impacts economic wellbeing. We see this repeatedly in the pre-contact period, historically and today with the spread of COVID-19.”

One of the most pervasive effects of epidemics, the authors assert, is inequality, which is “strongly associated with colonial situations.” Indeed, the groups most affected by the pandemic today are descendants of Indigenous and Black communities.

The paper notes that these groups suffer not just from the disease itself, but from social structures imposed by colonial forces. Among the Indigenous people of North America in particular, the trappings of colonialism were a major contributor to their devastation.

“Many scholars previously overemphasized the effects of introduced diseases from Europeans in the Americas without considering the contexts that contributed to their spread.” Gamble said. “The simple version was people didn’t have immunity and they died. But archaeologists were not always looking at the social issues that set that situation up. If you’re placed in mission barracks with very little air circulation and limitations on leaving that environment, it’s setting that population up for disease.”

For Black communities, lack of access to health care, fresh foods, safe housing and neighborhoods, and educational and employment opportunities continue to plague its members, the paper reports.

“This constellation of issues stems from the other multigenerational pandemic it represents: long-standing and virulent and anti-Black racism and the extensive systemic and practical effects of white privilege and supremacy,” the authors write. “Our duty as archaeologists is to make sure that those histories are not forgotten. They are precursors to the present, and these narratives and structural realities remind us that these conditions are not new nor are they ‘over.’ ”

As Gamble noted: “I think there’s no question that Black lives have been hit by the current pandemic, much worse. And this is what we see in history.”

Paleopathology — the study of ancient diseases — can also provide insights into the scourges of humanity. The paper examines the development of biomedical techniques used “to test hypotheses about the long-term evolution of human disease and human-pathogen interactions.”

Two approaches, the detection of pathogens in ancient DNA (paleogenomics) and the study of ancient proteins (paleoproteomics) are emerging as important research tools. Each is promising in its ability to identify pathogens — often found in dental calculus.

“Paleogenomics and paleoproteomics are both game changers for the study of infectious disease in the past and the impact of pandemics on ancient societies,” Kennett said.

Gamble notes that “with these tools, archaeologists are able to document the origins of disease as well as provide deep context for their geographic spread over millennia.”

The paper also addresses the impacts of climate change, how epidemics and pandemics affect material culture, insights into ancient diseases and more. Kennett, who wrote a section on “Ecology of Infectious Disease, Agriculture, and Demographic Transitions,” said the archaeological record demonstrates the complex social, economic and political contexts that result in selective mortality of vulnerable and marginalized groups.

“What is clear from the long-term record is that epidemics are selective and have a greater impact on marginalized groups already suffering from malnutrition and other ailments,” he said. “We see this with the Black Death in Europe during the 14th century where the disease (in this case bubonic plague) selectively killed the elderly and people with preexisting health conditions. This was made worse by a climatic downturn in Europe during this time. Work on past epidemics helps highlight that multiple factors affect the spread of infectious disease and that the impact is selective. It is now up to governments to create the necessary safety nets to ensure that vulnerable populations are protected.”

Gamble, one of the most prominent scholars of California’s Indigenous peoples, said the paper’s clear-eyed look at the legacy of epidemics is overdue.

“We use some fairly strong words in there,” she said. “Perhaps by highlighting this, that this is nothing new, we can attempt to make more serious changes in our governments and economic, social changes that will improve the situation so that we don’t continue to see this happen.”


Claim Building archaeology dig continues with visit from President McConnell

After three weeks of helping dig three rather large holes just a few steps from one of the busiest intersections in Fort Collins, Bobbie Abeyta is used to seeing curious onlookers outside the fences on the grass of the northeast corner of Colorado State University’s campus.

Abeyta is one of 13 people participating in the annual Archaeology Field School – a required course for students majoring in archaeology in the Department of Anthropology and Geography. They are excavating the site of the Claim Building – the first structure built on CSU’s campus 150 years ago.

The group is led by Assistant Professor Ed Henry and Professor Mary Van Buren and includes 10 students and a teaching assistant. The three meticulously dug holes and the resultant plies of dirt are easily visible to vehicles and pedestrians as they travel near the intersection of College Avenue and Laurel Street.

“We have people stop by every day, checking out the holes and asking about the project,” Abeyta said. “When you think of archaeology you usually think of digging in the middle of a jungle somewhere. This dig is in a very public place, and it’s been cool to see so many people interested in what we’re doing.”

But while onlookers peering through the fencing have become a regular occurrence, Abeyta was more than a little surprised Friday when a new visitor – CSU President Joyce McConnell – stopped by.

“I was kind of nervous to meet her,” he said. “You just don’t expect the president of the university to show up at one of your classes, but she was great. She was very interested in the project and was really cool to talk to.”


The Impact of COVID-19: Archaeological Digs Fall Silent - History

PUBLIC DOMAIN/LACMA/LACMA.ORG
Plague in an Ancient City by Michael Sweerts (c.1652) is thought to depict the Plague of Athens.

Many adjectives can describe our current historical reality, which materialized when it became clear that the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) would reach pandemic proportions: Surreal, scary, revelatory, and humbling are all real and appropriate descriptions. Another term that appears frequently in news reports is “unprecedented.” It is certainly understandable that the current crises may feel unprecedented. After all, it has been more than three generations since the last pandemic of comparable magnitude. However, history assures us that our current global condition is most definitely not unprecedented. Humanity has confronted pandemic events many times before. An examination of our current state through a historical lens can perhaps offer us another adjective: hopeful.

Plague of Athens

Our earliest eyewitness account of a devastating disease event in classical antiquity comes to us from the Greek historian Thucydides, who describes in horrific detail his own experience during the “Plague of Athens,” an outbreak that occurred during a series of wars with Sparta at the end of the fifth century B.C.E. Holed up in their walled city in an attempt to ward off a besieging Spartan army, the Athenians found themselves fighting a war against their human enemies without, while simultaneously confronting an unknown disease within. Some estimates suggest that the Athenian epidemic killed up to 25 percent of the total population. 1

Historical demography is a tricky science, particularly when it comes to ancient sources. We will probably never know the true mortality rate when it comes to the Plague of Athens, but Thucydides’s chilling narrative brings home the impact with blunt imagery: According to his account, the sight of the constantly burning funeral pyres prompted the besieging Spartans to pack up and retreat, lest they, too, succumb to the contagion (The Peloponnesian War 2.57).

Antonine Plague

More than five centuries later, the “Antonine Plague” made its appearance in Rome in 164–165 C.E. Legions of the Roman army, fresh from victory over Parthia in the east, returned to Rome not only with war booty, but also with a mysterious disease that the second-century physician Galen, an eyewitness to the pandemic, called “the great plague” (On My Own Books 1.19.15K). Many of Galen’s writings survive, and his case notes describe a disease that modern scientists generally agree was smallpox, a viral heavy-hitter for which we happily have a vaccine today, but which had a dizzying mortality rate of approximately 30 percent (i.e., 30 percent of those who contracted the disease did not survive). 2

The most current studies suggest that the Antonine Plague may have carried off between 7 to 8 million people, approximately 10 percent of the Roman Empire’s total population. 3

Plague of Cyprian

Less than a century after the Antonine Plague, the “Plague of Cyprian” (249–270 C.E.) was recorded by the eponymous Bishop of Carthage, who describes a transcontinental pandemic of such magnitude that an Athenian historian claims as many as 5,000 of his compatriots died per day during the height of the pandemic (Historia Augusta: Gallieni Duo 5.5). The sociopolitical and economic consequences of the disease event were major contributing factors to what is sometimes referred to as the “third-century crises,” a period of upheaval and instability in the Empire that lasted for decades, and which eventually led to Rome’s dissolution in the West and its refashioning as a Christian empire in the East.

Plague of Justinian

The Eastern Roman Empire (also referred to as the Byzantine Empire) would endure for almost a millennium. One of its most famous emperors, Justinian I (r. 527–565 C.E.), would go down in the annals of history for, among other things, his role in shaping the doctrines and institutions of the early Church. But in addition to his various historical accolades, Justinian’s name would also be forever linked to antiquity’s next major pandemic event: the “Plague of Justinian” (541–546 C.E.).

Justinian’s plague marks the first known appearance of the Yersinia pestis bacterium on the European continent. Known today as the bubonic plague, it is a disease that can be managed with modern medicine’s antibiotics. Left untreated, however, it is a savage killer. Estimates derived from the sixth-century primary sources place its mortality rate somewhere between 50 and 60 percent, a number that squares with similar estimates from its most infamous resurgence in the 14th century (1347–1351 C.E.), a disease event referred to as the “Black Death” by its horrified eyewitnesses. Current statistical analyses suggest that the population of Europe in the mid-14th century dropped from 450 million to 350–375 million. It would take about two centuries for Europe’s population to reach its pre-pandemic numbers. 4

Today, watching and reading the myriad sources of information (and misinformation) concerning COVID-19 and its domino-like impact on virtually all aspects of lives, it is difficult not to reflect upon the stark similarities between past pandemics and this one. In recent years, there have been many excellent studies on the interconnected nature of seemingly disparate phenomena that converged to create “perfect storms” of disease in the distant and not-so-distant past. Situations in which diverse and naturally separate ecosystems artificially converge, the massive movement—or forced displacement—of human and/or animal populations, environmental exploitation, and changes in climate have all been unequivocally proven to be substantial factors in pandemics throughout history.

Likewise, pandemics in the historical record include accounts of fear-induced conspiracy theories, quack cures, missteps by governmental officials, and the persecution of specific groups. The need to lay blame, regardless of its unfounded nature, is an unfortunate but consistently reported response to such events.

But the differences between events of the past and today are similarly stark—and encouraging. Never before has humanity been so well placed to confront medical crises of such huge proportions. We are the beneficiaries of medical advancements and treatments that would have been unimaginable even a hundred years ago. These advancements will continue to be pushed forward determinedly by the scientific and medical communities until an effective treatment or vaccine is developed. Safety measures and protocols can be communicated to entire populations in a matter of minutes, as can efforts to organize and mobilize resources. Social and other forms of media circulate examples of everyday kindness, generosity, and grace, actions which were largely omitted from the historical record in antiquity.

It is these aspects of the current pandemic that are truly unprecedented—and why we have great reasons for hope.

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[1] Exactly which disease caused the Athenian plague is unknown, but Robert Littman suggests typhus as the most likely cause. See Robert J. Littman, “The Plague of Athens: Epidemiology and Paleopathology,” Mount Sinai Journal of Medicine 76.5 (2009), pp. 456–467.

[2] Until relatively recently, it was believed that measles was a potential culprit for the Antonine Plague. However, a 2010 study suggests that the measles virus in its current iteration did not evolve until the 10th or 11th centuries, making a variation of smallpox the most likely candidate for the pandemic of the Antonine era. See Yuki Furuse, Akira Suzuki, and Hitoshi Oshitani, “Origin of Measles Virus: Divergence from Rinderpest Virus Between the 11th and 12th Centuries,” Virology Journal 7 (2010).

[3] See Kyle Harper, The Fate of Rome: Climate, Disease, and the End of an Empire (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 2017), p. 115. Yan Zelener suggests the mortality rate was even higher with a range of 22–24 percent see Yan Zelener, “Genetic Evidence, Density Dependence, and Epidemiological Models of the ‘Antonine Plague,’ ” in Elio Lo Cascio, ed., L’impatto della “Peste Antonina” (Bari: Edipuglia, 2012).

[4] See Ole J. Benedictow, The Black Death, 1346–1353: The Complete History (Woodbridge, UK: Boydell Press, 2004), p. 383.

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SARAH K. YEOMANS specializes in the Imperial period of the Roman Empire. Pursuing her doctorate at the University of Southern California, she is also adjunct faculty at St. Mary’s College of Maryland and West Virginia University.

This article is published in the Fall 2020 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review

Read more about plagues in Bible History Daily

Justinian Plague Linked to the Black Death The reign of Byzantine emperor Justinian I (482–565 C.E.) was marked by both glory and devastation. Justinian reconquered much of the former Roman Empire while establishing lasting legal codes and cultural icons, including Hagia Sophia, the world’s largest cathedral, for nearly 1,000 years. However, his reign was scarred by the spread of the Justinian Plague, which claimed the lives of tens of millions of people in the 540s. Justinian himself was a victim of the plague.

Doctors, Diseases and Deities: Epidemic Crises and Medicine in Ancient Rome There’s no question that today’s modern culture is very different from that of ancient Rome, but certain human realities remain consistent across time. The challenges of illness and injury were as prevalent in the Roman Empire as they are in today’s society, and the concern with medicine and health is something modern people have in common with ancient Romans. BAS Director of Educational Programs Sarah Yeomans’s doctoral research is concerned with Roman medical technology, medical cult and the impact of plague on Roman society. Recently, she gave a lecture on these subjects at the prestigious Explorers Club in New York City. In her presentation, Yeomans surveys some of the remarkable discoveries made at a site in Italy that has yielded an extraordinary amount of information about the surgical technology available in ancient Rome. The “House of the Surgeon,” located in Rimini, is a treasure trove of artifacts that tells us a great deal about the practice of medicine almost 2,000 years ago.


"Lost" New England Revealed by High-Tech Archaeology

An airborne-scanning technology called LiDAR can peer through forest cover.

New England's woody hills and dales hide a secret—they weren't always forested. Instead, many were once covered with colonial roads and farmsteads.

This "lost" New England of the colonial era has started to emerge, thanks to archaeologists piercing the forests with the latest in high-tech scanners, called light detection and ranging (LiDAR). In the images above, LiDAR reveals farm walls, roads and homesteads hidden within Connecticut's Pachaug State Forest. Dating to the 18th Century, the farmsteads were abandoned in the 1950's.

The airborne technology bounces laser light pulses off the ground to generate precise pictures of surface features. A quiet revolution in archaeology has resulted from LiDAR's advent, with scholars making new discoveries by using the technology to look at Maya cities, Stonehenge's plains, and Renaissance palaces, among other places. (See also: "Pictures: Massive Maya City Revealed by Lasers.")

To find out more, National Geographic spoke with Katharine Johnson of the University of Connecticut, co-author of a Journal of Archaeological Science study, about her research, which used LiDAR to reveal "numerous archaeological sites" in three areas of Connecticut and Massachusetts—the landscape made famous by some of North America's earliest European settlers.

What made you want to look for a "lost" New England?

I grew up in Rhode Island, and as a kid playing in the woods we all knew there were these stone walls and building foundations that were abandoned. They had a mystical, historical quality to them.

I've done a lot of applied archaeology in the region and knew there were a lot of sites that don't appear in historical records. With LiDAR becoming available through a [U.S. Department of Agriculture] survey in New England, it seemed worth looking.

How did parts of New England become "lost" anyway?

A great deal of New England is now forested, and a lot of people don't know it wasn't always that way. There was a lot of subsistence farming across New England, but with industrialization and people heading west to farm, people abandoned these homesteads and the forests started covering everything.

What's so great about LiDAR?

Similar to seeing Maya pyramids emerging from the forest, we can see sites that we couldn't any other way. I literally walk into the woods with GPS coordinates from LiDAR and find a foundation I would never have imagined was there.

Before, we only had ten-foot [three-meter] resolution with LiDAR, but we are able to show now with 1-meter [3.2-foot] resolution that we can detect walls, roads, and other features. We can actually see them under the trees.

Native Americans didn't leave behind walls and foundations in New England. LiDAR can't tell us as much directly about their era. We can look for sites where they may have left a mark on the landscape.

One other thing we are demonstrating is that this works well with historical records. You can show that boundaries we are still living with today actually date to the 1700s in some towns and places. (Also see: "Manhattan 1609 vs. 2009: Natural Wonder to Urban Jungle.")

How much potential do you see in LiDAR?

It's amazing trying to compare the difference with the things we found. Walk out to the middle of part of a forest and you would have no idea this was once a cornfield.

With LiDAR we can actually do area surveys that show comprehensively what was once there, not just what has turned up randomly over time. A lot of people don't realize that there has been a lost cultural frontier in New England that we are only discovering now.

Can you imagine a Maya archaeologist looking at your LiDAR readings and speculating on the "collapse" of New England's civilization?

Well, it wasn't such a dramatic collapse. But it certainly would be near and dear to an honest understanding of the population change in New England from 1770 to 1930. (Read about the rise and fall of the Maya in National Geographic magazine.)

We certainly understand it a lot better than the Maya, but it is remarkable that in northeastern Connecticut we can see some old roads in the woods that were once whole neighborhoods [and are now] just abandoned.


Most Powerful Supervolcano Eruption In The Last 28 Million Years Had No Effect On Human Evolution

Lake Toba viewed from one of the restaurants in the city of Parapat, northern Sumatra on a cloudy . [+] day.

The explosion of the Mount Toba supervolcano, located on the modern island of Sumatra, some 74,000 years ago, was Earth's largest eruption in the past 28 million years. To give an idea of its magnitude, consider that although the eruption took place in Indonesia, it deposited an ash layer approximately 6 inches thick over the entire Indian subcontinent. Estimated 1,700 cubic-miles of rock, a volume comparable to almost 3 million Empire State Buildings, erupted, forming a crater lake visible even from space.

Toba was at least two magnitudes larger (and ten times more powerful) than Tambora, considered the largest eruption witnessed by modern humans. The eruption of Tambora in 1815 was followed by years of unusual chaotic weather in Europe, Asia and America, as the volcanic ash and gases changed Earth's climate. Toba sent even more ash into the atmosphere.

In 1998, anthropologist Stanley Ambrose made the connection between the reduced genetic variability found in modern humans and the Toba eruption. Genetic evidence indicates that around 74,000 years ago the human population suddenly collapsed. The exact cause of this genetic bottleneck is unknown, but a volcanic winter following the Toba eruption could explain the reduced genetic variability. Most early humans in Europe and Asia didn't make it, as the climate and environment suddenly changed, and only a small group, with limited genetic variability, survived by chance in Africa. There is some evidence, based on mitochondrial DNA, that the human race was reduced to only a few thousand individuals. We, as modern humans, descend from those few survivors.

However, recent discoveries suggest otherwise. The discovery of 65,000-year-old stone tools in northern Australia was quite a sensation. Humankind must have left Africa much earlier than previously thought, migrating between 75,000 and 60,000 years ago into Asia. Two human teeth, excavated in the Lida Ajer archaeological site, a cave located in Sumatra, even suggest that humans lived on Sumatra when Toba erupted. Using modern dating techniques, the researchers were able to date the human remains to 63,000-73,000 years, just in time for the Toba eruption.

Archaeological digs in India show that there are no significant differences in stone tools fabricated by early men and found in sedimentary layers beneath and above the ash layer of Toba. Also, stone tools excavated near the river Son in central India are similar to stone tools used in the Near East and Australia. This cultural continuity over time and such a vast area doesn't fit the hypothesis that the Toba eruption caused a collapse of early societies. Zoologists studying the remains of animals found in the archaeological digs didn't note any faunal changes. Despite widespread ash fall (in some areas exceeding 20 feet), the Toba eruption had no long-lasting effects on the environment.

Nowadays, anthropologists favor an alternative hypothesis to explain the observed genetic bottleneck. Some 65,000 years ago, favorable conditions in Africa led to population growth, and between 65,000 and 75,000 years ago smaller groups of modern humans left Africa. In Europe and Asia they encountered older hominids, like Neanderthals and Denisovans. Competition for limited resources contributed to keeping the number of newcomers low. The relatively small number of modern humans surviving those migration waves could explain the low genetic diversity, without invoking any volcanic catastrophe.

Volcanologists also proposed a hypothesis to explain why the Toba eruption had almost no effects on the climate and the environment. Lava rich in sulfur causes sulfur-compounds to form in the higher layers of Earth's atmosphere. The sulfur-compounds react with water vapor, forming aerosols droplets effectively shielding Earth's surface from the sunlight and causing a drop in temperatures on a global scale. The Toba eruption, unlike Tambora, likely emitted far less sulfur than previously assumed.


Buried treasures

It waited, in fact, until Greece became independent from the Ottomans in 1832. Greece felt a new need to encourage an appreciation of its glorious past and protection of its rich culture. It enacted laws against the sale of antiquities, created the Greek Archaeological Society, and encouraged archaeological endeavors from interested European countries.

The excavation of Delphi would prove a gargantuan task. The homes in Kastri would need to be forcibly purchased, the residents compensated, and then relocated. Greece could not afford such a major expenditure, so it had to rely on foreign capital. In 1840 and again in 1860 archaeologists conducted preliminary studies in open areas of ground. They unearthed part of the temple substructure and a section of its supporting wall, covered with inscriptions.

Despite the Greek Archaeological Society’s efforts to convince the inhabitants of Kastri to move, the homeowners soon figured out that their lands were valuable and demanded more money. Circumstances changed when a powerful earthquake brought down large rocks from the mountain, destroying the village and killing 30 people.

Following the disaster, a commission set about searching for a new site to replace the thousand village plots and to negotiate with the residents. Seeing that the funds available were no match for the stubbornness of the villagers, the Greek Archaeological Society ceded the land to the French so that they could carry out a small excavation in 1880. (Read about how the Parthenon lost its marbles.)

Bertrand Haussoullier, director of the French excavations in Delphi at this time, concentrated on the immediate area between the sectors excavated earlier. Haussoullier was convinced that he was looking at the temple terrace, but he was confused by the walls in front of him. The excavations revealed that it was the esplanade next to the terrace, where commemorative monuments had been erected by the different city-states and regional powers throughout the sanctuary’s history. The walls belonged to one of these monuments, the Stoa of the Athenians, built in the early fifth century B.C. to house trophies won in naval battles. Alongside appeared the collapsed column of the Sphinx, an offering from the island of Naxos.


How to Visit

There are three distinct segments of the park: Cavendish, Brackley-Dalvay, and Greenwich, each with its own unique characteristics. You’ll need a vehicle to get from one to another. Once you have arrived, however, the best way to enjoy the park is by foot or bike.

Visitors to the Cavendish and Brackley-Dalvay sectors of the park will find supervised beaches, campgrounds, and a number of trails of easy to moderate difficulty adapted to both hiking and cycling.