Surveying the Field: A Look to the Future of Conflict Archaeology

Part of: Society for Historical Archaeology 2018

The use of modern military theories and training principals (including KOCOA, levels of war, the battle space concepts, and others) have been fully adopted and put to use by conflict archaeologists with much success. New research has continued to expand the use of these methods into a broader framework and now, as a discipline, it is time to assess how far we have come and to critically examine our successes and failures of these new approaches. This session hopes to explore the epistemological boundaries of Conflict Archaeology as we know it today and to look to the future of where the study of conflict archaeology is going.

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  • Documents (9)

  • Collecting Ancient Fields: Adapting conflict archaeology to a Roman context. (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Joanne E Ball.

    In the last three decades, the methodologies developed within conflict archaeology have contributed to the exploration of sites far beyond the temporal boundaries of the C19th as imagined in its initial phases. However, methodological difficulties begin to emerge in extending the discipline to conflict pre-dating the introduction of blackpowder weapons. However, existing methodologies can be adapted around the archaeological characteristics of conflict in much earlier periods. This paper...

  • Conflict Archaeology, Material Culture, and the Role of Validation Studies in Interpreting the Past (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Douglas Scott.

    Conflict archaeology has grown as a sub-discipline in the last 30 years. It now has a rich theoretical basis grounded in Military Terrain analysis and the Anthropological theories of war and warfare. Most of our material culture finds are still interpreted using typologies created in the field of military material culture collecting or from those established by relic collectors.  This is not necessarily a bad thing, but given that we are dealing with relatively recent material culture our...

  • Finding And Interpreting Future Conflict Sites: The Williamson’s Plantation Battlefield Example (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Steven D. Smith. Michael Scoggins.

    In 2006 the authors embarked on a multiyear project to find, define, and interpret the July 12, 1780 Battle of Huck's Defeat, or Williamson's Plantation.  At the time, the battlefield was popularly understood to be a mile from its actual location.  Through historic document research, systematic metal detecting, the application of KOCOA, and other military analyses, the battlefield and battle episodes were located and defined. That, however, was not the end of the story.  Today, the battlefield...

  • Modern Military Theory and the Camden Expedition of 1864: Assessing Benefits and Limitations (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Carl Drexler.

    The final military action of the American Civil War in the state of Arkansas was the campaign known as the Camden Expedition of 1864. Responding to local and state efforts to increase heritage tourism to many of the associated sites, archeologists in the state are now working to locate, delineate, and characterize the battlefields, camps, and civilian sites associated with the campaign. This multi-site effort requires conceptual tools that facilitate interpreting all sites together, not just in...

  • On the Beaten Path: Modeling Logistics During the Second Seminole War (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Michelle D. Sivilich. Sean Norman.

    Conflict archaeology is growing and expanding as a discipline, however, the focus has been battle-centric. There are many other crucial landscape features that have remained in the background of these discussions. This project proposes to use the Fort King Road as a test case for modeling conflict. This project will develop a GIS model of how the road functioned as a critical piece of the battle landscape during the Second Seminole War (1835-1842) and seeks to understand how the road shaped the...

  • Panopticism, Pines and POWS: Applying Conflict Landscape Tools to the Archaeology of Internment (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Ryan K. McNutt.

    The military terrain analysis system KOCOA (Key Terrain, Observation,Cover/concealment, Obstacles, and Avenues of approach), or OAKOC, or OCOKA was developed as part of the burgeoning discipline of military science around the start of the American Civil War. It is now part of the NPS’s American Battlefield Protection Program’s survey methodology, was introduced to conflict archaeology by Scott and McFeaters (2011:115-16) and Scott and Bleed (2011:47-49), and has been used as a tool for...

  • A Proposed Methodology for Elemental Analysis using portable X-Ray Fluorescence on Lead (Pb) Projectiles (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Michael A Seibert. Daniel Elliott. Philip Ashlock.

    As the field of battlefield archaeology continues to evolve, adopting new techniques and technologies, it is important that we as a community strive to collaborate, share, and develop standards for which to compare research. The introduction of pXRF technology to source lead projectiles, differentiating their country of origin by trace elements, was presented in 2014 and created a wave of interest in the technology. Unfortunately, this recent fervor has resulted in projects with varied...

  • Remembering Paoli: Archaeology and Memory Associated with Conflict Sites (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Matthew A. Kalos.

    On the night of September 20, 1777, British General Charles Grey led his men on a bayonet raid upon American General Anthony Wayne and his encamped Pennsylvania Regulars.  The British burned the camp, injuring many, and killing 52.  The battle quickly became recognized as the "Paoli Massacre" with the battle cry "Remember Paoli!" heard throughout the remainder of the American Revolution.  Archaeological fieldwork at Paoli Battlefield not only seeks to understand the conflict, but the legacy of...

  • The Siege Of Petersburg: Reading Between The Lines (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Julia Steele. David Lowe. Philip Shiman. Alexis Morris.

    When the Confederate transportation center of Petersburg fell after a 9.5 month siege, the combatants faced each other across lines of major earthworks in a more than 35 mile long arc.  The territory between these lines contains a fertile archeological record of  U.S. attempts to advance and C.S.A. counter-moves and their skillful yet desperate efforts to defend vital supply lines to Richmond.  We explore the physical record of the campaign from the interim lines to both armies’ picket lines and...