Finding Aid, Millers Ferry 1963-1968

Part of the Millers Ferry 1963-1968 project

Author(s): Gloria Montero; John Turck

Year: 2013


This collection is referred to as "Millers Ferry 1963-1968.” This name is consistent throughout the finding aid, the file folders, and the box labels. The extent of this collection is twenty-five (25) linear inches. USACE- Mobile District Millers Ferry 1963-1968 1913-1978 John Cottier and Craig Sheldon, Principal Investigators 3 The Millers Ferry 1963-1968 document collection was obtained from the Office of Archaeological Research (OAR), University of Alabama. The original housing of this collection consisted of 36 acidic folders within two acidic, banker’s boxes. There were a large quantity of photographic materials in one of these boxes, most of which were within acidic paper sleeves, or grouped within acidic paper notes/ separators. There were also 54 oversized materials stored in a flat file at OAR. These were temporarily stored in a cardboard enclosure, transported to the Augusta VCP laboratory, and placed in a flat file at the VCP laboratory to await processing.

This collection was in fair condition. This collection contained many types of contaminants, including staples, paperclips, metal clasps, wire from spiral notebooks, tape, adhesive residue, and rubber bands. Some of the materials had also been misplaced over time, leading to some disorganization. This was seen especially with the photographic materials, with some not placed in their intended locations. There were loose documents in this collection as well. While some fell out of the folders that they were originally in, others were found to belong to completely different projects. These documents were separated from the Millers Ferry project, and put into a new project (OAR Projects Progress Reports 1968-1972).

Types of documents in this collection include: black and white prints and negatives, color positive slides, maps, drawings, correspondence, field records (e.g., feature forms, burial forms, field specimen forms, plan maps, profile drawings, notes), and reports. The paper documents came in various weights, from thin onion paper, to maps of heavier stock.

Cleaning of paper documents consisted of removing marks, stains, and dirt with erasers, sponges, and Absorene. Soft-bristled brushes were also used. The same materials were used to clean the backs of photographic prints; however, the fronts of photographic prints, both sides of negatives, and both sides of positive slides, were cleaned with PEC-12, a photographic emulsion cleaner. All photographic materials were handled with white cotton gloves, so as to not contaminate them with oils from skin.

There were many metal contaminants that needed to be removed from this collection, including: staples, paper clips, spiral notebook wire, and metal clasps on envelopes. Other contaminants that were removed were pressure-sensitive tape and adhesive residue. Some tape was dry and brittle, and was removed by hand. Other tape maintained its adhesive quality, and was removed with the tape removal spatula. In both cases, sticky adhesive residue was sometimes left behind. If it could not be removed with a sponge or eraser, the area was covered in archival-quality tissue repair tape, so as not to contaminate any surrounding documents. Adhesive residue on envelopes was also removed. In most cases, if there was any information written on the envelopes, it was only on the front side. The front parts of the envelopes were separated with scissors, and the sections with adhesive residue were discarded. In two cases (Folder 1, assets 0047-0001 and 0047-0002), adhesive from envelopes were found to be contaminating the envelopes themselves, as well as the letters. The adhesive portions of the envelopes were removed, and acid-free paper was placed in between the letters to stop them from contaminating any other assets. Rubber bands, mainly found with the photographic materials, were also removed from the collection.

Repairs were only made to paper documents. The main form of repair was the flattening of documents. A Teflon, “bone folder,” tool was used on documents that were folded purposely (e.g., oversized materials from within the box), as well as documents with unintentional creases. To aid in the flattening, all oversized materials that were originally folded within the box were put between blotter paper, and then heavy objects (i.e., reams of paper) were put on top of them. Humidification was also performed on some of the oversized materials, when necessary. The other main repairs made were to tears and holes in paper documents. Archival-quality tissue repair tape was applied using the microspatula, to lessen the likelihood of oil and dirt transferring to the tape. Holes were also repaired by placing tape over both sides of the hole.

Extensive processing of this collection took place at the Augusta VCP. Many of the original folders had descriptive labels, and these were maintained in the descriptions as often as possible. The original folder tabs were removed, and kept with the document collection in a small, acid-free bag. Documents were placed within acid-free folders, and inside acid-free boxes. Photographic materials were removed to storage, placed in archival quality polypropylene sleeves, with the sleeves placed in three-ring binders. There were also oversized materials among the documents in the box. These were removed to flat file storage.

While reorganizing the Millers Ferry archives collection, the Augusta VCP lab decided to organize everything by site number, and then by date (if the material had associated dates). This was done to retain the original organization of the collection. Certain unnecessary materials were weeded (removed) from this collection, to diminish the overall collection size. This consisted mainly of 119 blank pages from note books.

Many of the oversized documents did not have associated dates, so they were further organized by three general categories: topographic maps with locations of sites and/or excavation units, close-up maps of detailed excavation units, and drawings of cross-sections of whole pots.

There were various inconsistencies noted with the photographic materials of this document collection (see Notes for full details). Sometimes photographs and negatives were found in the incorrect photo sleeves, or included in the incorrect group of materials. This conclusion was reached if the description written on the sleeve/ separator did not match the image (e.g., assets 0046-0686 and 0046-0936), or if the subject in the photographic material matched the subject from other, known photographic materials (e.g., assets 0046-0273 and 0046- 0281). In other examples, there were photo logs to confirm that there were errors (e.g., assets 0046-0936 and 0046-0939).

A note on the date ranges of this project is needed. Initial fieldwork began in August of 1963 by Joseph Benthall, with the main archaeological investigations occurring from 1964 to 1966. Analysis and write-up happened after this, with the final report being submitted in May 1968. However, there are materials that date outside of this 1963 to 1968 date range. The earliest dated material in this collection is a map created in 1913. There are also survey records (similar to a state site file form) that date to 1978.

The site numbering convention also needs to be addressed. Sites 1WX25 (the Jones Site) and 1WX27 (the Yancey Site) were originally thought to have secondary components. At the time of this project, these components were given the numbers 1WX25x1, and 1WX27x1, respectively. After this project ended (sometime during the 1980s), these components were given unique site numbers to match the official site numbering convention. Site 1WX25x1 was renumbered 1WX39, and site 1WX27x1 was renumbered 1WX40.

Cite this Record

Finding Aid, Millers Ferry 1963-1968. Gloria Montero, John Turck. 2013 ( tDAR id: 426076) ; doi:10.6067/XCV861131Z

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: -88.753; min lat: 30.883 ; max long: -86.424; max lat: 32.815 ;


General Note: The digital materials in this collection were processed by the Veterans Curation Program (VCP), and include the artifact catalog, artifact report, finding aid, original investigation report, oversized material spreadsheet, photographic material spreadsheet, scanned asset key, and select archival and artifact photographs. Additional digital materials held by the VCP include additional artifact photographs, box labels, budget documentation, contracts, daily reports, document folder listing, field specimen forms, initial data collection, maps, notes, OAR document, OAR photo inventory, records removal sheet, sketches, survey documents, and trench profiles. For additional information on these materials, refer to the Finding Aid.

File Information

  Name Size Creation Date Date Uploaded Access
VCP-Finding-Aid.pdf 80.07kb Oct 19, 2016 4:02:07 PM Public