Ethnographic and Ethnohistoric Resources
AHS’s staff of historians and cultural anthropologists includes skilled, experienced ethnographers and ethnohistorians. Some cultural resource management project properties include components that cannot be fully understood through the usual archaeological or documentary research alone. Oral histories, interviews with community members and research in early ethnographies, and records of earlier generations help understand how historic resources are valued in ways that are not obvious. Good ethnographic and ethnohistoric research means learning to see a historic resource through the eyes of a population for whom it contains special cultural or social meaning.
Agawam Herring Run
AHS conducted ethnographic and ethnohistoric research to evaluate the National Register of Historic Places eligibility of a 19th-century herring run complex in Wareham, Massachusetts. The research included interviews with the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe and Wareham herring wardens.
Other Project Examples
This project involved evaluating the historic significance of a hill that contains the remains of a 17th-century Native American fort. To project proponents wishing to build a large-scale affordable housing project on the hill, immediately adjacent to the fort, protecting the fort from physical damage was enough. But a local Native American tribe believes that the hill embodies its cultural history, and that the surrounding landscape viewshed of former and current tribal lands from the hill are integral to maintaining connectivity with its cultural roots and integrity. Based on turn-of-the-20th-century ethnographic work, historic research, and interviews with tribal members, the hill was determined to be National Register-eligible as a Traditional Cultural Property.
Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center
AHS anthropologists played key roles in assembling the 3000-item ethnographic collection of 17th- and 18th-century Native American and colonial material culture for the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center. We also prepared content for the museum’s interpretive exhibits.
For more information on AHS’s experience and capabilities, visit our expertise page.