Shovel Ready by Bernard K. Means

Shovel Ready

By Bernard K. Means

  • Publication Date: 2013-01-31
  • Genre: Social Science

Book Synopsis

Shovel Ready provides a comprehensive lens through which to view the New Deal period, a fascinating and prolific time in American archaeology.

In this collection of diverse essays united by a common theme, Bernard K. Means and his contributors deliver a valuable research tool for practicing archaeologists and historians of archaeology, as well as New Deal scholars in general.

To rescue Americans from economic misery and the depths of despair during the Great Depression, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt created several New Deal jobs programs to put people to work. Men and women labored on a variety of jobs, from building roads to improving zoos. Some ordinary citizens—with no prior experience—were called on to act as archaeologists and excavate sites across the nation, ranging in size from small camps to massive mound complexes, and dating from thousands of years ago to the early Colonial period.

Shovel Ready contains essays on projects ranging across the breadth of the United States, including New Deal investigations in California, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas. Some essays engage in historical retrospectives. Others bring the technologies of the twenty-first century, including accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) dating of curated collections and geophysical surveys at New Deal–excavated sites, to bear on decades-old excavations. The volume closes with an investigation into material remnants of the New Deal itself.


John L. Cordell / John F. Doershuk / David H. Dye /Scott W. Hammerstedt / Janet R. Johnson / Kevin Kiernan /Gregory D. Lattanzi /Patrick C. Livingood / Anna R. Lunn / Bernard K.  Means / Stephen E. Nash / Amanda L. Regnier / Sissel Schroeder / James R. Wettstaed

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