September is Indiana Archaeology Month. The Division of Historic Preservation & Archaeology (DHPA) coordinates the event to encourage learning about Indiana archaeology. Universities, museums, organizations, and individuals throughout the state host a variety of programs. These can include archaeological laboratory open houses, artifact identifications, lectures on archaeological topics, archaeological excavations, and more.
Archaeology Month helps Hoosiers learn more about the discipline of archaeology, Indiana archaeological sites, and laws protecting those sites. A goal of this month is to increase public awareness and to minimize myths and misconceptions commonly associated with the science.
Archaeology Month Poster
The 2023 commemorative poster focuses on the archaeology of early Indiana industry. Archaeologists have recorded and investigated various industrial sites, some from the early 1800s, in our state. Information regarding these locations has helped us understand early Hoosier efforts at brick and tile manufacturing, redware production, and iron making. The poster highlights some of these sites and the archaeological investigations that have taken place at several of them.
Free posters (folded & unfolded) are available to pick up in person at the DNR Central Office lobby in the Indiana Government Center South complex in Indianapolis. Hours are 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding state holidays. When attending Archaeology Month events, DHPA staff will also bring posters to distribute. Requests for folded posters (limit of 5 per person) to be mailed may be sent to ajohnson@dnr.IN.gov.
For details on poster imagery, see 2023 poster details below.Download poster (PDF)
- 2023 Poster Details
The Division of Historic Preservation & Archaeology thanks the following organizations and individuals who gave permission for use of images in the poster design. The numbers in the paragraph directly below and in the descriptions of the images correspond to the numbers in the photograph captions on the poster.
(1) Stantec; (2) The Indiana Album, Judy (Wygant) Wibel Collection; (3) The Indiana Album, Hillary Burbrink Collection; (4) The Indiana Album, Sara O’Brien Collection; (5) Wade Tharp, DNR, Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology; (6) AJ Ariens, DNR, Division of Forestry; (7) Cheryl Ann Munson, Department of Anthropology, Indiana University; (8)(9) Michael Strezewski, University of Southern Indiana; (10) From the collection of the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites; (11) The Indiana Album; (12) From American Artisan and Hardware Record 72(6):67. August 5, 1916. Daniel Stern, Chicago, IL; (Map) The Indiana Album, Robert B. Beckett Collection.
Beginning at the top center of the poster and moving clockwise:
1.These images show archaeological investigations conducted by Cardno (now Stantec) at 12HE433, an archaeological site with 19th century brick groundhog kilns for the production of redware. As stated in the archaeological report regarding Phase II excavations at the site (Pike et al. 2022:122), “the production of redware required significantly less investment in materials and equipment than later stoneware production and could be produced more readily on a smaller scale. Groundhog kilns are also characteristic of small-scale ceramic production, often by individuals for whom pottery production was a secondary activity to their primary occupation of farming.”
12HE433 was part of the historic occupation associated with the Starbuck farmstead (12HE192). Archival research confirmed that the two sites “… were both part of the core of the property that was continuously owned by Samuel Starbuck from the mid-1830s until around the turn of the century.” (Pike et al. 2022:134).
2.This image, ca. 1900, features a brick manufacturing site owned by the Little family in Huntington. The following is stated in an Indiana Geological Survey article about the history of brick manufacture in Indiana: “From the 1840’s and 1850’s, when nearly every community had a brick yard, to the 1890’s and early 1900’s, when brick as a construction material was at its zenith, the quantity of brick produced grew steadily.” (Austin and Patton 1971:233).
Austin and Patton (1971:235-236) also state that “… by 1900 Indiana’s brick industry consisted of more than 200 plants that were distributed broadly throughout the state, that used virtually all types of suitable clay materials, and that produced more than 300 million brick a year with an annual value of nearly $2 million, predominately for common brick.”
3. Iron casting in Wayne County’s Cambridge City is shown in this photograph from ca. 1905. The building interior shown is likely that of the Bertsch and Company Foundry (Jill King, personal communication 2023). Piranha (2023) states:
Bertsch … got its start in 1879, when brothers and business partners Charles & John Bertsch bought the Cambridge City Agricultural Machine Works in Cambridge City, IN. The company produced small agricultural implements until the late 1880s, when it changed its product line to light-duty sheet metal fabricating tools … Around the same time, the company’s name changed to Bertsch and Company. … The operation added a foundry around 1893 so that it could make components for the equipment it was producing.
4. Advertisements and catalogs regarding historical industrial sites, and equipment used at these locations, provide unique insights into past businesses. A variety of machines used in the tile and brick industries are mentioned on this ca. 1915 cover of a price list for equipment manufactured by Rushville’s Nolan, Madden & Co.
5.The Moses H. Tyler & Company Kiln No. 2 (12CL561), ca. late 1860s, is an important example of features of the Utica lime industry in Clark County. The kiln is a large, double-chambered vertical draw kiln. Burden (2012:3) states:
Commercial lime burning in Clark County began when settlers in the Utica area first exploited the extensive limestone deposit that lay along the falls region of the Ohio River. During these early years, settlers calcinated lime using the log heap method. As demand for quicklime increased it became necessary to improve the efficiency of the lime-burning process. Developed during the mid-to-late nineteenth century, vertical kilns were built according to either the “mixed feed” or “separate feed” design. The large vertical kilns of Utica represent the apex of the area’s lime-burning industry. These kilns helped transform the Utica lime industry in a significant enterprise, paralleled only by a handful of lime-burning districts in the state. They were used by the last lime-manufacturing companies of Utica, who finally ceased production during the first or second decade of the twentieth century.
6. This photograph is of a 19th century pit kiln (12HR616) used for lime production. Ariens (2020:1) explains that “limestone was burned in kilns, forcing the carbon dioxide from the rock, and creating a powdered or lumpy substance called quicklime. The lime was spread on agricultural fields or mixed with other ingredients to form mortar, plaster, whitewash, or other commercial materials. … Pit kilns were typically used to create a lower quality lime to spread on agricultural fields.”
A 2004 survey documented this feature, and a number of similar ones, identified within the Harrison-Crawford State Forest. Read more about the survey and these interesting archaeological features.
7. Archaeological site 12MO158 contains remnants of the Virginia Iron Works (1839-1844) furnace. Per Munson and Munson (2019:1), “within Indiana, the series of archaeological sites at Virginia Iron Works is the last remaining early historic iron-manufacturing complex where associated above- and below-ground archaeological features have survived to the present.” The short-lived Randolph Ross and Sons Virginia Iron Works site continues to have the potential to provide important archaeological information regarding early iron industries in the state, including further understanding of how early Hoosiers used the natural resources in their particular areas.
8, 9. The Harmonist-era redware kiln site (ca. 1814-1825; 12PO1288) in New Harmony (Posey County) has been archaeologically investigated. Dr. Mike Strezewski with the University of Southern Indiana wrote about his investigations beginning on page 164 of the 2011 Indiana Archaeology journal at https://on.in.gov/archaeo-pubs. The Harmonists were a millennial and utopian religious group. Strezewski (2011:164) states, “The Harmonist potter, Christoph Weber, lived adjacent to his shop and kiln and worked full-time manufacturing vessels for the residents of the town, as well as the non-Harmonist settlers in the area. Weber's products included storage jars, jugs, plates, mugs, serving bowls, and pitchers.”
10. This is a product of the Indiana Paving Brick & Block Company which was begun in Brazil (Clay County) in 1891. In “A History of Clay County” (Travis 1909:128), the company is described as the oldest paving-brick plant in the state, and “many cities and towns of the state have their streets paved with the bricks made at this plant, and the product has gone by train-loads to Louisville, Cincinnati and other cities beyond the state borders.” Brazil and surrounding areas had clay deposits to draw upon, and as a result, have a rich history of clay-working plants in the early 19th century. Archaeological investigations at another brick manufacturing site in the county are described in this Clay County feature .
11. Another area of the state with a long history of brick making is Attica. The Poston Oriental Brick Company in Attica is shown ca. 1913. In the image on this historic postcard proof, round, domed “beehive” brick kilns are visible along with chimneys and stacks of bricks. According to information in a brochure titled “The Legendary Bricks of Indy,” this firm, and the Indiana Paving Brick & Block Company discussed earlier, helped provide paving bricks needed to complete the contract for paving the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
12. The steel industry has played an important part in the state’s economy, especially in northwest Indiana. Several major steel companies built their plants along Indiana’s Lake Michigan shoreline in the late 19th and 20th centuries. This 1916 advertisement highlights both the construction that was taking place at Inland Steel Company’s Indiana Harbor facility in Lake County and the large number of employees involved in the workforce related to plants such as these.
The map in the center of the poster dates to 1855.
This project has been funded in part by a grant from the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service’s Historic Preservation Fund administered by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology. The project received federal financial assistance for the identification, protection, and/or rehabilitation of historic properties and cultural resources in the State of Indiana. However, the contents and opinions contained in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the U.S. Department of the Interior, nor does the mention of trade names or commercial products constitute endorsement or recommendation by the U.S. Department of the Interior. Under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, as amended, the U.S. Department of the Interior prohibits discrimination on the basis of national origin, disability, or age in its federally assisted programs. If you believe that you have been discriminated against in any program, activity, or facility as described above, or if you desire further information, please write to: Office of Equal Opportunity, National Park Service, 1849 C Street, NW, MS-2740, Washington, D.C. 20240.
Ariens, A. J.
2020 Archaeology Case Studies- Lime Kiln Investigation, Harrison-Crawford State Forest. Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Forestry, Indianapolis, IN. Originally written 2007, updated 2020.
Austin, George S., and John B. Patton
1971 History of Brick Manufacture in Indiana. Proceedings of the Indiana Academy of Science 81:229-237.
2012 National Register of Historic Places Registration Form, Moses H. Tyler Company Lime Kiln and Quarry No. 2. Gray and Pape, Inc., Cincinnati, OH.
Munson, Cheryl Ann, and Patrick J. Munson
2019 Indiana’s Surviving Pioneer-Era Iron Works, the Virginia Furnace in Monroe County, Indiana. Department of Anthropology, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN.
Pike, Matthew D., Christopher Thompson, Ryan Peterson, and Veronica Parsell
2022 Phase II Archaeological Testing of Sites 12-He-192 and 12-He-433 National Register of Historic Places Eligibility Determination, Starbuck Farmstead, Hendricks County, Indiana. Cardno, Indianapolis, IN.
2023 Bertsch: A History of Quality and Innovation. Electronic document, https://piranhafab.com/bertsch-history/, accessed June 14, 2023.
2011 Excavations at the Harmonist Redware Kiln. Indiana Archaeology 6(1):164-166.
1909 A History of Clay County Indiana. Volume 1. The Lewis Publishing Company, New York, and Chicago.
Archaeology Month Events
Information for Event Hosts
The Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology will produce and distribute a press release regarding Indiana Archaeology Month. Other avenues of publicity utilized by the DHPA include: e-mail, the DHPA and DNR Facebook pages, and the Preservation at the Crossroads e-newsletter.
The DHPA Calendar of Events webpage will post the complete calendar of events taking place around the state. Event hosts may refer the public to this page for information about the Month.
Event hosts are encouraged to cultivate as much local publicity for their events as possible. We suggest contacting local papers, radio stations, etc. for possible advertising options.
The DHPA has many educational materials available free of charge. If event hosts wish to have any of these items to help with publicity, or to hand out during the event, feel free to download as many as you like. Postage costs will be charged if physical copies are needed. Payment must be received prior to mailing any items.
If possible, we request that after Archaeology Month, event hosts provide the Division with summary information regarding their events. Information such as attendance numbers, comments regarding activities, suggestions for future events, etc. is very helpful for the Division staff to learn about and improve upon the continuing successes of Indiana Archaeology Month and public archaeology outreach.