PSU Professor to Release Book on The Archeology of New Hampshire

April 4th, 2006 by Adam

Providing tangible evidence of New Hampshire’s past and making it available in a comprehensive volume that the general public can read and enjoy is the intent behind David Starbuck’s new book, The Archeology of New Hampshire: Exploring 10,000 Years in the Granite State, published by the University Press of New England. Starbuck, associate professor of anthropology/sociology at Plymouth State University, will be on hand to sign books at its official release on Saturday, April 8, which coincides with the spring meeting of the New Hampshire and Vermont Archeological Societies being held at the Great Stone Dwelling at Enfield Shaker Village.

“New Hampshireites can take pride in the history of their state and know its past is very rich indeed,” says Starbuck. “A book like this is for everyone; to help shed light on our own history and help people appreciate the vastly different lifestyles and cultures that existed before us.”

Starbuck is also hoping to bring a sense of legitimacy to archeology for the average reader with his new book. He says a lot of attention tends to be given to international archeological digs, such as those that focus on ancient Mayan or Greek cultures, but the reality is most American archeologists dig in America. He says, “Archeologists are storytellers, and dig sites and artifacts put flesh on the bones. When you can take someone out to a site, put something in their hands and tell them how it relates to the present day, you close the gap on the distant past.

Starbuck’s book details all types of New Hampshire archeology, including prehistoric, historic, industrial and marine. He explains that prehistoric covers Native Americans up to the arrival of the first Europeans. Historic archeology focuses on the European influence up to the present day, including digs at Strawbery Banke and Canterbury Shaker Village. Industrial archeology focuses on industrial ruins, bridges, railroads (including the Mt. Washington Cog Railway), abandoned factory sites and mills. Marine or underwater archeology primarily details the work of fellow PSU faculty member David Switzer, professor emeritus of history.

While the book covers everything from digs at the oldest Paleo-Indian sites in the state, led by Richard Boisvert, the New Hampshire state archaeologist, down to recent industrial sites, Starbuck says, “It is a somewhat personal history of archeology in the state of New Hampshire. My first New Hampshire dig was at a glass factory in Temple in 1975 when I was teaching at Boston University.”

“In the case of this book,” Starbuck continues, “it does cover some of the things that make New Hampshire distinctive: the people, what they valued and how they lived. It also includes a glossary, locations of archeology collections and sites, how to volunteer, and it serves as an identification guide for those who might find artifacts on a hike through the woods and want to know more.”

The Archeology of New Hampshire is Starbuck’s sixth book to be published by University Press of New England. He has also written The Great Warpath, Massacre at Fort William Henry, Rangers and Redcoats on the Hudson, A Shaker Family Album and Neither Plain Nor Simple. His next book will be The Archaeology of Forts and Battlefields, to be published by the University Press of Florida.

For more information about New Hampshire archeology contact David Starbuck at dstarbuck@plymouth.edu or (603) 535-3076.

Plymouth State University (PSU) is a regional comprehensive university offering a rich, student-focused learning environment for both undergraduate and graduate students. PSU offers 42 majors and 62 minors in programs that include education, business, humanities, arts, and natural and social sciences. The College of Graduate Studies offers coursework that promotes research, best practices and reflection in locations on- and off-campus as well as online. For non-traditional students, PSU’s Frost School of Continuing and Professional Studies offers working professionals opportunities to pursue an undergraduate degree by attending classes in the evenings, weekends and online. Located in a beautiful New England setting, Plymouth State University has been recognized as one of the “Best in the Northeast” by The Princeton Review.