2018-2019 Winter Speaker Series

Dresden Falls-Kennebec Life 1776-9,000 Years BP

Arthur Spiess & Leith Smith

Wednesday, April 10th, 7:00pm

Art Spiess

Arthur Spiess is Senior Archaeologist at the Maine Historic Preservation Commission. Art received a PhD in Anthropology from Harvard University in 1978.  Since 1978 he has been employed by the Maine Historic Preservation Commission as an archaeologist.   The Commission job involves locating, identifying and protecting significant archaeological sites, including nomination of sites to the National Register of Historic Places.  Review of development projects and requiring archaeological survey, legislation and regulations, and land conservation and land planning are all major parts of his job. For about 30 years Spiess has been on the Board of The Maine Archaeological Society, and he serves as the Editor of Archaeology of Eastern North America for the Eastern States Archaeological Federation.
Leith Smith is the historic archaeologist at the Maine Historic Preservation Commission. He received his doctorate from Syracuse U. with a dissertation entitled: Archaeological Survey of Settlement Patterns in the Banda Region, West-central Ghana: Exploring external influences and internal responses in the West African frontier from 1400 to 1935. Smith's archaeology interests include: African American archaeology, West African Iron Age and Late Stone Age archaeology, Culture change among African Diaspora populations, Eastern North American colonial history and archaeology, Industrial archaeology, Landscape archaeology, Ceramic use-wear analysis, Public archaeology and compliance legislation. Besides extensive work in West Africa, Smith has worked on the third Harbor Tunnel Project in Boston and in some of the fact-filled privies of MA.
The Dresden Falls Archaeology and Conservation site lies along the Kennebec River just upstream from what was during post-glaciation lower rivers levels a serious rapid or falls. This feature created an impediment to migratory fish passage but their loss was the gain of Native Americans who used the site for thousands of years to catch the fish. This site combines one of the most significant prehistoric archaeological sites in the state, a historic archaeological site of Revolutionary War vintage, the largest Merrymeeting Bay area rare plant stand of spongy arrowhead and Highest Value Wildlife Habitat as mapped by USFWS. "I can think of no site that remotely approaches its importance for the study of this early period (5,000-8,500 years ago) of Maine's prehistory." [Bruce Bourque, Retired Archaeologist, Maine State Museum]. 

Watercolors by
Sarah Stapler