Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Osher Map Library, Smith Center for Cartographic Education

Osher Map Library, Smith Center for Cartographic Education, University of Southern Maine.

"As an integral part of a comprehensive metropolitan university within the University of Maine System, the Osher Map Library and Smith Center for Cartographic Education [OML] is committed to preserving the cartographic heritage of the state, region, and nation for future generations, and to making that heritage accessible to the University, the people of Maine, and to all other students, scholars, and visitors. It shares its collections through exhibitions and through collaborative efforts with other cultural institutions. It seeks to interpret its collections ~ to make them intellectually accessible"
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  • For K-12 Educators
    • Lesson themes
    • curriculum series
    • additional materials
    • request a field trip
    • request a classroom visit
  • For Kids: Map Play
    • for grades 3-8
      • Slideshows
      • History Trivia
      • Historic Maps
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      • Geomatching
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    • Educators
  • For Post-Secondary Educators
    • request a guest class
      • Hispanic America
      • Native Peoples of North America
      • Literature of Discovery, Exploration, and Colonization
      • Colonial Latin America
      • Modern Latin America
      • Introduction to Cultural Tourism

For more information,

Thursday, November 13, 2014

A Chocolate Habit in Ancient North America

Chemical residue from chocolate turned up  in these pots from Choco Canyon, New Mexico. Image Courtesy of Science Magazine,  National Museum of the American Indian,  Smithsonian Institution & Walter Larrimore.
Chemical residue from chocolate turned up
in these pots from Choco Canyon, New Mexico.
Image Courtesy of Science Magazine,
National Museum of the American Indian,
Smithsonian Institution & Walter Larrimore.
August 2014.
Michael Bawaya, of Science Magazine, has written an exciting article about the possible trade of chocolate between Mesoamerica and the Southwest, Southeast, and Midwest
dating from 900 to 1400 C.E. 

"Chocolate may change that picture, with the recent discovery of subtle residues of it in pots from Cahokia. Added to similar evidence from the Southeast and Southwest, the findings suggest regular trade in cacao—and movements of the people who imbued it with significance—between ancient Mesoamericans and their northern neighbors, says Dorothy Washburn, an archaeologist at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology"

To read the full article, click here.

For more information, 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Nation to Nation: Treaties Between the United States and American Indian Nations

"The Great Smoke". Image Courtesy of Paul Morigi/AP Images for The Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian.
"The Great Smoke" case features a series of pipes and pipe bags as part
of "Nation to Nation: Treaties Between the United States and American Indian Nations".
Image Courtesy of Paul Morigi/AP Images for The Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian.
September 2014 - Fall 2018.

"Treaties lie at the heart of the relationship between Indian Nations and the United States. Treaties were solemn agreements between sovereign nations. Native Nations made treaties with one another long before Europeans came to the Western Hemisphere. The United States began making treaties with Native Peoples because they were independent nations. Often broken, sometimes coerced, treaties still define mutual obligations between the United States and Indian Nations..."

"the museum's most ambitious effort yet; it will present the history of the relationship between the United States and American Indian Nations through their treaties in the largest historical collection ever offered to an audience."

The Nation to Nation website includes a timeline of treaty history from Serious Diplomacy; Bad Acts, Bad Paper, Great Nations Keep Their Word, and The Future of Treaties. Each treaty mentioned includes a brief summary about its context and a pertaining image.

For more information, 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

World Conference Takes Concrete Action to Benefit Indigenous Peoples

Opening of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples. Image Courtesy of UN/Cia Pak.
Opening of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples.
Image Courtesy of UN/Cia Pak.
November 3, 2014.
Will Micklin, 1st Vice President of the Tlingit Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, has written an interesting and informative article for Indian Country Today about the outcome of 

"At present, indigenous nations are not members of the UN nor are they subject to the UN Charter, and therefore, indigenous nations do not vote on General Assembly resolutions; but UN member states do. The UN has relied upon non-governmental organizations organized in seven regional caucuses to report the interests and concerns of indigenous peoples. What indigenous leaders did accomplish with the World Conference is to establish that indigenous governments are the most effective advocates of their indigenous citizens, and by their advocacy, succeeded in transforming a rare opportunity into serious commitments by UN member states and into concrete and decisive actions that will be taken by various bodies of the UN."

For more information, 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Center for the Electronic Reconstruction of Historical and Archaeological Sites, CERHAS

Center for the Electronic Reconstruction of Historical and Archaeological Sites (CERHAS).

"The mission of CERHAS is to unite research, education, and public awareness through innovative and accessable high-quality multi-media presentations; and to connect the importance of our heritage to our modern conditions in meaningful ways...While accurate scholarship is basic to our work, we value the ability of our programs to present a variety of voices and points of view. Our interactive media lend themselves to  reflecting the open-endedness of knowledge. We can offer and juxtapose ideas from different people, places, and times as parts of interactive journeys through learning environments.. Our particular emphasis on spatial and geographic orientation makes these journeys memorable, and helps people develop their own questions for further learning. In our physical exhibit designs, we've set out to reflect a similar spatial experience: to embody the same spatial principles as the sites themselves."

Creator of EarthWorks.

Newark Earthworks Octagon Moonrise. Image Courtesy of CERHAS.
Newark Earthworks Octagon Moonrise.
Image Courtesy of CERHAS.
This long-term project has generated several multimedia programs on the topic of the ancient Indian earthworks of the Ohio River Valley. Computer models of earthwork sites become the starting points for Interactive Video Navigation (IVN) for learning more 
about the monuments and the cultures which created them. 
For more information, visit EarthWorks, here.

Project History
"Two thousand years ago, the eastern Midwest of North America was the heartland of an amazing culture, which produced the largest concentration of precise, monumental earthen enclosures in the world. For the past two decades, the "EarthWorks" project, based at the University of Cincinnati, has been creating interactive multimedia presentations about these astonishing places."

Interactive Video
At the end of each video scene, users cans select locations and topics within our virtual spatial landscapes. Rich diverse content is based on years of research: we interviewed not only the archaeological experts but many scholars from various disciplines, and also many Native American leaders, experts, and storytellers: all these voices appear throughout the earthworks tours.

The Mother Ship
The largest exhibit version covers earthworks comprehensively throughout Ohio. It is now installed into the Ohio History Connection in Columbus; part of the permanent exhibit including the state's extensive archaeological collections. The design of the exhibit, a virtual model, and favorite scenes can be found on the EarthWorks website.

"A complete travel experience awaits you along the Ancient Ohio Trail. Our resources will help you to discover the distinguished Native American heritage in the Midwest, and to gain many rewarding insights from your visits to the ancient earthworks. At the same time, we highlight the historic local settings in which the works are found, and suggest many ways to enjoy real or virtual excursions among Ohio’s historic towns, scenic roads, and many distinctive 
cultural, artistic, and tourist amenities.
The Ancient Ohio Trail is a collaboration of all the major owners, managers, and interpreters 
of the earthworks, and is generously funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. "

The Ancient Ohio Trail


Short videos from EarthWorks content. 
Including The Newark Earthworks, Fort Ancient, 
the Great Serpent Mound, Inside a House, etc.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Tools for Evaluating Scholarly Journals

Information Culture. Image Courtesy of Scientific American.
September, 24, 2014.
Bonnie Swoger, of Scientific American, has written an interesting blog post about the importance of evaluating material and some resources which make that task easier like JournalGuide, Google Metrics, etc.

"Of course, none of these tools replaces thoughtful evaluation. In order to use any of them effectively, you need to understand how they compile (or calculate) their information, and how that effects your purpose for that information."

To read the full post, click here.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

World Heritage Ohio

World Heritage Ohio

"Several sites in Ohio are poised to join the extremely prestigious UNESCO World Heritage List, with more than 1000 other properties around the globe, including the Pyramids of Giza, the Great Wall of China, Australia's Great Barrier Reef, and Stonehenge. World Heritage inscription is based on stringent criteria and signifies outstanding universal value to humanity. Making the list helps ensure a site's permanent preservation, enhanced understanding, deeper appreciation, and increased tourism... Three nominations in Ohio are among 13 currently on the "US Tentative List" from which nominees will be drawn to go forward for inscription in the coming years."


Reconstruction of the Newark Earthworks. Image Courtesy of the Ancient Ohio Trail.
Reconstruction of the Newark Earthworks.
Image Courtesy of the Ancient Ohio Trail.
"The Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks share certain characteristics with other monumental sites built substantially from earth, such as Poverty Point, Cahokia Mounds, Effigy Mounds National Monument, Amazonian geoglyphs, Stonehenge, Avebury and Associated sites, but they are unique in their combination of vast scale, geometrical precision, incorporation of astronomical alignments, and broad geographic distribution. To have accomplished this with a predominantly hunting and gathering economy only supplemented by a suite of locally domesticated plants and with a fundamentally egalitarian society is unprecedented in world history.

The repetition of monumental earthwork forms across a large area, built to a similar scale, using a common unit of measure, and incorporating a similar series of astronomical alignments into that architecture, demonstrates a level of integration between otherwise disparate cultural groups that is unexpected and unprecedented for societies without more complex social organizations. This cultural integration was reinforced by an interregional network of raw material acquisition and craft production emphasizing a shared iconography. These earthworks, as a set, bear witness to a remarkable non-urban, non-hierarchical civilization that persisted for three to four centuries and exerted an influence that extended across much of eastern North America.

These Ancient Ohio monuments are the largest earthworks in the world that are not fortifications or defensive structures. Together these earthwork sites present the climax of the Woodland Period cultures of North America. Their extraordinary size, beauty, and precision make them outstanding examples of architectural form, landscape design, and human creative genius, worthy of inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List."

"Serpent Mound, in Adams County, is the largest documented surviving example of a prehistoric effigy mound in the world.   It is a sinuous earthen embankment 411 meters long, including an oval embankment at one end, which has been interpreted variously as the serpent's eye, part of its head, or a secondary object, such as an egg, grasped in the serpent's open jaws.  The effigy ranges from 1.2 to 1.5 meters  in height and from 6 to 7.6 meters in width.  Radiocarbon dates obtained from samples from the effigy, combined with stylistic analyses of the iconography, indicate Serpent Mound was built by the Fort Ancient Culture about the year 1120 CE.  This state memorial also preserves three Native American burial mounds as well as evidence of contemporary habitation sites. "

How it Works

What We've Done So Far
  • 2014 "The Steering Committee is currently at work on the next major component of the nomination, documents about the future on-going management of the sites – both individual site Management Plans, and a coordinated approach to the broader planning and development issues in the local communities that ICOMOS and UNESCO will expect to see, and that will be impacted by the anticipated increased tourist visitation at the sites."
  • 2013 Draft of Outstanding Universal Value, Draft of Comparative Analysis, Draft of Authenticity and Integrity, Experts Workshop
  • 2012 Steering Committee Formation
  • 2011 Conference Tour
  • 2009 Inclusion on the US Tentative List (2008) focused efforts to advance either the Serpent Mound or the Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks nomination...

Benefits and Impact

  • Increased Tourism
  • Increased Awareness
  • Control and Sovereignty

Friends of Ancient Ohio Earthworks


  • Summary of the UNESCO World Heritage Nomination Process
  • What is Outstanding Universal Value (OUV)?
  • World Heritage Nomination Documents, Operational Guidelines
  • Manual of Site Management Plans
  • Tourism Guidelines for addressing the likely impacts

For more information, 
Visit our last posts:

Monday, October 27, 2014

Reading a Map to Cure Historical Amnesia

Map of the United States- title in Ottoman Turkish, 1803. Osher Map Library, University of Southern Maine.
Map of the United States- title in Ottoman Turkish, 1803.
Image Courtesy of Osher Map Library, University of Southern Maine.
October 20, 2014.
Steve Russell, of Indian Country Today, has written an interesting article about this 1803 map of North America which was published for the Ottoman Empire.

"The Ottoman map does make note that there were nations in addition to the colonial nations. The map describes territory as “Government of the Six Indian Nations” and divides the Great Sioux Nation into Eastern (Siyu-yu Şarkî) and Western (Siyu-yu Garbî). It’s not clear whether the cartographer understood “Algonquin” as a language group or how much territory Algonquin speaking peoples roamed. The Chippewa are noted separately, and they are Algonquin speakers."

To read the full article, click here.

For more information,

Friday, October 24, 2014

Stepping (on) Stones at Flint Ridge State Memorial

Flint Ridge State Memorial. Image Courtesy of DiscoveringOhio Blog.
Flint Ridge State Memorial.
Image Courtesy of DiscoveringOhio Blog.
October 15, 2014.
Abbey Roy, of DiscoveringOhio Blog, has written a brief post about the importance of Flint Ridge State Memorial to Ohio's history and enjoyable visiting experience opportunities.

"We started on the Quarry Trail and saw a number of shallow pits once used to gather flint, and then we continued onto the Creek Trail. Both were scenic and wooded, with picturesque views of the turning foliage. The Creek Trail crossed a few small bridges where we could look down and see flint outcroppings even in the banks."

To read the full post, click here.

For more information,

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Poverty Point Officially Inscribed on UNESCO World Heritage List

Image Courtesy of the Louisiana Lt. governor's office and ArkLaTex.com.
October 11, 2014.
Nancy Cook, of ArkLaTex.com, has written a brief article on the efforts to inscribe Poverty Point, 3,400 year-old site considered one one of the most culturally significant American Indian sites in the U.S., with UNESCO World Heritage status.

“More than 3,000 years ago, Poverty Point was an economic engine for this region, and it will be again as a World Heritage Site. In the past, it brought goods and materials to be traded, today it will bring tourists and jobs to grow and expand the middle class,” Landrieu said.
“The process to secure this status for Poverty Point has truly been a team effort. Without the work of Lt. Gov. Dardenne and his staff, State Senator Francis Thompson, and the staff and high-ranking officials of the Departments of State and Interior who have spent countless hours on this nomination, we would not be here today.
 I appreciate that the World Heritage Committee gave Poverty Point this recognition and confirmed what we in Louisiana have known for many years: Poverty Point is a true `;cultural landmark and it deserves this recognition” "

To read the full article, click here.

For more information,