Heritage Days, by Dr. R. Christopher Goodwin

January 24, 2014 § Leave a comment

Heritage Montgomery is a volunteer organization dedicated to preserving the wealth of Montgomery County, Maryland’s cultural and historic heritage; its signature event, Heritage Days, celebrates that heritage during the last weekend in June. The celebration, held at no charge, gives residents and guests the chance to visit and view some three dozen sites of historic or cultural significance to the county.

Visitors can see a wide variety of treasures during Heritage Days. For example, the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, originally conceived and surveyed by George Washington, is parallel to the Potomac River, and served as a major waterway during the 19th and early 20th centuries. When the canal crossed the paths of the Potomac’s tributaries, aqueducts were built to carry the canal over the tributaries to permit the uninterrupted passage of craft known as canal boats. The Seneca Aqueduct and Lockhouse, as well as the Monocacy Aqueduct, are both on display during Heritage Days.

Heritage Days also features a number of sites that highlight the area’s Civil War experience, such as the Sandy Spring Slave Museum and African Art Gallery, the Underground Railroad Trail Hikes, and Blockhouse Point on the Potomac River. Two of the most popular sites are located in the Bethesda and Glen Echo area of the county: the Clara Barton National Historic Site and the Josiah Henson Special Park, the setting for Harriet Beecher Stowe’s novel, “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.”

About the Author: Dr. R. Christopher Goodwin, a nationally-recognized expert on cultural resource management, serves as a Director of Heritage Montgomery. He also remains active in local church and civic organizations.

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Clovis Points

January 17, 2014 § Leave a comment

Dr. R. Christopher Goodwin leads the cultural resource management firm that bears his name, R. Christopher Goodwin & Associates, Inc., serving as CEO, President, and Director of Research. The company works extensively with clients engaged in building or reinforcing infrastructure projects to ensure compliance with laws and regulations addressing the preservation of significant cultural resources. Dr. R. Christopher Goodwin’s colleague and the director of the firm’s Lithic Useware Program, Dr. Charlotte Pevny, recently co-authored Clovis Lithic Technology, a book about the tool- and weapon-fabricating technology of the Clovis people, who lived in what is now the Southwest United States.

Archaeological explorations near the town of Clovis, New Mexico, in the 1930s uncovered evidence of a human settlement dating back to about 11,000 BC. The artifacts recovered included cutting tools and spear points. The stone points were shaped and sharpened by striking them with a hard object, chipping off small flakes. The distinctive shape of the points, as well as the way they were crafted, became associated with what is known as the Clovis culture. The Clovis people carefully crafted their points from both sides and often employed a technique called pressure flaking, akin to a wood carving technique called chip carving, to achieve very sharp edges.

Numerous so-called Clovis sites have been uncovered and identified through the recovery of the same type of point together with the remains of animals like mammoth, mastodon, bison, tapir, and sloth. The wide range of the Clovis points indicates either that the culture was very successful and proliferated across the continent, while others believe it was not the culture that spread, but that their superior technology was copied by other cultures.

× Article Content Developers at Historical Sites Must Comply with Section 106

January 9, 2014 § Leave a comment

Dr. R. Christopher Goodwin uses his knowledge in the areas of archaeology and anthropology to investigate sites for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and to document archaeological findings for the purpose of project planning in order to avoid impacts to important historic sites and properties. Many agencies and firms contact Dr. R. Christopher Goodwin in order to ensure compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.

Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act is a federal law designed to protect important archaeological and historic sites in the United States. The Act was made law on October 15, 1966. In some instances, engineers or project planners need to make sure that any type of drilling, construction, or dredging activities will not adversely effect historic sites and properties in order to comply with this law. For example, engineers planning construction at a locale that may be eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places should have the site evaluated first. If the site is significant, planners then can seek to avoid, minimize or mitigate project effects in accordance with the mandate of the law.

Assessments of project areas before planning is finalized and construction begins can make sure the work will not disturb any unknown ancient or historic sites or structures. Therefore, contacting specialists in the field of archaeology like Dr. R. Christopher Goodwin can make sure that federal guidelines are met and that projects will not destroy important aspects and remains of American prehistory and history.

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