The Life and Work of W. B. Nickerson (1865-1926)
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The Life and Work of W. B. Nickerson (1865-1926) : Scientific Archaeology in Central North America

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Description

eng-CADuring his spare time, William Baker Nickerson investigated sites from New England to the Midwest and into the Canadian Prairies. In the course of exploration, he created an elegant and detailed record of discoveries and developed methods which later archaeologists recognized as being ahead of their time. By middle age, he was en route to becoming a professional contract archaeologist. However, after a very good start, during World War I archaeological commissions disappeared and failed to recover for many years afterward. Consequently, in spite of heroic efforts, Nickerson was unable to restore his scientific career and died in obscurity. His life story spans the transition of North American archaeology from museums and historical societies to universities, throwing light on a phase of history that is little known.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 396 pages
  • 171 x 241 x 17.78mm | 771g
  • Ottawa, Canada
  • English
  • 41 Illustrations, unspecified
  • 0776623885
  • 9780776623887

Table of contents

Abstract (v)

Resume (vi)

Acknowledgements (xvii)

Introduction (1)




PART I

A Life in Archaeology




Chapter 1

Family Background and Education (11)




Chapter 2

Archaeology and its Intellectual Context, 1790 to 1890 (23)




Chapter 3

Field Work in Illinois and Ohio, 1884-1885 (43)




Chapter 4

Life in Michigan with a Little Archaeology, 1886-1893 (59)




Chapter 5

First Five Years in Northwestern Illinois, 1893-1898 (75)




Chapter 6

Second Stretch in Northwest Illinois, 1898-1902 (95)




Chapter 7

Life in Chicago, 1902-1909 (115)




Chapter 8

Life in Kidder, 1909-1912 (147)




Chapter 9

Dreams of Full-Time Archaeology, 1912-1913 (163)




Chapter 10

Two Commissions and an Old Obligation, 1913-1914 (187)




Chapter 11

Sourisford and Snowflake, 1914-1915 (209)




Chapter 12

Valleys of the Assiniboine, Little Saskatchewan, and Whitemud Rivers, 1915-1916 (225)




Chapter 13

Cambria Village and Judson Mound, 1916-1917 (241)




Chapter 14

One Career Ends, the Other Fades, 1917-1922 (257)




Chapter 15

It Was Always Archaeology (267)




Epilogue (275)




Conclusion (281)




PART II

Appendices-Reports from the Field




Appendix 1

Nickerson's Summary of Explorations in Northwest Illinois to September 1898 (293)




Appendix 2

Summary of Nickerson's Archaeology, 1893-1902 (297)




Appendix 3

Letter Reports for the 1912 Manitoba Survey (303)




Appendix 4

Nickerson's Letter Reports for 1913 Excavations, Jones Village Site, Cambria, Minnesota (319)




Appendix 5

Nickerson's Letter Reports for 1913. Investigations at Sourisford, including the End-of-Season Summary Report (323)




Appendix 6: Nickerson's Special Report on 1914 Archaeology (329)




Appendix 7: Nickerson's Summary of 1914 Investigations for the GSC Annual Report (331)




Appendix 8

Progress Reports on Minnesota Archaeology, 1916 (333)




Appendix 9

Nickerson's Analysis of Expenditures for September and October 1916 (341)




Appendix 10

Nickerson's Answers to Libby's Questions about North Antler Creek Sites (343)




Bibliography (347)


Index (367)
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Review quote

Born in 1865 in New England, Nickerson came of age when there were 29 people in North America earning their living as archeologists. (...) His body of research became posthumously influential in the development of institutional archaeology on this continent. He produced beautiful topological drawings and refined meticulous, grid-based excavation methods that are now the standard for modern archeology. (T)he drive to do science-to really do science, to let your curiosity subsume every other motivation and concern, to ignore all the signs practically screaming at you to do something else with your life-is something strange and rare. (This book) celebrate(s) that spirit, as well the glorious minutiae in which it finds sustenance. -- Patchen Barss "Going It Alone. The marvellous, single-minded, doggedly strange passion of citizen science," Literary Review of Canada, p. 21 "Born in 1865 in New England, Nickerson came of age when there were 29 people in North America earning their living as archeologists. Nickerson spent his life trying-and failing-to become the 30th. He never managed to secure a permanent position at a museum or university. And yet, his body of research-eked out during whatever time he could steal away from paying jobs in the railroad industry-became posthumously influential in the development of institutional archaeology on this continent. "Archaeology had become his obsession," Dyck writes. "He accepted unstable jobs in remote places that sometimes separated him from his family and sometimes left them short of funds. (T)he drive to do science-to really do science, to let your curiosity subsume every other motivation and concern, to ignore all the signs practically screaming at you to do something else with your life-is something strange and rare. (This book) celebrate(s) that spirit, as well the glorious minutiae in which it finds sustenance." - Patchen Barss, "Going It Alone. The marvellous, single-minded, doggedly strange passion of citizen science," Literary Review of Canada, January-February 2017, p. 21
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About Ian Dyck

Ian Dyck worked as archaeologist, curator and program manager at the Saskatchewan Museum of Natural History (now Royal Saskatchewan Museum) and later at the National Museum of Man (subsequently Canadian Museum of Civilization, now Canadian Museum of History) until his retirement in 2010.
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