New archaeology partnership formed

Carlena Bressanelli, Staff writer

Over the summer, Mercyhurst University’s Anthropology/Archaeology department signed a Memorandum of Agreement to launch an archaeological study of a Warren County homestead with the representatives of the Robert H. Jackson Center on July 24.

Robert H. Jackson was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1941 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Before that, Jackson served as U.S. Solicitor General and U.S. Attorney General. He then took a leave of absence from the court to act as Chief U.S. Prosecutor during the Nuremberg Trials of Nazi war criminals after World War II.

The Robert H. Jackson Center was established in 2001 in Jamestown, New York, dedicated to the former justice’s life, legacy and contributions to the United States.

The representatives of Glendorn Land, who are the current owners of the property overlooking Spring Creek, also took part of the ceremony. Jackson’s great-grandfather settled in Spring Creek after the American Revolution. Volunteers had already removed brush from the site, revealing the foundations of both the Jackson farmhouse and a nearby barn.

Mary Ann Owoc, Ph.D., Anthropology/Archaeology department chair, said work will begin this fall to map and document the site and to evaluate artifacts from the property for potential further study.

“We’re excited about how this partnership will enhance our educational mission as a department committed to faculty-mentored student research, hands-on student training and public archaeology,” Owoc said. “We’re also very glad to enhance our already strong relationship with Mercyhurst’s History department by coordinating on the archival portions of this project.”

Rosie Pregler, senior Anthropology/Archaeology and History major, will be completing her capstone senior projects in both fields with her work on this project under the supervision of historical archaeologist Lisa Marie Malischke, Ph.D., and history professor Ben Scharff, Ph.D.

According to Pregler’s research proposal, the research aims to “conduct a preliminary archaeological investigation of the Robert H. Jackson Farmstead (Spring Creek, Pennsylvania) in order to produce new information on historical Pennsylvania farmsteads and gain a fuller understanding of the site’s history and the lives of its past occupants.”

Attorney Greg Peterson, a co-founder and board member of the Jackson Center, explained, “We’re hoping to understand the life and times of the Jackson family, why they may have chosen that area to live, why they came back to the area and to understand the environment in which Justice Jackson and his family lived.”

Jackson Center Board Chair Stanley Lundine signed the agreement, along with Owoc and Christina Riley-Brown, Ph.D., dean of the Hafenmaier College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences.