OSA Responsibilities How We Help Officers and Board of Directors Committees and Members Brian D. Jones Biography Social Media Nicholas F. Bellantoni Biography Membership Demographics

Responsibilities of the State Archaeologist

The Office of State Archaeology was established at the Connecticut State Museum of Natural History (CSMNH) in 1987 to provide technical assistance to municipalities in the preservation of archaeological sites within their communities that might be threatened by development and vandalism.

The OSA administers the state archaeology office at the Connecticut Archaeology Center. At this office, it maintains comprehensive site files and maps, has in-state networks of supportive public, conducts research into the state's archaeological sites, serves as a clearinghouse of information, coordinates the salvage of archaeological sites, and represents Connecticut on national issues pertaining to archaeology.

The OSA has state-mandated responsibilities for the preservation or archaeological excavation and reburial of human remains encountered during construction activities. In this regard, it works closely with the Native American tribes in our state for projects that affect burials and sacred sites; and the preservation of unmarked burials.

The OSA museum serves as the repository for all anthropological collections at the university and for artifacts found on state lands. In this role it has responsibility for the curating of Connecticut's archaeological / anthropological collections, totaling over 600,000 artifacts.

Finally, it works to create public awareness and support for archaeological preservation, including museum exhibits and a variety of public presentations and outreach activities. For example, recently (2017) OSA has begun working on setting up a program with the North Hartford Promise Zone, with which FOSA volunteers will participate.

In sum, OSA works closely with federal, state and local governments in the preservation of Connecticut’s archaeological and historical heritage.

How the Friends of the Office of State Archaeology Help...

> Provide archaeological educational curricula and experiences to schools.

> Present and sponsor public lectures.

> Secure donations of office equipment, laboratory supplies, and field supplies for OSA.

> Coordinate and participate in volunteer OSA field and office activities.

> Help coordinate, organize and schedule activities for Connecticut's annual Archaeology Awareness Month.

> Assist scouts in earning archaeology merit badges.

> Create archaeological partnerships between local governments, students, and concerned citizens.

> Help increase corporate sponsorship of OSA-sponsored activities.

> Obtain grants and public funding for OSA collections management and office staff.

> Provide for scientific investigation and preservation of materials in OSA collections through the Douglas Jordan Testing, Dating & Conservation Fund. (For information on the Fund, please click Jordan Fund.)

Of Note: There is an article in the July, 2013 issue of Ink Publications Online! describing activities at a dig site in Windsor, CT, which viewers who are interested in seeing FOSA "in action" might care to look at. If so, please click INK article and jump to the article by moving your cursor over the icons at the bottom of the page to "Page 40-41" and clicking it. This will bring up that pair of pages which begin the article.

Navigating it: Click on either page to bring up a full-size image of that page. Hold your left mouse-key down to move the image around to see all parts of the page. Click on the page to get the pair of them back up and then click on the next page to continue. You can advance to the next or previous pair of pages by clicking the large ">" or "<" icons at either side of the page-pair display.

(Navigation in that website is a little tricky until you get used to it. But it's a good article.)

There is also an article in the November 2013 blog post by the Society for Historical Archaeology's Public Education and Interpretation Committee by FOSA Board member Mandy Ranslow, on the work FOSA does to help the OSA. The post has been incorporated into the Reprints section of this website, and can be accessed by clicking SHA Blog.

And there is an article in the July 2014 Glastonbury Reminder News regarding an "Archaeology Day" dig held in Glastonbury CT in which FOSA members assisted and instructed participants in the basic of archaeological digs. This article can be found by clicking Reminder News article.

Lastly FOSA President Mandy Ranslow is featured in an episode on the Archaeology Podcast Network, in which she describes FOSA and the many ways it helps the State Archaeologist to his job, both doing field excavation and lab work, as well as the types of training available to FOSA members. This podcast can be found by clicking Mandy Ranslow Podcast. Click the    icon in the place where the "Avocational Archaeology - Episode 15" interview is described to begin the download and playing.

PLEASE NOTE: Board Announcement, April 1, 2017
"The Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation has announced that Mandy Ranslow has been selected to receive the 2017 Mimi Findlay Award for young preservationists.

"Mandy Ranslow is an archaeologist for the Connecticut Department of Transportation. Mandy is a longtime FOSA member and has served on the Board of Directors for many years. She is currently in her second term as President.

"On behalf of the Board and membership of FOSA we would like to congratulate Mandy on this well deserved honor.

"For additional information on the award ceremony go to http://cttrust.org/, or click here for details from the Trust's Facebook page."

FOSA Officers and Board of Directors

President: Mandy Ranslow see below
Vice President: Jeremy Pilver
Recording Secretary: Mike Cahill
Corresponding Secretary: Glenda Rose
Treasurer: Dreda Hendsey
Other Board Members: Scott Brady
 Dick Hughes
 Lori Kessel
 Mike Raber
 Cynthia Redman
 Zachary Singer
 Jim Trocchi
 Kathy Walburn
Ex Officio Members: Dr. Brian D. Jones
 Leanne Kennedy Harty
 Lee West

FOSA Committees and Committee Members (as of March, 2015)

Archaeology Awareness Month Committee: Mandy Ranslow (Chair), Jim Hall, Dick Hughes, Elliot Schawm, Kathy Walburn
Excavation Committee: Jeremy Pilver (Chair), Heather Alexson, Scott Brady, Mike Cahill, Marlo Del Chiaro, Brian Meyer, Dick Hughes, Elizabeth Mark, Mandy Ranslow, Cynthia Redman, Frederick Rivard, Zachary Singer, Jim Trocchi, Kathy Walburn
Membership: Mike Raber (Chair), Joan McCarthy (Corresponding Secretary)
Newsletter Committee: Jerry Tolchin (Chair), Heather Alexson, Jim Trocchi
Nominations Committee: Scott Brady (Chair)
Outreach Committee: Kathy Walburn (Chair), Heather Alexson, Bonnie Beatrice, Ken Beatrice
Volunteer Coordinator: Scott Brady (Chair)
Website Committee: Jim Hall (Chair), Martha Davidson
Laboratory, Library Cataloging Volunteers: Cynthia Redman (contact), Dick Hughes, Lori Kessel, Glenda Rose, Lee West
Questions on membership or functions should be directed to the Volunteer Coordinator at fosa.ct@gmail.com.

For Your Information

In addition to the other items about Mandy above, she is also a contributor to the "Day of Archaeology" website. To access her posts to this site, please click Mandy's Posts.

Connecticut State Archaeologist: Brian D. Jones, PhD

Dr. Brian D. Jones serves as the state archaeologist with the Connecticut State Museum of Natural History and Archaeology Center in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at the University of Connecticut (UConn). He was appointed to the position of CT State Archaeologist on July 18, 2014, following the retirement of Dr. Nicholas F. Bellantoni from that position.

As excerpted from the press release by the CT State Museum of Natural History announcing his appointment, Dr. Jones has been working in the archaeology field for over 24 years, most recently as Senior Archaeologist with Archaeological and Historical Services, Inc. in Storrs, Connecticut.

He received his undergraduate degree in Anthropology at Oberlin College in 1986. After living and traveling in Southeast Asia, he studied European prehistory at the University of Cologne, Germany. He returned to the U.S. in 1992 to complete his Ph.D. at UConn, Storrs. Brian was the Supervisor of Field Archaeology at the Mashantucket Pequot Reservation between 1998 and 2004, after which he worked at Archaeological and Historical Services. In 2008, he took the position of Associate Director of UMass Archaeological Services in Amherst. Brian has also taught as an adjunct in the Anthropology Department at UConn since 2004. His primary research focus is the archaeology of northeastern Native American cultures. His dissertation explored human adaptation to the changing climate at the end of the last Ice Age. He is also experienced in geoarchaeology (the relationship of archaeology to landscape and soil formation processes) and stone tool analysis.

As was the case with Dr. Bellantoni, the duties of the State Archaeologist are many, but primarily include the preservation of archaeological sites in the state. He serves as an Adjunct Associate Research Professor in the Department of Anthropology at UConn, as well as a State Commissioner for the Commission on Culture and Tourism and sits on the State Historic Preservation Council.

In addition, he will participate in an extensive series of presentations around the state; as well as field trips to various archaeological and geologic sites of interest. A schedule of his upcoming talks can be found on this web site's Upcoming Events page.

A list of Brian's papers and talks can be found at Brian Jones Info.

An online article on Brian, by Marc Sichel in Seasons of Connecticut magazine can be found by clicking Seasons article

FOSA and Social Media

Social Media for FOSA encompasses applications such as Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube, where FOSA has established a presence for purposes of expanding its visibility, and where people -- both FOSA and non-FOSA -- are able to post commentary on things they see on our sites.

While FOSA will examine such postings, and reserves the right to remove those containing inappropriate language or words which are inflammatory, discriminatory, and so forth, other postings will remain unchanged. In cases where the posting is incorrect, though, FOSA will respond to the posting, explaining its position while leaving the original posting as-is.

FOSA members who are designated by the Board of Directors as such respondents must conform to a set of guidelines. A copy of these guidelines can be viewed by clicking: Social Media Guidelines.

Former Connecticut State Archaeologist: Nicholas F. Bellantoni, PhD

Dr. Nicholas F. Bellantoni served as the state archaeologist with the Connecticut State Museum of Natural History and Archaeology Center in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences at the University of Connecticut (UConn). He received his doctorate in Anthropology from UConn in 1987 and was shortly thereafter appointed state archaeologist. He retired from that position in 2014, being replaced by Dr. Brian D. Jones.

His duties included the preservation of archaeological sites in the state. He served as an Adjunct Associate Research Professor in the Department of Anthropology at UConn, as well as a State Commissioner for the Commission on Culture and Tourism and sat on the State Historic Preservation Council. At his retirement, he was President of the National Association of State Archeologists.

In addition, he participated in an extensive series of talks around the state, on subjects ranging from the archaeological history of Native American tribes for the past several thousand years, forensic archaeology, even garden archaeology; as well as field trips to various archaeological and geologic sites of interest. An engaging and popular speaker, he expects to continue to give talks (on a reduced schedule!) for the forseeable future; and they will be included on this web site's Upcoming Events page.

His research background includes the analysis of skeletal remains from eastern North America. He has been excavating in Connecticut for over 30 years.

To read an interview given by Dr. Bellantoni for the May, 2012 issue of Connecticut Magazine, which touches on his personal background, current responsibilities, and items of interest (archaeology vs Indiana Jones, his History Channel "Hitler's skull" trip and investigation, archaeology and forensic investigations, and "vampire" remains uncovered in Jewett City, among other items), please click Connecticut Magazine article.

To view an interview by Ann Nyberg of Channel 8 TV with Dr. Bellantoni in November, 2012, please click: Ann Nyberg Interview. Note: A high-speed internet connection is recommended.

Further, to view an interview of Nick in "UConn Today" about some of the highlights of his career, please click: UConn Today Interview.

Lastly, to read an interview with Nick by FOSA President Mandy Ranslow, as a blog post on the Society of Historical Archaeology website, please click SHA_Blog_Interview.

FOSA Membership Demographics

Have you ever wondered how many people are members of FOSA, and how they're distributed across this state? (Of course you have!) FOSA Board members Jim Trocchi and Mike Raber have prepared a state map showing on our membership demographics by town.

The result, which is current as of March 1, 2016, can be accessed by clicking the map icon to the right.