James A. Ford

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James Alfred Ford was an American archaeologist. He was born in Water Valley, Mississippi, on February 12, 1911. He became interested in work on Native American mound research while growing up in Mississippi.

Archaeological work[edit]

In 1933 Ford build a tentative chronology of the cultures on the lower Mississippi River.[1] Between 1933 and 1934, he worked at the Ocmulgee National Monument in Macon, Georgia, under Arthur Randolph Kelly. Also in 1934, he investigated the Tabby ruins at Elizafield Plantation near Brunswick, Georgia. From August 1 to September 1, 1934, he worked for the Georgia State Parks Service; and later that year, from September 2 to October 15, he worked for the Southeast Fair Association to develop an American Indian Exhibition in Atlanta, Georgia. In 1937, he became involved in a restoration project of an earthen lodge at Ocmulgee National Monument for the National Park Service. In the winter of 1939-40 he excavated the Medora Site for the Louisiana State Archaeological Survey, a joint project of Louisiana State University and the Work Projects Administration. The excavations of the site were instrumental in defining the characteristics of the Plaquemine culture and period.[2]

In the early 1950s he led the first large scale excavations at Poverty Point, Louisiana; a project that took him with breaks until his death. He discovered the ridge structure of the precolumbian earthworks as the unique features of that site. His experiments with loess soil to find the purpose of the hundreds of thousands Poverty Point objects were the beginnings of experimental archaeology in North America. His theories over the origin of the Poverty Point culture later became obsolete, his samples and results of radiocarbon dating were inaccurate due to the very early stages of that technology.[1] In 1958 he excavated the Menard-Hodges Site in southeastern Arkansas.[3]

James A. Ford died of cancer on February 25, 1968 in Gainesville, Florida.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Ford, James Alfred 1954 "The History of the Peruvian Valley [Viru Valley]." Scientific American.--NY, v.191 no.2, .28-34.
  • Ford, James Alfred 1961 "In Favor of Simple Typology." American Antiquity.--Salt Lake City, v.27,no.1 p. 113-114
  • Ford, James Alfred 1952 "Mound Builders of the Mississippi." Scientific American.--NY, v.186, no.3, p. 22-27
  • Ford, James Alfred 1954 "On the Concept of Types, an article by J.A. Ford with discussion by J.H. Steward." American Anthropologist.--Menasha, Wis., n.s., v.56, p. 42-57
  • Ford, James Alfred 1952 "Reply to 'The Viru Valley sequence: a critical review'." American Antiquity.--Salt Lake City, v.XVII, p. 250

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Jon Gibson: The Ancient Mounds of Poverty Point. University of Florida Press, Gainesville et al, 2000, ISBN 0-8130-1833-1, Chapter 2
  2. ^ Quimby, George Irving (1951). "THE MEDORA SITE of WEST BATON ROUGE PARISH, LOUISIANA". ANTHROPOLOGICAL SERIES, FIELD MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY, VOLUME XXIV, NUMBER 2. Chicago Field Museum Press. 
  3. ^ "UA-WRI-French Colonial Arkansas". Retrieved 2009-12-15. 

Further reading[edit]

  • O'Brien, Michael John & R. Lee Lyman. 1998. James A. Ford and the Growth of Americanist Archaeology. University of Missouri Press.
  • Evans, Clifford. 1968. "James A. Ford 1911-1968". American Anthropologist vol. 70, pp. 1162–1167

External links[edit]