2018-2019 Winter Speaker Series

Dresden Falls-Kennebec Life 1776-9,000 Years BP

Arthur Spiess & Leith Smith

Curtis Memorial Library, Brunswick, Maine
Wednesday, April 10th, 7:00pm

Friends of Merrymeeting Bay’s (FOMB) seventh presentation of their 23rd annual Winter Speaker Series: Dresden Falls-Kennebec Life 1776-9,000 Years Ago features Arthur Spiess and Leith Smith, archaeologists with the Maine Historic Preservation Commission (MHPC). This event takes place in the Morrill Meeting Room of Curtis Memorial Library in Brunswick on Wednesday April 10th at 7pm. 

Art Spiess

The Dresden Falls Archaeology and Conservation site lies along the KennebecRiver just upstream from what was during the post-glaciation period of lower river levels, a serious rapid or falls. This feature created an impediment to migratory fish passage but their loss was the gain of Native Americans who used the site over thousands of years as a fishing camp. This site combines one of the most significant prehistoric archaeological sites in the state, a historic archaeological site of Revolutionary War vintage, the largest Merrymeeting Bay rare plant stand of spongy arrowhead and Highest Value Wildlife Habitat as mapped by USFWS. The site was saved from subdivision development and protected by FOMB using a variety of funding sources including Land for Maine’s Future bond money. Dresden Falls was then donated by FOMB to The Archaeological Conservancy, the current owner. Over the years various archaeological testing has been done on the site but the first thorough excavations were done last summer by MHPC with on-site assistance from FOMB.

Arthur Spiess is Senior Archaeologist at the Maine Historic Preservation Commission. Art received a PhD in Anthropology from Harvard University in 1978.  Since 1978 he has been employed by the Maine Historic Preservation Commission as an archaeologist.   The Commission job involves locating, identifying and protecting significant archaeological sites, including nomination of sites to the National Register of Historic Places.  Review of development projects and requiring archaeological survey, legislation and regulations, and land conservation and land planning are all major parts of his job. For about 30 years Spiess has been on the Board of The Maine Archaeological Society, and he serves as the Editor of Archaeology of Eastern North America for the Eastern States Archaeological Federation.

Leith Smith

Leith Smith is the historic archaeologist at the Maine Historic Preservation Commission. He received his doctorate from Syracuse U. with a dissertation entitled: Archaeological Survey of Settlement Patterns in the Banda Region, West-central Ghana: Exploring external influences and internal responses in the West African frontier from 1400 to 1935. Smith's archaeology interests include: African American archaeology, West African Iron Age and Late Stone Age archaeology, Culture change among African Diaspora populations, Eastern North American colonial history and archaeology, Industrial archaeology, Landscape archaeology, Ceramic use-wear analysis, Public archaeology and compliance legislation. Besides extensive work in West Africa, Smith has worked on the third Harbor Tunnel Project in Boston and in some of the fact-filled privies of MA.

FOMB hosts their Winter Speaker Series October-May, the second Wednesday of each month. Their May 8th presentation, Wireless, Wildlife & You features science and medical journalist and author Blake Levitt. This season there will be a bonus program on Thursday, May 30th when FOMB presents the Maine premiere of Killing Games~Wildlife in the Crosshairs, an award winning film by Project Coyote. The evening will feature Camilla Fox, Executive Director of Project Coyote.

Speaker Series presentations are free, open to the public and supported by Patagonia, Inc. in Freeport. Visit www.fomb.org to see speaker biographies, full event schedules, recordings of past presentations, become a member, and learn more about how you can help protect beautiful Merrymeeting Bay.

For more information contact FOMB at 207-666-3372 or edfomb@comcast.net.

Watercolors by
Sarah Stapler