2024 Delmarva Archaeology and History Symposium explores important historical, archaeological finds

Just days before National Historic Preservation Month, history buffs gathered at the Smyrna Fire Hall for the 2024 Delmarva Archaeology and History Symposium.

The day-long event, hosted by the Delaware State Historic Preservation Office in partnership with the Archaeological Society of Delaware, featured fascinating presentations from across the Peninsula, from fire service history tales and hazardous materials safety tips to unique ways of approaching community-driven history collection, as seen in a project recently done in nearby Kent County, Maryland.

“Some of the presentations can help shape how we move archaeology forward in Delaware,” said the event’s organizer and Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs Cultural Preservation Specialist Sarah Carr. “The symposium helps create those connections and compile those resources that we need so that when archaeology does need to be done in certain areas, we can lean on people who have dedicated years to studying specific areas so that we can better target our own efforts.”

A collection of photographs that was included in a presentation about working with local communities to document historical information.

The symposium began with welcomes by Gwen Davis, Delaware’s Deputy State Historic Preservation Office, and Archaeological Society of Delaware President John Martin before diving into Delaware Fire School Director Tucker Dempsey’s “Delaware Fire Service History” presentation, which shed light on lesser-known histories of fighting fires in the First State. Washington College fellow Darius Johnson then presented “Digital Archives and Community-Driven History in Kent County, Maryland,” an inspirational story about directly involving Black communities in the compilation of their own historical archives. 

Eight other presentations at the symposium explored historic cemeteries in Philadelphia, Black communities in Newark, Delaware, the Civilian Conservation Corps’ work in the First State, the risk of sea level rise and more.

Additional speakers also included representatives from the Delaware Department of Transportation and HCA as well as independent and retired archaeologists and historians. For a full list of presentations, review the April 27 event’s agenda. For more information about the presentations or to request access, contact Carr at sarah.carr@delaware.gov.

Check back later for details on next year’s symposium!

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