My dissertation focused on the history of shell midden archaeology on Martha’s Vineyard, Cape Cod, and Nantucket, Massachusetts from 1868 to 2008 (Kirakosian 2014). To accomplish this, I consulted the holdings in the following research facilities between 2010 and 2011: the Massachusetts Historical Commission in Boston, MA; the Robert S. Peabody Museum of Archaeology in Andover, MA; the Robbins Museum of Archaeology in Middleborough, MA; the New York State Museum in Albany, NY; and the Nantucket Atheneum in Nantucket, MA. I also conducted interviews with 14 avocational and professional archaeologists for this project. While working to understand my data, I became intrigued by the complex social worlds that were created and inhabited by generations of local researchers. To get the degree of context that I desired, I had to cast a wide net, which included people that I had never anticipated. Turning to Social Network Analysis and Ingold’s work on meshworks (see Ingold 2007; 2011) for inspiration, I set out to map these complex, modern social phenomena in new and informative ways.

After briefly summarizing the theoretical concepts of Social Network Analysis and meshworks, I introduce two related concepts that I have formulated through my research: social terrain and social climate. Finally, I consider how these concepts inform, and are informed by, the social circles of two important characters within Massachusetts archaeology: Jeffries Wyman and Ross Moffett. Both men’s professional lives illuminate complex social webs woven in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, which continue to affect present-day archaeologists as well.

Theoretical Background

Social Network Analysis (SNA) is primarily concerned with visualizing the connections and relationships among and between social actors. Although actors (sometimes also referred to as nodes) need not be individuals per se, I only considered individuals for my research. The connections and relationships among and between actors are referred to as ties. A tie can signify various things, including a friendship between two people or a romantic relationship. A dyad is formed when two actors are connected through a tie. A triad is formed when three actors are all connected. Through balance theory, the complexity of triads has been considered. As Wasserman (1994) and others have outlined, when dealing with a transitive balanced triad, if actors a and b “like” each other than they would likely have a similar opinion of actor c. Along the same lines, if actors a and b “dislike” each other, then they should have the opposite opinion of actor c, so that one “likes” him/her, while the other “dislikes” him/her (see Figure 1). In essence, transitive balanced triads back up the saying that the friend of an enemy is a friend.

Figure 1 

Defining terms and concepts within Social Network Analysis (the upper “kite model” is modeled after Krackhardt 1990).

From here, an actor’s activity level is referred to as degree, while his or her degreecentrality ‘measures the extent to which a node [actor] connects to all other nodes [actors] in a social network’ (Knoke and Yang 2007:63). An actor’s closeness can also be measured, which is defined as one’s distance to all other actors within a given network. Through closeness, an actor is deemed central if he or she has a short distance to others (see Figure 1) (Buechel and Buskens 2008:5). Although similar to centrality, betweenness considers the number of groups to which an actor is connected, while his or her betweenness centrality measures the shortest path between two actors that are not directly connected (Krackhardt 1990). If someone has a high betweenness centrality, then they could be considered a “mediator” within a network, although this certainly depends on the nature of these ties (see Figure 1).

Actors that serve as bridges are also important within networks, as they connect two or more groups that would not otherwise be connected. With this said, if a bridge was removed from a network, then the network might fission. Perhaps counter-intuitively however, a closed (or conservative) network is one in which everyone is well connected to everyone else and no new actors are introduced over time (Granovetter 1973). In his seminal piece, Granovetter went on to show how many seemingly weak ties could in fact be important (even powerful) ties within a network. In fact, many weak ties make open networks, which, as Ressler (2006: 1–2) explains ‘have greater access to information and power than smaller, denser, and more interconnected networks because they supply more diversity of knowledge and information’. Networks have a high degree of homophily if the actors connected are highly similar (based on age, race, sex, and/or sexual orientation) and have a high degree of heterophily if they are more diverse. Ultimately, SNA allows researchers to define and visualize connections between actors.

Although inspired by the abovementioned concepts while completing my dissertation research, I did not create a formal social network using traditional programs like UCINet, NetDraw, or EgoNet. Rather, SNA helped me consider how actors were connected and whether these connections had in some way affected the history of shell midden archaeology.

After months of research, I had compiled a list of dozens of avocational and professional archaeologists involved in local shell midden archaeology spanning a 140-year period. My task seemed simple enough at first, so I set out to “simply” connect the actors who were involved in excavating shell middens. Upon reviewing dozens of publications and compiling lists that included the authors and other actors mentioned within the publications, several trends began to emerge. For example, several institutions became central to this work, including the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA and some time later the Robert S. Peabody Museum of Archaeology in Andover, MA. I quickly realized that charting social terrain, however, should have as much to do with presence as it does with absence. This then required that I also consider who was left out of shell midden archaeology through time. With these expanded ideas, my work began to take on a different shape. For example, I have been able to show how certain groups, such as women, experienced some resistance before eventually gaining general acceptance by already established actors.

Briefly, women’s interests in local archaeology were dismissed or diverted by organizations such as the Massachusetts Archaeological Society (MAS), shortly after it’s founding in 1939. At both the 1940 spring and fall meeting of the MAS, alternative activities were organized for women although they made up roughly 25% of the organization (or 37 out of 149 members). At the spring meeting, the program announced a tour of ‘some jewelry factory for the ladies’ (Anonymous 1940a). For the following fall meeting, the program announced ‘A tour of the [Worcester Art] Museum has been arranged for the ladies in the afternoon’ (Anonymous 1940b). Both tours were scheduled at the same time as the conference presentations.

Women did actively participate in MAS meetings, although in seemingly appropriate gender roles at first. In the spring 1942 meeting Mrs. William Fowler and Mrs. Frank Jones served as ‘The Reception Committee’. In April 1951 Elsie Bowen was listed as the Librarian and the following year, Mrs. Mabel Robbins (wife of founding member and the MAS’s first President, Maurice Robbins), was listed as the Treasurer.

As with all terrain of course, social terrain shifts over time. Women did not begin serving in more prominent roles in the MAS until the 1970s, with Dena Dincauze as MAS Bulletin editor from 1975 to 1980 and Carol Barnes as the first female President from 1976 to 1978. In essence, focusing on social terrain (or the peaks and valleys that make up a group’s topography) helped me show a high degree of gender-based homophily in Massachusetts archaeology until about the 1970s, although the same is likely true in many other archaeological networks across the globe. In addition, I was able to point to specific practices put in place by local institutions that openly discouraged female participation, although interest was clearly there when compared to membership roles.

As a critic of SNA, Ingold found networks to be made up of rigid lines and points with too much empty space in between (Ingold 2007). In his view, the world is made up of wayfarers and their ‘interwoven trails’ (Ingold 2007: 81). As living organisms, wayfarers are always moving along a trail (or line), although unlike travellers they are not focused on getting from point A to point B. Wayfaring lies in stark contrast to travelling and Ingold is clear that wayfarers focus on ‘trails not routes’ (Ingold 2007: 79). Instead, a wayfarer’s journey is about trying to ‘negotiate a path through the world’ without being hyper-focused on time (Ingold 2011: 162).

A meshwork is the sum of a wayfarer’s journey, or a tapestry that is knotted when a wayfarer pauses at particular locales (see Figure 2). By pausing, wayfarers create strong points along the landscape, made even stronger when joined by others wayfarers, whether together or not.

Figure 2 

Wayfaring (top) and a meshwork (bottom); inspired by Ingold 2011: 69; Ingold 2011: 152.

After charting this social terrain, I focused on the social climates that evolved between actors and groups of actors. As my second example will clearly show, tracking a particular social climate requires a consideration of both local social networks and wayfaring trends.

Towards this goal, my archival and interview data was invaluable, as it helped me learn as much as possible about each actor and their distinctive collaborations and interpersonal relationships. More specifically, the personal letters of Ross Moffett (housed at the Robert S. Peabody Museum of Archaeology in Andover, MA) and William A. Ritchie (housed at the New York State Museum in Albany, NY) were invaluable here. These contained open and direct information about relationships and connections between actors that are seldom shared in formal publications. The information contained in these letters sometimes corroborated the details contained in publications, but were sometimes contradictory as well. I was ultimately interested in tracking social climates so that I could consider how alliances and disputes may have had an impact on shell midden archaeology.

For the remainder of this article, I now examine the social circles of two influential actors within Massachusetts shell midden archaeology: Jeffries Wyman and Ross Moffett.1 Wyman was a Harvard professor and the first to formally publish on local shell middens (see Wyman 1868). Moffett was a professional painter and avocational archaeologist who lived and collected around Provincetown, MA (see Moffett 1946; 1951a; 1951b; 1953a; 1953c; 1957; 1959).

Jeffries Wyman

Although never formally trained in anthropology or archaeology, Wyman was described by a former student as ‘an anthropologist of a high order, his wide range of biological studies peculiarly fitting him for doing work of an unusual degree of excellence in the science of man’ (Packard 1886: 77). He received his A.B. in 1833 at Harvard University and later graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1837. As could be expected, he was well connected within academic circles.

Several of his main colleagues at Harvard included renowned botanist, Asa Gray, and noted zoologist and paleontologist, Louis Agassiz. All three men accepted appointments here within only a few years of each other. In 1842 Gray became Harvard’s first Fischer Professor of Natural History. Wyman became the Hersey professor of anatomy and physiology in 1847 and the following year, Agassiz accepted a professorship. All three men served as Presidents of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), established in 1848 with Agassiz as one of the founding members. Agassiz was president in 1851, with Wyman following in 1858. Gray was the last to serve as president in 1871.

During the 1850s and 1860s three museums were founded at Harvard University that helped further the careers of these men. In 1856, Agassiz became the director of the newly formed Museum of Comparative Zoology. In 1864, Gray donated his botanical collection to Harvard University, essentially founding the Gray Herbarium. In 1866, George Peabody financed the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology (Peabody Museum). Each man mentored and trained students at their respective museums, although many students took classes with both Agassiz and Wyman, such as Alpheus Hyatt, Edward Morse, Alpheus Packard, and Frederic Ward Putnam.

Wyman went on excursions with many former and current students, as did Agassiz. Although he excavated middens in Florida as early as 1852 (Murowchick 1990), Wyman went on one of his first local shell midden trips with Morse and Putnam2 in 1866. This resulted in the first publication to focus on shell middens in Massachusetts, which appeared in the first volume of the journal American Naturalist3 (refer again to Wyman 1868). The same year Wyman’s article was published, he accompanied Agassiz and one of Agassiz’s former students, Theodore Lyman III, on a second shell midden excursion in Massachusetts. According to Lyman, he ‘Took the 4 P.M. train for Wareham and found Agassiz and Wyman waiting to accompany; for I am to take them to Tisdale’s to recruit & look into shell heaps’ (Lyman 1868). The following day, he recollected how

We betook ourselves unto [the shell heaps] and there diligently dug for hours. The heaps that crown the headlands about are about 2 to 4 feet thick […] We discovered 3 species new to the shell-heap fauna, viz; striped bass, flounder, and sting-ray. So we came back with quite a bag, including 3 bits of worked bone and several of pottery. (Lyman 1868)

Although Wyman never published anything on this latter trip, he continued to explore shell middens in the Southeast for years.

The rigidity that transitive balanced triads bring to social networks requires closer examination when one considers real life examples. Kadushin (2012: 25) concurs, explaining ‘balance is only one theory about choice in a network and does have its limitations by postulating rigorous rules for relations that in messy social life do not always hold’. I also argue that transitivity must be considered as a snapshot in time and a situation in which outward appearances do not always correlate with one’s private opinions. From the information sketched out about the following six men, I renew my earlier consideration of transitive balanced triads: Agassiz, Darwin, Gray, Morse, Putnam, and Wyman.

On the Origin of Disagreements

Here I consider a series of triads made up by Agassiz, Darwin, Gray, and Wyman, some of whom had long histories together. Gray was partly responsible for Agassiz’s appointment at Harvard and had even hosted him when he visited Cambridge in 1846 (Cullen 2009: 400). Things quickly turned sour between the two men after Agassiz continually referred to Africans as a distinct species (Browman & Williams 2013). When details over the Peabody Museum were worked out, Wyman and Gray were both made trustees. Agassiz was not given any title or honorary position here even though it was associated with the Museum of Comparative Zoology (Browman & Williams 2013: 42). Squabbles over professional appointments and nominations continually arose with Agassiz constantly in opposition to Gray and Wyman. Many of these were local or national affairs, yet one major disagreement was decidedly intercontinental.

Though they met in the 1830s, Darwin and Gray corresponded for at least 26 years, (from 1855 to 1881). Both men were in agreement about Agassiz, relating amusing stories about how difficult and hardheaded he was. Darwin recalled a story shared with him by Charles Lyell, in which he

told me, that Agassiz having a theory about when Saurians were first created, on hearing some careful observations opposed to this, said he did not believe it, “for Nature never lied”— I am just in this predicament & repeat to you that “Nature never lies”; ergo, theorisers are always right. (Darwin 1865)

Gray appreciated this story, saying

Your anecdote of Agassiz, “Nature never lies” is most characteristic. Instead of learning caution from experience A. goes on faster than ever, in drawing positive conclusions from imperfect or conjectural data, confident that he reads Nature through and through, and without the least apparent misgiving that anything will turn up that he cannot explain away. (Gray 1857)

Darwin’s On the Origin of Species only added fuel to earlier fires. Early in 1860, Gray wrote to Darwin to give him some sense of how others at Harvard felt about his work. He explained on January 5th, ‘Dr. Wyman is just reading it—is struck with its ability, – but I shall know more what he thinks of it presently’ (Gray 1860a). He also relayed however that ‘Agassiz—when I saw him last, had read but a part of it. He says it is poor—very poor’ (Gray 1860a). A few days later in fact, Gray warned Darwin that Agassiz ‘has been helping the circulation of your book by denouncing it as atheistical in a public lecture’ (Gray 1860b). Quite contrary to Agassiz, Gray admitted to Darwin later in January, ‘I am free to say that I never learned so much from one book as I have from yours. There remain 1000 things I long to say about it’ (Gray 1860c). Darwin was clearly concerned about such criticisms and in February urged Gray that ‘if Agassiz writes anything on the subject, I hope you will tell me’ (Darwin 1860a). Two days later, Gray mailed Darwin a copy of his review, admitting ‘I have sent it to Agassiz. He is childishly apt to be offended at any opposition, but I have, as you see been very careful to avoid all cause of personal offence’ (Gray 1860d)

As mentioned earlier, Gray convinced Wyman to write to Darwin, which he did in September 1860. Darwin replied to his initial letter in early October, saying, ‘I know hardly anyone whose opinions I should be more inclined to defer to’ (Darwin 1860b). Darwin was quite clear about his relationship with Gray, acknowledging

No one other person understands me so thoroughly as Asa Gray. If ever I doubt what I mean myself, I think I shall ask him! His generosity in getting my views a fair hearing, & not caring himself for unpopularity has been most unselfish,—I would say noble. (Darwin 1860b)

Wyman had always had difficulties with Agassiz, confessing to his brother ‘he found Agassiz both intellectually and politically trying’ (Appel 1992: 108). Even though he supported Darwin’s work, he appears to have done so less publicly than Gray.

From this discussion, the relationship between these four men seems clear and all triads are indeed transitive balanced triads (see Figure 3), although with time the true complex relationships between several of these actors becomes clearer.

Figure 3 

Nature never lies.

On Parting Company and Mending Fences

While students remembered Wyman quite lovingly (for example, see Packard 1886), Agassiz was a difficult man under which to work. He ‘tended to patronize his students’ (Appel 1992: 108) and did not ‘let his students publish, as their own, work they had done in the Museum’ (Mark 1980: 228). In November 1863 Agassiz posted a series of seemingly hostile regulations at the Museum for Comparative Zoology, which prompted nearly all of his students to leave by 1864 (Browman 2002: 214). Called the ‘Salem Secession’, it included Hyatt, Morse, Packard, and Putnam. Although Packard did leave, he apparently stayed on good terms with Agassiz, although the same cannot be said for the others (Lockwood 2009: 106). The tension between Agassiz and Morse did ease in August 1869 at the annual meeting of the AAAS in Salem, MA. Although recalled sometime later by another former student of Agassiz’s, George Batchelor (1907: 571) remembered

Agassiz was in attendance, and some of the recalcitrant students were there also. Among them was Morse, who made a brilliant demonstration of his discovery with many and elegant drawings, illustrating the embryology and life history of terebratulina, which proved the case beyond a question. It has been impossible to forget the scene at the close of this address. All eyes turned to Agassiz. What would he say about this brilliant discovery of his pupil? He slowly advanced to the platform, and with great dignity and benignity said ‘Gentlemen, for the first time in the history of science, we are in a position to study the brachiopod intelligently.’ A storm of applause followed.

Again, if visualized in 1863, these triads were quite clear, although they had decidedly shifted between Agassiz and Morse by 1869.

Keeping the Peace and Jockeying for Position

As already shown, some triads were balanced and stable through time, such as the triad between Wyman, Putnam, and Morse; yet others, like the triad between Agassiz, Wyman and Putnam, were a bit more complex. Given the clear tensions between Agassiz and Putnam and the consistent, positive relationship between Wyman and Putnam, one would assume that Agassiz and Wyman’s relationship would have been forever damaged. While their relationship was clearly strained at times, Wyman and Agassiz worked together for decades.

As already mentioned, Wyman shied away from open conflict. Holmes remembered Wyman as a gentle man, explaining how he was ‘considerate with scientific weaklings, and corrected them as tenderly as Isaac Walton would have the angler handle his frog’ (Packard 1886: 89). Interestingly Louis Agassiz’s son (Alexander) remembered shortly after Wyman’s passing that ‘He never took part in any controversy’ (Packard 1886: 89). It was clearly in their best interests to work together at times given their close proximity at Harvard and their overlapping interests. Since the disagreement between Agassiz, Putnam, and Morse was not settled until 1869, it is understandable why Putnam and Morse did not accompany Lyman, Agassiz, and Wyman on their 1868 excursion regardless of their similar interests. It may have been in Putnam’s best interest to settle any issues with Agassiz, as he seemingly needed Agassiz’s support, along with Wyman’s to be elected permanent secretary of the AAAS in 1872 (Browman 2002: 215). Between 1860 and 1863 Agassiz witnessed several key relationships become strained, which were mended between at least 1868 and 1872 (see Figure 4).

Figure 4 

Mending fences.

From here one can clearly see the complexities of and shifts surrounding all the abovementioned professional relationships at Harvard University. While some of these men may not have been congenial in other situations, they were required to work together for both personal gain and the advancement of their disciplines. The line between friend and colleague can seem grey at times as well as the line between adversary and colleague.

Ross Moffett

Ross Moffett was a professional painter who moved to Provincetown just before World War I. He collected and excavated along the Outer Cape from the 1930s to 1960s and communicated with many avocational archaeologists along with a small group of professionals. It is from these letters that Moffett’s social circle begins to come to life.

Moffett’s main professional connections included two archaeologists employed at the Robert S. Peabody Museum of Archaeology in Andover, Massachusetts: Douglas S. Byers and Frederick Johnson. It is unclear when Moffett met these men, although it was likely soon before he joined the newly formed MAS (founded in 1939). It may have even been through his relationships with these men that he decided to join the MAS and to begin formally publishing his work in the society’s Bulletin. Moffett did communicate with Johnson more frequently, who himself appears to have had a strained working relationship with Byers. Although much less frequent, Moffett also wrote to and/or received letters from other professional archaeologists or professionals in closely related fields, such as Elso Barghoorn (Harvard University), J. O. Brew (Harvard University), Ripley Bullen (University of Florida), and William A. Ritchie (New York State Museum). Moffett’s principal avocational connections were with other members of the MAS. In all, his personal papers, housed at the Robert S. Peabody Museum of Archaeology, included letters between Moffett and over a dozen local and regional avocational archaeologists.4

Through a review of Moffett’s field notes, letters, and publications, he should also be seen of as a modern-day avocational wayfarer. Also from his larger role here, I understand him to be a bridge under the traditional terminology of SNA. I explain both in turn.

Moffett as an Avocational Wayfarer

Moffett is an idyllic example of a wayfarer for several reasons. According to Ingold, a wayfarer should be ‘imagined as the line of its own movement or—more realistically—a bundle of lines’ (Ingold 2011: 12). Furthermore, a wayfarer’s journey is along a trail, which together makes up a meshwork. When a wayfarer walks a trail, they look for opportunities. Through their journey, they also move knowledge.

As an avocational archaeologist, Moffett travelled all along the outer Cape searching for archaeological sites. As Johnson recalled in a letter written to Francis McManamon (2008: 4)5 dated October 9th, 1982:

he developed a habit of taking long quiet walks covering in considerable detail most of the outer Cape. He never could afford an auto but was able to get to Chatham and its environs somehow, on the hoof. These walks became a kind of archaeological surface survey that led to restricted and planned excavation, test trenching really.

As Johnson also indicates, given Moffett’s mode of transportation, his “territory” encompassed the towns nearest his Provincetown home, with Truro, in fact, being one of the most archaeologically rich areas along the Outer Cape as well. While Moffett’s avocational wayfaring can be appreciated quite broadly (see Figure 5), such macroscopic views fail to capture important details. Using one site as an example, I consider how the concepts of social networks and wayfaring can inform archaeologists in the present.

Figure 5 

Moffett’s avocational career as wayfaring.

Archaeological Sites as Meshwork Knots

The Pilgrim Spring site offers a particularly detailed example of avocational wayfaring, and extends beyond just Moffett’s movements. In fact, many avocational archaeologists worked here from at least the 1930s to the 1950s (see Figure 6). Moffett visited the site from 1935 to 1951, although he was not always alone. According to his field notes, in 1948 he dug at the site with ‘Dick Johnson and Cecil Himley—two complete beginners’ (Moffett n.d.). The following year he visited the site with Dick Johnson and Howard Torrey, a more senior avocational archaeologist. In addition, Harold Curtis and Irene Curtis, W. Elmer Ekblaw, Edward Rogers, Guy Mellgren, and Stephen Keighley dug here throughout these decades.

Figure 6 

The Pilgrim Spring site as a meshwork knot.

Moffett had a keen interest in other avocationalists’ finds, which he frequently documented. He even drew many artifacts in is notes, including his own. Sometimes Moffett needed to turn to his avocational colleagues for assistance in documenting others’ findings. For example, Moffett once wrote to Harold Curtis asking him where Elmer Ekblaw had uncovered the whale bones at the Pilgrim Spring site, as they were apparently together at the time. Moffett added a map in his letter and asked Curtis to mark the spot for him. Why Moffett did not ask Ekblaw himself is unknown, although Moffett seems to have been a closer friend to Curtis, who perhaps also served as a bridge for Moffett. Moffett was also in the habit of documented his interactions with other avocational archaeologists—interactions that may have otherwise gone undocumented. Not everyone was mentioned by name in his notes. For example, after most of the topsoil at Pilgrim Spring was removed by a bulldozer in 1949, Moffett described how ‘These areas, in the course of time, were pretty thoroughly gone over by relic hunters’ (Moffett n.d.).

With the Pilgrim Spring site as an example, one can see how sites become knots within a meshwork, or ‘the strongest points within the meshwork, with the threads as wayfarer’s trails’ (Ingold 2007: 101). Like Ingold, I was also interested in tracing these entanglements, which helped me locate Moffett’s place within the local social terrain in many ways.

Moffett Bridges the Gap

As recently outlined, bridges are significant in social network theory because they help connect peripheral nodes and/or peripheral groups to the larger group/network. In my estimation, while Moffett was a wayfarer, he was also bridge in the sense that he helped “link” a vast array of avocational archaeologists to his professional friends and colleagues, specifically Byers and Johnson. These connections helped shape archaeological theory and synthesis at the time. Many avocational archaeologists shared their collections with professionals, who were the main drivers of local theory and synthesis.

As a bridge, Moffett was connected to a great many people. He was quite close with many of his archaeological colleagues, although his frustration over others is evident through his personal writings. For example, Moffett described digging a bit at the Rich site in 1934. Returning in the winter of 1936, he found that another avocational archaeologist, Dr. Raddin, was also digging here. As Moffett explained, ‘Raddin had left the area in a mess and soon after ‘no digging’ signs appeared. By this time, however, nearly all of the site had been dug out’ (Moffett 1968: 1). Through conversations with Dr. Raddin however, Moffett learned that he had uncovered ‘what he had described as a group burial’ while another avocational couple, Thomas Somes and his wife, ‘found at this site a flexed burial, accompanied with a very large triangular point of dark reddish quartzite. They covered the burial over after filtching [sp] his spear point’ (Moffett 1968: 2). Moffett returned to the site alone for nearly a quarter century, or until at least 1957.

Working at the Rich site brought Moffett even closer (both literally and figuratively) to other avocational as well as professional friends. For example, Moffett returned to the Rich site with Harold Curtis and his wife Irene in September 1955 and with Frederick Johnson over the course of at least two years (1960 and 1962). Johnson and Moffett had renewed interest in the Rich site and borrowed the Curtis collection to photograph and study it. When they asked if they might borrow his collection, Curtis reflected on its personal significance in a letter to Johnson (Curtis 1962):

My enjoyment was in finding them, in the company of my wife and my friend Ross Moffett, and I like to look back on the happy hours we spent together, obtaining them.

Occasionally I like to get my artifacts out for my wife and me to look at and re-live the happiness we had in finding them, but I have long since ceased to show them to outsiders.

It not only arouses envy, jealousy and then resentment if they are not loaded down with some of the best before they leave here. Of late I have lost friendships of long standing, that I valued, in just this way. So, when the artifacts are returned they will only be packed away with the rest that I have found, and still treasure.

A few years later Johnson wrote to Moffett explaining ‘Harold Curtis’ way of doing things seems to me to be a bit gruesome. It is kind of terrible to wrap everything up in packages and then sit around waiting to die so that people can unwrap them. I hope that he keeps busy so that he will not get bored looking at all the packages’ (Johnson 1965).

In a much earlier letter to Curtis, Moffett commented that his ‘copper point & the stone turtle are the only such pieces that I have seen from this area [the Pilgrim Spring site]’ (Moffett 1953d). In the end, Curtis offered these two artifacts to Moffett, saying ‘I would gladly present them to you as a gift’ (Curtis 1953). Curtis used artifacts from his collection to solidify his friendships, although, as he previously mentioned, they also destroyed some as well. Regardless, Moffett does not appear to have accepted Curtis’ offer, as only a photograph of these artifacts were in his collection, rather than the artifacts themselves.

Some of Moffett’s avocationalist colleagues wrote detailed letters to him about others’ collections. For example, Arthur Flint wrote to Moffett soon after viewing the collection of an avocational father and son team: Frank Kremp Sr. and Frank Kremp, Jr.. Flint explained, ‘Young Kremp called me Thursd. Night, and asked me if I would like to come over to his father’s house, as they were there cataloging the latest find […] I was dog tired, but I didn’t want to miss the chance, so I went over’ (Flint 1960). When he arrived, both father and son were cataloging with ‘a grid plan of the ground that they dug over […] They had them [artifacts] spread out on the living room floor, and both were on their hands and knees hard at it when I arrived’ (Flint 1960). Flint suggested ‘Fred [Johnson] coming down and taking pictures of it, but I also gathered that it was open to anyone who cared to do it, as he said that he realized that there was quite a bit of professional jealousy between the experts, so called, so what he meant by that, I don’t rightly know’ (Flint 1960 [emphasis added]). The Kremp collection certainly impressed Flint. As he admitted, ‘I certainly was pleased to see the collection, and sure wish that you and I could stumble on to a set-up like it’ (Flint 1960). Flint continued:

he did say that if anything happened to him, that his son would have the whole works to do as he saw fit with […] He said first along that he would turn it over to some museum, but then he said he said that so many so many collections get salted away in the cellars of those institutions, that he guessed it would be much better off in the house where others could see it. (Flint 1960)

A portion of Kremp’s collection was catalogued in 1984 (see Mahlstedt 1985). Interestingly, according to Mahlstedt’s report, ‘his [Kremp’s] territory did not overlap with that of Ross Moffett and Howard Torrey’ (Mahlstedt 1985: 34 [emphasis added]). This seems to allude to a seemingly unwritten rule between some avocational archaeologists, who potentially laid claim to particular areas.6

It is through these and other connections that Moffett gained knowledge about many more sites in the area. Individuals, serving as bridges between groups, do generally have access to more information and more social capital (Strathdee 2005). This rings true with Moffett’s example. For example, in 1962, soon after the National Park Service established the Cape Cod National Seashore, Moffett provided them with information on 115 archaeological sites in the area (McManamon 2008: 3). Since the area included a fair amount of archaeological sites that he had visited and excavated through countless wayfaring journeys, Moffett gladly assisted.


The two examples presented here have helped breathe life into the concepts surrounding social networking and wayfaring. Wyman’s and Moffett’s examples have also helped illuminate a major difference between the two. While wayfaring focuses on movements through space, time is not necessarily an important factor. Conversely, to connect two people in a social network, neither needs to be in close physical proximity, although they do need to be in close temporal proximity (i.e. as seen through both Wyman’s and Moffett’s letters). Moffett, in particular, wrote to many more avocationalists and professionals than he worked with in the field. Hundreds of letters traveled to and from Moffett’s Provincetown residence. May these letters also be seen of as part of his wayfaring journey? Regardless, they have certainly combined to create a crisper picture of both men’s influence on 19th and 20th century archaeology in Massachusetts as well as their own influences and contributing relationships. The connections that these two men forged and maintained helped connect like minds, move bodies and generate knowledge related to shell midden archaeology in Massachusetts.

Here SNA and wayfaring can pair quite nicely. Some subtleties would be missed if one only focused on social connections. Much would be lost without tracing movement through space via wayfaring, such as how social connections can lead to collaborative field experiences (as with the wayfaring journeys of Wyman, Putnam, and Morse and Wyman, Agassiz, and Lyman). Conversely, wayfaring picks up on things that SNA is ill-equipped to capture, such as visualizing which sites become strong points within the professional and/or avocational landscape with repeated and continued visitation over time.

Documenting a locales’ social terrain and social climate could also help inform us in real ways in the present. Not only could this information help archaeologists (or even historians of science) historicize discussions and larger controversies, but it also, quite practically, could help archaeologists and museum professionals better understand and manage their collections. By knowing where avocational and professional archaeologists worked and with whom, collections managers could be better informed on things like provenience, especially if items may have been loaned or gifted to friends and associates.