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U of M receives National Park Service grant

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The National Park Service has awarded $195,200 in grants from the National Center for Preservation Technology & Training to assist with projects using science and technology for historic preservation. A total of five grants, ranging from $38,500 to $40,000, were awarded for projects that develop new technologies or adapt existing technologies to preserve our nation’s cultural resources. Among this year’s grants are those that fund projects to better understand the range of climate change impacts on archeological sites, and the investigation of radiant energy barriers, a type of insulation, as a means of improving energy efficiency in older homes.

“These innovative projects are developing new technologies to preserve our nation’s historic resources,” said Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “We are pleased to provide assistance for these programs that are bringing the best skills and technology of the present to preserve the treasures of the past.”

One of the $40,000 grants from the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training will allow University of Memphis professors Ryan Parish, David Dye and Ying Sing Li to analyze artifacts from central Tennessee. The goal is to understand how people used stone resources and adapted to warmer climates.

Stone was important for some early inhabitants of Tennessee, who used it for everyday tools and hunting equipment. The U of M research team is developing new technologies that can identify where Native Americans got their stone resources. The data then can be used to record past migrations and identify how this may have changed over time with stabilizing climate conditions.

“The resulting data will tell us how these terminal Ice Age hunter-gatherers moved around the land, potentially identify individual band groups, and show us how their territories may have decreased over time as the climate and ecosystems stabilized with the warming modern-day climate,” Parish said.

Parish, the principal investigator, is an assistant professor of archaeology. Dye is a professor of archaeology and Li is a professor of chemistry; they are co-principal investigators. The research project will be carried out over the course of a year.