USI’s Archaeology Field School uncovering Harmonist history


The University of Southern Indiana is conducting an Archaeology Field School through June 8 in New Harmony, Indiana, site of two of America’s early utopian communities.

Dr. Michael Strezewski, assistant professor of anthropology, and about a dozen students are continuing the excavation of the Harmonist kiln site that began in 2009.

At the corner of North and West streets, Harmonist potter Christoph Weber manufactured redware pottery for the Harmonists and for sale to the public through the Harmonist store. The kiln was in operation from 1815 to 1824.

Based on his research and findings at the site, Strezewski said the Harmonists fired about 5,000 pieces of redware at a time in the kiln. It was last fired December 31, 1824, and likely never used by the Owenites, the second communal experiment at New Harmony.

“This pottery is one of the few things you can pick up out of the ground and say, ‘This was made by the Harmonists,'” Strezewski said.

The kiln was uncovered in 2010. More information about the dig is on Strezewski’s web page, linked above.

The site is open to the public from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, except on Memorial Day, and while in operation is a stop on the Historic New Harmony tours.