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Exploring the Border War: JCCC College Scholar shares local archaeology of Civil War era

Presentations are March 5, March 12 and April 23
Posted on Mar. 4th, 2014
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – Just below the soil is the history of the Civil War and evidence of its destruction along the Missouri-Kansas border. You just need to know where to look, a scholar at Johnson County Community College explains.

Ann Raab, adjunct professor of anthropology, will share her field findings and dissertation research about the region’s often-overlooked history in the Civil War.

“Unleashing the Wolf: The Archaeology of General Order No. 11” will be presented at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 23, in Hudson Auditorium in the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art. A 6:30 p.m. reception in the Regnier Center will precede the event.

The event is free, and the public is encouraged to attend.

Raab has studied two distinct sites in Bates County, Missouri, for evidence of Civil War-era conflict that revolved around a little-known executive order. That order, General Order No. 11, forced anyone not within one mile of a military zone to evacuate their homes.

The order, Raab explained, was in reaction to the raid by William Quantrill that left more than 180 people dead in Lawrence, Kan., in 1863. Because the guerrillas lived or sought refuge along the Missouri border, and because there was no way to distinguish a combatant from a noncombatant, an entire swath of land along the border was ordered depopulated.

“And because the Union wanted no place where the guerrillas could hide, they burned down every building; they burned down every field. Everything was destroyed by fire,” Raab said.

Evidence of those fires remains yet today, and Raab has chronicled the history by digging into layers of Missouri soil.

Raab will present two other lectures on the topic targeting specific audiences, though the public is invited to these lectures as well.
“Finding Your Inner Indiana Jones: Archaeology for Fun and Academic Credit” will be 2:30-3:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 12, in Craig Community Auditorium (GEB 233). As the title indicates, Raab will introduce the study of archaeology to students around the frame of its most dashing cinematic hero, Indiana Jones.

For faculty, staff and interested scholars, Raab will present ““Bringing the Past Alive: Community-Based Research on the Missouri/Kansas Border” from 2:30-3:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 5, in Craig Community Auditorium.

Raab said she’s always been interested in archaeology and anthropology, even as a girl growing up in northern Kansas City. After pursuing a bachelor’s degree in theatre, she decided to further her studies in anthropology, receiving a master’s degree from California State University-Northridge in 2005 and a doctorate degree from the University of Kansas in 2012.

She has been teaching archaeology and anthropology on both sides of the border: at the University of Missouri-Kansas City since 2008, and at JCCC since 2011.

Her education also crosses that same border. Her BA is from Avila University in Kansas City, Mo., and she remains a self-professed “huge MU (University of Missouri) fan” by virtue of growing up in KCMO. Yet her PhD is from KU.

“That border still has great ramifications in this area,” Raab said. “Most people know a little bit about the history of why that is the case, but I’m amazed at how much of this history they don’t know, and that’s one reason I want to share it.”

Raab will present as part of the JCCC College Scholar program, which showcases faculty excellence in research fields that go beyond the classroom to make scholarly contributions to knowledge within the professor's academic discipline.