Public archaeology

Being Better Gatekeepers of the Knowledge Bank

This summer was my first not in the field in over a decade (I know an apt time to write a Day of Archaeology post but it is the first time my brain wasn’t fried by the sun). While it has been challenging not to work in the field, sweating digging, troweling, and picking, it has afforded me time to engage in other things archaeology: finishing research, attending conferences, attending archaeology classes and thinking, lots and lots of time alone thinking.

However, the best thing that my time off from field work has given me is time to travel with my fiancée, a non-archaeologist but avid learner of everything. We have seen everything from National Parks and Ancestral Puebloan ruins to Parchi Nazionali and Roman fora. Just because I wasn’t excavating didn’t mean I was avoiding archaeology, just engaging with it in a different way.

Being trained as an archaeologist since undergrad, visiting such sites and understanding them is a well practiced skill for me. I have learned how to navigate the stones, pits and poorly written signage well. But as my fiancée has not spent years in school for archaeology, she found it incredibly frustrating (and made sure I knew it) to visit poorly signed sites both home and abroad. Faded state plans surrounded by blocks of text made no sense to her until I was able to decipher and focus the information. Sometimes even my own excitement got ahead of me and caused confusion, that was till she lovingly told me to slow down – after which I focused my slew of information to create a richer tour for her without beating her over the head with every foundation stone and pot sherd. And while she loves having her own personal archaeologist tour guide, not all people visiting our beloved sites will have one on hand (unless we start going on a lot more dates with non-archaeologists).

These experiences demonstrated to me that we archaeologists need to be better stewards of the knowledge that we uncover every summer. This is more important now more than ever with sites coming under attack from governments, militaries, and too much love. This is not to say that we should be more restrictive in who sees the knowledge or even dumb down any of the facts we share, but the flood of information needs to be better managed. Archaeological parks and sites need cohesive Cultural Interpretation Plans (CIPs) that will help guide creating focused signs and thematic units for parks. Every time a person leaves a site thinking that was just a bunch of rocks or worse yet, a person chooses not to enter a site because all they think they will see are a bunch of rocks, we lose. We lose the voices and support we need in the public to save these places, find new ones, and prevent looting. With increasing pressure to be relevant and useful, we need to show how irreplaceable the sites we cherish are. The time to move on from archaic old styles of sharing information is now. For if we wait longer, will there be any sites left to save?

Andrew Carroll

@MagisterCarroll

Community Archaeology in Roman Æclanum

This summer, I was fortunate enough to work on a community archaeology event centred around the Roman town of Æclanum, along the Appian Way (modern Passo di Mirabella, Italy). The role of this type of archaeology in connecting local communities to their heritage is significant, with many possibilities for creativity and fun. Our teams included scholars from several international institutions and students from over 70 universities, which added to the diversity of ideas and approaches for our Open Day.

The directors of the Æclanum excavation, led by the University of Edinburgh and the Apolline Project, wanted to begin developing a presence within the community to encourage future seasons of public engagement and interest.

What made this experience challenging and exciting was that it was my first time at the helm of a community archaeology project, and it needed to be delivered in Italian. There were many things to consider when beginning to create materials and plan events. I approached the project from the ground up, so to speak: the first step was to establish the directors’ aims and objectives, then to research how previous and current community archaeology projects conducted their own programs, i.e. their methodologies. By doing so, the questions of methodology, and of desired outcomes that needed to be addressed in the Æclanum project, would be more comprehensively realized.

 

One of our aims was to come up with educational games and materials that would engage the schoolchildren and adult visitors on the open day and beyond. As an illustrator and archaeologist, foundational elements were essential to design and establish a consistency in the materials for the site that were accurate representations but also a bit fun. We came up with a site logo that represented the wolf, which is regionally and historically significant to the region of Irpinia.

Illustration for social media

It was a lot of fun developing the style to create the characters, images, and icons that we would use for the site. The site maps were designed with a comic style, which could be easily understood and read by any visitor to the site. Larger print items and digital materials (which could be accessed online) shared the comic style, to appeal broadly and convey information colourfully and effectively.

One of the most exciting things about doing illustration work on an ongoing excavation, and developing materials for an open day, is the things that you discover can be woven into the displays within a few days! An inscription that was found on a Friday was drawn, digitized and turned into a stamp by the following week! It was incredibly cool for me to be a part of that.

As the buses rolled in, our supervisors and students showed their expertise and enthusiasm for archaeology, with the visitors of all ages participating in the activities and tours. Based on their feedback, we were thrilled by the positive response, and grateful for input on areas which they would like to see or experience more.

What surprised me the most during this process was the importance of flexibility and fluidity. It is impossible to know how many people will turn up to an open day, and having great tours and activity tables can come down to contingency plans and experienced public speakers. Similarly, some activities, which the archaeology students were engaged in during the event, became immediate hits with the children who took to the work brilliantly! Things that weren’t planned necessarily to be interactive developed that way throughout the day, and it was fantastic to have the young visitors inform us about how and with what they wanted to interact!

With many exciting ways being developed to engage new audiences and young people with community archaeology, I am thrilled to be able to work in such a dynamic and creative area of archaeology.

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Archaeology, Gigs and Grad School

Greetings Fellow Humans!

This is my first Day of Archaeology post, so an introduction. I am Nikki Martensen, an archaeologist, and an applied anthropologist. I am currently pursuing my Master’s Degree in Applied Anthropology at Humboldt State University. My thesis research focuses on the user experiences of archaeology as it is presented through the internet.

Here is me working on the Market Street Chinatown Archaeology Project (the artifacts on the tray are rubber telephone mouthpieces).

I have a few other things going on as well. I also work at the Stanford Archaeology Center as a research assistant for the Market Street Chinatown Archaeology Project, doing some collections management and ceramic analysis. I am also an intern at the Center for Digital Archaeology, and recently joined the team of Codifi, Inc., and we are helping some really cool archaeology projects go paperless with their fieldwork.

This week, I have been on location in the Center for Digital Archaeology office, hanging out with fellow interns. We got an awesome lesson from Chris Sims of Go Dig a Hole about podcasting and even got to join in on an episode recording.

Whether I am working from the office, or from home, a typical day for me will cycle through a few different experiences. It is normal for me to have several projects at once. I don’t do all of these things daily, but a typical work day of my life is a bit like this:

Walking, and java

First thing every day. Some days I end up at the computer all day, so this helps to keep me sane.

Thesis writing

I am currently in the proposal writing stage of my Master’s Thesis. Most days I will read something related to my topic, or write and revise some part of it.

Codifi Team Communication

Every day, the team has a quick check in meeting through a video call. Since the team isn’t always working at the same time, this helps to check in with our plans and availability for meetings throughout the day.Working with Codifi is both fulfilling and stimulating. We’ve helped with some awesome field deployments for archaeology projects such as Horvat Midras n the Judaean foothills (you can check out photos of the project on the Horvat Midras Excavation page on Facebook.)

Center for Digital Archaeology (CoDA), Blogging and Outreach

One of my favorite parts of my internship is the blogging and outreach. Some days, I may be writing out some TrainingTIPS for the CoDA blog. This is a series of simple and useful tips that I have learned while being a student in CoDA webinars.

Ceramic Analysis/Data entry for the Market Street Chinatown Archaeology Project (MSCAP)

The bulk of my work here has been about collections management and ceramic analysis for the Market Street Chinatown Archaeology Project. This project is a research and education program developed by the Stanford Archaeology Center, the Stanford University Department of Anthropology, History San Jose, Environmental Science Associates, and the Chinese Historical and Cultural Project. This project is fascinating to me because of the many communities involved with it.

My career in archaeology has been fun and fulfilling, to say the least, and I look forward to sharing many more experiences and also learning about yours! Feel free to find me at liminalanthropology.wordpress.com or on twitter @liminalANTH.

Thank you for reading and have an adventurous day!

Archaeology and Iowa’s Project AWARE River Clean-up

By Elizabeth Reetz, University of Iowa Office of the State Archaeologist

Paddling a stretch of more than 17 miles of river is something I haven’t done since working as an archaeologist in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. But yes – I have continued to find a way to mesh my love of canoeing with my profession of archaeology, and integrate it with environmental education!  Paddling a stretch of more than 17 miles of river is something I haven’t done since working as an archaeologist in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. But yes – I have continued to find a way to mesh my love of canoeing with my profession of archaeology, and integrate it with environmental education!

Pretty soon after moving to Iowa, I learned about an absolutely incredible (hyperbole intentional!) community event called Project AWARE (A Watershed Awareness and River Expedition). Project AWARE, sponsored by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and now in its 15th year, focuses on a different stretch of a different waterway in Iowa each year to increase awareness about, and community involvement in, water quality issues that impact the health of Iowa’s aquatic resources. The crux of this project is removing trash from the waterway. Just as important though is the project’s integration of place-based education focused on each year’s route to promote engaged conservation and stewardship. It’s just amazing – I wish every state had an event like this!

OSA's Cherie Haury-Artz engages 2016 volunteers with Iowa's archaeological timeline of artifacts.

OSA’s Cherie Haury-Artz engages 2016 volunteers with Iowa’s archaeological timeline of artifacts.

Playing with altatls and spears in the Project AWARE campground.

OSA’s Cherie Haury-Artz helping volunteers with altatls and spears in the Project AWARE campground.

Where this event links in with archaeology is simple: People use and have always used waterways and their resources. Most of Iowa’s 29,000 documented archaeological sites have been found along the state’s thousands of miles of rivers and streams, which means that Project AWARE participants have passed hundreds, if not thousands of archaeological sites over the past 15 years and, until recently, didn’t even know it! My office started doing one-day guided archaeological canoe trips for the Iowa DNR Water Trails program, community talks about the archaeology of Iowa’s water trails, and evening campground programs for the Project AWARE participants in 2014. In 2016, my colleague Cherie Haury-Artz and I signed on to be “resident archaeologists” throughout the 5-day canoe journey. As resident archaeologists, we give educational talks and showcase artifacts and traditional toys and games in the evenings. More importantly though, we’re available as informal educators and interpreters while canoeing the river. Archaeology is not only about objects and artifacts, but about how humans have used the land throughout time. A long stretch of river will pass numerous landforms, landscapes, and confluences, all of which have a human story to tell.

This year’s route covered 55 miles of the upper Cedar River, from the Iowa-Minnesota border to near Nashua, Iowa. Before the trip, I did a search through our archaeological site records and found about 50 previously recorded sites within 100 meters of the banks of the Cedar River (hear more during the last 20 minutes of this Iowa Public Radio program!), including highly visible remnant dams and bridge footings. Of course, we couldn’t see most of these sites, because what remains is below the ground, but that still doesn’t mean that the land isn’t telling a human story!

Map of archaeological sites across Iowa and Project AWARE route

Iowa’s 29,000+ documented archaeological sites are clustered around rivers and streams. The Project AWARE route on the upper Cedar River is highlighted.

A selection of artifacts from sites recorded along the 2017 Project AWARE route.

A selection of artifacts from sites recorded along the 2017 Project AWARE route.

The longest day of the 5-day paddle was 17.5 miles on Day 4 (July 13), which is an incredible amount of paddling combined with pulling and hauling tons of trash from the river. That day, we passed 19 recorded archaeological sites, ranging from undiagnostic prehistoric artifact scatters and Woodland and Oneota villages and mounds to a historic hotel site in downtown Charles City. Most of these sites were recorded between the 1970s and 1990s, because this stretch of river traversed a pretty undeveloped part of Iowa. Where there is little to no development, there is little to no contract archaeology. Therefore, we strongly emphasized to participants to pass the word about our need for land owners and artifact collectors to help us build the story of Iowa’s archaeological past. A huge misconception in Iowa, which ranks 47th with less than 3 percent public land, is that archaeologists will either “take control of your land and tell you what to do” or “tell everyone about where you find artifacts.”  To Iowans and beyond, I just have to say, neither of these things are true!

But back to the paddle…

Crew hauling heavy tire from river

It takes a small village to “excavate” some of the trash!

We started off the day during morning announcements by presenting what type of archaeological sites the participants would pass along the route and then headed to the launch. My partner for the day, Dante (a Theater student from the University of Iowa), was participating in this 6th Project AWARE and was pretty well versed at spotting trash – in a way, its own type of archaeological survey! Our first big find of the day was less than a mile into the morning. Often paddlers will come across others working on projects, known to some of the participants as “excavations,” and stop to see if help is needed.  We came across Mirm, a first year participant who moved to New England from the Netherlands, and Ron, a second year participant from southeast Iowa, working with a team to remove a large tire from the river bottom.  The tire still had the rim, which meant it was heavy. After draining the mud and water from the tire, it took a small village to hoist it onto two canoes, which we roped together to make a “canoe-maran” for safer and sturdier transport.  Because the first trash collection point was nearly four more miles away, we paddled as hard as we could to haul this estimated 300-lb beast and drop it off before the cut-off time.

Creating a canoe-maran to safely and securely haul oversized and heavy trash.

Creating a canoe-maran to safely and securely haul oversized and heavy trash.

After dropping off the beast and unhitching from Mirm and Ron, we enjoyed some pie and ice cream and got back on the water in search of more “trophy trash.”  We found lots of aluminum cans that collected downstream from a highway overpass and part of an old truck precariously eroding out of a steep river bank.  Hello, nettles. Towards the end of the journey, we came across a huge team working diligently on a huge mess. As an archaeologist, I am both fascinated with and astonished by the array of material culture found in these rivers. This large trash dump – mostly in the river – contained one of the largest varieties of items I’ve seen in one river dump.  There was barbed wire and fencing in the bank and along the river bottom, tires, parts of a TV or radio, a car hood, a conveyor belt from some farm machinery, and weird metal bits us archaeologists like to refer to as, “unidentifiable metal objects.”  Canoe after canoe was called over and filled to the brim, and to my knowledge, no one got to finish cleaning up this dump before the sweep came by to get participants back to camp.  We had another hefty load. At the end of the day, my arms were as dead as a day full of non-stop shovel testing.

The canoe-maran team that hauled the beast! Mirm, Ron, Dante, and Elizabeth.

The canoe-maran team that hauled the beast! Mirm, Ron, Dante, and Elizabeth.

Loading up volunteers with trash from a large dump in the river.

Loading up volunteers with trash from a large dump in the river.

One of the big questions is, are some of these trash dumps actually archaeological sites?  Truth is, in a technical sense, they could be. What we focus on here is context, integrity, and knowledge about the past that we don’t already know. If these items are loose and in danger of washing down the river or hazardous (sharp and rusty metal, broken glass), I’m okay with them going in the trash. If these items are certain to erode away and become a bigger hazard, again, I’m okay with calling them trash. Rusty metal is not at all good for water quality, so let’s get it out of the rivers. People are not digging into the ground to remove objects.  Participants are well-educated about private property and bank stabilization, and leave these items found in these contexts as is. The “excavations” mentioned before are where items (usually tires, oil drums, and old cars or farm machinery) are eroding out of the river banks, with enough obvious exposure to catch someone’s eye. Also, what happens to archaeological artifacts that are found in the river?  As far as I know, no one the past two years of me being a resident archaeologist as come across any prehistoric artifacts.  If these artifacts are found, we encourage people to get a photo and, to the best of their ability, a location so we can later record or update a site file.  We practice a “leave no trace” ethic and do not collect artifacts.  Artifacts in the waterway are under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers.

This event is hands-down my favorite archaeology outreach event of the year.  I’m proud of what this team of nearly 500 incredible volunteers accomplished this year! Just to brag a little bit, here are the end stats from the Iowa DNR:

  • Total Trash Removed – 28.0 tons (55,945 lbs)
    • Tires – 368 tires (7.3 tons; 14,500 lbs)
    • Scrap Metal – 14.9 tons (29,860 lbs)
    • Recyclables (redeemables, plastic, cardboard, glass, household hazardous materials) – 2.5 tons (5,045 lbs)
    • Trash – 3.3 tons (6,540 lbs)
  • Trash Recycled: 88% (49,405 lbs; 24.7 tons)

We can’t wait until next year!

canoe full of river trash

The home stretch of the 17.5 mile day with a canoe full of trash.

Want to keep up with what we do in Iowa? We’re on FacebookTwitterInstagramTumblr, and YouTube!

MSU Campus Archaeology – Public Outreach

The Michigan State University Campus Archaeology Program (CAP) works to mitigate and protect archaeological resources on Michigan State University’s beautiful and historic campus.  Although the program was officially created in 2007, the first on-campus excavation occurred in 2005. The upcoming academic year (2017-2018) is bringing several big changes to the program: director Dr. Lynne Goldstein is retiring, and Dr. Stacey Camp was recently hired to take over as program director.  This means that we’re doing lots of behind the scenes house keeping to make sure that everything from the last 10+ years is in order before Dr. Goldstein’s retirement.  Additionally I’ve been serving as the campus archaeologist since 2015, and will be stepping down after May 2018 (when I will hopefully graduate!). That means I need to also have all of my materials well documented and in order so that the transition to the next campus archaeologist goes as smoothly as possible.

So, what does that means for me today? Today I’m working on a photo book documenting the last two years of CAP activity and projects. We distribute this book to university administrators, deans, board of trustees, etc. to highlight the wide variety of work CAP does. Obviously I’m still working on the 2016-2017 book, but below is a sample from the 2015 book.

2015 CAP Photo book Example

2015 CAP Photo book Example

Making and distributing this book is a great public outreach opportunity, allowing CAP to easily describe our field word, laboratory analysis, and outreach over the past years. My job today is to summarize these large projects into short, simple page length (or less!) descriptions.

Some of the major projects to be included in this years book are:

2016 Survey

During the summer of 2016 university landscape services rejuvenated one of the major entrances to campus.  Historically several important buildings (Y.M.C.A., hospital, weather bureau, and Station Terrace) occupied this area, so CAP conducted several sweeps of shovel test pits.  Testing revealed that most of the northern section of the entrance was highly disturbed, but the southern most portion of the median revealed the foundation of Station Terrace.

CAP field crew documenting STP 3B-14, part of the foundation wall of Station Terrace

CAP field crew documenting STP 3B-14, part of the foundation wall of Station Terrace

 

 

 

That summer the field crew also excavated at two additional locations, an old greenhouse and a botanical laboratory that burned down in 1879.

Beal's Laboratory foundation wall - burn layer visible in unit wall.

Beal’s Laboratory foundation wall – burn layer visible in unit wall.

Field crew members Becca Albert and Jack Biggs show off a pipe fragment from the Old Horticulture greenhouse

Becca Albert and Jack Biggs show off a pipe fragment from the greenhouse.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Food Reconstruction Project

Over the past year several CAP graduate fellows worked to recreate an 1860s meal on campus based on archaeological, archival, and historic cookbook research.  Although only photos will be used, check out this short video to learn more:

2017 Field School

From May 30th – June 30th MSU Anthropology undergraduate students returned to the site of Station Terrace (first located during the summer of 2016) to examine more of the building.  It was a small group this year, but we were able to excavate six units, and reveal more of the building’s interior and exterior.

CAP field school students Josh Eads and Kaleigh Perry excavate underneath ceramic pipes running along the stone foundation.

CAP field school students Josh Eads and Kaleigh Perry excavate underneath ceramic pipes running along the stone foundation.

Unit A north wall stratigraphy. The 2016 test pit is visible on the left side, with undisturbed layers including a feature visible on the right.

Unit A north wall stratigraphy. The 2016 test pit is visible on the left side, with undisturbed layers including a feature visible on the right.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The one thing I really wish I could include in the book, but can’t is this video of Dr. Goldstein demonstrating how to pop dirt directly into the screen:

These are just a few of the many projects campus archaeology has completed over the last two years.  If you’re interested in learning more, or keeping up with upcoming research and projects head on over to the Campus Archaeology website, or following us on instagram or twitter (@capmsu).

 

 

Dopo una mostra archeologica

Forse qualcuno di voi si ricorderà di alcuni post dell’anno scorso, nei quali raccontavamo del nostro lavoro per organizzare una mostra.

Quella mostra –  “Archaeology&ME. Leggere l’archeologia nell’Europa contemporanea”  – è stata inaugurata  a Palazzo Massimo il 9 dicembre 2016 e si è conclusa il 23 aprile 2017, quindi pochi mesi fa.

Organizzata nell’ambito del progetto europeo NEARCH, la mostra esponeva le opere di cittadini europei che si sono interrogati sul ruolo dell’archeologia nell’Europa contemporanea.

Accanto a circa 80 fra dipinti e disegni, vi era anche una seconda sessione dedicata a presentare il punto di vista di noi archeologi: quale, cioè, sia per noi il ruolo dell’archeologia, o almeno alcuni dei suoi aspetti più rilevanti nella nostra società (strumento di inclusione, metodologia, indagine sull’uso del passato, ecc.).

Il catalogo che illustra questo percorso – in inglese ed italiano – è scaricabile gratuitamente dal sito.

Ma una volta terminata la mostra, è iniziato per noi organizzatori un lavoro non meno importante di analisi dei suoi risultati, a partire dai feedback che abbiamo ricevuto attraverso i social dai visitatori reali e virtuali.

E’ un lavoro complesso, ma indispensabile se vogliamo che il progetto – lungo e faticoso – di organizzazione dell’esposizione abbia un valore che va al di là dei contenuti della mostra stessa e offra delle indicazioni per migliorare la comunicazione e renderla sempre più efficace e in grado di rivolgersi ad un pubblico sempre più ampio.

Comunicando meglio creiamo le basi per una migliore sostenibilità della nostra disciplina… obiettivo fra i più urgenti visto che le risorse pubbliche scarseggiano sempre più, in Italia e altrove in Europa.

 

More Pills and Potions at the Niagara Apothecary 2017

We are back at the Niagara Apothecary in Niagara-on-the-Lake in Ontario, Canada this summer for 5 weeks (July 26 – August 25). Last summer’s dig resulted in over 8,000 artifacts recovered and 700+ visitors to the site over a ten day period. This summer’s program is all about public archaeology as a result. In partnership with the Ontario College of Pharmacists and the Niagara-on-the-Lake Historical Society and Museum, we have an enthusiastic group of volunteers assisting Ontario Heritage Trust archaeologists with continuing excavations in the rear yard of the Apothecary. They will be excavating, cleaning artifacts and assisting with public engagement at the site.

 

We recently installed a small exhibit within the Apothecary showing the results of last year’s excavations and some of the artifacts that were recovered. Last summer, we almost completed excavation of a pit feature first partially excavated in 1988. Perhaps fortuitously, there is still a bit more of this feature we will be excavating this year. The large quantity of pharmaceutical glass recovered in 1988 and 2016 has indicated that this pit contained over 130 glass containers which at one point in time were within the Apothecary. The results from residue analysis testing indicated that we had several bottles containing antacids, as well as powdered watercolor paint (red). The most interesting result we were waiting for was related to a glass vial that was packed full of pills. Whatever active ingredient it contained originally, had dissipated but it appears as we suspected, that they were homeopathic remedies.

This season, we will be exploring other areas in this small rear yard to determine the location of former structures. Historically, this lot held three buildings. The first building was constructed c. 1810 and was destroyed during the War of 1812 on December 10, 1813 . Once gone, a building was constructed in the 1830s on the corner which is today, the Niagara Apothecary. A second building stood to its rear fronting onto King Street and one additional, somewhat smaller building stood at the northern end of the lot. Last year we found tantalising evidence of the middle building and at the north end of the lot, an 1820 coin and building rubble. Several units will be placed across the site to try to determine the integrity and nature of the deposits.

On the Day of Archaeology 2017, we are in the field with our first group of volunteers! Next week we will also have volunteers start washing artifacts. Niagara-on-the-Lake is a tourist destination and since we began this year on July 26, we have had the opportunity to engage in conversation with 92 visitors and anticipate the numbers will increase daily. So, if you are in the area, please stop by and visit us!

From Housing to History & Archaeology

Posted on behalf of Jonathan Howells, Department Administrator for Department of History & Archaeology, Amgueddfa Cymru-National Museum Wales

I am no archaeologist. Before working for the museum my idea of an archaeologist was vague and mostly gathered from watching Lucas’ Indiana Jones films.

Therefore, this blog can only highlight my experience since joining the History and Archaeology department at Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum of Wales as their administrator; covering Cardiff Museum and St Fagans National Museum of History.

How did I come to be at the museum? Well, I was sadly made redundant from my previous position working for the national representative voice for tenants in Wales. Finding a suitable position or any work for that matter was difficult (especially in the Valleys). Thankfully after signing up to an agency, they managed to find me the right kind of work and more importantly with the best kind of people – and the rest is history!

Like going into any new working environment, it was a bit daunting at first, but the people were very welcoming and wouldn’t mind sharing their knowledge and past stories over a cup of filtered coffee.

Apart from administration I’ve been involved in a few archaeology-related activities, for example; I assisted with the cross-departmental Discovery Day that was based on the theme Colour, which was filled full of family-friendly activities, visitors were able to learn about the objects that were exhibited (including the impressive Treasure 20 display) and to take tours of the Collections with the curators.

One of the hidden gems that I’ve found at National Museum Cardiff is Clwb Pontio, an hourly break-time session that encourages staff, those who are Welsh learners and fluent speakers, to come together and converse in Welsh. It mostly starts and ends up with a game of Welsh scrabble (just to let you know, I’m bad at scrabble in any language!). I mainly go to enjoy the company of colleagues and it gives me a chance to find out who they are and what it is they do.

I’ve treasured my experience at the museum. It has facilitated in the development of my work skills and rekindled my interest regarding the history of the land of my fathers and even kept me from “abandoning” my mother-tongue – Nefoedd Wen!

Not only is the museum “Making History” but it has added a vital layer to the forging of my future, creating a solid cast for my career by providing me with further prospects.

I can honestly say Diolch o’r gallon.

Gathering, Gardening, and Agriculture – A New Fifth Grade Social Studies Curriculum in Arkansas

Cover of the Gathering, Gardening, and Agriculture 5th Grade Social Studies Curriculum.

Public education is an important part of the Arkansas Archeological Survey’s mission. Recently we developed a 5th grade social studies curriculum aligned with the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE) 5th grade Social Studies Curriculum Framework. The curriculum, Gathering, Gardening, and Agriculture: Plant-based Foodways in the Southeastern United States, focuses on plants because, as critical parts of our foodways, plants not only fulfill nutrient needs, they teach us about culture, history, and economics. Biologically, people need food to survive, but what we eat is part of our history and culture. In addition, Arkansas, along with the surrounding mid-South region, is one of only ten world centers of independent crop domestication. Preserved plant remains excavated from dry bluff shelters in the Arkansas Ozarks (and now curated at the University of Arkansas) represent most of the evidence supporting this identification. This curriculum is designed to celebrate this important aspect of Arkansas’s past.

The curriculum consists of five lessons to be taught over the course of one week, plus a bonus lesson. Each lesson is approximately one hour in length. The lessons use the 5E’s Instructional Model (Engagement, Exploration, Explanation, Elaboration, Evaluation) and focus on a temporal comparison of plant use in the southeastern United States that draws specific examples from Arkansas. The lessons model the processes of archeological inquiry pertaining to plant-based foodways. Students look at archeological evidence, including site maps, artifacts, and seeds, and their relationship to each other (context) to reconstruct and interpret the past. Students use archeology to discover how diets changed when people shifted from hunting, fishing, and gathering wild foods to growing their own food through gardening and agriculture. In a bonus lesson, students explore the effects of European colonization in the Americas by mapping the exchange of plants on a global scale. Gathering, Gardening, and Agriculture provides hands-on activities and guided investigation of three archeological sites in Arkansas (Rock House Cave, Toltec Mounds, and Parkin) in which students learn scientific literacy while gaining new knowledge about Native American plant-based foodways in the southeastern United States.

Lesson One: Archeology Is about People. This lesson defines archeology, dispels common misconceptions, and introduces students to the critical thinking and analysis processes that archeologists use to study the past. Students explore chronology, observe objects and infer their use in an archeological context, and use evidence to answer questions about the past. It introduces students to the importance of chronology and context in the study of archeology.

Teacher workshop participants learning about foraging foodways.

Lesson Two: Foraging Foodways. Students participate in the foraging foodways simulation and learn about early foragers. Students explore the basic need for food and learn about foodways and nutritional, cultural, and economic practices related to the production and consumption of food cross-culturally.

Lesson Three: First Gardens. This lesson introduces students to the basics of stratigraphy and students learn how archeologists determine the relative age of artifacts. Here students look at domesticated plant seeds and learn how Native American cultures changed with the development of gardening. For this lesson, it is helpful for teachers to show students examples of the seeds and plants. The ARAS has prepared packets of the sunflower, goosefoot, maypop, and sumpweed seeds highlighted in the lesson and distributed those packets to teachers at the workshops and made them available upon request.

Lesson Four: Changing Gardens and Evolving Fields. Lesson Four introduces students to changes associated with the adoption of corn agriculture, introduced from Middle America, using both archeological and Native American perspectives.

Lesson Five: Stability and Change in Early Colonization. Lesson Five introduces students to the use of primary historical sources. They learn how to study maps and accounts written by early explorers to identify evidence of additional changes in Native American foodways.

Educators learning about wild plants, like fiddlehead ferns, during the teacher’s workshop at Winthrop Rockefeller Institute.

Bonus Lesson: Many People, Many Plates. In this bonus lesson, students learn about the Colombian Exchange and map the origin and spread of plants and think about how this historical process shaped their diets.

Printed copies of the curriculum activity book are available to educators by request. It is also available as a free download on the Survey’s webpage: http://archeology.uark.edu/gga/. The Gathering, Gardening, and Agriculture webpage is designed to promote the curriculum and make it easier for teachers to use. All of the teaching materials are available as easy downloadable pdfs so that teachers do not have to photocopy the activities.

In addition, the Survey held two teacher’s workshops. They conducted an hour-long presentation at the Arkansas Gifted and Talented Educators Conference in Little Rock and held a full-day workshop at the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute (WRI) in Morrilton.

Dr. Horton showing the teacher workshop participants rock art depicting sumpweed on the walls of Rockhouse Cave.

This project was made possible with the generous support of the Southeastern Archaeological Conference’s Public Outreach Grant, the Arkansas Archeological Society’s Bill Jordan Public Outreach Fund, the Arkansas Humanities Council, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The curriculum, the website, and the teacher’s workshops underscore the Survey’s mission to study and preserve Arkansas’s past and to share what we learn with the public. Arkansas has significant archeological resources, from the bluff shelters of the Ozark Mountains to Mississippian mound complexes of the Central Mississippi River Valley and historic plantations. Although the ARAS, along with citizen volunteers and local, state, and federal partners, campaigns for archeological education and preservation, our state’s sites and the archeological record face continued threats from development, agricultural land-leveling, and looting. Education is a way to help protect Arkansas’s archeological record. By working with teachers, we help them increase their content knowledge of the important contributions that southeastern Indians and European, African, and early American populations made to the ways in which people use plants today. We also foster a greater sense of the importance of preservation among teachers and their students.

My day of Archaeology at the prehistoric lab of Aristotle University of Thessaloniki!

THe microscope working place at the AUTh prehistoric lab.

The microscope working place at the AUTh prehistoric lab.

It is the second time I am joining the “Day of Archaeology” and I am really content to feel part of this broader archaeological community.

My 29th of July was spent on two different archaeological fields, let’s say…

The first was the preparation of an action to be implemented for European Heritage Days at the end of September 2016 and has to do with the combination of digital social media and mobile phone technology to raise public awareness on antiquities which are hidden under the modern urban development. The action is aiming at re-introducing seven hidden archaeological sites of ancient Thessaloniki (my place of work, research and living) and turn them into places of memory, combining them with people’s everyday life. The action will be implemented through the use of mobile phones and tablets. Seven posters with QR codes will be designed to highlight each one of these places. The placing of posters in various spots of the city will be widely publicized through social media. The audience, using their mobile phones, will be able to connect with a data base and find information, texts and photos of these unknown and forgotten parts of the ancient city. An initial elaboration of this approach has been prepared in my MA thesis on Museology in Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, completed this January with Kostas Kotsakis and Kostas Kasvikis as my tutors. The full action is under the umbrella of NEARCH project www.nearch.eu.

On the Day of Archaeology I worked in particular to review the material (mostly photos) to be used at the data base and also went through the evaluation sheet (prepared together with Kostas Kasvikis) for the action. I had also a skype meeting with the graphic designer and architect Kleopatra Alagialoglou, responsible for the lay out of the project, to decide a few technical details and to produce a timeschedule for our workflow.

After finishing with the reviewing and the managing of the action to come, it was time to do some work for my personal “archaeological demon”, my research for my PhD thesis. My thesis is about the bronze jewlery from an Early Iron Age Cemetery at Stavroupoli near Thessaloniki. After having indexed and reviewed the material and selected the samples for analyses I now have in hand the polished sections of my samples. I have to work on the metallographic microscope to define their structure and other technological features. Today I am taking pictures of the samples as can be seen in the photo uploaded.

A draft poster for the action we are planning!

A draft poster for the action we are planning!

Sometimes It is hard to devide your time and energy in different research fields but at the same time it can be really rewarding. My engagement with the public regarding archaeological heritage has provided a different way to think about my basic research and to re-evaluate my scientific and professional ethics. And that is something I wanted also to share with you for my Day of Archaeology!