Public archaeology

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!

My day as archaeological researcher and as archaeological educator

[Für die deutsche Übersetzung bitte nach unten scrollen]

Hello, I am Carmen and I working as an archaeologist in Germany.

When I got registered for #dayofarchaeology I actually did planned to tell you something about my education program ErlebnisArchaeologie, all around re-experienced history and archaeology. But meanwhile unfortunately it showed up, that the new two-days-course about paper and writing will not come into being. And therefore I don’t have anything to prepare for this and as a consequence I can’t write about that.

But even though those education programs for sure are a matter of heart for me, it’s not my only area of work in archaeology. In fact at the moment I still earn most of my money as a researcher in regular field work. I also do complementation work for an excavation that ended some weeks ago, and that’s what I’m working on today.Fotor_146982390776327_wm

This means, that I have to check all the written and graphic documentation for the project. For example, I assess each drawing to ensure it includes the feature number, measuring point(s), orientation/north point and scale. In some case there is also additional information like strata numbers needed. I also double-check that every feature at the site has been described. I check hundreds of lists to ensure every feature and every step was documented correctly. If anything is missing, I try to complete information by comparing existing data: the site plan drawing, the photographic records, the daily field notes, and every existing entry about that specific feature in the aforementioned hundreds of lists. In the end I usually find the missing information in another location. And if it really can’t be found, I make a note in the margin.Fotor_146982411705960_wm

What archaeologists aim for with this kind of work is to documentat the site as thoroughly as is possible. This is a necessary labour because archaeology always destroys its original sources, and also because in many cases the excavator himself is not doing the final analysis for the project, or the same sitw is re-explored by a different researcher some years after. I have been working on these final records checks for the last few days. But just today I finished!

For the rest of the day, I worked on an archaeological education program about what it is like to be an archaeologist. I have two programs thar I call “To be an archaeologist once”. During this half-day program, children “excavate” a prepared area in a sandbox, them try to assemble their finds, maybe do some conservation and restoration.

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To help the children along, I prepare the artifacts for the sandbox dig such that I know some will fit back together, and tjat is what I will do this afternoon: I will take flowerpots and carefully break them. I use the age of the participants to choose how many pieces I break the pots into: younger kids will find a pot shattered maybe only in 3 or 4 parts, older ones can handle a puzzle with up to 7 or 8 parts. And of course I always have also to think about how many of the pieces should be missing, because in reality we do not find complete vessels that often, do we? I plan the mock dig so every child will find a “feature” denoted with her or his name, containing shards of an incomplete pot. The children then have an assembly competition which will hopefully be doable because of the age-appropriate setup.DSC_3619_wm_2016To know more about me and my work please have a look to http://www.erlebnisarchaeologie-bayern.de/

 

[German/Deutsch]

Mein Tag als Archäologin in der Feldforschung und als Museumspädagogin

Hallo, meine Name ist Carmen und ich bin als Archäologin in Deutschland tätig.

Als ich für #dayofarchaeology registrierte, plante ich eigentlich etwas über meine Bildungsprogramme mit der ErlebnisArchäologie rund um erlebbare Geschichte und Archäologie zu berichten. Vor allem ein neu entwickeltes Programm rund um das Thema Papier und Schrift sollte Inhalt sein. Aber in der Zwischenzeit ist es leider so, dass dieser neue Zwei-Tage-Kurs nicht zustande kommen wird. Und deshalb brauche ich hierfür keine abschließenden Vorbereitungen treffen und kann daher auch nicht darüber berichten.

Aber auch wenn diese Bildungsprogramme sicher eine Herzensangelegenheit für mich sind, sie stellen nicht mein einziges Betätigungsfeld in der Archäologie dar. In der Tat erwirtschafte ich im Moment den Großteil meines Auskommens immer noch mit klassischer Feldarbeit. Und heute um genau zu sein mit der Abschlussarbeiten für eine Ausgrabung, die vor einigen Wochen endete.Fotor_146982390776327_wm

Das bedeutet, dass ich die komplette schriftliche und zeichnerische Dokumentation überprüfe. Zum Beispiel überprüfe ich jede Zeichnung auf Vollständigkeit: dies bedeutet im Regelfall, dass zumindest Angaben zur Befundnummer, Meßpunkten, Orientierung/Nordung und Maßstab vorhanden sein müssen. In einigen Fällen werden auch zusätzliche Informationen wie schichtnummern benötigt. Ich kontrolliere auch, ob jeder Befund beschrieben wurde. Und überprüfe gefühlte Hunderte von Listen, ob jeder Befund und jeder Arbeitsschritt korrekt dokumentiert wurden.

Falls etwas fehlt versuche ich Informationen zu vervollständigen, indem ich vorhandene Daten vergleiche: ich werfe einen Blick auf den Gesamtplan und die fotografischen Aufzeichnungen, ich überprüfe das Grabungstagebuch und jeden vorhandenen Eintrag zu diesem Befund in in den Querverweislisten. Am Ende findet sich so normalerweise die fehlende Information in einem anderen Zusammenhang. Und wenn es sich wirklich nicht rekonstruieren lässt, dann wird auch das in einer Randnotiz erwähnt.Fotor_146982411705960_wm

Archäologen bezwecken mit dieser Sisyphusarbeit, eine möglichst vollständige Dokumentation zu erhalten. Dies ist eine wirklich notwendig, weil Archäologie immer die ursprünglichen Quellen zerstört und auch weil in vielen Fällen nicht der Ausgräber selbst ist die endgültige Analyse vornimmt bzw. eine Ausgrabung auch zu einem späteren Zeitpunkt neu betrachtet werden kann.

Und deshalb habe ich diese Abschlussprüfungen in den die letzten Tagen durchgeführt. Aber gerade bin ich damit fertig geworden. Und so kann ich doch noch ein wenig von meiner anderen Seite der Arbeit als Archäologin im Bereich Museumspädagogik berichten:

Denn in der Tat hatte ich in der kommenden Woche nicht nur das Programm zu Papier und Schrift auf dem Plan stehen. Ich halte auch zwei Mal „Einmal Archäologe sein“ ab. Während dieser Halbtagesveranstaltung können Kinder einmal selber in einer vorbereitete Fläche, z.B. in einem Sandkasten, “ausgraben”. Danach versuchen sie, ihre Fundstücke zusammenzusetzen und diese dann auch zu restaurieren.Fotor_146982459795758_wm

Aber damit sie dies alles tun können, muss ich natürlich auch sicherstellen, dass es überhaupt Fundstücke gibt. Und das ist, was ich nun in der zweiten Hälfte des Tages tue: Ich nehme Blumentöpfe und zerschlage sie sorgsam. Es ist tatsächlich sehr wichtig, sie nicht nur in irgendeiner Weise zu zerteilen. Ich habe immer einen Blick auf das Alter der Teilnehmer. Für jüngere Kinder wird der Topf vielleicht nur in 3 oder 4 Teile zerscherbt, ältere erhalten ein Puzzle mit bis zu 7 oder 8 Teilen. Und natürlich muss ich auch immer die fehlenden Stücke mit einplanen, denn in Wirklichkeit finden wir ja auch nicht allzu oft komplette Gefäße. So werden dann am Dienstag alle Kinder einen „Befund“ vorfinden, der nicht durchnummeriert ist, sondern mit ihrem oder seinen Namen gekennzeichnet wurde. Und im Inneren werden Scherben eines unvollständigen Topfs sein, dessen Zusammensetzen und Ergänzen nach Möglichkeit den altersgerechten Fähigkeiten entsprechen.DSC_3619_wm_2016

Wenn ihr noch mehr über mich und meine Arbeit wissen wollt, schaut doch mal bei mir auf der Homepage vorbei http://www.erlebnisarchaeologie-bayern.de/

‘A Day of Archaeology’ at the Iowa Office of the State Archaeologist

Whenever someone asks what the University of Iowa Office of the State Archaeologist (OSA) does, there’s no quick answer! We have over 20 permanent staff members and numerous seasonal employees in and out of the building, focusing one or more of the following: research, fieldwork, archives, curation, bioarchaeology, technology, education, and making the wheels turn. Five of our staff are pitching in to give you some insight into a “Day of Archaeology” at the OSA!

Mark Anderson – Research Archaeologist:
Today I find myself finishing a Phase I survey report on a wastewater treatment facility expansion in eastern Iowa. I didn’t find any new archaeological sites, but I was able to evaluate and clarify the condition of a previously recorded site. Rather typical work for a CRM project, but I enjoy it. I am also in the process of wrapping up the first stageidentifying and cataloging a projectile point collection of a Historical Resource Develop Program (HRDP) grant project for the Kalona Village Museum. With the help of a high school intern from the Kirkwood Community College Workplace Learning Connection, Isabella Roads and I have been cleaning, sorting, identifying, photographing, and cataloging a 101 projectile point assemblage all collected from the Yoder farm just north of Kalona. There is roughly 12,000 years of Iowa’s prehistoric past represented in this collection. These points will be displayed by culture periods in a case coupled with a large wall mounted version of Iowa’s Archaeological Timeline to tell the story of human prehistory in the Kalona, Washington County, and east-central Iowa area. We also processed a 32 point assemblage, of uncertain provenience, for use as a teaching collection so that the museum will have a hands-on set of projectile points for use in all variety of public programming. It’s great to be an archaeologist!

UI OSA Intern Isabella

High School intern Isabella Roads identifying and cataloging a projectile point collection

John Doershuk – State Archaeologist:
My Day of Archaeology began with explaining to a planner with a local community the mechanics of a conservation easement, an important preservation tool here in Iowa. Conservation easements are a mitigation solution that can be employed in compliance situations such as Section 106/NHPA to support preservation-in-place rather than the often expensive (and inherently destructive) option of data recovery through large-scale intensive archaeological excavation. Conservation easements such as these are legally “in perpetuity” under the Iowa Code and are recorded as part of a property deed. These sorts of easements can be tailored to specific conditions and are a powerful way for a landowner to create a preservation legacy and a cost-efficient way for compliance to be achieved in a federal undertaking, assuming it is physically possible to set-aside and effectively protect a site area long-term. My office then monitors these properties to insure those who grant the easements fulfill their responsibilities. Thus far, seven archaeological sites in Iowa are protected and preserved through conservation easements, and we are actively negotiating easements for three additional sites!

Iowa's State Archaeologist John Doershuk

Iowa’s State Archaeologist John Doershuk

Jennifer Mack – Bioarchaeologist:
Today I am documenting human skeletal remains excavated from an archaeological site. I am recording information that can help determine the number of people represented by the bones, as well as the age, sex, ancestry, stature, and overall health of these people. In compliance with the federal Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, the Bioarchaeology Program at the OSA uses this information to prepare notices for Native American tribes so that human remains and funerary objects can be returned to the appropriate tribe or tribes. Unfortunately, the skeletal remains I am working on today were illegally excavated from a mound many years ago by a private collector who did not record the location of the archaeological site. Because this important information was lost, it is impossible to identify the present-day community to which the remains should be returned for reburial. In this case, the OSA’s Indian Advisory Council, a group of representative from various tribes, will arrange for reburial of the remains in one of Iowa’s cemeteries designated for this purpose.

UI OSA Archaeologist Jennifer Mack

UI OSA Archaeologist Jennifer Mack

Mike Perry – Research Archaeologist:
The Ulch Archaeological Collection is an important source for north-central Iowa prehistory. The collection was recently donated to the Calkins Nature Area in Hardin County, and I’ve been involved with cataloging the collection to make it useful for curation, exhibit, and research purposes. Excellent examples of lithic, ceramic, and bone artifacts spanning the entire range of human occupation in the state are represented in the collection. Several volunteers from central Iowa assisted archaeologists with the major undertaking of cataloging this collection.

Archaeologist and Volunteer

UI OSA Archaeologist Cherie Haury-Artz and a volunteer

Elizabeth Reetz – Director of Strategic Initiatives:
Every day is different for me. Usually, I’m focusing on developing some great education and outreach initiative! Other times, I delve into communications, marketing, fundraising, and research. Today, I’m mostly creating and scheduling social media posts that promote Iowa’s diverse archaeological past and some of our great upcoming outreach events. I’m also reading background materials and browsing lessons to help develop a 4-hour outdoor curriculum for the University of Iowa’s School of the Wild, where every 6th grader in the Iowa City School District will learn archaeology for one full day, every year! This outdoor learning area is centered around the ruins of a historic farmstead, where students can discover foundations and find some historic surface artifacts while learning about human interaction with the landscape.

Historic foundation in Iowa

Historic ruins at the Macbride Nature Recreation Area, Iowa

As someone involved in public archaeology, community archaeology, and archaeology and heritage education, I cannot stress how important it is to communicate well! I get a lot of blank looks from student interns and volunteers when I tell them to learn skills in technology and communicating science to the public. They want to learn how to do lab work and fieldwork, and don’t look beyond that. You know what’s happening out there though? Funding cuts, anti-preservation legislative proposals, down-sized programs. We’re feeling in, in part because we might not be doing the best job of communicating our value to the public. Could you effectively give a two minute elevator pitch about your research to an 8th grader and know that they understood what you were talking about? I’ve also spent a chunk of my week scheming for a session I’ll facilitate at the upcoming Midwest Archaeological Conference in Iowa City where I’m going to challenge my peers and colleagues to do just that!

Want to keep up with what we do in Iowa? We’re on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and YouTube! Or get in touch with me, elizabeth-reetz@uiowa.edu.

Heritage and Identity: Setting up a new Public Archaeology project…

Despite a broken ankle, life goes on. Today I am working on the set-up of a new project I have just started at the UCL Institute of Archaeology, in London, UK, with colleagues Prof. Richard Hingley and Dr. Tom Yarrow from the Archaeology and Anthropology Departments at Durham University.

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Broken but scooter-aided researcher (me) goes to work.

This is a really exciting new adventure, especially in these times of heated debate over what it means to be English, British, European or (as I regard myself) simply (?) a world citizen with roots in all those great and diverse places where you are lucky enough to have family, friends and colleagues.

The project is called ‘Iron Age and Roman Heritages: Exploring ancient identities in modern Britain‘, and is funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council for a period of three years. Through this research we are hoping to understand how Iron Age, Roman and Early Medieval pasts live in present-day Britain. How are they researched, variously used, performed and interpreted by different individuals and groups, and why? What are the implications?

The project is divided in two parts which will run in parallel until 2019. One is based at UCL, where I will be focussing on the analysis of digital heritages (Dan Pett, from the British Museum, Andy Bevan and Mark Altaweel, from UCL, are also helping!); the second part, led by Richard and Tom in Durham, is centred on offline ethnography.

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Boadicea at Westmister Bridge, London, England.

During the project, we will also invite whoever might be interested in participating in our research to do so online, through the MicroPasts crowdsourcing website, which is indeed still up, running … and busy! In October, I will visit Daniel Lombrana-Gonzales and his team, in Madrid, and, together, we will create a new crowdsourcing application to aid the analysis of web data. People will be able to login and identify (via tagging) the aspects of Iron Age and Roman pasts that appear in a range of texts that are published online like newspaper or magazine articles, for example.

So, stay on the look, we’d love you to join the team!

Chiara

@Kia_Bon

 

Podcasting Archaeology or Why to Communicate Archaeology via the Internet.

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What started as a vanity project, a blog where I could vent my thoughts on psuedoarchaeology, has blossomed into a multi-bloomed flower of sorts. Each blossom requiring attention, and each one being as satisfying as the last. I’m talking about podcasting, of course.

Media, and the use of newer forms of media; podcasting, YouTube, twitter, Facebook, etc, is a weakness of Archaeology. Even with the influx of younger archaeologists into the field, those who should be more comfortable and accepting of digital media, it still seems to escape us as archaeologists. What is it? How does it work? What do we do with it?

When Chris Webster and Tristan Boyle launched the Archaeology Podcast Network (APN) back in late 2014, there were only about three (maybe 4) archaeology podcasts on the digital air. None of them were really aware of each other, and frankly, most people didn’t even know they existed at all. Today the APN has 15 shows covering topics ranging from broad topics like CRM archaeology, technology in the field, terms, techniques and concepts, to specific topics like women in archaeology, debunking psuedoarchaeology, Caribbean archaeology, and archaeogaming. If you consider that the APN isn’t even two yet, 15 shows is quite the achievement.

These shows attempt to educate and inform as well as entertain. They reach out to the archaeological community, trying to connect archaeologists together, and at the same time, reach out to the public and help them understand what it is we do. This is done with both female and male voices, both field and academically employed. It’s Archaeology for everyone, as Chris once put it, and it’s very effective at communicating.

So why are there not more shows out there? Why don’t were hear one from every University that has an archaeology program? Why isn’t there one for every sub-field of archaeology? One for every professional organization (I’m looking at you SAA)? One for every conference? We need to communicate with each other and with the public, so why aren’t we using this medium to do so?

I'mma Pro

Maybe some of it has to do with the perceived cost in money and in time. I assure you, this need not be a barrier. You can record a decent enough podcast in a quiet room with a laptop and free recording software like Audacity or Garage-band. You don’t even need an external mic, though sitting close to the computer is necessary.  If you want to up your game a bit you can buy a cheep recording mic, and most of them are good as well as affordable. Simple soundproofing can be achieved with a large cardboard box and towels. Only the pros go all in and get the big mics and the soundproof rooms, but hey, if you’ve got the budget, go for it.

Time is another story. How long your finished show is, will determine how long you’ll need to record. In my experience you should add 30 min to whatever the final show length is for recording. So an hour long show requires a minimum of an hour and a half to record. Editing can take a bit too depending on how familiar you are with the software, and how much you care about um’s, ah’s, and long pauses. Honestly, editing can be a time suck, but it’s worth it to hear your finished piece. Still, this is not as much time as you would think, unless you’re a procrastinator, and then I can’t help you.

So with time and money out of the equation, why are there not more shows? Some people just don’t want to do it, which is fine on an individual level, but when we get to the Professional and University level, this is less of a realistic excuse. Part of doing archaeology is making it accessible, and podcasting makes it accessible. This isn’t even the Open Access argument that grates on a lot of professionals and academics. I’m not asking you to talk about sensitive material, just talk about what you do, how you do it, and why it’s important. If it’s interesting, people will listen, and they wont care that your audio quality is crappy, or that your intro music is midi, or that you only publish once a month.

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Which leaves me with, suspicion and the avoidance of being vulnerable. Archaeologists seem to tend to be suspicious of new things. Even I am times, but we have to push past that. I see it happening every day, with the new influx of young archaeologists who are accustomed to social media and digital media. When I joined Twitter back in 2009, I looked for every archaeologist I could find on twitter to add to my feed. I had about 20. In the whole world of twitter in 2009 there were 20ish archaeologists using it, and most of us didn’t have a clue what we were using it for. We did it anyway and we figured it out, and today, there are more archaeology twitter accounts than I can ever hope to follow sending me updates and pictures and artifact id challenges and blogs, etc. So if we can accept Twitter et al, why can we not make more podcasts (or even videos)?

I think some of it has to do with the avoidance of being vulnerable many professionals have. Making a recording, in real time, has the potential to catch a movement of vulnerability. A mistake, a misspoken word, the wrong date or term, an embarrassing laugh, an uncomfortable question. It’s called being human and mistakes will be made. Yet somehow we’ve become petrified at the idea of being caught being wrong, and instead of just saying “oops” and either fixing it or apologizing for it, we’d rather not even try. This causes lots of problems, one of which is being seen as aloof and unapproachable to the public, and thereby being invisible.

Some will tell me that they are afraid of being taken out of context. Well let  me tell you a thing. I’ve been working with pseudoarchaeology and the fringe for almost a decade now. It doesn’t matter what you say, how you say it, or even IF you say it. You will be taken out of context by someone at some time and there isn’t a damn thing you can do about it. So instead of hiding, come on out here and make create something informative and educational.

Podcasting is fun, it’s refreshing to connect with others, and talk about shared topics with peers. It creates a medium that is being embraced by more and more people as technology advances. It can be quick and informative, long and educational, and interesting at either length. It’s one of the best ways to communicate with the public, and it’s accessible to most people. Pretty much anyone with the internet or a phone can hear your podcast these days, making it one of the best ways to educate and inform. Recording software is free, hosting sites like Sound-cloud are free, Or you can join forces with the APN and make an ever bigger, better Archaeology Podcast Network. The benefit to this would be access to people who are already using podcasting as a way to communicate (and maybe edit). So basically, there is no cost to this beyond time, and lets face it, you’re probably supposed to be reaching out to the public anyway, why not make a lasting impression with a podcast that will live forever on the internet?

Join the podcasting revolution and spread Archaeology to the public, one show at a time.

 

Project Archaeology and Archaeological Education in Arkansas

Because archaeological sites are endangered and finite resources, I spend a lot of my time doing archaeological education encouraging people to care about and protect sites. I teach in a university setting, but I also do youth programs to help teach young people to be stewards of the past. This year, I have spent many of my days of archaeology co-writing a 5th grade (age 10-11) social studies curriculum about archaeology and plant-based foodways in the southeastern United States. The curriculum, which focuses on sites in Arkansas, will be aligned with common core standards to promote and enhance archeological education in Arkansas’s public schools.

Project Archaeology Leadership Academy course materials.

Project Archaeology Leadership Academy course materials.

Like the majority of archaeologists, I didn’t learn how to teach archaeology to the public in college. Fortunately, I don’t have to reinvent the wheel. This summer, I attended the Project Archaeology Leadership Academy in Bozeman, Montana. Project Archaeology is “an educational organization dedicated to teaching scientific and historical inquiry, cultural understanding, and the importance of protecting our nation’s rich cultural resources.” They are a national network of archaeologists, educators, and concerned citizens working to make archaeology education accessible to students and teachers across the country through high-quality educational materials and professional development. Each year, they offer a Leadership Academy to teach educators (and archaeologists) to use Investigating Shelter, an inquiry-based Social Studies and Science curriculum, and empower them with educating their peers on how to implement the curriculum in the classroom.

Workshop participants visited Madison Buffalo Jump State Park

Workshop participants visited Madison Buffalo Jump State Park

It was a fun week of learning new ways to teach archaeology, visiting Madison Buffalo Jump State Park and the Museum of the Rockies, and meeting educators and archaeologists from around the country. The 5-day workshop underscored the importance of working with descendants to learn about the past, how archaeology contributes to inquiry-based learning, ways to connect archaeological education to common core standards, and a lot more.

Dr. Emerson Emerson Bull Chief, Crow Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, talking about Native American buffalo stories.

Dr. Emerson Bull Chief, Crow Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, talking about Native American buffalo stories.

Panorama of the Buffalo Jump.

Panorama of Madison Buffalo Jump State Park.

When I was an undergraduate student, if someone asked me: “What does an archaeologist do?”, it never would have occurred to me that archaeologists teach educators (and other people) to teach about the past. This is changing as archaeologists have come to recognize the importance of working with communities and teaching others to think like archaeologists. But I hadn’t thought about how important it is to teach educators to teach archaeology until Courtney Agenten pointed it out during the workshop. As an archaeologist, I have taught an archaeology camp for 10-15 students, which I wrote about last year. The students learned about the process of archaeology from excavation to lab work and from artifact analysis to report writing. In the process, they developed a love for learning about and preserving the past. But if I teach 10-15 educators to teach archaeology in their science or social studies classes, in one year, those teachers have the potential to teach 250-375 students about the importance of archaeology. That’s a huge impact if you think about how many students could be reached in 10 years!

So now as I sit at my desk in front of my computer, like so many of my days of archaeology, I am inspired by my experience at the Project Archaeology Leadership Academy to teach their fun curricula about shelter and nutrition. I am also motivated to continue to develop high-quality lesson plans focused on archaeological sites in Arkansas that teachers can implement in their classrooms. Thanks to the support of the Southeastern Archaeological Conference, the Arkansas Archeological Society, the Arkansas Humanities Council, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, the curriculum should be available this fall. Check out the Arkansas Archeological Survey’s website for classroom materials currently available to teachers and keep an eye out for new things to come. arkansasarcheology.org

 

Archaeo-drome project. Being teachers to be archaeologists!

Hi everybody,

It’s a pleasure to join Day of Archaeology 2016. Today I wish to share our project in Murcia (Spain), the Archaeodrome. This is a project based on the excavation of a site with teens, kids and people of the local communities, in order to engage young people in Archaeology labours. Also it is useful for us, young archaeologists without jobs, to be archaeologists but through being teachers.

We do this every summer, in July, in collaboration with the Murcia City Council, Cepaim foundation, and La Estación communitarian center, and also with our association Arqueología de Guardia.

JoseAMarmol(C)2016-3

This year 2016 an amount of 15 young people participated in the Archaeodrome excavation, as you can see in the pics. Further, it helps me to develop creative practices in the context of an archaeological excavation, thinking theoretical and practically in Creative Archaeology and the blurring of the frontiers between Art and Archaeology.

JoseAMarmol(C)2016-2

JoseAMarmol(C)2016-1

See you!

Best regards,

José A. Mármol


Clemency Cooper: Joining the Community at Oxford Archaeology

Oxford Archaeology is a registered educational charity with a long history of instigating and participating in public archaeology, and I have a new role at the company as their Community Archaeology Manager – today marks the end of my seventh week! I’m based at OA’s East office in Bar Hill, just outside Cambridge. I’ve been liaising with my colleagues, and fellow communications ‘champions’, Ed in our South office and Adam in our North office, to coax and coerce our colleagues to join in with the Day of Archaeology. I think this is a great opportunity to capture the work that we do and share it online to give people a snapshot of what goes on behind-the-scenes at a national commercial archaeological unit like Oxford Archaeology. Charlotte, one of our illustrators at OAE, designed some very fetching posters to advertise the campaign in-house and you can read her Day of Archaeology blog post here. If you’re interested in learning more about archaeological illustration, make sure to check out the live tweets from the graphics department in our Oxford office today on our Twitter account here using the hastags #graphix #dayofarch

Close up of posters, mug and keyboard

Posters advertising the Day of Archaeology at Oxford Archaeology

In between the steady stream of emails today, I’ve been kept busy uploading the text and photos from the blog submissions I’ve received from my colleagues. I first started blogging five years ago and I think it’s a good medium for quick site updates and event promotion, interacting with readers and sharing content across different platforms.

Besides the blogging, I’ve also been making arrangements to loan out survey equipment to community groups in Cambridgeshire as part of the Heritage Lottery Funded project, Jigsaw. The Fen Edge Archaeology Group recently finished their geophysical survey, and the Covington History Group and the Warboys Archaeology Project are also conducting magnetometry and resistivity surveys during the next couple of weeks – harvesting permitting!

I’ve also been working on the deployment schedule for our volunteers for next few weeks. It’s really gratifying to be able to offer people the chance to take part in excavations alongside our field staff. We have some very enthusiastic and experienced volunteers who return year after year, as well as a steady of new volunteers interested in fulfilling a life-long ambition to take part in an archaeological dig, or looking to develop the skills and experience for a career in the field. In fact, one of our volunteers has just been accepted onto the Oxford Archaeology graduate trainee scheme and she came into the office for her induction today.

I hope you enjoy exploring the posts from Oxford Archaeology this year, and that they give you a taster of the different work going on across our offices. You can read them all here.

Clemency Cooper is the Community Archaeology Manager for Oxford Archaeology, based at their East office in Cambridge. For more information about Oxford Archaeology and our work with community groups and schools, visit our website: http://oxfordarchaeology.com/community

Archaeology 101 and ‘Reverse Archaeology’

I wear many hats, some of which are archaeological, and so a typical day for me can come in many different ‘flavours’.

Today, my day started on public transit.

Taking the subway

Taking the subway

And then more public transit.

And the bus

And the bus

But I finally arrived at the Markham Museum.

Markham Museum

Markham Museum

I work as a program instructor at the museum, giving tours and programs for groups that come, but this morning I was actually doing a special program for the museum’s own summer camp.  This week’s theme is Junior Archaeology, so I was teaching a group of seventy 4-8 year olds about Archaeology 101.

I had my tools:

Dirty dig kit!

Dirty dig kit!

And some artifacts:

Markham Museum artifacts

Markham Museum artifacts

And I spent a while talking about all the things that archaeologists learn from bones and stone tools and broken pots.  I also talked about how archaeologists don’t find dinosaur bones, and how we only find things that people have left behind – mostly garbage.

After Archaeology 101, I did some reverse archaeology – burying things for the campers to dig up later.  The activity I set up was Archaeology Bingo, laying a grid and burying everyday objects under some of the squares.

Archaeology Bingo

Archaeology Bingo

Archaeology Bingo

Archaeology Bingo

It was hot work, nearly 40C with the humidity.

But after I finished up, I headed home to put on my next hat.  That involved taking my youngest to a museum to enjoy some well-deserved air conditioning!

Archaeology-mommy

Archaeology-mommy

So while my day did not consist of excavation, or research, I was imparting the joy and excitement of archaeology to a great group of kids.  Archaeology catches the imagination, and where better to encourage that than in a day camp during the summer at a museum!