Public Outreach

D.C. Historic Preservation Office takes on Hot and Humid 2016 Day of Archaeology Festival!

Greetings and Happy Day of Archaeology (#DAYOFARCH)! The D.C. Historic Preservation Office (D.C. HPO) is proud to have co-sponsored and participated in D.C.’s Day of Archaeology Festival on July 16th!  This year marked the 5th Annual Day of Archaeology Festival, organized by the local non-profit Archaeology in the Community, and was held at historic Dumbarton House in Georgetown for the 2nd year in a row.  About 30 cultural resource-based agencies, firms, departments, and organizations participated, and over 500 visitors attended!  It was a huge success, and the D.C. HPO is thrilled to have reached out to so many eager children and adults, who now know more about their city’s archaeological past.

Dumbarton House, Georgetown. Photo courtesy of AITC.

D.C. HPO booths. Photo courtesy of D.C. HPO.

D.C. HPO booths. Photo courtesy of D.C. HPO.

It was all-hands-on-deck for D.C. HPO staff, interns, and volunteers- providing no less than four engaging archaeological activities and two archaeological displays. Activities included our staple ‘What is This?’ artifact guessing game, which has since grown to include prehistoric, historic, and faunal artifact categories of materials typically found in the mid-Atlantic region, and specifically from archaeological sites in D.C.

'What is This?' artifact guessing game. Photo courtesy of AITC.

‘What is This?’ artifact guessing game. Photo courtesy of AITC.

We brought along our ‘Mend Me’ historic ceramic mending exercise, where visitors tried their hand at refitting ceramic sherds. We have since added to the mending exercise, creating puzzles with whole images of ceramic vessels.  These have proved a great alternative for those unable to handle the actual ceramic sherds.

Children working on the 'Mend Me' exercise. Photo courtesy of D.C. HPO.

Children working on the ‘Mend Me’ exercise. Photo courtesy of D.C. HPO.

We also dusted off our Pinch Pot activity, and brought along quick-dry clay for visitors to make their own pots to take away.  Visitors could decorate their pots similarly to prehistoric Woodland Period pottery, using replica tools including sharks teeth, and cordage wrapped paddles. And, thanks to current District Leadership Program Intern Julianna Jackson, we added a new activity this year- Make Your Own Cordage!  Visitors were able to twine fibers into cordage or string, and then use it to create  a personal bracelet.  In doing so, visitors got a better idea of how prehistoric peoples made their own personal adornments but also how they would create cordage suitable for so many important purposes like fishing lines, snares, etc.

Assistant District Archaeologist Chardé Reid, center, and volunteer Hali Thurber, far right, helping children make pinch pots. Photo courtesy of D.C. HPO.

Capital City Fellow Christine Ames, left, and Assistant District Archaeologist Chardé Reid, helping children make pinch pots. Photo courtesy of D.C. HPO.

Make Your Own Cordage exercise. Photo courtesy of AITC.

Volunteer Lois Berkowitz making a cordage bracelet with a young visitor. Photo courtesy of D.C. HPO.

Volunteer Lois Berkowitz making a cordage bracelet with a young visitor. Photo courtesy of D.C. HPO.

Finally, the D.C. HPO had two archaeological displays.  The first was our Woodland Period pottery display, featuring  artifacts from the Barney Circle archaeological project.  Various  types of pottery sherds were on display and, to give the visitor a sense of what an unbroken pottery vessel might look like, we also provided a complete replica Woodland Period pottery vessel, courtesy of the Jefferson Patterson Museum Maryland Traveling Trunk and a 3-D printed scan of one by our colleague Dr. Bernard K. Means of the VCU Virtual Curation Laboratory. In this way, the display tied in nicely to the pinch pot making activity. In addition, the D.C. HPO also displayed a variety of replica containers, also from the Maryland Teaching Trunk, made from organic materials such as gourd, birch bark, reed basketry, and wood. These were commonly used prehistorically, but examples are rarely found in our local archaeological deposits and so we know little about them in comparison to the more durable pottery vessels.

District Leadership Program Intern Julianna Jackson, center, arranging the Woodland Period Pottery Display. Photo courtesy of D.C. HPO.

District Leadership Program Intern Julianna Jackson, center, arranging the Woodland Period Pottery Display. Photo courtesy of D.C. HPO.

Our second archaeological display contained a variety of artifacts  from the 2015 Yarrow Mamout Archaeology Project.  The D.C. HPO conducted a community-oriented archaeology project on the former property of Yarrow Mamout, a freed slave who purchased a lot in upper Georgetown in the early 19th century.  The 17,000+ artifacts are still being processed, and while we cannot definitively say yet if any are directly associated with Yarrow Mamout’s occupation, there are many artifacts that are datable to his period of ownership.  Much of the assemblage represents the households of the families that lived on the property following Yarrow Mamout, throughout the remainder of the 19th and into the 20th century.  Artifacts included personal items such as religious pendants, crosses, and buttons, including potential U.S. Navy and Union Civil War-era buttons, and a possible German Imperial WWI-era button.  A D.C. dog tag from the year 1922-1923, porcelain doll parts, a plastic toy soldier, possible gaming pieces, and quite a few marbles made up a rich and relatable exhibit to all.  In addition, a beautiful and complete agate pottery doorknob, a heavily corroded door bolt (identified via x-ray scanning from the Maryland Archaeological Conservation Lab), Chestnut Farms Dairy milk bottle, and Parke-Davis pharmaceutical bottle were also a part of the display.

Yarrow Mamout Archaeology Display. Photo courtesy of D.C. HPO.

Yarrow Mamout Archaeology Display. Photo courtesy of D.C. HPO.

District Archaeologist Ruth Trocolli, far right, talking to a visitor. Volunteer George Riseling, back center, manning the Yarrow Mamout archaeology display. Photo courtesy of D.C. HPO.

District Archaeologist Ruth Trocolli, far right, talking to a visitor. Volunteer George Riseling, back center. Photo courtesy of D.C. HPO.

In all, the D.C. HPO could not have pulled off such a successful Day of Archaeology Festival without its hard-working and amazing volunteer team.  Seven people gave up their Saturday to help us set-up, exhibit, and break-down our booths on a day when temperatures were 99 degrees Fahrenheit with 99% humidity!  Our volunteers have shown nothing but love and support to our archaeology program, and we could not effectively do this type of public outreach without them. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

D.C. HPO Volunteer Team:

Lois Berkowitz

Mia Carey

Hali Thurber

Justin Uehlein

George Riseling

Becca Peixotto

Lauryl Zenobi

D.C. HPO Staff Team:

Christine Ames, Capital City Fellow

Julianna Jackson, District Leadership Program Intern

Chardé Reid, Assistant District Archaeologist

Dr. Ruth Trocolli, District Archaeologist

How to think like an archaeologist: Youth archaeology in Arkansas

Behind the scenes of Hollywood

Cover of Behind the scenes of Hollywood.















I discovered archaeology as an undergrad majoring in journalism. It’s a good thing I wanted to write, because that’s how I spend a lot of my time as an archaeologist. Recently, I co-wrote a short book introducing high school aged students to archaeology. When people think of archaeology they often envision fieldwork (and Indiana Jones), but archaeologists spend most of their time in the lab and writing up the results of their research, rather than excavating.

Behind the scenes of Hollywood is a little different from most of the books you may read about archaeology. The book follows ten high school students from southeast Arkansas who participated in a 3-day workshop. The workshop lead them through a series of activities that demonstrate the archaeological process from the field to report. The book provides the data to let the reader practice being an archaeologist and reach their own conclusions about artifacts and the site. The reader doesn’t get to dig in the dirt or handle the artifacts, but they think like an archaeologist while doing a series of activities such as examining landscape change on maps, analyzing soil, and setting up an excavation unit.

Analyzing the artifacts.

Analyzing the artifacts.

Many archaeologists recognize that archaeology is more than just digging in the dirt or analyzing archaeological collections. In her new book, Strung Out on Archaeology, Laurie Wilkie underscores that archaeology is more than just research methods. Archaeology is a way of thinking about and living in the world. Archaeology helps people imagine deep time, human interactions, and social change. It puts to use all of the things you learn in high school the Pythagorean theorem, how to ask research question, examine data, see culture change, think about human environmental interactions, and write.  At the end of the day, archaeology requires putting your fingers to the keyboard and telling someone what you learned.

A Year In a Day: My Life as an Arkansas Archeological Survey Archeologist

The logo of the Arkansas Archeological Survey.  Click here to find out more about us.

The logo of the Arkansas Archeological Survey. Click here to find out more about our organization.

My name is Jamie Brandon and I work for the Arkansas Archeological Survey (AAS). Last year, the 2012 Day of Archaeology caught me finishing up a large excavation I was directing at Historic Washington State Park.  This kind of thing (directing excavations) is what the public might expect an archaeologist to do.  This year, however, the 2013 Day of Archaeology is in July, and for me, July is all about winding up my fiscal year which runs from July 1 through June 30.  So, late every July you will find me writing a summary of my last year’s work—this will eventually find its way into an annual report which is a major document that we provide to the public and lawmakers to explain what it is the AAS does and why it is important to Arkansans.  This may seem on the surface to be bureaucratic and boring, but, in fact, it is an excellent opportunity to give you an idea not only what I do in a single day, but what my life as an archaeologist looks like throughout the year—the width and breath of what it is we do at the Arkansas Archeological Survey.  I call it “A Year in a Day.”

The Arkansas Archeological Survey is an organization whose mission is to “conserve and research the state’s heritage and communicate this information to the public.”  What this means is that I do quite a number of different things in the course of my job.  I teach, work with graduate students and conduct research (like most university-based, academic archaeologists), but I also am responsible for helping to manage archaeological resources in my assigned research territory (11 counties in southwest Arkansas), working with groups of volunteers and doing public outreach about what we do…that’s a lot of hats for one job.

Research, Fieldwork and Publications

Let’s start with the parts of my job that most people expect—doing archaeological research and fieldwork.  As I just finished up directing two field seasons at the aforementioned Historic Washington State Park, I tried to take this year easy…but as I sit down to write my annual report, I find that I was not very successful.

We conducted a series of “long weekend” digs in the fall at a site called Dooley’s Ferry, a Civil War-era community that was a major, early crossing on the Red River.  I say “we” as this project was actually the dissertation topic of my research assistant, Carl Drexler.  You can read Carl’s Day of Archaeology post (including a little bit about Dooley’s Ferry) here.  Our work at Dooley’s Ferry, however, points out two things.  First it indicates that even the categories that I use in this blog post are problematic—I could have easily placed this project under “Teaching and Working with Graduate Students.”  Second, it reminds me to mention the importance of volunteers in our work at the AAS.  Last year my Day of Archaeology post was about the Arkansas Archeological Society, the volunteer organization that helped lobby the AAS into existence in the late 1960s.  We work continually with the Society on projects all around the state and I would not truly be able to do my job without them.  Over 51 volunteers helped out in our Dooley’s Ferry work.  We worked with the landowners, retired mill workers, foresters, archivists, biology instructors, nurses at correctional facilities, software engineers and even folks who own a hardware store—folks from all walks of life…If these folks had not volunteered their time and effort, we would have not found out all that we did at the site.

Arkansas Archeological Society volunteers digging at Dooley's Ferry last fall.

Arkansas Archeological Society volunteers digging at Dooley’s Ferry last fall.

The second field project we were part of this year was also a graduate student project.  John Samuelsen, a Ph.D. student at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, is working on collecting remote sensing data at Crenshaw, an important prehistoric Caddo Indian site in my research territory.  John, Carl and I—along with a number of our colleagues and volunteers—collected 387 twenty-meter-square grids of data during two field efforts at the site (one in July and one in the fall).  What is “remote sensing,” you ask?  Remote sensing means using a suite of high-tech methods (such as ground penetrating radar or magnetometery) to get a look at what might be under the ground before we dig…or on ceremonial sites, like Crenshaw, to get a look at what might be beneath the surface without disturbing sacred deposits.  Remote sensing is an increasingly important component of the technical and methodological tool set available in archaeological research, and I’m proud that, despite stereotypes about the state being backward, the University of Arkansas and the AAS are at the leading edge of these methods.

As far as publications go, I got two peer-review publications through major hoops and hurtling towards publication this year—one for a thematic volume of Historical Archaeology, the international journal of my sub-discipline…and the other a chapter in an edited volume on historical archaeology in Arkansas.  The former should be published by the end of the year, the latter has gotten through review and we hope to receive a book contract early this fall (*fingers crossed*).

Additionally, I also did two book reviews this year.  I reviewed Buying into a World of Goods: Early Consumers in Backcountry Virginia by Ann Smart Martin for (of all places) Enterprise and Society: The International Journal of Business History and I reviewed Archaeology, Narrative, and the Politics of the Past by Julia King for American Antiquity.  I personally think book reviews are underrated academically…not for resume padding (although some people do that)…but for my own professional development.  One of the things I miss about graduate school is the amount of reading and synthesizing of information that you do on a regular basis.  I find accepting book review projects as a good way to force myself to keep up with literature and really digest it (I have to write about something before I fully understand and integrate its content).

Teaching & Working with Graduate Students

The second most commonly thought of aspect in the life of an academic archaeologist is teaching.  As a part of my job I teach the anthropology curriculum at my host institution, Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia—this year that means that I taught General Anthropology (ANTH/SOC 1003) and Anthropology of North American Indians (ANTH/SOC/HIST 3143).  I teach anthropology and archaeology on a campus that does not have an anthropology major.  This means that, in all likelihood, my classes may be the only anthropology class a student ever has. The impression I give a student is the one that he or she is going to carry for a big hunk of their lives—I had better make anthropology relevant and interesting. In this situation I feel that it is not my job to get incredibly technical about my field (as I would do with majors), but simply to make sure that my students understand what anthropology is, what questions anthropology is interested in asking and how it goes about answering those questions. If students leave my class with an appreciation for the diversity of human culture (and they have improved their critical thinking skills), I have succeeded.

Teaching art students about prehistoric ceramics at Southern Arkansas University.

Teaching art students about prehistoric ceramics at Southern Arkansas University.

I get more technical (and philosophical) in my role working with graduate students from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and elsewhere—the future of our discipline.  I am proud that this year two of the graduate students I’ve been working with on projects in my research territory have completed their Ph.D. dissertations.  In April, Duncan McKinnon successfully defended his dissertation at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.  I’ve been working with Duncan on the Caddo site of Battle Mound in Lafayette County since 2007—his work combined new technologies (that remote sensing stuff again) and the reanalysis of old collections from the site.  His dissertation, entitled Battle Mound: Exploring Space, Place, and History of a Red River Caddo Community in Southwest Arkansas, is a major contribution to Caddo archaeology and the archaeological literature of southwestern Arkansas.

In May, my current research assistant, Carl Drexler (mentioned above) was successful in his defense of his Ph.D. dissertation at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA.  Carl’s dissertation, entitled Dooley’s Ferry: The Archaeology of a Civilian Community in Wartime, was based on 6 years’ worth of archaeology here in southwestern Arkansas using resources and staff from the Arkansas Archeological Survey and volunteers from the Arkansas Archeological Society.  Carl’s work reconstructed the footprint of Dooley’s Ferry and explored the ways that this community was impacted by the Civil War.

Public Outreach and Professional Service

This is where my job with the AAS departs from that of a typical academic archaeologist.  One of my favorite parts of my job is that doing public outreach is valued by my organization.  I gave 22 public talks this year on archaeology around the state—that averages to almost two every month.  This includes talks to chapters of our volunteer organization (I gave 5 of those) as well as community groups as diverse as Rotary clubs, genealogical and historical societies, museum groups, state parks and local chapters of the DAR…I even gave a talk about the archaeology of religion to the Hot Springs Freethinkers!

Giving public talks is the favorite part of my job as an AAS Research Station Archeologist.

Giving public talks is the favorite part of my job as an AAS Research Station Archeologist.

In addition to these formal talks, I also consulted with private landowners in four counties (Little River, Sevier, Union and Hempstead) about objects found on their property…and I provided advice and assistance to the South Arkansas Historical Foundation (about preservation efforts at Bethel Methodist Church in Mt. Holly, Union County), Historic Washington State Park (about preservation efforts at Pioneer Washington Cemetery, Hempstead County), Southern Arkansas University (Alumni concerns about the preservation of a Mosasaur fossil on display at SAU in Magnolia, Columbia County…yes, I KNOW archaeologists do NOT do dinosaurs…but what are you going to do?…), EAST Lab at Dierks High School (about cemetery preservation efforts in Dierks, Howard County), the Historic Arkansas Museum (Funerary art for the Arkansas Made Project), and several consultations with the Mapping the Legacy of African American History, LLC (about a West Ninth Street mapping project in Little Rock, Pulaski County).

Most academics spend some amount of time on professional service—serving on conference committees and whatnot.  I spend quite a bit of time in this arena…why?  Because I feel that in this part of my job I can make “things happen”…I can help shape public policy, help put on a conference, help research get published and, thus, get shared with the community at large, or help save a historic place…On the state-level, I serve on the boards of the Arkansas Historical Association (AHA) and the Historic Preservation Alliance of Arkansas (HPAA).  Positions like this afford us the opportunities to get tangible results from our work.  For instance, this year I was the conference chair for the AHA Conference in Helena, AR—making all the arrangements for a state-level conference in a town without a hotel, no major conference venue and only a single restaurant…talk about challenging.  It was a lot of time and energy, but in the end (thanks to the help of the Delta Cultural Center), it was incredibly rewarding to see the conference come off as a success.  Similarly, I served on the HPAA committee which names “Arkansas Most Endangered Historic Places”—a list that is meant to call public attention and, hopefully resources, to the sites that most need saving in the state.  Two of the seven properties that we listed this year (the Roundtop Filling Station and St. Joseph’s Orphanage) have made great strides toward stabilization, obtaining much needed support, and planning for future renovation/adaptive use.  That is gratifying work indeed.

I am also the Vice-Chairman of the Arkansas Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission and I serve on the State Review Board for Historic Preservation (the state body that recommends properties for listing on the National Register of Historic Places).  In these roles I feel that I really (or I should say, more directly) make a difference—helping constituents get their property listed on the National or Arkansas Register of Historic Places, helping local communities and organizations get grants for commemorative events, or historic markers, that tell that community’s local story…even consulting with and educating others in state government about policy issues…this, too, makes me feel like my job matters.

You’ll notice that all of the above mentioned service roles are not specifically archaeology-oriented…When I serve in these capacities I’m still doing an outreach of sorts…educating other professionals—historians, architects, planners, historic preservationists, and law makers—about what archaeologists do and why they should care.  But I also do service within my sub-disciple of historical archaeology.  I am an Associate Editor of Historical Archaeology (I shepherded three articles to publication this year) and the Chair of the Academic and Professional Training Committee of the Society for Historical Archaeology (SHA).  In these roles I get to do things like help the SHA get into modern social media, coordinate workshop for professional development, and chair the SHA Student Paper Prize (which I have chaired for the last 6 years)…giving young, outstanding scholars in my field recognition (and over $1500 in books)…it doesn’t get more rewarding than that…


So there it is:  a year of what I do with the Arkansas Archeological Survey (well, actually, there is still more that I left out)…as seen through my annual report.  I think it gives you a bigger picture than the “day” snapshot that I normally blog about.

Ok…ok…ok…reading back over this blog post as I write, it seems way too self-promoting…that’s NOT what I’m trying to do…Likewise, I know that this blog post seems to ramble in various and sundry directions…but that IS the point, actually—my job as an archaeologist with the Arkansas Archeological Survey is not a simple job.  In truth, it is more like three jobs…1) that of a typical academic anthropology professor; 2) that of an public outreach coordinator for archaeology and; 3) that of a state agency official responsible for managing cultural resources in my territory.  This is challenging…But if I were to leave the AAS and become a more “typical” academic archaeologist I would miss these other aspects of my job, and I would probably still do some of them (such as public outreach)…the only difference is that they would not be specifically part of my job per se…or would at least not be as appreciated as they are with the AAS.  I appreciate that my organization lets me do all of these things in the name of archaeology…It’s a whole lot of a job…

..but I wouldn’t have it any other way.


Want to keep up with what we’re up to?

Follow my personal blog, Father Along, at:

…or take a look at the AAS web page, the AAS-SAU Research Station website, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Flickr

5 Reasons Why I Became an Archaeologist

1. Travel

Ever since my parents took me on a trip to the Caribbean as a child, I plotted to find a way to spend every winter in the tropics. I wanted to get paid to travel. I wanted to escape the Chicago snow.

My chance came in grad school when I had the opportunity to teach field schools in Belize. I was in grad school for a long time so I was able to look forward to flying south with the birds each time spring semester rolled around.

Since completing my MA and PhD in Archaeology I’ve continued living a nomadic life by working on projects in Mexico, California, and Arizona. What I didn’t expect was that I’d eventually tire of travel after moving from motel to motel off remote desert highways as a CRM archaeologist. So now I’m what they call an armchair archaeologist, and today I’m exploring world archaeology via posts to this blog.


So you want to be a Roman bioarchaeologist…

If you’re anything like me, you’ve wanted to dig up the bones of dead Romans for as long as you can remember.  (Well, except for that brief period where I wanted to dig up dinosaurs and the even briefer one where I thought I might become a mathematician.)  But if you live in the southern U.S. like I do, you’re certainly not discovering Roman skeletons in your garden all the time.  What does a Roman bioarchaeologist do every day?  Generally, teach, research, and talk to colleagues and the public about teaching and research.

Osteology Field Lecture

Sometimes I get to teach osteology in the field (Tuscany, Summer 2004)

Teaching.  The great thing about the American incarnation of the discipline of anthropology – something I didn’t honestly learn until graduate school – is that it’s what we call four-field: it combines archaeological, biological, cultural, and linguistic approaches to understanding humankind, past and present.  As a university professor, it means that, in a given semester, I teach undergraduates about genetics, monkeys, and cultural relativism more often than I talk about my own research projects on the ancient Romans.  But the amazingly diverse subject matter of my typical Introduction to Anthropology course also means that I can draw from almost any topic in the week’s news to illustrate my lectures and to foster discussion: How does the hubbub over the “gay caveman” from the Czech Republic reflect our preconceived notions about sexuality?  Why does anyone care if Shakespeare – or any Elizabethan Brit – smoked pot?  Who polices American gender norms, telling us that little boys can’t paint their toenails pink and little girls shouldn’t pretend to nurse their dolls?  In teaching students about anthropology, I try to teach them to question the ideas we take for granted and to critique the categories that we often think of as inherent and immutable, to let them see that every culture has its own rules and is a product of its own time.

Roman Woman with Healed Broken Nose

Roman Woman with Healed Broken Nose

Research.  I’m not going to lie – fieldwork is the best part of my job.  Who wouldn’t like digging up dead Romans by day and eating pizza in the shadow of the Colosseum by night?  While teaching gives me the thrill of watching students who have never been exposed to anthropology realize they love it, holding the bones of someone long-dead and reading their biography from their bodies still gives me chills.  After two millennia, the Romans introduce themselves to me, telling me where they were born, showing me their scars, and complaining about their arthritic knees.  It can be hard to listen to the woman with a fractured nose (a victim of domestic violence?) and especially to the babies who didn’t have a chance to grow up because of a simple lack of antibiotics and multivitamins.  And yet, as the field of bioarchaeology has advanced and incorporated the techniques of chemical analysis, my research on the ancient Romans has gone beyond the wildest dreams of my 12-year-old self.  I’ve gotten to identify immigrants to Rome and to investigate their lives in the largest urban center of its time, a topic the historical sources rarely discuss.  I’ve gotten to find out what the average Roman ate, and to see that their childhood diet was actually quite different from what they ate as adults.  And I’ve gotten to work with an array of amazing international archaeologists and anthropologists along the way.

Outreach.  The final piece of my job is not mandatory but is becoming increasingly common.  In his keynote address at the American Anthropological Association meeting last fall, the archaeologist Jeremy Sabloff pointed out that there are no academics representing the face of anthropology.  We no longer have a Margaret Mead or a Franz Boas. Moving the discipline forward in the digital age, he said, means that it’s going to be “public or perish.”  So why be content with the few dozen people who will read your dissertation?  Being an academic today is about putting yourself out there as an expert, being the face of some topic, the person who can explain the importance of an anthropological concept to students and the public.  I have tried to take up this challenge with my own blog, which I envision as a public form of the informal communication that I have all the time with my colleagues.  Through blogging, I have started discussions with people in my field, in other academic disciplines, and outside of the academy completely.  It’s also been useful as a way for me to work through my plot bunnies (or academic otters), those nagging ideas that may not be fully formed but need to get out so that I can focus on one thing at a time.  Fortunately, other academics are also choosing this route to public engagement, and projects like Day of Archaeology allow us to contribute to a broader discussion of what the discipline means and how best to show others our enthusiasm for it.

It’s certainly not easy being a bioarchaeologist in academia, juggling several facets of our work on a daily basis and multitasking like mad.  But the rewards are fantastic: not just flying around the world to excavate in exotic locales, but watching students have “a-ha” moments after a heated discussion about evolution, and explaining to the public why we anthropologists don’t single out the privileged few who “shaped” society while ignoring the millions of others who actually made that society function.

I may not be a dinosaur-mathematician, but I’ve discovered that my childhood dream of studying the dead could come true with a little hard work.   I will continue to define myself broadly as an anthropologist and narrowly as a Roman bioarchaeologist for as long as I can.

 Kristina Killgrove currently teaches anthropology at Vanderbilt University, researches the Romans at Gabii, and interacts with the public through her blog (Powered by Osteons) and her Twitter feed (@BoneGirlPhD).