I have been practicing, teaching, and writing about archaeology for more than 20 years, and am currently based at Capilano University, near Vancouver, Canada. My experience involves field work in North America and Africa, having my own archaeology consulting firm, working extensively with Indigenous Peoples, teaching at a variety of Canadian colleges and universities, and writing. Books include 'Introducing Archaeology', 'Reading Archaeology', and "Indigenous Peoples of North America', all published by the University of Toronto Press. I also write a monthly column on archaeology in North America for Anthropology News http://www.anthropology-news.org/

Mostly Writing, Some Social Media, Field Project Promotion, and Beer

Somewhere along the way, in addition to becoming a practicing field archaeologist and educator, I became a writer of archaeology. I write year round as a secondary activity, almost hobby-like, off the side of my desk, while teaching three courses per term at Capilano University in western Canada, and directing archaeology field projects for seven weeks each May and June.

July is typically devoted primarily to writing.  In addition to writing this post, today I am prioritizing two other writing projects, but will work on several, and spend some time on social media and professional networks  as well.  Project 1 is drafting my July, 2013 column for the American Anthropological Association’s on-line ‘Anthropology News’ where I have been writing a monthly column called ‘Archeology in North America’ for the past 22 months. I am drafting it today with the intent of revising and submitting it early next week. It should appear on-line July 29, 30, or 31. The topic of the July column is on the implications of DNA studies in archaeology, especially in regard to perhaps superseding archaeology in support of Indigenous claims of use and occupancy of territories in North America and tracing ancestry.

Project 2 is a continuation of working on the third edition of ‘The First Nations of British Columbia: An Anthropological Survey’.  There is much to update in regard to archaeology. The last edition was published in 2007 and since that time there have been about 17,000 archaeology sites added to the inventory of prehistoric sites in the province.  Revisions to this book have been my primary project in July thus far. I will submit my completed manuscript in mid August, with an anticipated publication date in Spring, 2014.

I typically like to intersperse hours on some writing projects with short bursts of energy on other, unrelated writing projects. Today, this includes about 15-30 minutes each on (i) the second edition of ‘Introducing Archaeology’, a core textbook for introductory archaeology classes in colleges and universities (I will submit my completed manuscript at end of August, with an anticipated publication date in Spring, 2014); (ii)  a draft of a paper on archaeology I am presenting at the annual meetings of the American Anthropological Association in Chicago in November ; and (iii)  a paper for an on-line publication on contemporary discard and waste behaviour.

In addition to writing, I will visit Twitter several time to see what is happening in the world of archaeology. I am a big advocate of using Twitter to share things related to archaeology. I sometimes find it is hard to believe I have more than 4,000 tweets and more than 1,000 followers. My Twitter profile is here. I can be followed at @bobmuckle.

I will also continue my ongoing, never-ending promotion of my field project. I will contemplate updating the Facebook page for the Seymour Valley Archaeology Project I direct and answer some email enquiries about a 12 minute video of the project I posted on-line to various Facebook pages, groups, and listserves yesterday. The video was made by a student and provides a good feel for the nature of archaeological field and lab work.

It is a beautiful warm and sunny day where I live today, but instead of being outdoors I will be writing in my home office. At the end of my workday I will reward myself with a bottle of my favorite beer – Dead Guy Ale.

Writing, Tweeting, and Course Prep.

I am an archaeology news junkie. I like to read about it and write about it. So, like most days, I made several forays to my twitter site (http://twitter.com/bobmuckle) to see what is happening in the world of archaeology. I  tend to make several tweets a day, mostly related to archaeology, but occasionally I will tweet about issues related to the Indigenous  Peoples of North America or human biological evolution as well.

I have also been working on a column I am writing for the American Anthropological Association’s on-line “Anthropology News” . I write a monthly op/ed column called ‘Archaeology in North America’.  I just started drafting the column today and will revise and submit it tomorrow. It will appear on the Anthropology News web site sometime in July. The topic for the July column is on the emergent subfield of glacier and ice patch archaeology in North America, and the urgency to record the remains now being exposed by the rapidly melting ice and snow.

Another bit of writing I did today was to draft a report on my recently completed field project in the forests of west coast of Canada. I made a separate entry to Day of Archaeology 2012 on that (Archaeology of a Japanese Camp in Western Canada).

I am also drafting some syllabi for some courses I will be teaching in the Fall term. I am astutely aware that those great ideas for teaching that I have in June often translate into an enoromous workload for both the students and me in the Fall, so am trying to be cautious and reign my ideas in.  One of the courses I will be teaching is on the Indigenous Peoples of North America, and I am anxious to use my most recent book for that. (Indigenous Peoples of North America: A Concise Anthropological Overview).

Archaeology of a Japanese camp in Western Canada

One week as passed since the seven week fieldwork portion of an archaeology project I direct has passed, and for at least part of the day I am trying to make sense of it, and put the highlights into a report for the principal stakeholders.  The fieldwork focussed on an early 20th century Japanese camp in the forests of western Canada, and the work was undertaken primarily by those enroled in a university field school.  Those interested in the project  may want to take a look at a blog one of the students maintained. During the course of the field school, the blog had more than 3,000 hits from 20 countries, ranging alphbetically from Argentina to Zimbabwe. The blog includes daily posts, with multiple photos each day and severa video clips.

The site is unique, perhaps the only of its kind in North America, with a bathhouse, gardens, considerable evidence of women, and at least several cabins (rather than a typical bunkhouse and central mess hall). The peak period of occupation was clearly as a logging camp for a few years around 1920 and was probably exclusively Japanese.  The focus of the 2012 excavations was to get a good idea about the camp layout, with a view to making it an interpretive stop along a nearby trailway, and to test the hypothesis that after its initial use as a logging camp a small group of Japanese continued to secretly occupy the camp until the early 1940s.

The report I am writing includes a section on the primary objectives of the project, which include training university students in field archaeology, documenting heritage resources in this heavily-forested area, making scholarly contributions to the archaeology of logging camps and Asian-American sites, and public education about archaeology and local history.

Now a heavily forested area near Vancouver, Canada, several decades ago this was a Japanese camp, with several cabins, gardens, and a bathhouse.

In order to write the report, I have been reviewing the artifact catalog, about 600 pages of field notes, and student reports which include maps and analytical reports. My tentative interpretation is that there were at least several cabins located along two wooden plank roads, the site was unique insofar as it was laid out with many typical Japanse features, and that it probably did continue to be occupied secretly by Japanese from the mid 1920s to the early 1940s. I only have circumstantial evidence so far though. I hope to find evidence of a post 1920s occupation in the severa hundred artifacts collected.