University of North Dakota

Punk Archaeologist without Borders

I was called a “punk archaeologist without borders”, the first time by Ph.D. candidate Aaron Barth in his blog, The Edge of the Village. It’s a title I share with Bill Caraher, fellow punk archaeologist, and one who helped out me as same. And while I hope Dr. Caraher does blog today for the Day of Archaeology on all things archaeological and punk, I wanted to focus on how things have changed for me as an academic archaeologist into one who really would like to free your data, apply archaeological concepts/methods to non-traditional venues, exploring places on the planet other than Greece, and integrating a punk DIY attitude towards the publication of archaeology in both traditional and new media for both traditional and new subjects.


(Andrew Reinhard, Punk Archaeologist without Borders. Photo by the author.)

Yesterday I cheered as we went to press for Ronald S. Stroud’s volume on the inscriptions from Corinth’s Sanctuary of Demeter and Kore, published by the American School of Classical Studies at Athens (ASCSA) where I am the Director of Publications. Today I’ll create the PDF eBook for it, adding bookmarks, but more importantly, adding outward-facing links to people and place authorities that are both online and open access, thereby adding extra context to an already rich publication. I’ve been called out twice in the past week by two different archaeologists to define the ASCSA’s position on publishing non-2D material (e.g., 3D scans, images, models, reconstructions, etc.), and while I craft my positive responses to these challenges, I’ll say now that I want every author publishing on any site to do his or her best to provide not only 3D manifestations of what’s been excavated and interpreted, and to at least experiment with 3D scanning an mapping to support their publications. Sebastian Heath, another punk archaeologist (although he might not yet know it), has been experimenting with 3D and archaeology. Have a look. Ideally I’d like to have excavations submit schema for 3D printing of what’s traditionally been the plates section of their monographs so that readers can hold scale models of what was recovered on excavation. And I’d like to publish complete data sets online to support the text in a book or article.

My work at the ASCSA has also led me to rethink the archaeological guidebook. We’re currently working on the Athenian Agora Museum Guide and the Corinth Site and Museum Guide. Both will be traditionally published, but there will also be an eBook available. Most importantly though will be the apps that I’ve been developing on the Inkling Habitat platform initially for the Athenian Agora Site Guide, but ultimately for any guidebook the ASCSA cares to produce. I’m building the apps myself, creating a heavily linked system of intra-document jumps, along with other links out to places like Pleiades and to to provide readers with added value of additional, deep content managed elsewhere on the Web. The guides now read less like a book, and behave more like the Web, allowing meandering visitors to use the guide in a non-linear, more organic way. The bugbear has been adding real-time “where-am-I” functionality, but I am close to solving that final puzzle.


The ASCSA’s journal, Hesperia, has had its backfile on the ASCSA website as Open Access content for about a year. We’ve seen no drop in revenue, and an uptick of usage especially by those people who do not have access to JSTOR while in the field. The journal is at a crossroads, too, and the only thing keeping it from going e-only (with an option for readers who want print to order copies as print-on-demand) is the fact that most of our international exchange partners still require print copies for their libraries and cannot handle (or do not want) PDF issues and/or access to JSTOR for whatever reason. To continue these exchange partnerships, we have to continue producing short print-runs (under 500 copies), which is expensive in such small numbers. Printing more copies does not cost appreciably more because of economies of scale. I am left wondering when many of our international exchange partners will turn the corner and begin to accept the digital edition of our journal as opposed to requiring print. How can I best serve their readers until that happens, and is there a more efficient way to deliver print to those universities who still need/want it?

Outside of the ASCSA, I continue to be involved with a number of archaeological projects. This is where the “without borders” moniker kicks in. I’m currently wrapping up the editing of the Punk Archaeology book created from the Punk Archaeology unconference held in a bar in Fargo on Feb. 2, 2013, where there was spoken word (listen here), and punk rock (listen here) on topics ranging from what Punk Archaeology is to the archaeology of punk in the Red River Valley. The brainchild of Bill Caraher with Kostis Kourelis, Aaron Barth, Richard Rothaus, and others, this one-night stand of public archaeology resonated with both academics and locals, getting our science out of the Ivory Tower and into a drinking establishment (where many of us know the best discussions happen). The Punk Archaeology book will be published later in 2013 by the University of North Dakota, and it will be awesome.

I also launched a blog that explores the archaeology in (and of) video games. Read Archaeogaming here (and contribute!), and follow along on Twitter @archaeogaming.



(World of Warcraft screenshot from Archaeogaming)

Lastly, I had the good fortune to be a member of the Adventure Science team that explored and documented the state of the wilderness as part of the North Dakota Badlands Transect, aka “100 Miles of Wild“. We’re pulling together the white paper now, and will follow up with a website and at least two books about what we found out there, including archaeology, ecology, geology, and more.

I’m proud to be a punk archaeologist without borders. If you’re looking for a (largely free) hired gun to help liberate data, to put boots on the ground in areas of conflict, or to put your data on the path of progressive publication, I’m your man. Email me at, and let’s explore, build, and publish.

Andrew Reinhard


A Nevada CRM Archaeologist

This is my first post for the Day of Archaeology event.  I’d like to begin by thanking the organizers, advisors, and sponsors for conceiving of and making this event happen.  It’s important that we discuss archaeology across the world and get our work out to a broad audience.  All most people know about archaeology is what they see on the Discovery Channel or from Indiana Jones.

The road I took to get to a career in archaeology involved several u-turns and a few speed bumps.  Here is a quick history.  When I was a kid I wanted to be an astronaut, an airline pilot, or an archaeologist.  Since my family didn’t have the money for me to realize any of those goals I did what I thought was the next best thing and joined the Navy right out of high school.  I spent the next four and a half years working on EA-6B Prowlers as an aviation electronics technician.  During that time I went on a cruise on the USS Enterprise for six months in the Mediterranean and in the Persian Gulf.  We saw some great cities with great archaeology and history.  At this time, archaeology was something you saw on TV and included crusty old PhDs working in universities.  I never considered it as a career.

Near the end of my time in the Navy a random phone call landed me in commercial flight training at the Spartan School of Aeronautics in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  While there I received my private pilot’s license and finished the training for a few other licenses.  After a year and a half I transferred to the University of North Dakota to continue my flight training at the nations largest and most advanced collegiate flight training school.  UND Aerospace has an amazing program with state of the art aircraft and flight simulators.  It was a great experience.

While I was taking aviation classes I filled up my general education requirements with anthropology classes.  I still loved the science of archaeology, in particular paleoanthropology, but still didn’t see it as a career option.  I’m not sure why.  I think it was still just one of those fantasy fields that you never think you are capable of performing.

After a couple of years I started to lose my desire to fly commercially.  I just didn’t think I would get any satisfaction from shuttling people around the country for the rest of my life.  Sure the pay is good but there are a lot of things you can do that involve less stress if all you want is money.  I need a job that makes me feel good at the end of the day and that I look forward to going to everyday.  Since I still didn’t see archaeology as an option, even though I had taken most of the classes offered, I spent the next couple of years taking photography and math classes just for fun.  I know, I like math.  I’m probably the only CRM archaeologist that has used SOHCAHTOA to determine the exact angle for a transect.

During my penultimate year in college my professor, Dr. Melinda Leach, told me that I could graduate in one year with a degree in anthropology.  I just had to take all of the upper level classes and that would be it.  With no other direction I decided to go for it.  I had to take 18 credits during the fall and 15 credits during the spring and write, I think, five or six research papers during the year but in the end I graduated.  After graduation I went back to Seattle and worked with my brother’s father in law’s home remodeling company.  I hated it.

In the fall I went back to North Dakota to help with the big event that the department had planned the previous year.  We had Jane Goodall coming to speak to a packed house.  One day, while sitting in the student lounge, a former student, and friend, came up to me and said hi.  He was visiting because hurricane Katrina had destroyed his apartment in New Orleans and his company laid everyone off for a little while.  He asked what I was doing.  At the time I was getting ready to go on an Earthwatch expedition to dig in Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania.  After that I had no plans.  He asked if I had checked Shovelbums.  Shovel what?

I educated myself on, prepared my CV, and started on a job in Minnesota a week after I returned from Africa.  That was in October of 2005 and I’ve been in CRM ever since.  I’ve worked at all times of the year, on all phases of field archaeology and in 13 states.

In August of 2009 I began a one year MS program at the University of Georgia.  The program was intense but I received my Master of Science in Archaeological Recourse Management in July of 2010.  I’m currently working in the Great Basin of Nevada and love every minute of it!

So, I guess that wasn’t too brief.  My fiancé will tell you that brevity is not a trait that I possess.  Hopefully someone will get out of this that it’s never too late and you are never too old to get into the dynamic field of anthropology.   There are many paths that you can take to get to anthropology and there are just as many that you can take along your career.

My Chief in the Navy once told me how he decides whether a job or a position is right for him.  He said to look around at the people that have been doing your job and are at the ends of their careers.  Are they happy?  Are they doing what you would want to do?  My favorite thing about archaeology is that you can’t really tell what the future will bring.  You could be running a company, teaching at a university, or hosting your own show on the Discovery Channel, if they ever get back to science and history shows and away from reality shows.  The possibilities are nearly endless.

In my next post I’ll talk about the project I’m on right now and the wonders of monitoring.


Written northeast of Winnemucca, NV.