Staying connected during field school

For some, this is one of many field schools attended, for others, this is our first field school. For all of us, we are away from friends and family for an extended amount of time and we all have different strategies for connecting from the field. 

Most people assume that when you go into an archaeology field project you are completely cut off from your friends and family. For most field projects this is accurate, however here in the Field Methods in Indigenous Archaeology field school at Grand Ronde we are lucky enough to have cell reception and WiFi in camp. During field trips and field work we don’t always have it, and sometimes the cell reception or wifi signals are not strong enough to communicate but they bounce back fairly quickly.

A majority of us here are experienced with staying away from home or live on their own so connecting with friends and family is more casual or sparse, so to connect with friends and family they just send Snapchats or texts every once in a while.

Some of us live close enough to the campgrounds and sites that we can commute to and from home every day. Others wait until the weekend rolls around to go home and spend time with family.

For me this is my first time living (if temporarily) on my own away from my family and friends so I take advantage of the cell service and WiFi to stay connected with family and friends. I’ve been sending pictures texts to my grandparents (my grandpa is slowly learning how to text) and I send a few pictures to my friends too. 

Figuring out what to send can be difficult because I brought a regular camera to record my stay here which I will eventually share with everyone. But I like sending little updates or funny moments that happen when my camera is not out.

It’s been an interesting experience living away from everyone I know but it’s been really satisfying to learn that I can feel comfortable living on my own and meeting new people.

Youth Archaeology Day

Aguilar, Flintknapping 2019

On Thursday July 18th, the FMIA team along with Chris Bailey and the HPO staff facilitated Youth Archaeology Day with the Youth Ed students. The activities took place around Chachalu and included a variety of stations. The two that I primarily worked were flintknapping and the bow and arrow station. My experience with bow and arrows was exclusively with compound bows so it was really interesting to learn along with the students on how to properly shoot the more traditional type. It took a lot of trial and error but I was able to shoot off three arrows.

After the bow and arrow station I went over to flintknapping with Sara. This was my first time participating in flintknapping. I have always thought the process was incredible so it was a privilege to be able to participate as a student and to also teach the students of Youth Ed. The materials we used at our flintknapping station included obsidian, antlers, gloves, leather pads, safety goggles, and a tarp to catch falling flakes. The method Sara Gonzalez (our Field Director) taught us was pressure flaking. This involved using the leather pads for protection against the sharp obsidian as we used the antlers to apply pressure and pop off flakes and shape our points.

One student was was able to craft an Ishi1 point in roughly 45 minutes.

Ishi Point Example, Puget Sound Knappers

Seeing his dedication and expertise was inspiring and motivated me to continue working my point even after slicing my knuckles twice. The closing activity took place in the mini plank house and focused on the students asking us questions they had about archaeology and us as individuals. This included our inspiration and education journey that led to us being here at Grand Ronde. One of the questions we were asked was when we knew we wanted to be an archaeologist. I shared that it had been a passion of mine since childhood and my love for it continued to grow through the years as I read anthropology and archaeology related books and spent time in museums.

The mutual learning environment that was created during Youth Archaeology Day solidified my desire to focus my leadership project on creating curriculum for junior high through high school students to work in the collections and archives in the Tribal Historic Preservation Office (THPO). In having a background in both anthropology and education, I think it’s vital to listen to what is important to the students when crafting a curriculum. Understanding their strengths and skills and learning from them is just as important as any lesson plan I could craft and teach with my expertise. I look forward to creating a collaborative learning space at Grand Ronde that can be used for years to come.

Ishi Point Photo CreditPuget Sound Knappers

For Additional Information on Ishi: “Ishi, the Last Yahi”


From Auctions to Archaeology

In my previous life as an auction professional I would walk into a house, sort, evaluate, and catalog every material thing. From pencils to pictures, everything was assessed as to whether it held value or not. I found myself examining those homes and speculating on the life of the persons who inhabited them as told by the way they arranged and constructed their space as well as the things they accumulated over their lifetime.

It’s amazing how much you can tell about a person based on what is in their daily living space: What values did they hold? What was their socioeconomic background? How did they shape their cultural identity?

My undergraduate degree in religious studies and courses in anthropology added layers to my analysis that further shaped the hypothetical life of the person or people. Now that I am a graduate student at the University of Missouri I have been able to use these skills to deepen the understanding of how religion and material culture work together.

The focus of my research is on what material objects categorized as religious do in the context of Native American traditions, but also describing, identifying, and placing objects within their historical context. I often find myself walking a line between art history and anthropology. Through this work I hope to contribute to changing attitudes toward indigenous communities and help undo the perpetual misrepresentation of Native Americans as well as aid in efforts to reunite communities with their tangible and intangible cultural heritage. 

My current research project centers around religion’s role within indigenous knowledge systems and the post-colonial effects of salvage anthropology in the Pacific Northwest.

As a participant in FIMA this year, I am excited to incorporate low-impact archaeological methods into my reseach, working with the Grand Rhonde community. But…I really miss my furbabies back at home in Missouri.


About Me!

Hello! My name is Sophie Muro and I’m currently an undergraduate student at the University of Washington, studying Anthropology and Art History. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, I’ve developed a passion for being outdoors. Whether I’m hiking, long-distance running, or just spending an afternoon in the sun during a perfect west coast summer, I cherish the time I’m able to spend in nature.

While studying at the UW, I have been fortunate enough to engage in undergraduate research through the Pacific Northwest Archaeology lab on campus, run by Dr. Sara Gonzalez. As an Honors student at UW, I am currently conducting my own research project, utilizing the tools and mentor ship provided by the PNW lab to explore how photogrammetry and 3D digital modeling can be used to represent belongings found during our summer excavations. It is my hope that these models will be used to increase the accessibility of digital collections for Indigenous communities.

When I’m not on campus (which feels rare these days!) I love to bake, and I am currently working to perfect my blueberry scone recipe!

The annual Field School “Chelfie” or chicken-selfie!

What Sara Said

Hey there! I’m Sara, a 2019 graduate from San Francisco State University. I majored in anthropology and minored in education. My interest in archaeology and anthropology began when I took a trip to the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum in San Jose with my Grandmother when I was 5 years old. I remember being in absolute awe seeing a sarcophagus for the first time and walking through the tomb recreation. I got involved in education first as a para educator and then as a literacy tutor at the elementary level. Research interests include contemporary conflict archaeology. In the future I would love to create programs and curriculum to make archaeology and anthropology more accessible to K-12 students.

Aguilar, Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum 1997


One of my cats, Leia, a 2 year old diluted calico

Hi all! I’m Kel, an Oregon State University student in archaeology. I nearly have my degree, I will officially be graduating in December 2019. I’m originally from a tiny town in Eastern Oregon, which I’m planning to return to after graduating to work with the US Forest Service. If I’m not in the classroom or at work, I spend most of my time playing video games or spending time with my cats. Being from a rural area, I’ve always enjoyed camping, hiking, hunting, and fishing and I can’t wait to be able to enjoy these things in my hometown once more.

I’ve always had an interest in archaeology, even if I didn’t realize it. I spent much of my childhood carrying around mummy books and constantly watching the History and Discovery channels, and any outside time was spent digging through the dirt in the hopes of finding something. Despite all that, it somehow it didn’t click that archaeology was what I was meant to do until nearly halfway through my college career. Now that I’ve found such an incredible community, I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else. I’m excited to be a part of this amazing field school and finally get some hands on experience in archaeology that I’ll be able to utilize in the future.

Markee – An introduction

Hello, I am Markee an undergraduate of Anthropology, specifically Archaeology Science at the University of Washington.

I am excited to be participating in field archaeology after a year and a half of academic archaeology classes. I am interested in learning about archaeological processes as well as museum processes and functions.

When I’m not in the classroom I am spending time with friends, family and my cats.


Discovery Park Rock

About Me: Bay Loovis

My dog, Bishop!

Hello! My name is Bay Loovis and this is my second year on the FMIA Field Project! I am a recent graduate of the University of Washington majoring in Archaeological Sciences and Indigenous Archaeology. As a Seattle resident since birth, I have become increasingly interested in the archaeology of the Northwest Coast, so this field school is a great place for me to learn! When I’m not thinking about archaeology, I like to play with makeup, hang out with my two dogs (Daisy and Bishop), and watch television of questionable quality (iZombie, anyone?). In the future, I hope to use the skills learned here to continue to build my career in archaeology.

About Victoria

Victoria with Benny the Beaver mascot for Oregon State

Elligsen – Victoria with Benny the Beaver mascot for Oregon State

I’m a senior at Oregon State University pursuing a double major in history and archaeology. I enjoy reading, hiking, traveling, and learning new things. I grew up watching a lot of History Channel documentaries so that I could push my bedtime later (back when it actually showed informative documentaries instead of shows about conspiracy theories). The specials about Ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome were the ones that held my attention the best, especially when they interviewed archaeologists who discussed the significance of their findings. You can imagine how much I geeked out when I discovered Percy Jackson as a fifth grader and Kane Chronicles (by the same author) was published shortly thereafter. My aspiration is to  work in Classical Greek and Roman maritime archaeology, but I’ll be happy to work in any archaeological settings. I’m looking forward to continuing my studies as a graduate student in a maritime and/or nautical archaeology program.

A couple other things: I became a PADI certified open water scuba diver last spring, the country Estonia does not give enough credit for how cool it is, Helsinki is my favorite city, and leg day is best day, but I finally like doing upper body for weight lifting too.