HistArch Blogroll ’18

Please insert your blog links and reviews into this post. Prof. Gonzalez and Khail will publish after everyone has added to the Blogroll.

Justin’s posts

https://nunalleq.wordpress.com

The Nunalleq blog is authored by Rick Knecht and his staff from the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. The blog has been running since 2012 and is focused on the finds at Nunalleq, community based archaeology, and how the archaeological site is impacting the village of Quinhagak, Alaska. The site is very active during the dig season, with features such as the artifact of the day, and not as busy during the offseason. The blog is very visual and does a good job of showing finds at the site. This is an extremely good blog (and I am not saying that just because I have connections to the people in the blog. What makes this blog successful is the connection to the people at Quinhagak.

https://iceandtime.net

The blog, Out of Ice and Time: Arctic archaeology as seen from Utqiaġvik (Barrow), Alaska is written by Anne Jensen. The blog is about Anne Jensen’s experiences of being a archaeologist based in Utqiagvik and is directed at both people interested in an archaeologist’s day to day activities and also at people in the field. There didn’t seem to be a focus on the actual sites in recent years, but in going back several years, there was more posts about the sites she works at. She touches upon some of the lab work that is done, the logistics of digs, and some of the field forms. There is also a strong link to calling for and showing SAA participation. It’s a pretty good blog directed towards an archaeologist’s daily activities.

https://coastalarchaeology.wordpress.com/page/1/

The E’se’get Archaeology Project blog is a blog about an archaeological site in Nova Scotia in partnership with the Canadian Museum of Civilization, Acadia First Nation, University of New Brunswick, and the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources. The Blog is produced by Matthew Betts. The blog is about the archaeological site and features some of the technology that is used in this project. There seems to be a lot of 3d mapping involved in this project and much of the work is digitized. Although the digitization is pretty impressive, and there are some interesting finds at the site, I would love to here more of the backstory of the site and more from the local First Nations and what this site means to them. I also noticed that the Acadia First Nation is a partner, but was not clear in their involvement other than input.


Lizzy’s posts

https://www.archaeologysouthwest.org/category/pablog/

Archaeology Southwest is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit that runs a blog centering on preservation activities in the Southwestern United States. Along with a pretty sleek graphic design, the blog includes bylines for every post stating author and their title. Those titles include job position, institutional affiliation, and some “expert in…” statuses. The posts have a good breadth of authorship, from staff archaeologists at Archaeology Southwest to students and faculty at near and far institutions, and historic preservationists from Southwest tribes. The content shared on the blog has a good diversity of subject—aerial imaging, experimental pottery, tree-ring dating, identity politics in the past and present, and public outreach efforts. Comments appear to be left by professional archaeologists, interested people in the Southwest, and a few trolls. As a note, the blog is exclusively original content, though Archaeology Southwest also operates a newsfeed reposting Southwest news from national and regional outlets. This division makes the blog feel a step removed from activism or commentary, and gives it a more robust/official air than if they just retweeted headlines.

https://digitalarch.org/blog/

The Center for Digital Archaeology (CoDA) is another registered 501(c)3 nonprofit based out of San Rafael, Calif., created with the purpose of education professionals and students in modern tools of heritage preservation. Their blog states the focus to be on archaeology, museums, archives, and digital preservation, though their posts rarely include any author information. Comments are not available, so it’s difficult to tell who the blog is reaching, and in fact there haven’t been any posts in over a year. That’s unfortunate because examples and tips on digital methods in California’s cultural heritage is an interesting and expansive subject. With expanded information on authorship, which could be as simple as a basic byline, and more regular posting this blog could be a great tool for the nonprofit to advance their work in educating people about digital archaeology today. As it stands, it’s a little neglected and under-developed.

https://aleutianislandsworkinggroup.wordpress.com/

The Aleutian Islands Working Group (AIWG) blog was created as a forum for specialists of many disciplines working on the Aleutian Islands. Their authors, named with institutional affiliation in each post, include archaeologists, anthropologists, climatologists, oceanographers, and land managers. Given the silo-ed nature of archaeology, creating an interdisciplinary space to highlight news and research is a great initiative. That said, the AIWG had a four year life span, which was formally ended with a goodbye post in 2014. I’m highlighting the archived blog because there are very few active Alaskan and Arctic archaeology blogs today, and because many of the blog comments come from professionals who were eager to participate and connect. Given the diverse specialties of its authors, it’s unsurprising that the AIWG posts are all over the place in subject matter. A similar blog in the future might benefit from establishing monthly themes to be addressed by their authors rather than producing many, unconnected posts. Demonstrating how different disciplines relate to each other would be a great way to inspire readership among professionals because of the potential discovery of new approaches to their own work.


Alex H’s posts

https://qmackie.com/

Northwest Coast Archaeology blog by Quintin Mackie who is an archaeologist from University of Victoria in Canada. It is a blog run by Mackie to, according to his about page, is for him to make commentary and bring to public attention knowledge about various news in Archaeology.ince the blog is personal by nature, many entries have humorous quips now which makes it easier to read than the average academic paper. There are many pictures with detailed description and commentary with that relaxed personal aspect. The information presented is very clear and many links go out to other websites for more information about what he’s talking about. There are sections where theses are aggregated as well as links to various names in the Northwest and in Archaeology such as the familiar Ames and Lutz and to other PNW and Archaeology institutions and organizations.

https://archaeologyorkney.com/

This is a blog for the University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute. Orkney is an archipelago of islands in Scotland. The blog is written by person named Sean Page who is the main author but the blog is mainly for the University to put forth news in Archaeology in that area. Each entry is an account of various digs and sites. They describe new things they find or what they’re thinking as they research. The information could be useful to other scholars that are interested in that area as they cover a variety of topics specific to the Highlands and the surrounding islands.

http://romanarc.blogspot.com/

This blog is focused on the archaeology of Rome. The author is named David Beard who works as a freelance archaeologist for Oxford and a number of other projects. He runs many blogs relating to various Archaeology subjects. The blog’s purpose seems to be mainly concerned with collecting articles from around many different websites relevant to the subject, in this case Ancient Rome. The blogs begin with the first parts of the article before linking to the rest of it. Many of these articles are from news sites or other blogs, one article on the front page is in French. There doesn’t appear to be any original content if at all but at the very least, it can be used to find news relevant to Roman Archaeology through some sort of curator.


James’ post

http://castlesandcoprolites.blogspot.com/

It is unclear who the intended audience of this blog is. I attempted to find out by looking at who was commenting on the posts and what the natures of their comments were. However, it quickly became apparent that whenever someone had commented on one of the posts the comment had been quickly removed. The author is Dr Lisa-Marie Shillito who is the Senior lecturer in Landscape archaeology at Newcastle University which does give here authority to write on the subject. While she does provide substantial information on the archaeology of landscape at several different sites a lot of her posts about topics such as PHD applications. The blog is laid out in such a way that all her ‘about me’ information can either be accessed on the home page or at the top of the website. However, in order to find posts you have to dig through her archives. I think it is only a semi-successful blog mainly due to the fact that it was difficult to navigate/ find information.

http://aiamn.blogspot.com/

It is not explicitly stated but I do think the intended audience for this blog is other archaeologists/ enthusiasts mainly because of all the notifications about archaeology related events posted on the blog. The blog is not managed by a single author but rather a group of people (Minnesota Society of the Archaeology Institute of America). It does list the Vanessa Rousseau as president of the Minnesota Society of the Archaeology Institute of America. She specializes in Ancient-Medieval Mediterranean archaeology. The Blog consists of a single page. In the left-hand boarder there are related sites while in the right hand boarder there are summaries of events. The main content of the blog is summaries of archaeological events occurring in Minnesota. The blog has a very formal but enthusiastic tone. While the majority of the content is about promoting different events the fact that pdfs and articles are provided in the summaries of the events make this page extremely informative. However, the layout does make it difficult to navigate; if you want to find a post from a while back you have to scroll down a lot.

https://www.mola.org.uk/blog

The majority of people commenting seem to be enthusiast as well as archaeology. I am making this assumption based on the reasonable knowledgeable comments/ discussions within the comments I have read. The blog is administrated by an organization called Museum of London Archaeology. The blog posts themselves are made by archaeologists working for MOLA.  Since they are working for this company I assume they have had to go through a rigorous application process which I think gives them authority to write on the subject. They mainly provide information on projects undertaken by their company. However, there are also numerous posts relating to the local history in London and the surrounding area, as well as posts discussing changes to public policy in relation to heritage and cultural resource management. Each post is presented with its title and a short summary of what it is about. This made it very easy to quickly move through posts and find ones that I wanted to read. The tone of each post varies a bit due to differing authors but is altogether very formal. I thought this was a good example

 

Sophia C’s Post

https://archaeologyarchivesoxford.wordpress.com/blog/

Like most of the blogs I looked at, it would appear as if this particular blog was as if it was written for anyone who is interested, although likely tailored for academic purposes. Each post was written by a different person, and I thought it was kind of cool that the most recent post was done by a student who was working in the archives. He wrote about how an archaeologist took skulls found in digs and recreated the faces as to what they looked like while they were alive. Every post was about a different item in the collection. Some of them were books, others were artifacts such as arrowheads or bits of pottery.  I would rate this blog as a 6/10. I liked it, although I thought it would have been significantly more interesting if they had added some more current additions or how these artifacts were acquired.

 

https://nosasblog.wordpress.com/

Again, this blog was easy to read and understand which makes me think that it is intended for all who are interested to be able to read, access, and learn from. Each entry is labeled with the author, and the author was (generally) directly involved with the subject they were writing about. Each blog post was on a new subject, although you could go more in depth by clicking on a “continue reading” button at the bottom of the post, which would lead you to the rest of the blog post, which was much more in depth and informative. I would rate this blog as an 8/10, it was very nicely set up, easy to understand and full of interesting information.

 

https://garstangmuseum.wordpress.com/

This blog was also (I believe) created for the use of anyone who was interested, seeing as how it is a blog for the Garstang Museum of Archaeology. Although I am unsure of who the exact author is, we know that they work for the University of Liverpool. This blog would focus on anything from one object from a dig (like a figurine from Egypt), to the entire array of decorated ceramic ware. I thoroughly enjoyed this blog and would thusly rate it at 9/10. The entire blog was written in a way that was easy to understand and would keep you interested. There were lots of pictures to accompany the entries and show you exactly what they were talking about. Overall, I thought it was very enjoyable.

Gabbie’s posts

habitsofatravellingarchaeologist.com

The audience of the blog seem to be mostly made up of travellers, not related to archaeology. The author of the blog is an archaeologist by the name of Smiti, and although she has a very casual, upbeat tone, her authority on archaeological issues is seen through her “About” page, having a Ph.D in Anthropology from NYU, and being well-travelled personally and through her work. The content isn’t specific to archaeology, she includes posts on how to travel best, best places to go in a certain country, etc. I would rate the blog as a great place for travel information, but not so much from the archaeological perspective.

archaeologicalconservancy.blogspot.com/blog

This blog is more about archaeology than the previous blog.  The authors vary from different people, but is usually said within the article. Its intended audience seems to be those interested in archaeology and archaeologists. It has a more academic tone, and it seems many of the posts ask for donations for a certain cause of the month. They could probably improve upon their blog by including more of a blurb about the author, instead of their e-mail and location.

colleen-morgan.com

I enjoyed this blog a lot. I believe it has a great balance between archaeology and personal experience. The author is a Ph.D in Anthropology from Berkeley, lecturing at the University of York. She has an animated tone within her posts; just the most recent post from September 2018 has a great hook. The targeted audience seems to be archaeology enthusiasts to archaeologists. Another one of her posts examines a children’s book, so her work is not limited to sites and excavations. I would definitely continue following this blog. It doesn’t submerge readers with technical information, and it has some interesting reads.

 

Sophia P’s post

https://archaeologyorkney.com

This blog is run by the University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute. The main author of the blog is Sean Page, who posts updates regarding research or excavations the school is doing in the area. The audience seems like it would be students at the school, as well as people with an interest in the history of the area, including people researching the sites they have excavated. The information offered to readers is a rundown of what they have found at various sites, what they think it means or what new information it offers to the historical narrative, and they describe many of their excavation processes.

https://archaeologynewsnetwork.blogspot.com

This blog is a non-profit, ‘open access,’ news site pertaining to archaeology, and well as anthropology, paleontology, and evolution – and is organized as such. The authors of this blog seem to simply post verified news updates from accredited research universities/institutions. The readers of this blog seem to be people active in the archaeology community who want updates on any archaeological news regularly straight from excavations. This blog does actually seem really useful for people who want archaeology news and info straight from the source, but on this blog they can receive updates by email and about any research happening anywhere. They have 18,500 Twitter followers, and are also active on Facebook.

http://archeurope.info

This blog is run by David Beard, a freelance archaeologist, and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.  Readers of the blog would be students from a summer archaeology program he runs at Oxford, or people who wish to stay updated on news in archaeology in Europe. He specializes in medieval archaeology, and the information on his blog ranges from news in archaeology to information on history and archaeological excavation processes. The tone is very informational and friendly, in the way the author explains everything. You can tell just from reading a few posts he is very passionate about medieval archaeology!

Aloura’s Post

https://qmackie.com/

This is the Northwest Coast Archaeology blog and it seems good but the about section for this blog had basically no information about the author so it’s to difficult to gauge its usefulness or what credentials this person might have in archaeology. The blog is written in a mostly dry tone with occasional humor sprinkled in and seems to be mostly links to articles or pictures with the author’s take on the information presented. There seem to be a few followers and the comments are enthusiastic but don’t appear scholarly so probably just regular people interested in archaeology. The author focuses on Northwest Coast archaeology, as the name of the blog would imply.

http://elfshotgallery.blogspot.com/

This blog, Elfshot: Sticks and Stones, is actually extremely cool. The author, Tim Rast, focuses his archaeological pursuits on recreating ancient artifacts as accurately as possible. I saw mostly game pieces, jewelry, and weapons on the first few posts and the author is noted as being a flintknapper. The posts are engaging with lots of pictures and explanations of how the recreations were accomplished. Unfortunately there were almost no comments on any of the posts, the couple I saw seemed excited about what he is doing, but it’s hard to say whether or not the author is reaching as broad of an audience as he would like. Also the last update was May of this year which doesn’t bode well for the future of the blog.

https://colleen-morgan.com/

This is Colleen Morgan’s blog, Middle Savagery. This one was actually my favorite that I looked at. Partly because the author’s writing style is extremely beautiful and easy to read and partly because her about page was filled with her credentials including where she got her degrees, what she does now for work in the field, accolades her blog has received, and a link to her academic publications at Berkeley. The blog is written for a wide audience academically but is definitely written with her personal politics in mind, definitely no attempt has been made to hide her opinions in the name of remaining professional as people often try (and usually fail) to do. She doesn’t have many comments on her recent posts but seems to have a number of followers. Now including me.

Hope’s post

https://animalarchaeology.com

This blog is run by Alex Fitzpatrick, a zooarchaeology PhD student at the University of Bradford. Her identity and credentials are easily found, as well as her CV which helps to demonstrate the authority she has to write about archaeological issues. She aims for a wide audience, but particularly younger people and women who want to pursue science. Alex uses a lighthearted tone when writing. Her posts commonly discuss archaeology in popular culture and she also explains zooarchaeology and her research in ways that are easy for the public to understand. A few comments have been left on her blog, but otherwise just by looking at it, it is difficult to tell how many people engage with the blog. According to her CV, at least 2k people have visited the blog. Overall, she has a very well run blog and it is updated regularly with posts that the general public would both be interested in and understand. 

https://trowelblazers.com

TrowelBlazers is a website (with a blog) that is run by a group of four female scientists from the fields of archaeology, geology, and paleontology. They aim for a wide audience with a focus on women, and especially younger women hoping to get into science. They get a decent amount of traffic on the blog since it is fairly well known. The posts on the blog are about women scientists, both modern and past who are doing important work. A recent feature they did was pairing historical women scientists with their modern “counterpart.” The tone of the blog is light-hearted and friendly. It is a good example of a field science blog since it reaches a lot of people, updates regularly, and posts well-written, timely content. 

https://holliskmiller.com

This blog is written by archaeology PhD student Hollis Miller. Her credentials are readily found and demonstrate to the readers that she has authority to write about archaeological topics. The intended audience for the blog is primarily the people who live in Old Harbor, Alaska, but also a broader audience interested in how an archaeological project works or Alaskan archaeology. She writes about her field work and uses language that can be understood by a general reader. Hollis maintains a light, but professional tone in her writing. It is a well-done blog, but more work is still needed to increase viewership. 

Alec’s Post

https://coffeebreakarchaeology.blog

This blog is intriguing because as a source of public outreach toward those who are interested in archaeology, it does a great job. It has social media presence across multiple platforms and has a consistent readership. However, its author does not reveal themselves, choosing to post under the blog’s name instead. This is fine for this blog, as it seems to mainly copy and paste links to interesting archaeological news stories for quick perusal by those with a passing interest in archaeology. These copy pasted links are complemented with occasional self posted updates about the author’s visits to archaeological sites around Great Britain.

https://troweltales.com

This is a website/ blog with over 2000 monthly followers. It is run by one of the cofounders of the Archaeology Podcast Network and cohost of the Women in Archaeology podcast. Though their name is not easily discoverable on either the blog or the webpage, their credentials are. They have a MA from Northern Arizona University as well as over ten years of CRM field experience. The blog seems to target people with more than just a passing interest in archaeology, probably undergraduates and graduate students specializing in the field. Posts on the blog often include citations as if they were mini research papers. In addition to the well written entries, there is a section of the website where the author shares archaeology based cartoons that highlight some of the more humorous or relatable aspects of life as a professional archaeologist. Overall, this is a very well put together blog about archaeology with no true shortcomings.

https://animalarchaeology.com

This is a zooarchaeology blog (well, heavily focused on zooarch, but publishing on a broad spectrum of archaeology related topics) written by a zooarchaeology PhD candidate at the University of Bradford in England, Alex Fitzpatrick. Similarly to the last blog, the author has a podcast published through the Archaeology Podcast Network, though this one is about zooarchaeology. Further similarities between this blog and the trowel tales blog come in the type and style of self posts that are uploaded. They are often written as mini research papers with citations at the end. Also for levity amidst the academia, the author has side publications about artifact typologies in different video games. This allows archaeology, and this blog specifically, to reach out to the extremely large gamer community and get them interested in the field. Again, like the trowel tales blog, this is a shining example of what a professional archaeological blog can look like.

Issues in Photography

Throughout my time in the Pacific Northwest Archaeology Lab I have engaged in several small projects.  I started working with ceramics and glass, and have switched my focus into working on the photography of belongings recovered through Field Methods in Indigenous Archaeology. We do photography in the lab because it is important to create a digital record of the belongings we are analyzing. Artifact Photography allows for us to create a visual database that can assist our analysis, as well as enable others to access the belongings and learn from them.

The photo that I chose is of one of my favorite artifacts, it is a plastic bead excavated from the the Grand Ronde School privy.  This picture was the first time I had photographed a three dimensional object where the depth of field was not an issue.  I really appreciate the edges of the artifact in the photo.  Artifact Photography has a very common issue with depth of field.  There are a few very prominent issues in photography one of those being depth of field and another being light reflection when photographing objects such as glass.

Depth of field was the most prominent issue when I first began photography, it made it almost impossible to shoot artifacts fully in focus, as larger items often result in blurring of certain areas of the photo. To resolve this issue, I used Photoshop to merge a series of pictures so as to eliminate the blur.  Photoshop stacking is where you take a series of photos of the same artifact and stack them on top of each other, using the program to extract areas in focus in each image and form a new image, thus solving the issue of depth of field.

The other major issue that I noticed when shooting the artifacts was light reflection making it so that you cannot see the artifact very well.  This mostly occurred when I was shooting glass and made it so that the actual glass was very difficult to see in the picture because the light made the glass shine and impossible to see.  I am excited to see what new skills I will learn in photography; what new challenges will show up, and how I will resolve them next quarter in the Pacific Northwest Archaeology Lab.

By: Zach Stewart

The Foods of Grande Ronde: Digital Documentation of Unidentified Seeds

sample seed – Unidentified spieces of wheat

Identifying seeds recovered from archaeology sites give us better understandings of the type of food that was available during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The seeds in my project are from a late nineteenth and early twentieth century settlement site on the Grand Ronde Reservation, which was the first habitation site on the reservation since removal. My project focuses on photographing unidentified seeds that were collected at the Grand Ronde reservation. I am using a Scalar digital microscope to capture photographs at 50x-100x magnification. The samples are placed into a petri dish filled with sugar. The sugar not only keeps the sample still but it also creates a white background. Tweezers and a paintbrush allow me to gently move the sample into different positions.

Several photographs are required because the microscopes cannot capture depth of field easily. Once the photos are taken they go through a stacking process in Adobe Photoshop to create a clear image with depth. Depth of field as described by Gray (2018) is, “…the closest and farthest objects in a photo that appears acceptably sharp.” There is a gradual change in sharpness as adjustments are made to the lens of the microscope. This can be seen in the photographs below. Different parts of the seed are clearer than others because the lens of the microscope has been moved closer or farther away from the object.

 

Unidentified Species of Wheat: Creating an Archive 

When I started this project, I thought the photography process would be the most interesting aspect of my research. But instead I found myself excited to see the unique differences between the seeds and their varying characteristics. For example, the wheat sample you see pictured in this post. It has a wrinkled texture with small indentations filled with silt and a small dark bump towards the right tip. I would have never thought these physical attributes existed had I not used the Scalar microscope to photograph several angles of the sample. These varied characteristics are very important for the identification process. Experts will examine these characteristics to properly identify the family, genus, and species of that sample. There are so many options when it comes to plant identification that it is very important to capture clear images that accurately display these physical attributes. Identifying these samples will give us a better understanding of reservation diets and locally available resources. As well as identify plants that may have been indigenous or imported to the area.

Works Cited
Gray, Elizabeth
2018 Understanding Depth of Field – A Beginner’s Guide. Photography Life. Electronic document, photographylife.com/what-is-depth-of-field, accessed March 2018.

 

By: Paloma Sanchez

It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s a Comic Book!: Exploring Popular Culture at Grand Ronde

Working in the Pacific Northwest Archaeology Lab, the last thing I expected was to become familiar with the world of comic books. Growing up I was always fascinated by superhero movies, and when a piece of a comic book showed up during the cleaning process, I jumped at the chance to work more closely with this artifact. Finding paper and other materials that do not preserve well via archaeological excavation is rare. The prospect of working to both extract information from, as well as conserve this fragment of popular culture has been such an incredible opportunity.

As we began to look at the piece more closely, we came to see just how strange it truly is. Initially, we thought it may be a piece of a newspaper, as the paper was of poor qualityand thin with many of the pages stuck together. upon further inspection, and much to our surprise, buried within the layers of paper-a face emerged. The red cape, strong jawline, and confident gaze led us to quickly theorize that we were looking at some sort of superhero, but which one? The red cape seemed to echo a Superman aesthetic, but we couldn’t be sure. Being that that we were without a “comic book expert”, we turned to an unexpected source: Facebook.

Quickly after revealing this mystery face, I began posting on several Comic Book Historian community sites within Facebook, asking for help identifying this character. Within minutes, there were dozens of comments, many even suggesting Flash Gordon as another contender, though Superman is still my personal favorite! Using social media to obtain a further understanding about this artifact was something that had never occurred to me, but for this instance proved to be really helpful.

This is the face that we we able to find within the layers of the piece. We are still unsure as to the identity of the character depicted.

We hope to gain a better understanding of the comic book subject, historical comic book publications, and a images of popular culture at this time.   we do not yet know exactly what kinds of popular culture  the students attending the Residential School would have had access to. Using a rough timeline of the site, combined with a more formal artistic analysis of the fragments, we have been able to tentatively hone in on a date range, placing our piece between the 1930s and 50s. Looking to the future, we hope to be able to pull apart these layers, potentially revealing even more text or a trademark in the next steps of our research.

Though we aren’t able to discern what the text is saying due to fragmentation, the font style and Ben-Day dots on the side provide helpful clues to the dating of this piece.

It’s incredible how much we are continuing to learn about this piece every day. Recently, after working with the Conservation Lab here on campus, we were able to see even more pigment and small designs that we hadn’t noticed before. What I’ve loved most about working on this artifact is how interdisciplinary it has been We have utilized so many different sources to gain a better understanding of what we have and our long term goals include identifying the mysterious face, learning more about what sort of publication this artifact is apart of, and being able to make inferences about the impact that these comics and media had on those living at the Residential School. Until then, we will continue to enjoy taking bets on who our mysterious hero is!

By: Sophie Muro

Be Our Guest: A Contemplation on a Piece from a Child’s Tea Set

Since beginning my learning experiences in this lab, my interest in specific types of artifacts has grown stronger and more focused. Although I was and still am fascinated by everything recovered from the Grande Ronde schoolhouse, I was always drawn to the ceramics that were found, the most compelling of which is a small, hand painted tea set creamer.

I felt attached to this creamer, despite the fact that it had no part in my life before a few months ago. This led me to wonder what caused people to be interested in specific artifacts, as well as why people form attachments to objects  from generations before them. In the context of this artifact, there is a certain familiarity of it, as it is a recognizable object which is almost complete. When juxtaposed with other smaller, less identifiable pieces, this piece stands out and becomes memorable and exciting.

Based on the size of this piece, it appears to be from a child’s tea set. This direct association with children and childhood sparks a feeling of nostalgia for tea sets in my own past, despite the fact that I had never interacted with or even seen this particular creamer prior to working with it in the lab. In archaeology and more generally in everyday life, people tend to be drawn to things that remind them of objects that are familiar to them, such as specific toys that they played with as children or certain scents that are reminiscent of family members or places. My own childhood tea set had a lot of positive memories linked to it, which resurfaced when looking at this one. I expect the same can occur for many other people as well.

While I had an imagined connection to this object, there were likely people in the past who had a connection to it when it was new. A large part of archaeology is evaluating the bonds that people made with their surroundings and belongings to discover what their lives were like. In the lab, the context was changed for how people viewed and interacted with the creamer, but the response remained the same. This showed me an important lesson about the nature of humans, both in the present and in the past, and how we view the objects we encounter throughout our lives. This lesson has taught me to view other artifacts in the same way I viewed this one, as vibrant pieces of a life from long ago. As corny as it sounds, I feel that it was a valuable part of my experience in learning about archaeology.

By: Bay Loovis

Meet the Professor: Sara Gonzalez

IMG_2326

Prof. Gonzalez, archaeologist.

As an archaeologist who works at the intersection of tribal historic preservation, colonial studies, and public history, my work brings together anthropological, historical, feminist, and indigenous methods in the study and representation of Native American heritage. My research specifically examines how community-based participatory research can improve the empirical and interpretive quality of archaeological narratives, while also situating archaeology within a more respectful and engaged practice. As a core feature of this work  I am exploring the diverse applications of digital media as tools for contributing to the capacity of tribal communities to manage their historic and environmental resources. In conjunction with these projects I have developed multiple classroom, lab, and field training programs that provide undergraduate and graduate students with the opportunity to participate directly in research with tribal communities and to develop student-directed research that contributes to the capacity of these communities to study, manage, and represent their heritage.

This work centers on my ongoing collaboration with the Kashia Band of Pomo Indians at Fort Ross State Historic Park, a former Russian-American Company mercantile settlement (1812-1841) in northern California. The goal of this partnership involved the development of the Kashaya Pomo Interpretive Trail, a walkable cultural heritage trail and companion website that features the history and heritage of the Kashia within their ancestral homeland. Within the context of this work, community-based participatory research with both the tribal community and the California Department of Parks and Recreation provided the basis for itnegrating Kashaya cultural protocols and values into the study, management, and representation of their heritage within Fort Ross and their ancestral homeland, Metini.

Since coming to the University of Washington in 2013, I have initiated a new, multi-year community-based partnership with the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde Community of Oregon (CTGR) and their Tribal Historic Preservation Office (THPO). The goal of this collaboration is twofold: first, to conduct an archaeological study of 19th and early 20th century sites associated with the community’s settlement onto the Grand Ronde reservation, which was created by executive order in 1855, and second, contribute to the capacity of the CTGR THPO to manage tribal cultural resources on its reservation lands. This summer our project will host a 7-week field school, Field Methods in Indigenous Archaeology, where undergraduate and students will work alongside tribal students and  the Grand Ronde THPO to study the history and development of the 19th century reservation landscape.

Prior to coming to UW, I received my doctorate from the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Berke­ley Depart­ment of Anthro­pol­ogy (2011) (Go Bears!) and was a Scholar-in-Residence fel­low in the Depart­ment of Soci­ol­ogy & Anthro­pol­ogy at Car­leton Col­lege and a Chris­t­ian A. John­son Fel­low in the Depart­ment of Anthro­pol­ogy at Vas­sar Col­lege.

When not in the field or the classroom I am often found road tripping across the U.S. to find interesting, old things, trying not to kill the plants in my kitchen garden, or baking cupcakes and pies for lucky students.

Winner of the Golden Spatula Award, 2014: Prof. Gonzalez's Rhubarb Strawberry Pie with Cinnamon Scented whip

Winner of the Golden Spatula Award, 2014: Prof. Gonzalez’s Rhubarb Strawberry Pie with Cinnamon Scented whip

 

About Sara Gonzalez, Ph.D.

Hard at work.

Prof. Gonzalez, Archaeologist by Training, Amateur Baker

Curriculum Vitae

Sara Gonzalez is an assistant professor at the University of Washington, Seattle where she is developing a local program in community-based archaeology and exploring the intersections of digital media and tribal historical preservation. Prior this appointment she was a Scholar-in-Residence fellow in the Department of Sociology & Anthropology at Carleton College and a Christian A. Johnson Fellow in the Department of Anthropology at Vassar College. She received her doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley Department of Anthropology in 2011. An archaeologist by training, her current research interests include the archaeology of colonialism, community and public archaeology, Indigenous and feminist archaeology, and historical archaeology. In addition to working in the most beautiful places on earth (the Sonoma coast and now the PNW, in case you were wondering) she enjoys blogging about archaeology and making cupcakes for her students.

Preserving Manzanar

A few years back I had the good fortune to listen to Bonnie Clark from the University of Denver discuss her community-based work with the families and descendants of Japanese-Americans interred at Amache.  She described the careful excavation of a small rock feature; a scene of rocks emerging out of the soil, artfully arranged; she and her students recognizing it as a rock garden carefully assembled by the residents of Amache.

For several years the cultural resources team at Manzanar National Historic Site has been working alongside former internees and their families to restore similar gardens at Manzanar.

Manzanar Relocation Center, 1943, Ansel Adams, Library of Congress

Most recently, the team has resotred the Arai fish pond and Block 12 Mess Hall gardens, small monuments that, like the gardens at Amache, attest to the perserverance of internees and their struggles to maintain home and community during WWII.

http://www.rafu.com/2014/03/gardens-of-beauty-and-serenity-restored-at-manzanar-national-historic-site/

http://blog.manzanarcommittee.org/2011/05/31/nishi-family-returns-to-manzanar-to-help-rebuild-historic-bridge-at-merritt-park/