Blogging Archaeology

SAFE: “Saving Antiquities for Everyone”

SAFE is a non-profit organization that hopes to raise public awareness about the legal and ethical considerations of the antiquities market, particularly through media and educational programs. Their blog is one such method to educating the public about looting, heritage preservation, and community outreach in order to decrease illegal artifact sales and limit the impact of the black market. The blog is geared towards the public, but I was made aware of the blog through my work at the museum, so there is also a professional audience that uses the blog as a resource. The articles therefore, are written in a tone that professionals (such as historians, archaeologists, and museum curators) appreciate, but which is still accessible and informative to the general public. This is a great blog because it encompasses multiple fields and offers the public a deeper understanding of why black markets and looting can exist, but also how small steps can make a difference in preventing such things from happening. The blog reports on diverse regions, but has a global focus. I would rate this blog as very well done and an effective resource for anyone interested in heritage preservation and artifact protection.



Does Garbology have the ability to capture the activities that people were doing, even if those activities are less than half a mile away from each other? To see if garbolog-ical methods have a fine enough resolution to distinguish between activities in different areas of the University of Washington campus, a group of us (Roger, Jacob, and myself) did a little dumpster diving (sort of).

We collected two different sets of trash from standalone (non-sorting) trash bins located at the southeast corner of the Burke Museum, and at the west facing edge of Thompson Hall. Both collections were in high pedestrian traffic areas and were not in close proximity to any sorting trash bins. Theoretically, that means the entirety of activities that were going on in the areas adjacent to the bins should be represented in the trash collections, and there should be no bias towards compostable, organics, or recyclable materials in either the Burke of Thompson trash sets.

The result of our snooping in other peoples trash paid off (but we thought it would, we had expectations after all that trash has no secrets). It turns out that garbology has a fine enough resolution to differentiate between activities that produce trash, even though the activities are occurring on the same campus. In the Burke collection there is clear evidence of off-campus food sources and café-related items being consumed, which is consistent with our expectation that the Burke trash bin will represent lunch-time activities from both the academic (students, faculty, staff) and general public (school and tour groups, museum visitors). The Thompson collection also demonstrated a reliance on portable food items and evidence of scholarly activities (book packaging), although the scholarly activities were in lower abundance than we expected. Illicit activities like alcohol consumption and smoking in a non-designated zone were clear in the Thompson collection, and this is probably because that trash bin faces a wooded garden where such activities could go on unnoticed. Interestingly, both bins had roughly equal amounts of organics, compostable and recyclable materials, suggesting that people use these specific trash bins out of convenience. The results tell us that people tend to misbehave near Thompson hall, and that putting sorting bins in these high traffic areas has the potential to divert a great deal of the trash that were observed in the two collections.


-Lauryl’s Bio


I was born and raised in Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii. Aside from a few years spent in Oregon, all of my childhood and most of my adult life has been lived on the windward side of the Big Island. All this and here , is true. The difficulties of island living have molded me into someone who is capable of withstanding even the wimpiest of Seattle rains. I even have experience with snowy weather!

All my archaeological training and education was undertaken at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, and prior to moving to Seattle for graduate school, I worked for about two years in cultural resource management in Hilo. I now live on the outskirts of a large city – where, thankfully, there are a few dirt roads and lots of trees in case I need to roll around outside. My research interests are largely focused on archaeobotanical applications in the Pacific region. For my future dissertation work I hope to conduct research on the development of subsistence strategies and using archaeobotany to answer questions related to social complexity.