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

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

Engaging Nature Through Photography

While most of my experience with photography has been spent around busy people and bustling places, getting out into a more natural setting requires a fresh review of the skills I thought I had as a photographer. It also allows a chance to weather down the distinctly different sense of busyness that comes when engrossed in an full, flourishing, and unfamiliar environment.

After finding some free time one afternoon, I decided to wander down some trails that I had previously visited briefly in the weeks before. Coming from an urban environment, it really is a shock to the system to be somewhere with so little noise.

This is a close-up of the Douglas fir that is seen to the left of the previous photo. Partially because there was nobody else around, and because the sun began to set in a fantastic way that shone through the flora, I spent around twenty minutes in a stretch of the trail not more than five meters long.

During a trip to Fort Yamhill State Heritage Area, the small group I was with repeatedly heard a bird call that we could not place. Instead of putting on my city lens and walking away without paying the event any mind, I decided to stop and look for the culprit. The wait between each call was a struggle with impatience, but after a couple of long minutes, we spotted this (most likely) osprey hanging out and yelling at us from about 50 meters away.

One of the first things that was pointed out to our group on a trip to Mt. Hebo was the existence of wild strawberries that grew practically everywhere around the visiting areas. The size of the berries surprised me at first, while I was not expecting full grocery store sized strawberries, the wild ones were no larger than a dime. Getting a decent photo of them took becoming uncomfortably familiar with the low lying plants in the area as I had to nearly lie down on top of them.

Wild berries have since lent themselves a much more central role in the free time we find ourselves, resulting in our crew planning our weekends around the optimal times to go collect more.

Queen Anne’s lace or poison hemlock? A question that was asked far too many times for anyone’s comfort on our trip to Cape Meares. I found myself noting the more subtle differences between the similar looking plants as we wandered. In an effort to take pictures of the flower with the prettier name that is markedly less poisonous, I ended up with over a dozen pictures of very similar looking flowers. In the end, this one was my favorite… and it is definitely poison hemlock.

At the end of the fourth week of the program, it still feels like there is so much to learn and do out here in the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde. We are kept busy every day with new projects and fresh dirt, all of which offer new photographic opportunities on site. Photography offers a window to focus on a subject that can be as broad or specific as one’s own technology allows. In my case, preferring a longer lens forces me to consider more definite and distinct focal points, helping me slow down and take in the environment piece by piece. Each of those pieces has a story to tell, and I’m hoping to capture a single perspective of the massive narrative around me.

All photos are my own, taken with a Nikon D7100, and are unedited.

-Luke

Chinook Wawa

One of the most striking things I have noticed at Grand Ronde was the use of Chinook Wawa language during a gathering at the Achaf-Hammi Plank House, several days after arriving at Grand Ronde.  While I had expected to be introduced to new topics and subjects, language use and its importance to the local community had not really crossed my mind.

Over the following days, I learned about the Confederate of Tribes of Grand Ronde, who include Kalapuya, Molalla, Rogue River Athabaskans,Shasta, and Umpqua peoples and I also learned more about Chinook Wawa, the language that is spoken by Grand Ronde tribal members today. The history of the language is interesting in itself, and it illustrates some of the population’s history, in that it was first used as a trade language between the tribes along the Columbia long before they were forced to move to the reservation in the 1850’s.

In order to communicate the tribes began using an old trade language, a jargon comprised of several dialects. Language, as expected, is intricately linked to culture and traditions of a community, and Chinook Wawa is no different.  In the face of the trauma caused by forcible removal, extreme violence, and oppression from their colonizers, the different tribes realized that they needed to band together to survive. A common language was one of the ways in which the tribes came together to form a new normal out of the upheaval (Native-Language, 2015).

As time passed from the tribes to the reservation in 1856 to the current day, the language also experienced changes, and losses. Outside pressure to assimilate to mainstream ‘American’ society made it clear in various ways that assimilation was not only desired, but expected. For some, leaving behind their language, culture and traditions seemed to offer the chance for a brighter future. For the community at large, it was a blow that would take a long time to recover from (Lewis, 2013).

The next challenge to Chinook Wawa and the Confederate Grand Ronde Tribes was with the termination of the tribes in the 1950’s. The termination was one more attempt at forced integration of tribal people, which greatly weakened the community as some members left completely.

It is no surprise that the language also suffered. On speaking to a local tribe member, I learned that there aren’t many adults fluent in Chinook Wawa. Efforts to reintroduce and revitalized the language have proven to be successful, especially with the language program that children of preschool and kindergarten age are enrolled in. This age group has shown a grasp of the language that they carry well past those first few years of schooling, a bright sign for the future of Chinook Wawa as a spoken language.

At present, Chinook Wawa’s presence is heard all over Grand Ronde, from the bilingual street signs on the government campus, to songs, and stories told at the Plank House during gatherings, as well as at the Powwow. Speakers of this unique language have come together in many ways, from making short films like Huyhuy, which went on to show at the ImagineNATIVE festival in Toronto, to a language app that aims to create new avenues for learning the language. My short exposure to the community at Grand Ronde and the cultural events made it clear that the language not only still alive, but an integral part of the traditions, culture, and life of the Grand Ronde Tribes.


photo via Grandronde.org

 

CITATION

Hopinka, Sky. 2013. “Huyhuy” https://www.facebook.com/1825697674332803/videos/vb.1825697674332803/1946774372225132/?type=2&theater

Lewis, David G. 2013. “A house built on Cedar Planks.” Willamette Valley Voices: Special Edition Confederate Tribes of Grande Ronde Articles.

Native-Languages. 2015. “Grande Ronde Indian Language” Last modified 2015. http://www.native-languages.org/grand-ronde.htm

Rhodes, Dean. 2017. “Veterans’ weekend arrives with summit, powwow”  http://www.grandronde.org/news/smoke-signals/2017/06/29/veterans-weekend-arrives-with-summit-powwow/#sthash.HwwjMeyr.dpbs

NLS About Me

Natasha has always been interested in stories, and though she took the long way around, she finally found a field of study where the stories matter.  Her background is in Biology and Anthropology with a focus on traditional indigenous architecture. She was excited to be able to participate in the FMIA field school as it intersected with all her areas of interest, and knows that what she learns during the program will be invaluable in the future.

About Me, Faye

I would like to introduce myself. I am a senior at Oregon State University in Corvallis Oregon, obtaining my degree in Archaeology. I am also a member of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, a grandmother of 7, and am an avid learner.

I have been interested in Archaeology for some time but hadn’t pursued a career in this direction. This is my 3 professional pursuit; I previously ventured in Nutrition and worked as an industrial, commercial electrician. My biggest goal, I feel, in my latest learning endeavor is to overcome my fear of the computer.

Brewing up the past

As I reflect on the research I have done for this project and what it means in my own life, I feel a closeness to the centuries past, that I am not quite sure I have felt before. When I taste my Hefe-Weizen clone of one of the oldest surviving wheat beer recipes, I can imagine that many were drinking something extremely similar in a Bavarian tavern 400 years ago. I can imagine them making the beer as well, perhaps with less overall knowledge of the chemistry going on, but nevertheless the same exact process.

Homebrewed clone of the Paulaner Hefe-Weizen recipe

Through chemical analysis of beer residue throughout history, we know that there were fermented grains being utilized for many thousands of years. However, what kinds of other ingredients, brewing processes and experimentation they had to do is still very much obscured. Through the texts and archaeological data I have looked at, I believe beer was very much perfected in the 15th and 16th centuries. They had found the very meticulous process (that is still being used today), they knew how fermentation worked and they knew a good beer consisted of grain, water and hops. It is very much thousands of years of experimentation that led to this modernization of beer. This beer I am drinking, the beer that was being drunk in Germany centuries ago and the beers that are going to be drank in the future are all due to the experimenters of the past, who were brave enough to venture out into the unknown. I believe it is our job to continue the legacy of those experimenters, by upholding the magnificent process they handed down to us and by continuing to exploring the boundaries of what is possible with this wonderful process we call fermentation.

The Patent Medicine Era in America

Hechtlinger, Adelaide
1974 The Great Patent Medicine Era: Or, Without Benefit of Doctor. New York: Galahad Books. Pg. 218.
University of Washington Libraries.

My final project for historical archaeology explored the complex history of the patent medicine era in America. Prompted by an interest in embossed medicine bottles studied in this class and my museum curation course at the Burke Museum, this subject was far more extensive than I ever imagined. In my paper, I focused on the social and industrial components that created a climate of self-diagnosis and self-medication, which reached its zenith during the Victorian period.

I argued that one of the most important and pivotal of these topics was the boom in advertising during the 19th century. For me, the most fascinating advertising strategies of the patent medicine industry were directed at women. In my opinion, it was nearly unprecedented at the time to

Hechtlinger, Adelaide
1974 The Great Patent Medicine Era: Or, Without Benefit of Doctor. New York: Galahad Books. Pg. 73. University of Washington Libraries

find such direct consumerism targeted at a demographic that were socially and politically oppressed like Victorian women. Doctoring manuals for women doubled as both advertisements and how-to guides to take care of one’s family.  These publications put women in the position of “the family doctor,” but at the same time would reiterate the weakness and frailty of “the female patients” (Apple 1990:322). In addition, advertisements would intertwine the ideas of female morality and health. Precautions regarding the “evils of insufficient clothing” imparted how women’s fashion, by exposing parts of the body, could lead to disease and death by consumption (Hechtlinger 1970:95).

 

I found the duality of the advertising tactics towards women as confusing, frustrating, and captivating all at the same time. My modern feminist perspective makes it difficult to glean many positive aspects from some condescending advertisements.

Hechtlinger, Adelaide
1974 The Great Patent Medicine Era: Or, Without Benefit of Doctor. New York: Galahad Books. Pg. 70. University of Washington Libraries.

However, with oppressive social directives separating Victorian women from medical professionals, it could be said that the patent medicine industry was giving women some power over their own bodies. That was definitely not an angle I expected to discover while researching patent medicines and snake oils. It was an extremely interesting topic and one I would continue to research further.

References Cited:

Apple, Rima D. 1990 Women, Health, and Medicine in America : A Historical Handbook. Garland Reference Library of Social Science ; v. 483. New York: Garland Pub.

Hechtlinger, Adelaide 1974 The Great Patent Medicine Era: Or, Without Benefit of Doctor. New York: Galahad Books.

George Washington, Slavery, and Contemporary America

When I began this project, my only intention was to document the archaeological survey taking place at the slave cemetery at Mount Vernon. It sounded interesting, so I had planned on discussing their goals and methods, and the progress that had been made since the project began. Almost as soon as I started my research, though, I realized that my questions were really shallow and did not address the reasons why the project needed to be done in the first place.

I knew that George Washington owned captive people, but I was unaware of the magnitude of that choice. Of course, George Washington did not invent American slavery, but his active participation in it has had lasting consequences for this country and the way that we perceive race. As I dug deeper it became easier to see connections between slavery and racial inequalities throughout every time period in American history,  and I realized that this was the story that needed to be told. I still talk about the archaeological survey in terms of restorative justice and moving forward, but it became a much smaller part of my project than I had originally intended it to be.

Most of the dialog from the video is taken directly from my research paper. My biggest struggle was condensing it down into a reasonable amount of time while still getting my point across. I wanted to include a lot more, and it could have easily been twice as long, but I understand the value of conciseness.  I would encourage anyone who watches my video or is interested in learning more about the topic to take a look at my research paper, George Washington, Slavery, and Contemporary America. It provides a lot more context and detail, as well as a full bibliography that pertains to both my paper and my video.

Thanks for watching!

-TO

Studying Life Through Death

While it is true that cemeteries are places of death, they can also tell us a lot about how people lived. Through the examination of different elements of the grave markers at Calvary Cemetery (such as size, material, and decorative elements) I was able to better understand the people who were buried there and the times in which they lived.

I chose to do a seriation frequency on decorative motifs in Calvary Cemetery. Through this exercise I learned how decoration changed overtime and I was able to make inferences about the people who were buried there. It is clear that crosses have been a popular decorative element at Calvary Cemetery almost since its beginning, but they were most popular between 1925 and 1950. The importance of religion has remained constant over time, but perhaps increases during and after times of war.

 Spacing of graves can also tell us a lot about relationships and gender roles. For example, one set of graves that I recorded were all part of a family plot and were remarkably similar. They were all the same size, shape, and had virtually the same decoration and inscription, only differing to distinguish between “wife and mother” or “husband and father.” Alternatively, there were burials that suggested very different status for men and women. One example of this can be found in the St. Raphael section of Calvary Cemetery. One man’s gravestone is large, metal, and has an inscription that refers to his military service, as well as other religious decoration. Next to this is his wife’s grave, which consists of only a small, plain stone with her name, date of birth and death, and a small cross.

In addition to design difference, the number of burials every year can tell us a lot about what was going on in society at any given time. At Calvary Cemetery, burials increased after major wars, such as World War I and World War II. After WWII there was a decline in burials until the Vietnam War, when we see another, smaller spike.

In all, while it is true that a cemetery’s main function is to be a resting place for the dead and a place or remembrance for the living, they can also be a repository of information for those who want to learn more about the past.

-TO