Have You Ever Googled Yourself?: Online Personal Branding for Archaeologists

This is a guest post by William A. White, SHA Member, author, and PhD student at the University of Arizona.

I held down the button on my iPhone until I heard a quiet tone. I clearly enunciated a question: “Siri. Who is Bill White the archaeologist?” A robotic female voice replied: “Checking my sources.” A short pause. “Here’s what I found on the web for who is Bill White the archaeologist,” Siri replied.

With one hand, I scrolled down the list of information in Siri’s response on my phone while I was holding my son, Cyrus, with my other arm. “Daddy, that’s you,” my son said when he saw my picture in the query result. Looks like Siri found the correct Bill White, archaeologist.

It may seem like the height of vanity to query yourself using Siri—Apple, Inc.’s knowledge navigator that comes with every iPhone since the 4s. I mean, asking a robotic smartphone program to search the internet for information about yourself seems really similar to when the evil queen in Snow White asks a mirror on the wall, “Who is the fairest one of all?”

In reality, it is very important to know what kind of things the internet is saying about you. Online search engine queries are a good way to discover what information exists about you on the internet. When you ask about yourself on Siri or Google, what do you see? Your contributions to a local community archaeology project, your profile on the Department of Anthropology’s webpage, or your latest political rant on Facebook? Or something worse?

This summer, I attended a webinar attended titled “How to Build Your Personal Brand Online”. The webinar was sponsored by the University of Arizona’s Human Resources Division and was led by two amazingly experienced social media advisers: Christine Hoekenga and Jaynelle Ramon. Hoekenga is a freelance writer and the Social Media Coordinator for the University of Arizona’s Office of the Senior Vice President for Health Sciences. She’s been published in High Country News and Technology Review and is an online content strategist (Learn more on her personal website http://christinehoekenga.blogspot.com/). Ramon is the Web Content and Social Media manager for the UA Alumni Association. She is also the writer and copy editor for Arizona Alumni Magazine. This webinar was a great introduction to online persona management for folks that may not realize how important this is for career development and promotion.

Controlling your online persona is an increasingly important element to job searching and employment in all industries. Recent polls cited by Hoekenga and Ramon revealed:

  • At least 39% of companies use social network sites to research job candidates,
  • 43% of hiring managers who researched candidates via social media saw something that caused them not to hire a candidate (Facebook posts, anyone?),
  • Surprisingly, only 19% saw something that caused them to hire a candidate; however,
  • 56% of hiring managers are more impressed by candidates that have personal websites, while only 7% of job seekers have their own site.

These are the statistics for a number of industries. I do not believe these numbers accurately reflect the situation in archaeology because our field is still very tight knit and many archaeology jobs are still filled based on personal recommendations from friends and colleagues. However, I will admit the archaeology job market is competitive and will only get more competitive in the future. In a jobs workshop I attended at the 2014 Society for American Archaeology Conference in Austin, I learned that universities in the United States grant about 8,300 anthropology B.A.s, 1,000 M.A.s, and 440 PhDs. Not all of these folks will go into archaeology, but it gives you an idea of the sheer quantity of degrees granted every year. At SAA2014, I also learned that top-tier universities get between 40 and 50 applications for every anthropology professor position. Other universities get well over 100 applicants for each position.

These numbers tell me anyone that wants to work in archaeology had better use everything in their power to become well-known and well-connected long before they think about starting their job search. Conducting some extensive personal branding is one way to make yourself known and network extensively with other archaeologists.

Personal Branding for Archaeologists

This webinar inspired me to create a blog post series called Personal Branding for Archaeologists on the Succinct Research Blog. In a series of seven blog posts, I covered a number of personal branding techniques archaeologists can use to increase their visibility on the internet, connect with other archaeologists and potential employers, and demonstrate their personal experience and expertise. I also created an eBook called “Social Media Strategy for Archaeology Job Seekers” that outlines three strategies archaeologists can use to brand themselves as professional archaeologists.

I have complied the text from the blog posts and the social media guide into one document that is available for download by clicking Personal Branding For Archaeologists.

The body of this eBook has seven main parts:

Part I: Why Should Archaeologists Care About Branding— You need to care about what Google tells potential employers because they are going to look you up on the internet before they even think about hiring you. You need to make sure they only see good things. Personal branding allows you to highlight your skills, knowledge, and abilities in a positive site and differentiates you from the other 10,000 recent anthropology graduates.

Part II: Low-Hanging Fruit: LinkedIn— Harnessing the search engine optimization (SEO) power of LinkedIn is the easiest way to brand yourself as a professional archaeologist. LinkedIn is also a great place to connect with other archaeologists.

Part III: Listen to the Twitter of Little Birds— Contribute to conversations about archaeology with archaeologists around the world via Twitter. Use this platform to let the world know your perspectives and connect with archaeology communities of practice.

Part IV: Control the Message: Build your Own Website— Building your own website allows you to create an online portfolio. Projects and accomplishments are the new resume. Use a website to demonstrate your skills to the rest of the world.

Part V: Blogging your Way to Infamy— A blog allows you to address relevant questions in our field using your own voice. Blogging has the potential to replace the working papers of old and allows others to comment on your ideas and theories. It is also a great way to get published.

Part VI: If a Picture Says 1,000 Words, What Does a Video Do?— Archaeology is a very visual field. Use photo- and video-based social media to spread the word about your work and life. This is also another way to connect with other archaeologists.

Part VII: Crafting a Social Media Campaign— Online personal branding can be a daunting, time-intensive project but it doesn’t have to be. With the right planning and strategy, you can craft your image as a professional archaeologist in a few hours each week.

I have been working on my online personal brand for a couple years now and still have not gotten my name in the top 10 Google search results. There are simply too many politicians, former athletes, and neo-Nazis with that same name for me to compete with. However, a lot of good things about me come up if you Google “Bill White archaeologist”. That’s exactly how I want it to be.

Online personal branding is important for all archaeologists, but it is especially important for early careerists and archaeology students. Nobody in archaeology knows who you are in the beginning— before you’ve published a laundry list of articles, book chapters, and reports. You can paint a positive picture of yourself as an archaeology professional if you take advantage of the interconnectivity of the internet. You can also use the internet to connect with a vast network of archaeology professors, cultural resource management specialists, and government archaeologists around the world. Most importantly, you need to act as soon as possible to make sure the search engines are showing the world what you want them to see: your finest accomplishments and best achievements.

About the Author

Bill White, III is an archaeologist, author, PhD student at the University of Arizona, and the creator of the River Street Digital History Project. He is also the Research Publications Director at Succinct Research— a company dedicated to helping cultural resource management professionals learn what they need to forge fruitful careers.


Putting the Personal in Personal Statements: Tips from a NSF-GFRP Fellow

By Mia Carey

Before my maternal grandmother suddenly passed of congestive heart failure in the early 1990s, our family would gather every Friday night to play cards and cook, while some members drank and told stories of the old days. My grandmother was the matriarch of the family, and I believe it was her cooking that kept our family as close-knit as it was. She was a gorgeous woman, fair skinned with dark bone straight hair which was indicative of her Native American heritage, who got up every morning at the crack of dawn to begin cooking. I remember the house always smelled of cake. At those weekly Friday night parties, people from our neighborhood and our extended family from Northern Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. would travel to her home just to get a plate. My grandmother was traditional African American cook, the type who never premeasured anything but was able to make it the same way each time. If you wanted to know embarrassing stories of your parents, aunts and uncles, or any other members of the family, Friday night was the night for them to be told. The stories are beginning to fade from my memory now, but what I will always cherish is that those fading moments are a unique part of my heritage that have been passed down for generations and told as a narrative over shared meals.

Before I explain it, you should probably know that I am a historical zooarchaeologist. My particular interests are in African Americans and the Diaspora, the post-bellum, post-Reconstruction period (1865-1900), health & nutrition, and historic preservation. I recently finished writing my master’s thesis, which analyses the dietary patterns from two antebellum and two postbellum free African Americans sites in Maryland to assess whether or not dietary patterns remained consistent among the broad and sustained economic, social, and political changes that characterized the 19th century.

I opened with this particular snippet of my personal statement for two reasons: (1) I put the personal in personal statement and (2) I deviated from the same cookie cutter response to why and when I became interested in archaeology. Unlike some of my peers, I had no clue what anthropology or archaeology was until my second semester of undergrad. My path to archaeology was gradual. When I first started grad school I wanted to do business until I realized that I couldn’t imagine myself wearing suits and heels for the next forty or fifty years of my life. I ended up in anthropology and finally into archaeology by the end of my sophomore year. In one of my archaeology classes we were required to choose a project, and I chose to analyze animal bones out of all of the other artifact classes. Why? Food had always been a part of my life. As the snippet suggests, food was an important factor in brining my family together and what I believed kept us close. It offered an opportunity for several generations to share their stories and our heritage. It served as a comfort in times of need and a celebration in times of joy.

I know that most people can’t relate their research interests with such an intimate part of their lives, but it helps. I was commended several times in my application reviews:

• The applicant is a strong writer, having brilliantly crafted the personal narrative.
• In addition, she is descended from Free Blacks and has combined her interest in family history with a scientific study of class in her graduate studies…

My point in all this: Make your personal statement stand out and make it personal. Everyone is going to have a story about wanting to be in their field since they were a child, but it doesn’t make you stand out or memorable. I took a risk with this statement because I never express my feelings about the loss of my grandmother, but she’s been such an inspiration in my work. Think outside the box when applying for an NSF or any other type of fellowship or grant that requires a personal statement.

Further tips:

  • Do not share something that you are uncomfortable with letting people in on. Use caution.
  • Get started early and seek out people in your department who may have received the award before– if they are like me they would be happy to help.

If you’re interested in reading my statement or discussing the application process, I’ll be more than happy to speak with you via email: m.carey17@ufl.edu

Mia Carey is a third year graduate student at the University of Florida. She has received a McKnight Doctoral Fellowship (5 years of funding) and the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship (3 years of funding).


Meet a Member: Todd Ahlman

Here’s the latest in our series of entertaining interviews with a diverse array of your fellow SHA members. Meet a member for the first time or learn something about a colleague that you never knew before. This blog series also offers current members an opportunity to share their thoughts on why SHA membership is important (Camaraderie? Professional service? Exchange of ideas in conference rooms and beyond? You tell us!). If you would like to be an interviewee, please email the Membership Committee Social Media Liaisons Eleanor Breen (ebreen@mountvernon.org) or Kim Pyszka (kpyszka@aum.edu).

An Interview with Dr. Todd Ahlman, the Director of the Center for Archaeological Studies at Texas State University where he manages archaeological research for the university and other public and private clients.

Fieldwork or labwork?

Both. Besides the fact that I get to work outside, the instantaneous discovery that occurs in the field is exciting and refreshing. In the lab, I enjoy getting an in-depth look at the material culture and putting all the pieces together to better understand past human behavior.

 What would be your dream site to work at?

Every site is a dream site because I get to do archaeology. I mean really, I have a dream job.

What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading the Encyclopedia of Caribbean Archaeology edited by Basil A. Reid and R. Grant Gilmore III and published by the University Press of Florida. It is a great summary of the diversity in the Caribbean.

 What did you want to be when you grew up?

When I was a kid I wanted to be a football player for the Minnesota Vikings, a doctor, or president. I actually figured out at age 15 that I wanted to be an archaeologist. Indiana Jones had no input into my decision; it was just a love of the past and things. My old brother has told me he knew it was fate because I was always intrigued by the ceramic and glass sherds we found while playing as kids. There have been a lot of people along the way who have influenced my path of becoming an historical archaeologist, but being an archaeologist is what I’ve always wanted.

 Why are you a member of SHA?

This is a good question and one I ask myself every year before I join. I am mainly a member for the journal, but I’ve found our journal has become less cutting-edge theoretically and topically in the past 5-7 years. That being said, the content in the journal is still the best for those interested in historical archaeology and that’s why I am still a member.

 At what point in your career did you first join SHA?

I joined SHA sometime in the early or mid-1990s, not long after I started graduate school.

 How many years have you been a member (approximately)?

18-19 years

 Which article from Historical Archaeology has been the most influential to you?

The one article that has been most influential to me isn’t one that I’ve read, but one I published in the journal in 2009. It was a four year odyssey to get it published and if it wasn’t for some prodding by Joe Joseph, it may not have been published. What it taught me was to never give up when it comes to getting something published. As long and frustrating as the process may be, you must stay positive and push forward.

 Which benefit of belonging to SHA do you find the most beneficial?

The journal is the biggest benefit on a long-term basis, but I think the conference is the most beneficial to the society because we get to meet our colleagues face to face.


Building Massachusetts Archaeology Month

Massachusetts Archaeology Month (MAM) is a popular public program in New England.  Recently I have heard of an alarming trend – the suspension, downsizing, or proposed cancellations of similar Archaeology Month celebrations in other states.  I am interested in what aspects of our program have kept it appealing to Massachusetts residents for more than 20 years, and ways that we can engage other states to participate in their own way.

Massachusetts Archaeology Month began in 1992 as Archaeology Week.  Hosted by the Massachusetts Historical Commission, this initial celebration had 47 public archaeology events across the state. Calendars of events as well as posters were mailed to institutions, educators, and individuals throughout New England.  Initially hosted in June, Archaeology Week was moved to October in 1995.  Due to an overwhelming amount of participation in the first few years, we expanded the program in 2004 to be a full month of events, solidifying the pattern of monthly celebrations that we continue today.   This first extended Massachusetts Archaeology Month saw over 100 events.  Subsequent years have maintained this high-level of participation with an average of 90-100 events in 40-50 cities and towns across Massachusetts.

Despite having hosted over a thousand Archaeology Month events, the quality of programs that are offered continues to remain high.  Events are hosted by local partners, not individually coordinated by the Massachusetts SHPO.  Partners who host events include universities, museums (from small, house museums to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts), local historical societies, government agencies (at local, state, and federal levels), CRM firms, libraries, archaeological groups, and more.  Each of these partners submits their event information to be listed in the state-wide calendar of events.  Events appeal to a wide audience, including those from different age groups, educational backgrounds, previous knowledge of archaeology, learning styles, geographical locations, and interests.  These special, targeted events have included walking tours of archaeological landscapes, site visits, lab tours, museum trips, lectures, hands-on learning for children, archaeological fairs, bike tours, canoe tours, demonstrations, discussions, and so much more!

We solicit for events early — often before the ground has even thawed in the spring.  We have found that keeping an updated mailing list of potential event holders and asking them early in the planning stages helps people dream up, plan, and develop high quality, well thought events in time for October.  That said, we are definitely on the early side, and many people still prefer to be listed in our website only, having missed the deadline for the printed calendar.

So after all of these years, how do we maintain the large number of events scheduled for Massachusetts Archaeology Month?  Why do venues want to list their events with us?  What are we offering in return?  A combination of benefits encourages groups to host events.  The most obvious benefit for an event holder is the advertising that we offer for their event (and subsequently for their organization).  Each year we send out thousands of calendar of event booklets, posters, and postcards.  We produce a press release to media outlets large and small across the region.  The opportunity to list an event as part of the larger MAM celebration often nudges organizations to host events that they might not have otherwise scheduled, so they can participate in this larger program.  Often the association with their event and Massachusetts Archaeology Month allows them to gain support from other local partners.  We receive participation from several local CRM companies because the timing (post-field season) makes it easy to schedule public presentations (sometimes required through mitigation). Finally we offer limited “matching” services to help coordinate venues looking for speakers and vice versa.

Looking ahead, there are always ways to improve.  The world is moving toward a more web-based future and so should we.  It is infinitely easier to update the calendar of events (to be more accurate and more inclusive) if we start to emphasize the website and start to phase-out printed calendars.  A notable exception here is that printed calendars work very well as references for institutional use (libraries, schools, museums).

Social media (such as Facebook or Twitter) is another useful tool for the future.  These forums make it easier for people to coordinate events with friends and colleagues, to share information about their plans, to post up to the minute event information, and to share photos from events.

I hope that the success and enthusiasm for Massachusetts Archaeology Month has sparked interest and hope in states that are losing their Archaeology Month program, or perhaps that have never had one.  Other states might choose the coordinating institution to be something other than the SHPO.  A historical society, state archaeological society, or university might spearhead the effort instead.  Additionally, moving archaeology month to a web-based calendar with social media advertising (still coupled with traditional press releases) is a cost effective option for states or groups hoping to re-invigorate their programs with little to no funding.

The effort to organize such a state-wide celebration will be rewarded.  State Archaeology Month programs can be sustainable through local participation, engaging and educational for the public, cost effective, and a great asset.

Do you have an Archaeology Month program in your state?  Have you recently eliminated it from your arsenal of educational tools?  What does Archaeology Month mean to you?


SHA 2015 Seattle: Food and Drink Blog

Besides plenty of stimulating intellectual discourse, what do archaeologists need to make their conference experience complete? Why good food and drink of course (perhaps not in that order)! Luckily there could hardly be a more convenient location than downtown
Seattle to put some of the best there is from coffee to cocktails and accompanying nosh right within walking distance. There are tens if not hundreds of options in the general vicinity and while there are many a solid chain, we thought we’d let you know about some unique-to-Seattle options for a more authentic experience of the city.

Breakfast/Coffee

The Sheraton is located just blocks from the famed and historic Pike Place Market, so head in that direction at breakfast or lunchtime and you’ll be sure to find something to suit your tastes. That said, it can be quite the busy spot for obvious reasons (like it’s nearly the top tourist attraction in the city) so don’t be surprised by crowds or lines. January being the off-season though, things should be calm enough to enjoy wandering about and you should actually be able to get food in a timely manner.

Ok, so Starbucks is ubiquitous pretty much everywhere, but nowhere more so than here in its hometown. If you want a “unique” Starbucks experience, Pike Place is home to the mega chain’s original location.

For a non-Starbucks coffee experience at Pike Place, try Seattle Coffee Works.

Monorail Espresso, closer to the Sheraton near the corner of Pike and 5th is a walk-up window serving up what’s raved about as some of the best in the city. Cash only.

Café ABoDegas on 6th between Union and University has freshly made breakfast sandwiches and pastries. Lunch too.

Lunch

Back at Pike Place, there is just about every type of cuisine to choose from come lunchtime.

To take advantage of the readily available fruits of the sea, try Pike Place Chowder. The lines is usually among the longest here, but join the other tourists, their offerings live up to the hype.

Beechers Handmade Cheese offers soups sandwiches and their famous mac and cheese along with a huge selection of, surprise, artisnal cheeses. You can even watch it being made right on site.

Back up near the Sheraton, Umma’s Lunchbox is a much raved about Korean buffet inside the Rainier Square shopping mall located below the iconic Rainier Tower.

Drinks/Dinner

For a pint at the end of the day, the Tap House Grill on 6th between Pike and Pine has 160 beers on tap, good place to sample some of the craft brew the Northwest is renowned for.

For really outstanding cocktails, venture to the other side of Pike Place. Tucked away facing onto the Harbor Steps leading down to the waterfront is the Zig Zag Café. Lots of ambiance and excellent food too.

For that special dinner made up of unabated views of Elliott Bay and the Olympic Mountains (on a clear day, fingers crossed) and all the kinds of Northwest seafood including more types of oysters than you perhaps knew existed, venture down to the waterfront to Elliott’s Oyster House.

Coming up, we’ll provide you with more info/recommendations if you’re interested in striking out further afield in the city during your stay.


Gender and Minority Affairs Committee Diversity Field School Competition

GMAC Diversity Field School Initiative

This year the Gender and Minority Affairs Committee (GMAC) is hosting its second annual Diversity Field School Competition. In an effort to continue making the field of historical archaeology more inclusive of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, abilities, and socio-economic background, the competition will recognize those who have shown a commitment to increasing diversity in the field and encourage further discussion of the topic. Applicants are required to submit a short essay on diversity, a summary of their field school, and some form of multimedia (photo, pamphlet, video clip, etc.) that highlights diversity in their field school. All awardees will be acknowledged at the 48th Conference on Historical and Underwater Archaeology and recognized on the SHA website, while the first place winner will receive special commendation. GMAC encourages submissions from all SHA members and conference attendees. The Application Form is available online and completed applications—as well as additional questions—may be directed to GMACdiversityfieldschool@gmail.com. For more information, please refer to the Submission Guidelines.

Toward A More Diverse SHA

The idea for the Diversity Field School Competition developed out of a series of larger discussions within the SHA about viable ways to increase diversity within the organization. At the 2011 SHA conference, GMAC members determined that increasing diversity was an important step toward social justice and helping the SHA reflect the diverse communities historical archaeologists serve. These calls for greater diversity were reinforced by subsequent GMAC panels and initiatives such as the GMAC Student Travel Award and diversity training for SHA board members. Last year former SHA president, Paul Mullins, announced his commitment to “make diversity an increasingly articulate part of the SHA mission and our collective scholarly practice.” Additionally archaeologists abroad are discussing the issue of diversity, particularly after the recent release of the Archaeology Labour Market Intelligence: Profiling the Profession 2012-2013 report which identified 99% of archaeologists working in the UK as white. As a result we hope this competition helps to not only recognize those who have shown a commitment to diversity, but also open dialogue about ways to increase the presence of archaeologists from the many underrepresented groups.

We encourage you to also visit the SHA Events website for more information about other SHA competitions, events, and workshops. Hope to see you all in Seattle!

Interested in becoming a part of the conversation? Let us know how archaeologists can work together to increase diversity in the field.


Meet a Member: William Moss

Here’s the latest in our series of entertaining interviews with a diverse array of your fellow SHA members. Meet a member for the first time or learn something about a colleague that you never knew before. This blog series also offers current members an opportunity to share their thoughts on why SHA membership is important (Camaraderie? Professional service? Exchange of ideas in conference rooms and beyond? You tell us!). If you would like to be an interviewee, please email the Membership Committee Social Media Liaisons Eleanor Breen (ebreen@mountvernon.org) or Kim Pyszka (kpyszka@aum.edu).

William Moss has been the Chief Archaeologist of the City of Québec since 1985. He served on SHA’s Board of Directors for two terms and was president in 2005. He organized the Society’s annual conference on two occasions, first in 2000 then in 2014.

Who influenced your decision to become an archaeologist?

I was inspired to become an archaeologist by Francis Pryor following three seasons on the Fengate Site in Peterborough, England. Francis had a vibrant love for life and an insatiable curiosity about the past. And he wasn’t averse to getting his hands dirty. I liked that!

What is the first site you worked on? What is the last one (or current one)?

The first site I worked on was a volunteer dig on the ruins of a medieval château in Merpin-Vieux-Bourg, near Cognac, France, in 1973. The last —which I have been working on since 1980— is the city-as-site of Québec City, another great project!

If you could go back in time for only 10 seconds – where, when, and why?

It would be during 1543, but I would have to get there to specify the exact moment. I would like to see the first sparks of the burning of the Cartier-Roberval establishment, Charlesbourg Royal, in what is now Québec City. How did the conflagration start? Was it accidental or intentional? If the latter, was it Jacques Cartier or the Sieur de Roberval who gave the order and, if so, why? Or were the native Stadaconians behind the blaze? Seeing this precise incident would resolve issues about relations between the French and Native Americans in the early modern world.

What are you currently reading?

I can’t read one book at a time, I always have a couple on the go! Presently, they are “The Making of British Landscape” (Francis Pryor, 2010, Penguin) and “Archéologie de l’Amérique coloniale française” (Marcel Moussette and Gregory Waselkov, 2014, Lévesque éditeur). Both are extensive voyages through time and space, the synthesis of vast quantities of information by people who have thought long and hard about what they have learned during their exemplary careers.

Why are you a member of SHA?

I am a member of several professional associations, but I have always considered SHA as the most important for me. The Society has kept me in touch with a dynamic international community. I have also come to have many friends in the community. SHA is very convivial both intellectually and socially. I have greatly enjoyed serving the Society and I have always felt my contribution has been appreciated.

At what point in your career did you first join SHA?

I joined the Society when I obtained my first regular employment as an historical archaeologist with Parks Canada. I was a grad student at Université Laval at the time.

How many years have you been a member (approximately)?

Since 1980, so for almost 35 years.

Which article from Historical Archaeology has been the most influential to you?

The proceedings of the 1987 plenary session published in 1988 were extremely interesting for me (Nicholas Honerkamp, “Questions that Count in Archaeology; Plenary Session, 1987 Meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology Conference on Historical and Underwater Savannah, Georgia” 22(1)). I particularly appreciated Mark Leone’s “The Relationship Between Archaeological Data and the Documentary Record: 18th Century Gardens in Annapolis, Maryland” (22(1):29-35)). It closely tied in to a site I was analyzing, the Dufferin Terrace. It allowed me to understand minute phenomena observed in Québec City that, when compared to sites in Maryland, presented a coherent picture of élite behavior in the British colonial world. It also highlighted shifts of behavior as Québec moved from the French to the English Régime. It thus helped me to seat my understanding of the city in a wider international and cultural context.

Which benefit of belonging to SHA do you find the most beneficial?

Having organized two annual meetings for SHA (2000 and 2014), I have to say the conferences! Conferences are the embodiment of the people and the ideas that make SHA so appealing.


Tech Week: Photography in Archaeology

Here is a riddle, what technology is used by an archaeologist working on a 19th century farmstead, an archaeologist recording a wreck in the Mediterranean, and an archaeologist explaining a site to a group of fourth graders? The Answer – Photography. This week the SHA Technology Committee is excited to present the fourth installment of Tech Week on the SHA blog. This tech week focuses on the many uses of photography in archaeology. All three bloggers discuss how they use photography to not only record the past, but how they use it to better understand it too.

The week begins with a post by Drew Fulton. Drew’s work as a conservation photographer and filmmaker took him to the Kızılburun wreck in the Aegean Sea. The logistics of photographing a wreck 150 feet below the surface of the ocean can be staggering, but Drew was able to capture the wreck in breathtaking 360 degree interactive panoramic images.

Following Drew’s post, Karen Price discusses the use of photography in preservation at Mount Vernon. Karen provides tips and tricks for both the amateur artifact photographer and the professional archaeologist, while making a call for all archaeologists to reconsider their approach to field and lab photography. She also provides some stunning examples of her work.

The final blogger for Tech week is Carrie Fulton. Carrie discusses her work on the ship that was discovered at the World Trade Center site in New York City. Typically, archaeologist painstakingly record each timber of a ship, but because of the nature of the site and the heavy push for construction, Carrie and the team of archaeologists working at the site, didn’t have time to record the ship in such detail. Utilizing a wide range of technology they created a detailed digital record that allowed them to create a 3d model of the ship that recorded the exact spatial layout of each timber.

Check out the #TechWeek Posts:

Going Interactive Underwater by Drew Fulton
Preservation Photography: Roles and Rules by Karen Price
Photographs into Models: Documenting the World Trade Center Ship by Carrie Fulton


Going Interactive Underwater

By Drew Fulton

When you first tell people that you are going to spend a couple weeks during the summer diving on a 2,000 year old shipwreck in 150 feet of water in the Aegean Sea, people start asking a lot of questions. It is such a unique experience and the logistics of excavating underwater are so specialized that I wanted to take the opportunity share that experience with others.

[pano file=”http://www.drewfulton.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/panoramas/Dock_02/Dock_02.html” width=”95%” height=”400″]

Now, let me put this out there before we get started. I am not an archaeologist or researcher. I am married to one. I work as a conservation photographer and filmmaker, but on occasion I get to tag along on my wife’s projects to help with the media side of things. That is how I ended up diving on the Kızılburun shipwreck about five years ago. As a photographer, I was using 360° interactive panoramic images to transport viewers to hard to access places. Most notably, I had been using this technology to immerse students in the forest canopy in the cloud forests of Costa Rica. So why not try to use the same technology to transport viewers to the sea floor to experience the excavation of the Kızılburun wreck?

[pano file=”http://www.drewfulton.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/panoramas/Morning_Meeting/Morning_Meeting.html” width=”95%” height=”400″]

The Kızılburun wreck was a first-century BCE marble carrier that was probably headed to the temple at Claros, transporting a monumental marble column and several other unfinished pieces of marble. This column was nearly 2 meters in diameter and was broken up into 8 separate drums that were almost 1.5 meter tall each and a capital. Each of these marble drums weighed in excess of 8 tons. When the marble had reached Claros, the column would have been assembled by stacking all of the drums on top of each other with the capital on top, and then the flutes would have been cut into the column once it was assembled.

[pano file=”http://www.drewfulton.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/panoramas/Conservation/Conservation.html” width=”95%” height=”400″]

By the time I came to the project, in the third and final major season of excavation, the drums had been moved from their location in the wreck and placed on a flat piece of bottom about 25 meters from the site. This gave researches access to the fragile remains of the wooden hull and other small artifacts. Throughout the field season, the archaeologists carefully removed the sand, exposing nails and wood that were evidence for the hull.

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Prior to the field season I spent a lot of time researching the technical aspects of 360° panorama. At the time, the most common use for this technology was in the real estate business to showcase homes that were for sale. My previous project, Canopy in the Clouds, took this idea and used it to virtually immerse students in the canopy of Costa Rica’s clouds forests. So while I had created these images while hanging on a rope 100 feet high in a tree, capturing these images underwater was totally new for me. After some research I found there were very few underwater examples available and none that were captured at high resolutions. For the work I had done in the cloud forests, I had utilized a specialized tripod head that helped me to position the camera correctly with a very high precision, something necessary for stitching together the high resolution images. However, since it was an expensive piece of equipment, I had no interest in submerging it in the salt water of the Aegean. This meant I had to basically fabricate my own.

To create these panoramic images doesn’t require a specialized camera or lens, it just requires taking a bunch of images and stitching them together after the fact. I utilize a fisheye lens and take about 6-8 images while rotating the camera horizontally to capture the entire horizon and then take a few images to capture straight up and straight down. It sounds pretty easy but to make a seamless image, the camera has to rotate precisely—that’s where the specialized tripod head comes in to play. Since I didn’t have access to the underwater housing until I was on site and the site was very remote, I had to basically show up with a diverse range of options to fabricate a head on site. It took about three dives of testing and some help from the ship’s captain and his welder, but we fabricated something that resembled a tripod head and worked well enough to get the job done.

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Over the course of 2-3 dives over several days, I started photographing the site and the archaeologists at work. After my dives, I’d quickly download the images and start stitching them to be sure that everything had worked and I could move on to the next image. My goal was to shoot several panoramas to showcase the different areas of the site including the bow, stern, and drum garden. I also spent some time creating panoramas in camp to showcase the place and the work we were doing.

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Now, five years later, technology has come a long way and improved a lot. Today, you can purchase a simple 3D printed holder that will hold six GoPro cameras and not only create panoramas like this but do it in 360° video! This gives the viewer a chance to pan around as the camera moves through the environment!

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Overall, I really enjoyed my time working on the Kızılburun wreck and the challenge of transporting viewers to this unique site. Not being an archaeologist myself, I really enjoyed having an opportunity to experience an excavation and see how things worked. It was my hope that these images will give other viewers the same sneak peak. How have you tried to show others a window into your own work? Do you feel like it has brought attention to you research and opened doors to talking about the work you do?

Acknowledgements: I’d like to thanks Dr. Deborah Carlson for including me on the excavation, Eric Kemp for the use of his camera and housing, Feyyaz Subay for his help welding the improvised tripod head, and my wife, Carrie Fulton, for letting me tag along on the excavation.

Check out the other #TechWeek Posts:

Tech Week: Photography in Archaeology by Jonathan Libbon
Preservation Photography: Roles and Rules by Karen Price
Photographs into Models: Documenting the World Trade Center Ship by Carrie Fulton


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