Spotlight on #SHA2016 Workshops

The SHA’s annual conference offers many activities and opportunities for professional development. One such is the collection of workshops offered to attendees on the Wednesday before the conference kicks off. This year, as always, we have a wonderful set of offerings. If you are interested in one or more of these workshops, make sure to sign up during #SHA2016 registration. They are:


[01] Archaeological Studio Photography, chaired by Karen Price of George Washington’s Mount Vernon

Take your cameras off “automatic” and come learn the basics to manual photography. This workshop covers the fundamentals to archaeological object photography. We will cover setting up a photo studio, appropriate software, file formats, and metadata. Participants will learn how to manually adjust camera settings to produce high-quality record and publication images. Working with studio lights and backdrops, attendees will have the opportunity to photograph a wide range of archaeological artifacts and feel comfortable setting up their own shot. Equipment and artifacts are provided, but participants are encouraged to bring up to 5 artifacts and a USB.

This is a half-day workshop, $50 for members, $60 for non-members, $30 for students, and $40 for student non-members.


[02] Archeological Illustration, chaired by Jack Scott

Want your pen-and-ink drawings to look like the good ones? Pen and ink is all basically a matter of skill and technique which can be easily taught, and the results can be done faster, cheaper, and are considerably more attractive than the black-and-white illustrations done on computer. Workshop participants will learn about materials and techniques, page design and layout, maps, lettering, scientific illustration conventions, problems posed by different kinds of artifacts, working size, reproduction concerns, ethics, and dealing with authors and publishers. A reading list and pen and paper (tracing vellum) will be provided, but feel free to bring your own pens, tools, books and, of course, questions. Be ready to work!

This is a full-day workshop, $80 for members, $100 for non-members, $50 for students, and $70 for student non-members.


[03] Underwater Cultural Heritage Resources Awareness Workshop, chaired by Amy Mitchell-Cook of the University of West Florida

Cultural resource managers, land managers, and archaeologists are often tasked with managing, interpreting, and reviewing archaeological assessments for submerged cultural resources. This workshop is designed to introduce non-specialists to issues specific to underwater archaeology. Participants will learn about different types of underwater cultural heritage (UCH) sites, and the techniques used in Phase I and II equivalent surveys. This workshop is not intended to teach participants how to do underwater archaeology, but will introduce different investigative techniques, international Best Practices, and existing legislation. The purpose of this workshop is to assist non-specialists in recognizing the potential for UCH resources in their areas of impact, budgeting for UCH resource investigations, reviewing UCH resource assessments, developing interpretive strategies, and providing sufficient background information to assist in making informed decisions regarding UCH resources.

This is a full-day workshop, $80 for members, $100 for non-members, $50 for students, and $70 for student non-members.


[04] Excavating the Image: The MUA Photoshop Workshop, chaired by T. Kurt Knoerl of the Museum of Underwater Archaeology

This Photoshop workshop covers basic photo processing techniques useful to historians and archaeologists. We will cover correcting basic problems in photos taken underwater and on land, restoring detail to historic images, and preparation of images for publications. We will also explore Photoshop’s photomosaic capabilities and the recovery of data from microfilm images such as hand written letters. No previous Photoshop experience is needed but you must bring your own laptop with Photoshop already installed on it (version 7 or newer). While images used for the workshop are provided by me, feel free to bring an image you’re interested in working on. Warning…restoring historic images can be addictive!

This is a full-day workshop, $80 for members, $100 for non-members, $50 for students, and $70 for student non-members.


[05] Battlefield Workshop for Contractors and Grant Applicants, chaired by Kristen McMasters of the National Park Service

The National Park Service’s American Battlefield Protection Program (ABPP) promotes the preservation of significant historic battlefields associated with wars on American soil. The goals of the program are 1) to protect battlefields or sites associated with a battle that influenced the course of American history, 2) to encourage and assist all Americans in planning for the preservation, management, and interpretation of these places, and 3) to raise awareness of the importance of preserving battlefields and sites associated with battles for future generations. The ABPP provides guidance, support, and seed money for battlefield preservation, land use planning, cultural resource and site management planning, land acquisition, and public education.  Principal ways of providing support is through our two grant programs and technical assistance.  The goals of the workshop are to introduce archeologists to the program, provide a working knowledge of grant opportunities, explain to both nonprofits and for-profit organizations how they can participate in battlefield preservation and create a forum for continued site identification through our KOCOA method of military terrain analysis, registration and protection.

This is a half-day workshop, and there is no charge to attend.


[06] Practical Aspects of Bioarchaeology and Human Skeletal Analysis, chaired by Tom Christ, of Utica College, and Kimberly Morrell, of AECOM Corporation

This workshop will introduce participants to the practical aspects of detecting, excavating, storing, and analyzing human remains from historic-period graves. It also will address the appropriate role of the historical archaeologist in forensic investigations and mass fatality incidents. Using historical coffins, hardware, and actual human remains, this interactive workshop is led by a forensic anthropologist and an archaeologist who collectively have excavated and analyzed more than 2,000 burials. Among the topics that will be covered are: effective methods for locating historical graves; correct field techniques and in situ documentation; the effects of taphonomic processes; appropriate health and safety planning; and fostering descendant community involvement and public outreach efforts. Participants also will learn about the basic analytical techniques that forensic anthropologists use to determine demographic profiles and recognize pathologic lesions and evidence of trauma. No previous experience with human skeletal remains is required to participate in, and benefit from, this workshop.

This is a full-day workshop, $80 for members, $100 for non-members, $50 for student members, and $70 for student non-members.


[07] Shattering Notions: Glass Isn’t as Hard as You Think!, chaired by Mary Mills, of AECOM

How can I determine if this piece of glass is blown, pressed, or cut? Is this decoration etched or engraved? Is this English or Continental? Which published sources should I use? If you have asked yourself questions like these, join glass educator and historian, Mary Cheek Mills, as she demystifies the topic of glass. This workshop includes a well-illustrated survey of tableware and other forms used and made in America in the 18th and 19th centuries, as well as videos demonstrating glass forming and decorating techniques. Through hands-on instruction, participants will learn how to “read,” describe, and interpret glass artifacts. Handouts will include a bibliography and other helpful resources.

This is a half-day workshop, $40 for members, $50 for non-members, $20 for students, and $30 for student non-members


[08] Doing Research and Teaching with The Digital Archaeological Archive of Comparative Slavery (DAACS), chaired by Jillian Galle, Lynsey Bates, Leslie Cooper, Elizabeth Bollwerk of the Digital Archaeological Archive of Comparative Slavery (, and featuring guest speakers J. Cameron Monroe and Fraser Neiman

This workshop is aimed at students and scholars wishing to become more proficient in using the diverse archaeological data contained in The Digital Archaeological Archive of Comparative Slavery. The workshop begins with an introduction to The Digital Archaeological Archive of Comparative Slavery (DAACS) and its website ( Participants will learn how to navigate the website and the easiest ways to locate the artifactual, contextual, spatial, discursive, image, and metadata served by the archive. Following this introduction, the remainder of the workshop focuses on the essentials of teaching and doing research with DAACS. The hosts and guest speakers will alternate research and teaching case-studies with hands-on activities to ensure that each participant engages fully with the archive. Participants will also have the opportunity to submit research questions or problems, which will be addressed by the hosts during the workshop. Participants will leave the workshop with a deep working knowledge of DAACS’s contents, research and teaching possibilities, and handouts and sample syllabi that serve as starting points of continued work with the archive. Although no previous experience with statistical computing programs is necessary, a good working knowledge of MS Excel is encouraged. Participants are asked to bring a laptop with MS Excel and wireless connectivity. If you don’t have one, DAACS will provide several laptops that participants without laptops can share.

This is a full-day workshop, $60 for members, $80 for non-members, $20 for student members, and $30 for student non-members.


[09] Introduction to Archaeological Digital Data Management, chaired by Leigh Ellison of the Center for Digital Antiquity

Archaeology relies heavily on digital data: photographs taken in the field, GIS information, analytical and descriptive data sets, project reports, etc. This is in addition to an existing, underutilized backlog of archaeological information. Without a well thought-out approach to data management, important information will be forgotten, misplaced or damaged. Good digital data management requires attention to data storage, archiving data, how data are preserved, and the curation of data so that is discoverable, accessible and usable.

This workshop will introduce participants to the importance of effective and efficient management for digital archaeological data and describe good principles and practices of data management using four interrelated aspects of data management:  Storage, Archiving, Preservation, and Curation. It will also look as how good digital data management can improve archaeological research and resource management in general and benefit individual archaeologists in their careers.  Participants will get hands on experience curating one of their own files in tDAR (the Digital Archaeological Record), a disciplinary repository managed by the Center for Digital Antiquity, Arizona State University.  Instructors will be on-hand to answer questions about files types and metadata and assist participants with curating their data.

Participants will receive a voucher for curating one (1) file in tDAR and a copy of ‘Caring for Digital Data in Archaeology: A Guide to Good Practice by the Archaeological Data Service & tDAR’ (published by Oxbow). Participants need to come prepared with a laptop with wireless capabilities and a file for the hands-on portion of the workshop.

This is a half-day workshop, $100 for members, $110 for non-members, $75 for student members, and $85 for student non-members.

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