Technical Briefs in Historical Archaeology has recently published several exciting and useful articles. Three are artifact studies, including a discussion of the origins of French faience based on stylistic and compositional data (Métreau and Rosen), an analysis of bottle contents with some surprising results (von Wandruszka et al.), and a case study of utilized glass analysis (Porter). At a larger scale, Thomas and Volanski offer a geochemical method of for identifying laundry washing sites. Three additional authors discuss innovative photography applications. Rivera’s article provides a primer on applying forensic photography techniques to archaeology collections. A two part article by Whitely introduces the use of drones in archaeology and methods for collecting video footage for site mapping. Finally, an article by Selden presents the uses of photogrammetry in grave marker recording.
Please also consider submitting an article to Technical Briefs. Technical Briefs is a peer-reviewed publication devoted to the fast dissemination of shorter specialized technical papers in historical archaeology, maritime archaeology, material culture technology, and materials conservation. Technical Briefs articles reach and international audience through the SHA webpage and provide free, open access to your ideas. At 3,000 words and with an average of four months from submission to publication, Technical Briefs also offers a relatively painless way to publish. Submission guidelines are available on the Technical Briefs webpage and inquiries can be sent to Ben Ford.
Cover image is an aerial view of Waddington Roadhouse, oblique angle. (Photo by Thomas G. Whitley, 2015.)
Good afternoon SHA members!
Autumn is here, and registration for #SHA2016 begins next week! Be sure to mark your calendars for next Thursday, October 1. For general #SHA2016 conference details, please follow this link.
In addition, the #SHA2016 conference program is now posted! Please follow this link, to take a look. Please note that Symposium organizers may notice the names associated with the Introduction, Discussants and breaks in their session are not correct. These names will be updated in the program once the individuals who will be performing these roles register for the #SHA2016 Conference. Only individuals who are registered in ConfTool can be added to the program; it was necessary, therefore, to create “placeholders” to ensure that the timing for each session is correct.
Otherwise, as we get closer to #SHA2016, our blog posts will focus on conference related details as well as Washington, D.C. related information. Before we begin our next round of blog posts, however, we would like to hear from you. Is there anything specific you would like us to blog about, leading up to the conference? Is there anything you wished you knew beforehand, about previous conferences?
Please comment below this blog post with any thoughts- we’d love to hear from you.
Don’t forget to register for #SHA2016, next Thursday, October 1!
The new issue of Historical Archaeology, 2015, Vol. 49, No. 3 is soon to be hot off the press. In this issue, guest editors, Jeff Oliver and Neil Curtis (University of Aberdeen), have assembled papers originally presented at the 2010 Contemporary and Historical Archaeology and Theory conference in Aberdeen (CHAT ‘north’), which brought scholars from both sides of the Atlantic to discuss and debate northern worlds in contemporary and historical Archaeology. Northern worlds have always suffered from stereotyping. Since the Enlightenment, north played the role of frontier of geographic knowledge and wilderness of harrowing and sublime proportions. The last century saw its diversification as a space of untapped resources, from fur and gold to oil and gas. In other historical moments, north figured large as a relational concept in the formulation of identities and mentalities, especially by those farther south. The papers in this special issue of Historical Archaeology move beyond the concept of the global north as a space on the map and instead consider how the ‘placing’ of the north and its diverse cultural geographies has been shaped historically through connections with others, notably through relations of exploration, mercantilism, colonialism, and capitalism.
This thematic issue of Historical Archaeology showcases the research of scholars from Europe and North America. It includes eight substantive papers, beginning with an essay contextualizing the creation of the Northern World followed by seven case studies examining on the contemporary and historical archaeology of Alaska, Iceland, Newfoundland, Northern Ireland, Orkney and Scandinavia. An introduction to the volume by Oliver and Curtis is freely available to download here: 1 HA49-3-OLIVER.
Here’s the complete list of articles:
- Contemporary and Historical Archaeology of the North: An Introduction, by Jeff Oliver and Neil Curtis
- Placing North, by Jeff Oliver and Neil Curtis
- I Wish I was where I was when I was wishing I was here: Mentalities and Materialities in Contemporary and Historical Iceland, by Oscar Aldred
- The Changing Lives of Women’s Knives: Ulus, Travel and Transformation, by Emily Button Kambic
- Confronting Marginality in the North Atlantic: Archaeological and Historical Perspectives from the French Colony of Plaisance, Newfoundland, by Amanda Crompton
- Time, Seasonality and Trade: Swedish/Finnish-Sami Interactions in Early Modern Lapland, by James Symonds, Timo Ylimaunu, Anna-Kaisa Salmi, Risto Nurmi, Titta Kallio-Seppa, Tiina Kuokkanen, Markku Kuorilehto, Annemari Tranberg
- North/South Encounters at Sami Sacred Sites in Northern Finland, by Tiina Aikas and Anna-Kaisa Salmi
- Memorials and Marching: Archaeological Insights into Segregation in Contemporary Northern Ireland, by Laura McAtackney
- Northern Worldviews in Post-Medieval Orkney: Towards a More Holistic Approach to Later Landscapes, by Dan Lee
At the 2015 SHA conference in Seattle, myself and the organising committee tried an experiment in video recording some of the panels and presentations. The goal is to share some of the remarkable research and thoughts that were presented at the conference with everyone who could not attend. Or maybe did attend but could not see every session/roundtable/presentation you wanted to because of conflicting schedules. Over the coming weeks we will be posting the videos and discussion about many of the exciting topics filmed, from how to publish as a student to work/life issues in professional archaeology.
The first set of videos we would like to share with you are those from the plenary. The topic of the SHA 2015 Conference on Historical and Underwater Archaeology plenary was ‘The West as an Edge: Defining and Exploring Current Approaches in Archaeology’. This explored the conference theme—boundary and periphery—and took the idea of “the west” in its myriad forms as its secondary theme. We hope you enjoy watching them discuss the topic as much as we did.
Symposium Chair: Carolyn White (University of Nevada, Reno)
Panelists: Chelsea Rose (Southern Oregon University)
James Delgado (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)
Kelly Dixon (University of Montana)
Laurie Wilkie (University of California, Berkeley)
Margie Purser (Sonoma State University)
The Q & A.
If you like these videos be sure to check out this years conference, which is sure to be amazing. If you are interested in more conference videos be sure to check out Recording Archaeology and subscribe there to receive updates when more videos become available.
Developing new avenues of public archaeology is not always easy. Last year I highlighted my difficulties trying to connect a temporary or transplanted population to the archaeology of southwest Florida. By (tourist) season, I’ve made headway through persistence. Thanks to some amazing partnerships with regional museums, public library systems, and National and Florida State Parks, Florida Public Archaeology Network (FPAN) and I have been able to reach a growing variety of people through lectures, children’s programming, tours, and heritage events. It’s supremely satisfying to chat with attendees who, even after 20 or more winters spent in the area, “didn’t even know ___.”
However, my elation grinds to a halt when they pose their inevitable follow up question: “Where can I help at a dig?” I am forced to admit that there aren’t any. We aren’t so lucky down here as wonderful St. Augustine where visitors might “stumble upon” an active, professional dig site. In fact, the number of field projects that have happened in my region’s five southwest Florida counties in the last four years couldn’t even fill up one hand. There are no regularly accessible labs either. A visitor might have to drive two or more hours to find a lab to visit or help out. How do I connect the people who’ve seen the lecture, read the panel, taken the tour, or visited the museum with an active, responsible way to do fieldwork nearby when no such opportunities exist locally? Fortunately, I don’t have to reinvent the wheel. FPAN already has two popular workshops that empower the engaged public with vital aspects of archaeological work that require no excavation or artifact removal.
The Cemetery Resource Protection Training (CRPT) workshop, recently awarded the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation’s 2015 Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Preservation Education/Media, teaches participants how to manage, maintain, and record human burials and historic cemeteries. The Submerged Sites Education and Archaeological Stewardship (SSEAS) workshop teaches sport divers about submerged resources and how to monitor and record them scientifically. In both cases attendees are furthered charged with the task with going out into the world and recording and reporting additional cemetery or submerged resources to the Florida Master Site File (FMSF). Using these successful workshops as models might be my ticket to investing the more eager members of the public to our local resources and the field of archaeology in new and unexpected ways.
I think involving the public in the discourse of archaeology through a direct connection to the resources in the places they have been found is key. Public interest and hands-on participation create a bond that can lead to steps professionals don’t always get to: extensive advocacy, fundraising, the creation of watchdog groups, and lobbying. Plus, I’m not entirely sure the uninitiated public would be prepared for the difficulties of excavation under the hot south Florida sun anyway.
I am in the process of developing such a new workshop, but I need your help! So far, I’d like to discuss archaeological resource types and processes and highlight the laws that govern them. I’d like to teach participants basic pedestrian survey-style techniques as a way of identifying sites and recording archaeological remains for the FMSF. That way, under the supervision of archaeologists or resource managers, participants can help with the vital work of monitoring known (and sometimes infrequently visited) sites or add to/update the general knowledge of Florida’s resources without having to touch a shovel. Ideally, educated volunteers keeping a constant wary eye out for our resources by may relieve overtaxed resource managers of some of their burdens. I’d also like to include specific “modules” geared towards special interest groups. One idea is to perhaps model a lesson after the cautiously and eloquently designed Archaeological Partnership Program intended to educate avocational metal detectorists. My goal test audience will be park or museum volunteers- those already operating under the supervision of senior staff –and the first workshop will occur late this fall.
As is a concern with all training workshops, I do not want this to become “How to Pot Hunt 101.” Do you think I’m on the right track for my no-digs predicament? What other hands-on, no-dig/ no-lab ways have you done active archaeology with the public? Do you have any suggestions for additional modules? Let me know! If not, you’ll likely hear how I fared on my own next January in D.C.
- Engaging areas of interest (choosing courses, research directions)
- Pursuing funding/support
- Finding a field school/running a field school
Changes in academic status
- Choosing a graduate school or post-doc program
- Preparing for the job market
Preparing for Adjunct teaching- benefits and pitfalls
Participation in SHA
- Understanding benefits of participation and how to get involved
- Preparing presentations or organizing symposia
- Developing skillsets for a career in cultural resource management or other area of archaeological practice.
- Negotiating salaries and other workplace issues.
- Finding the right publication venues
- Preparing papers for submission; understanding style and writing guidelines
- Navigating the peer-review process
Good morning SHA members! For this week’s #SHA2016 conference post, Jade Luiz, graduate student at Boston University, discusses the upcoming #SHA2016 Ethics Bowl. Please read below to learn more!
As registration for the #SHA2016 Annual Meeting takes off, we hope that students consider all of the different events available to them, including the Ethics Bowl! The APTC student subcommittee, aided by the Ethics Committee, is gearing up for the third annual SHA Ethics Bowl at #SHA2016 in Washington, DC! Terrestrial and underwater archaeology students are invited to participate in this challenging and fun ethics event. Students will take on case studies relevant to ethical issues that they may encounter in their careers. Because issues in archaeological ethics are rarely static, “game-changer” cards will also be introduced during play to encourage participants to think on their feet and make changes to their plans mid-stream.
Students are welcome to form their own teams of up to four members of mixed graduate and undergraduate participants. Competitors will be given this year’s cases in advance so they can prepare their position. The issues posed range from underwater to terrestrial contexts and have been provided by members of the SHA Ethics committee. These issues are based on current challenges students may face in their careers (if they have not already). In addition, we want The Ethics Bowl to mirror real life as closely as we can—one always has to expect the unexpected. For this reason, a game-changing card will be introduced during play for each team. The cards contain new information about the case and provide complications players will need to negotiate. Quick thinking will be a plus! The spontaneous nature of these curve balls will make for some additional fun!
Planning is already underway to make the #SHA2016 Ethics Bowl the biggest and best yet! While the past grand prize has been registration for the following year’s annual meeting, this year the Register for Professional Archaeologists (RPA) is providing a grand prize of $500 to be shared among the members of the winning team with a second place prize of registration to the 2017 annual meeting in Fort Worth, TX! In addition, the ethics scenarios will be provided by the SHA Ethics Committee and the RPA, with volunteer judges from both organizations.
Teams will be scored on clarity, depth, focus, and judgment, in their responses. The bowl is intended to foster both good-natured competition and camaraderie between students from many different backgrounds and universities. Registration is now OPEN for the #SHA2016 Ethics Bowl, until October 20th, 2015!
The 2015 Ethics Bowl in Seattle, WA, was a success despite its small size. Competitors included both graduate and undergraduate students from East Carolina University, Wesleyan University, and University of Idaho. As our judges, we were honored to have Paul Johnston, Darby Stapp, and Sara Gonzalez, who asked probing questions of the participating teams. The 2015 case study posed the following issue to our competitors:
“For several years you have been working for a local museum in a region known for its underwater, colonial era shipwrecks. One day, a patron schedules an appointment with you to discuss a wreck that he has discovered while diving. The patron seems genuinely interested in the history of the area, and you feel like the meeting may end in an excellent research opportunity, but the patron removes a box from his bag which, as it turns out, is packed quite full of Spanish coins and other small, valuable objects. He explains that he took only the items he could easily carry from the wreck as he had not been expecting to find anything so intact, but that there were many well-preserved boxes of cargo and ship fixtures visible and apparently recently exposed. It becomes clear that the purpose of meeting with you is that he wants you, as an archaeologist, to value the items so that he might better estimate the economic wisdom of carrying out a large-scale salvage of the site. When you explain that you do not feel comfortable assigning value to artifacts, the patron becomes offended and suggests that he might get the information elsewhere. He is unwilling to share the location of the site if you do not agree to value the artifacts.”
In addition to the above problem, our teams also had to contend with the following game-changers:
“The patron informs you that he has already secured the full support and funding of a large salvage company for removing artifacts.”
“The patron refuses to guarantee that he will let you know where the site is if you assist him.”
Despite there being no ideal option for our participants in this scenario, they did really well making the best of an awful situation through in-depth exploration of the issues. In the end, the East Carolina State team took the day and each team member won free registration to the #SHA2016 Annual Meeting in Washington, DC!
Additionally, if you are interested in volunteering with this event, either in preparation for the annual meeting or the day of competition (or both!), please email Jade Luiz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Keep an eye out for more information regarding upcoming student events and the #SHA2016 Ethics Bowl. We look forward to seeing you in Washington, DC!
A lot of news (and panic) is rapidly circulating among the preservation and archaeological communities as the Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy Act – the DRIVE Act (S. 1647, sponsored by Sen. Inhofe (R-OK)) – makes its way through Congress. It passed the Senate on July 30 as an amendment to H.R. 22.
Drawing everyone’s ire is Section 11116 of H.R. 22 (formerly Section 1116 of the Senate’s DRIVE Act), which in part orders the Secretary of Transportation to “align, to the maximum extent practicable, with the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4231 et seq.) and section 306108 of title 54 [Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act].” Commentaries on Section 11116 express deep concern that it will eliminate review under Department of Transportation Act Section 4(f), which mandates that the administering department at the federal DOT may not approve the use of a Section 4(f) property unless a determination is made that there is no prudent and feasible alternative to the use of the property and the action includes all possible planning to minimize harm, or that the use will have a de minimis (i.e., trifling or minimal) impact on the property.
National Trust President & CEO Stephanie Meeks published a widely circulated op-ed in The Hill’s Congress Blog on July 29, arguing that “Section 11116 … essentially guts the requirement that transportation projects take the least harmful alternative around a historic landmark, if avoiding it altogether isn’t ‘feasible and prudent.’”
Clarifying Section 11116
Section 11116 would not completely eliminate 4(f) reviews. Rather, it states that if the DOT determines there is no feasible and prudent alternative to avoid use of an historic site (that is, properties listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places), the Secretary shall inform applicable SHPOs and THPOs, the ACHP, and the Department of Interior of the determination and ask for their concurrence. If they all concur, then the DOT can satisfy the requirements of Section 4(f) through treatment of the historic site as stipulated in a Section 106 memorandum of agreement or programmatic agreement.
Currently, if the DOT uses a historic site or other protected property and the impact is not de minimis, the DOT prepares an individual Section 4(f) evaluation, which can be a time consuming process. (The Federal Highway Administration has five programmatic evaluations that it can apply to a project, if appropriate, which are basically streamlined individual evaluations.) The 4(f) evaluation requires the DOT to demonstrate that there are no feasible and prudent alternatives that avoid the use of the Section 4(f) property, and if there are no such alternatives, the DOT identifies measures to minimize harm to the property.
Under the proposed changes in Section 11116, if the parties agree that there is no feasible and prudent alternative that avoids impacts to an historic site, then the impacts on the site are not taken into account in the individual Section 4(f) evaluation process. Also, the proposed changes will have little impact upon archaeological resources, since 4(f) protection only rarely applies to archaeological sites. As the Federal Highway Administration’s and Federal Transit Administration’s Section 4(f) regulations explain, a National Register listed or eligible archaeological site is not protected under Section 4(f) if the site is important chiefly because of what can be learned by data recovery and has minimal value for preservation in place.
Finally, with the House in recess until after Labor Day, the Act has a minimal chance of progressing, particularly because lawmakers are unlikely to agree on how to pay for a long-term transportation bill. That being said, there is concern among state DOTs that involving Interior in this new review process might actually delay projects rather than streamline them, since Interior already takes months to approve Section 4(f) reviews. Accordingly, involving Interior in the concurrence process might further slow down project delivery, and grow the incentive to reduce protections for historic sites. Also, the Act would place the burden of consulting with the DOT to determine what is feasible and prudent on SHPOs, THPOs, and the ACHP, a task outside their NHPA-mandated responsibilities.
It appears that while there are ample grounds to oppose Section 11116, and to watch this and other transportation proposals closely for impacts on historic and archaeological resources, we should resist the urge to panic.