Archaeology Day 2023

Ethan Kish Welcoming People to Archaeology Day

Last weekend, Saturday, October 28th, 2023, was Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s Archaeology Open House to celebrate International Archaeology Day! This year’s Archaeology Day was a great success with a lot of amazing tables and a huge turnout! Thank you to all the graduate students who helped make the day a success, and to all the people who came to learn about archaeology! This year we had a total of 15 tables that represented different parts of archaeology, from fieldwork to 3D printing.

Connor Winslow at the Welcome/Exit table

The first tables were the entrance/exit tables run by Connor Winslow and Ethan Kish, both first-year graduate students in the Applied Archaeology program here at IUP. They were both set up to draw people in and give information about Archaeology Day to people first coming in or leaving. They also handed out our “passports”, which had the names of all the tables at Archaeology Day that people could get stickers for to get candy at the end. They also had evaluation forms for people to tell us how they thought we did, as well as additional information of archaeology and the anthropology program at IUP as a whole.

Elena Frye and Jennifer Ross at their 3D Printing Table

The next table was the 3D printing table run by Elena Frye and Jennifer Ross, who were there to give examples of the applications of 3D printing in archaeology. Elena had a 3D printer printing running during archaeology day, for people to watch it print a precontact PPK. She also had a variety of other points already printed on the table for people to match to their descriptions and names in an activity. This table was part of Elena’s thesis, which will be on using 3D printing as a teaching tool in archaeology. Jennifer ran the other side of the table, where she had 3D-printed human bones for people to interact with.

The next activity was the Kids Activity Room run by Rae Tuite and Dakota Dickerson. They had several activities for kids to enjoy, including Wampum beading and cave painting! Kids had the opportunity to make a beaded bracelet and put their handprints up on the wall, as well as put paper pieces of an archaeological dig kit together.

Wesley Nelson and Jiahan Liu at the Historic Collections Table

The next table was the Historic Collections table, led by Wesley Nelson and Jiahan Liu. They had out a variety of artifacts from our historic collections, from different types of ceramics to different types of glass bottles and metal artifacts. There was also an activity to reassemble broken ceramics, just as an archaeologist might do to reconstruct an excavated ceramic vessel. They would also explain different aspects of the historic artifacts they had out, as well as what historical archaeology was and what we can learn from it.

The next table was the combined zooarchaeology and hominin tables, run by Ty Linthicum, Emily Sykora, and Crimson Reid. They had out collections of animal skulls, as well as a collection of hominin skulls. People who came to their table would be able to guess the different kinds of animal skulls and learn what different skulls looked like. They would also be able to guess and learn about different hominin skulls. They also each answered questions people had about zooarchaeology and early hominins.

The next table is the precontact collections table run by Emma Kinsinger, who had out a variety of artifacts from our precontact collections. She had information on stone tools and how they were made, as well as what flakes could tell us. She also had a wide range of precontact artifacts she took people through and answered questions on precontact archaeology as a whole.

The next table is the PHAST table run by Elena Vories, who is the GA for the PHAST program, also known as the PennDOT Highway Archaeological Survey Team. She had a poster on PHAST, with pictures from surveys over this past summer and an activity to find all of the PHAST letters within the pictures. She would also explain what PHAST was and go through some of the projects she worked on.

Tyler Fanell and Nathan Coughlin at the Fieldwork Table

The next table is the Fieldwork table run by Tyler Fanell and Nathan Coughlin, both first year graduate students who have worked within CRM for multiple years. Their table had pictures from their various field surveys, as well as the field equipment they would use. They talked to people about CRM and what fieldwork is like. They would also go through different sites they had been to, as well as the field schools that IUP runs every summer. They also answered questions about fieldwork and how archaeological fieldwork is done.

The next table was the Floatation table run by Dion DeGarmo, who is the GA for the float lab this year. This table went through what floatation is and what it is looking for. This includes micro-artifacts and organics that can tell archaeologists things about what people were eating and what they were using different surfaces for. Dion also processed some samples in the floatation lab while people walked through so they could see the process and answered questions about the process.

Shannon Boyne and Isabel Srour at the Mock Excavation Table

The next table was the Geophysics table, run by Emma Lashley and Dr. William Chadwick. They had a variety of geophysical equipment out, such as the ground penetrating radar (GPR) and gradiometer. They also had processed GPR data out on the table from the historical field school, which showed the foundation of the hotel students have been excavating for a few summers. The data was both in vertical orientation, as well as 3D, so people could see what GPR anomalies look like after they are processed.

The next table was the mock excavation table run by Shannon Boyne and Isabel Srour, who had mapping and screening activities for people to try out. They had a mapping activity with a 50cm grid over some artifacts for people to draw onto a mapping form used in excavations. Then they had a screening activity where people could dump dirt into a screen and screen it to find artifacts (little toys) they could then bag and write an artifact tag for. This also taught people stewardship and the importance of properly recording and turning in artifacts.

The next table was flint knapping run by Susanne Haney, an Archaeologist for PennDOT and the manager for PHAST. She ran a flint knapping demonstration throughout archaeology day, as well as had multiple types of precontact artifacts for people to see. She answered questions about flint knapping and precontact technologies.

The Atlatl Throwing Activity

The last table was spear throwing, using an atlatl, run by two members of the community who own several atlatls and have even participated in National Atlatl throwing competitions. They had two targets out and two atlatls for people to try out. This is a type of precontact technology people would have used for hunting. This table was probably the biggest hit of Archaeology Day and a lot of people enjoyed throwing spears.

Overall, we would like to thank everyone who came once again, this day never would have been possible without everyone who helped out and who came willing to learn. Thank you everyone, and see you next year!