Zooarchaeology by Mass Spectrometry (ZooMS) Guest Speaker

Hello everyone and welcome back from Winter Break! This semester we have an exciting lineup of blog posts and colloquiums featuring many students from our graduate program. Throughout the next few weeks, blogs will be posted to highlight students working on their thesis and the work they are doing. There will also be posts checking in with students who recently graduated with an update on where they are now. This semester’s posts will also feature plenty of conferences and the students who attend and present at them. So thank you for reading, and look forward to more content coming next week. Now, to officially kick off this semester, we had a guest speaker who explained her work of Zooarchaeology by Mass Spectrometry (ZooMS).

Dr. Anneke Janzen is from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Department of Anthropology. She gave us a presentation this past Monday called “New Identificant of Old Bones: Peptide Mass Fingerprinting in Archaeology”. In this talk, she explained what ZooMS is and how it can be used in Zooarchaeology to better identify taxa of animal bones, even when fragmented. This method works by extracting collagen from bone samples using HCl acid, which then has Trypsin added to it. This cleaves the bonds of the proteins in a known pattern, which can then be measured with MALDO-TOF MS. This reading can then be compared with a reference database of known animals, which they are still building.

This technique has many pros, including being extremely time and cost-effective. The entire process only takes around three days to complete and multiple samples can be done at once. It also has a relatively low cost, since it only costs as much as the consumables and the cost to run the samples on the machine, which is low if there is one in-house. It also works really well to get data from old and poorly preserved bone samples. The whole process only needs around 10 grams of bone per sample to work. It can also work when DNA is not present, so it can even work for really degraded samples as is often found in archaeology. This makes this method really good for collections where there are a lot of small and degraded bone fragments that cannot be analyzed morphologically.

This technique also has some cons, as it has issues identifying mammals, where the data cannot always get down to the species level. This means that some mammal species may only get down to something like equine instead of donkey or zebra. However, this also depends on where the work is being done and if there are a lot of closely related species in the region. Since some species are so closely related they may just show up the same. This is also hard to distinguish between domestic and wild animals that are living in the same area. However, for the most part, this is a good method for identifying species from a collection of animal bones.

Dr. Anneke Janzen gave us a fascinating talk on this method of identifying the species of bones from archaeological collections. We thank Dr. Anneke Janzen for making time to give us this talk and look forward to hearing more about this work and its implications for archaeology.

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!

First Graduate Colloquium of the Semester: What We Did This Summer

Last Wednesday was our first Graduate Colloquium of the semester! IUP students travel all over the country, and even internationally, over summer break to participate in archaeological projects. This first colloquium is meant to highlight the scope of projects IUP archaeology graduate students participated in over the summer break. There were a total of 5 presentations on topics from cultural resource management to field schools.

Laura Broughton, a member of the second-year cohort, was the first presenter of the colloquium. She spent her summer working for Environmental Design and Research (EDR) as an archaeological field technician. Most of her summer was spent on wind and solar farms in upstate New York doing Phase IB surveys. She spent most of her time in corn fields digging round STP’s in a 15-meter grid within the survey areas. While she only found historic ceramic during the entirety of the project, she learned a lot and enjoyed the experience as a whole.

The next presenter was Nate Coughlin, a first-year graduate student who spent the last two years working for different CRM companies around the country. He gave his presentation on a site he worked on in South Dakota this past summer, where they found a lot of Native American effigies. He walked us through the effigies they found, and their interpretations of them, including one that was around 130 meters long and looked like a snake. He also described some of his time working in Vermont for the Northeast Archaeological Research Center.

The third presenter was Emma Lashley, a second-year graduate student and the GA for the Newport Field School at IUP this past summer. First, she went over her time at the Newport field school, which started by doing GPR and STP’s. They then targeted GPR anomalies found around the old hotel in the previous field school. She then took the Advanced Metal Detecting for Archaeologists (AMDA) class, an RPA-certified course run at Ft. Halifax. She used this knowledge to then run a metal detecting survey at the Newport Field School. She then worked for SEARCH for the rest of the summer. She was first sent to Texas during their heat wave, which she described as “very hot the whole time”. Then she was sent to Mississippi, which she described as swampy and mosquitos. Both of these projects were Phase IB surveys for pipelines. Finally, she was sent to Miami, a Phase III project of a large precontact site in downtown Miami. Most of this project was washing buckets of dirt to find all the artifacts and bones.

The next presenter was Elena Vories, a first-year graduate student in charge of the PennDOT Highway Archaeological Survey Team (PHAST), which partners with both IUP and PennDOT to complete Phase I surveys. She is in charge of everything for every Phase I project they do, from background research to artifact cleaning and report writing. She described multiple projects they did and the fun they had along the way.

The last presenters were Emily Sykora and Tyler Fanell, the GAs for the Forensic Archaeology Field School in Germany. Emily is a second-year graduate student and Tyler is a first-year graduate student. They described their mission to recover US service members from a B-17 plane crash from WWII in Germany but mostly went over the trips they went on with students over the course of the field school. They went to places like Heidelberg, the Black Forest, Nuremberg, Munich, and the Bavarian Alps.

Thank you to everyone who presented and attended! We had a great turnout!

ACRA Conference 2023

The 2023 ACRA Conference took place in Indianapolis, Indiana from September 7th to the 10th. This year several second-year graduate students taking Dr. Chadwick’s CRM II class were able to attend the conference. The conference held a total of fourteen sessions, with seven on September 8th and seven on September 9th. The topics ranged from discussions of SOI standards to the role of Artificial Intelligence in CRM. Other than the sessions, students were able to participate in a mentor luncheon, where three CRM professionals took a student to lunch. Thanks to the lunch students were not only able to network but were also able to learn more about CRM by asking questions. The students that went are all very thankful to those who took them to lunch, as well as thankful for the opportunity from IUP, who paid for the entire trip.

The first session at ACRA was an opening remark from the former Miami THPO, Diane Hunter. She told the story of her tribe, from their origin in Indiana to where they are now. This session gave a lot of insight into the region where the conference took place and the history of the people who lived there. Her talk also included the role of THPO’s and the value of consultation.

The second session was a Washington update on government relations, where Andrew Goldberg and Shawn Patch talked about ACRA’s lobbying efforts throughout the past year. They covered developments in legislation and regulations and how the midterm elections could affect CRM. They also covered how to speak up for the industry, and how ACRA members can get involved.

The third session was an interview with the chair of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP), Sara Bronin. She started with an overview of what the ACHP and how it impacts the industry of CRM. She also explained the kinds of cases the ACHP advises on, which include cases they feel can set a precedence in the field. She also covered how recent initiatives may affect CRM, and the role of CRM firms in preserving cultural heritage.

The fourth session was on the SOI Standards task force and the recommendations they came up with for when the SOI standards are revisited. They ended up listing nine broad principles they have to guide any change in standards. The first one was to acknowledge the status quo is not an option, the standards must change. The second recognized there still needed to be standards, they do not support getting rid of them. The third asks for clarity and consistency in the new standards, recognizing it is something lacking from the current standards. The fourth asked for practical experience to be included in the standards. The fifth asks alternative pathways for qualification to be recognized, in order to include communities that may not have the resources to meet all the qualifications but have the experience. The sixth wishes to promote diversity and inclusion in the new standards. The seventh recognizes contemporary concepts of heritage and wishes the new standards will recognize heritage is not the same for everyone. The eighth asks for the full spectrum of CRM to be recognized, including disciplines outside of archaeology. The ninth asks for the SOI to have broad consultation on any changes that are made. Overall, the task force reiterated these are recommendations from ACRA to guide any changes in the SOI standards.

The fifth session discussed heritage mines as a way to store energy, specifically for storage from solar and wind projects, which is being done through Michigan Technological University’s PUSH project. Essentially, Timothy Scarlett is suggesting abandoned mines be used for pumped hydro storage, as they are already there and would take up less space than a massive surface pond for the same purpose. With this idea in mind, CRM companies can play an important role in this transformation as they are essential to the entire process.

The sixth session discussed the growth of CRM firms into middle-market firms, with the panel consisting of upper management from Chronicle Heritage. They discussed the journey of Chronicle Heritage to the middle-market, and how the growth of CRM firms like theirs can benefit the industry as a whole.

The seventh session focused on the future of CRM and the changing industry, as a way to strategically plan for these changes. This session led attendees through how to plan for changes in the industry, such as AI, remote work, and social justice. The session broke into small groups to participate in planning exercises, which were discussed at the end of the session.

The eighth session discussed academic collaboration in CRM, specifically looking at the pipeline from universities to CRM firms. With this, they discussed topics universities should teach to prepare students for CRM. They also discussed a program at Monmouth University that is creating such a pipeline from that university to local CRM firms in New Jersey where the university is located. The session then opened to questions, which led to a good discussion on what CRM firms can do to be involved with universities to help better prepare students for CRM and bring them into the industry.

The ninth session was an update from the SAA task force on employment within CRM. This session gave information on the job market and the needs of CRM for universities to meet. They discussed a recent trend in universities to cut anthropology and archaeology programs and how this could be due to administrators being unaware of the job market and opportunities in CRM, as well as the qualifications needed. The task force discusses five areas of concern on this subject and how this can be solved by both CRM companies and universities moving forward.

The tenth session discussed Airlie House and metrics on diversity. This session was an update on the Airlie House initiative, the Salary Survey, and the ACRA diversity program.

The eleventh session was a business meeting, which covered the important ACRA initiatives from the past year. This session also covered programs for the future, as well as how ACRA member firms could maximize their membership.

The twelfth session was on navigating cultural resource compliance for offshore wind. This session discussed several assessments needed for these compliance projects, as well as meetings with consulting parties and the MOA. This panel looked at challenges and best practices in the industries, as well as challenges of projects and how to deal with them.

The thirteenth session was about the role of geophysics as a tool for CRM. Within this session, the use of geophysics for phase I survey was discussed. The general usefulness of geophysics within CRM was also discussed, and those in attendance were able to ask questions and discuss their opinions on the subject. They also discussed how geophysics can be used to make a national register determination, and how they can manage sensitive sites like cemeteries.

The fourteenth session was on artificial intelligence and how it can be used within CRM. This session began with an introduction to what artificial intelligence (AI) is and some examples of programs out there today that are becoming popular, such as ChatGPT. They then gave examples of how ChatGPT could be used within the field to write reports. They did this by feeding ChatGPT images of architecture and asking it to describe them. While some of the descriptions were right, many of them were wrong and would have to be filtered too much to actually be useful. They then went into how AI could be dangerous to the field, and to be careful with the software, as the platforms are not secure enough to feed confidential information to for reports. They ended up concluding that AI may be useful for some redundant portions of CRM in the future and that it could be a very real future in the industry, but it is not quite there yet.

This session concluded the conference, with it being an overall success, not just for ACRA itself but for the IUP students in attendance. The students at IUP thank ACRA for the opportunity and hope future graduate students can attend.

An Introduction to Your Blogger

Hello everyone! My name is Laura Broughton, and I will be the one managing the blog this year as the Public Archaeology Graduate Assistant! I am a second-year graduate student in the Applied Archaeology program here and Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP), and I am excited to be taking over duties as the new Public Archaeology GA. I have a wide variety of interests in different aspects of archaeology and history, with a passion for public archaeology. I graduated from IUP with a B.A. in Anthropology with a focus on Archaeology, and a minor in Asian Studies. In my undergraduate years at IUP, I ran both the Association of Korean-Cultural Interests (AKI) and the Japanese Student Association (JAPASO). My years running AKI and JAPASO swayed my interest in archaeology towards East Asia, but if I’m being honest archeology itself is my passion. However, my experience and most of my knowledge lie in historical archaeology and historic ceramics. Due to my wide variety of interests, my master’s thesis is focusing on Chinese Diaspora Archaeology on the East Coast of the United States, where I hope to research Pittsburgh’s Chinatown. Regardless, I hope to one day use my knowledge of archaeology to teach the public and make archaeology accessible to everyone. This past summer I worked as a field technician for Environmental Design and Research (EDR), where I mainly worked on Phase I surveys on solar and wind farms. This summer taught me a lot about how archaeology is done today and made me more confident in my skills in the field. I am excited to use my variety of skills and knowledge to create blog posts throughout the year that everyone can enjoy!