My thesis fieldwork in Cyprus (by Sarah Henley)

This past May, I traveled to Cyprus to conduct my Masters thesis research. The purpose of my research is to use portable X-Ray Fluorescence (pXRF) analyze the elemental composition of Roman and Late Roman Period (30 B.C. to A.D. 614) Cypriot Red Slip ware (CRS) sherds, which basically provides a chemical “fingerprint” for sherds made from different clay sources.  My original goal was to compare my results to naturally-occurring clay bed samples in order to investigate their origin of manufacture, as well as regional trade patterns across Cyprus and parts of neighboring Turkey.

I traveled with Dr. Robert S. Moore from the IUP History department, and Dr. William R. Caraher from the University of North Dakota History department. We spent the first night in Larnaca, Cyprus, which is located in Larnaca Bay on the southeastern part of the island. Larnaca is a somewhat noisy city, with an oceanfront full of restaurants, an ancient fort at one end, and a marina on the other. There is also a beautiful church located down the road from the fort. Throughout the city there are various types of architecture, which gives the city character. As you make your way down small alleys you can find shops and more restaurants. The beach was also nice, but not as beautiful as other places I have seen in the Mediterranean.

The next day, we traveled to Polis, which is located on the western side of the island, and to give you an idea of the island’s size it took about 3 hours to get there from Larnaca. The inner terrain of Cyprus is beautiful with the Troodos Mountains, and the southwestern coast, which both reminded me of Greece. Polis was a nice small town, and much quieter then Larnaca.  The next 4 days we worked in a small, fairly dirty, basement where all the ceramic artifacts were curated. The first day I spent running tests with CRS body sherds to figure out how to go about collecting my data. I had not anticipated for each ceramic sherd to have concretion, which are limestone deposits that accumulate on artifacts that have been in the ground for long periods of time. Concretion can only be completely removed by acid, which takes a great amount of time to remove.  The next 3 days I spent collecting my data. I tried to test areas on each sherd that had the least amount of concretion.  On May 20th we returned to Larnaca. The last 4 days we worked in a warehouse, which was cleaner then the curation building in Polis. The sherds were in bags, which were in crates that were marked by excavation unit(s). Dr. Moore had e-mailed me a list of the CRS sherds, and I pulled them from the crates, and bags. Fortunately, these sherds had less concretion on them because they were surface finds.

XRF unit (left) and example of concretion on an CRS sherd (right)

A professor from Messiah College’s history department, Dr. David K. Pettegrew, an associate of Dr. Moore and Dr. Caraher’s, brought a group of undergraduate students to Cyprus. On my last day I had the opportunity to talk to the students about pXRF and my thesis. While in Cyprus Dr. Moore showed me the sites in which the sherds I tested came from. In Polis the sherds were excavated from the porch of a Christian basilica dating to the 6th/7th century A.D. In Larnaca the sherds were collected from a Roman Period site that used to be a major southern port town.  Overall, I had a  good experience; the only down side was I was not able to collect clay bed samples as originally planned. Later in June I will be meeting with the Applied Research Lab people at IUP, who will help me to statistically statistically analyze my data.

IUP Department of Anthropology

Reflecting back on my first year…

I am currently sitting in the Days Inn Hotel in State College (my current Monday-Friday home) for three weeks. I am one of three graduate students that were hired as an intern for the PennDOT Highway Archaeological Survey Team (PHAST). We are getting a healthy dose of what it is like to work in CRM. Last week, this week and the follow week, we are digging test units upslope from the Juniata College field school at the Hatch Site. Prior to this project we have been working in Allegheny County and Indiana County. It has been a busy beginning of the summer, but I’ve learned so much so far! Another perk to this internship is getting to see the different parts of PA that I’ve never visited. Lucky for us, we are surrounded by great food (and beer) in State College. Tonight we are trying Austrian food!

The PHAST crew at the Hatch site: from left to right: Zaakiyah, Sami, and Gen.

Sitting here in my hotel room, I am reflecting on my first year of graduate school. Coming into the program I was pretty anxious about diving back into school after being out of academia for almost eight years. I took a long time off, working in the service industry, going to field school and working in CRM briefly. I wasn’t sure if I knew how to write a paper still. The first few weeks were a little rocky, but I kept pushing myself, and I got into a routine, and yes, I can still write. Time management is everything in graduate school, especially the first semester of your first year. It is impossible to leave any assignment until the last minute, because it is very likely that you have one or two assignments for another class due the same day or week. DO NOT PROCRASTINATE! You can ask anyone from the cohort above you, your quality of life will be much better if you just realize that you may be doing school work most days in order to get assignments done on time and at a level that is worthy of graduate school.

The place that I spent most of my time during the first year was in the graduate lounge and in my office that was provided to me for my Public Archaeology graduate assistantship (GA). The office and graduate lounge was especially helpful, because it was a place that I could work in peace. I live in Pittsburgh, so having a place to leave my lap top and other belongings was especially nice. My GA pushed me to get to know my cohort and the cohort above me a little better. Managing the blog and other social media outlets allowed me to take a break from academic writing, and do a little creative writing. Similarly, I was able to speak about issues, such as the defunding of the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment of the Humanities freely. Ultimately, my GA made me feel like a part of the program that I may not have otherwise felt.

Getting to know your cohort is one of the best things you can do for yourself, and the professors drive this home to you from the very beginning. No, it is not possible to be friends with everyone, but making a concerted effort to get to know one another is helpful for two reasons: 1. You’re all going through the same stress, so they are likely the people that will understand what you’re going through the most 2. You are there to help one another when you’re confused about an assignment. These people are likely to become your co-workers in the future, but even better, your friends. Your reputation is everything in this field, so it is crucial to be professional, but also be willing to hang out and enjoy the moments that you’re not doing school work with them!

Finally, I found that taking part in every opportunity presented to me through the program is really important. Any colloquium or field trip that is offered, take advantage of it. This includes conferences (if you present a paper or poster you are eligible for funding). Your professors like to see you getting involved, but also, these are opportunities you may not otherwise get outside of school. We met a lot of important people, such as the advisory council for our program, and they looked at our resumes, and told us what CRM firms are looking for. We also had an opportunity to meet and hear Dr. Todd Surovell speak. You’re paying for your education, so make sure you take advantage of everything that times allows!

Attempting to do homework outdoors on a nice day.

IUP Department of Anthropology

IUP Archaeologists March for Science

By: Genevieve Everett

Last Saturday, Earth Day, Dr. Sarah, Danielle, Kate, Jared, Heather, Sami and I woke up in the early morning hours to hit the road for the March for Science in Washington DC. The weather forecast was calling for rain all day, so we came mostly prepared for that, with our signs of support in tow. We arrived at the Metro Station around 9 am, still feeling groggy from our early start, but energized to join the thousands of people coming to the march for science.

Bill Nye!

After a short Metro ride, we were heading toward the National Monument where we stood in line looking on at the beautiful new National Museum of African American History and Culture . We were surrounded signs that read “Science not Silence” and people in lab coats. Waiting in line to get into the rally, the rain began with a light drizzle. Inside the gates we made our way through the crowds to stand in front of a giant jumbo-tron to watch the many speeches that were planned for the day. Different scientists or supporters of science, young and old came to speak about the importance of science, and how it has impacted their lives and the lives of others. Sadly, no archaeologists spoke, but it was inspirational nonetheless. And finally….BILL NYE THE SCIENCE GUY came out to end the rally. The rain began to pick up, but the moment we had all been waiting for had finally come! He stood at the podium speaking about the need to encourage lawmakers to take the sciences seriously for the well being of all. As a kid I idolized Bill Nye, and now that I’ve grown up I still see the same passion that came through my television set, and it makes me feel a glimmer of hope for the future of science and our planet, because as many signs around us said, “THERE IS NO PLANET B”.

With time to kill, we stopped and got some lunch at a little deli where we had a chance to “dry” off a bit. With our stomachs full, we headed toward the front of the march. Waiting on the side of the road we watched as Bill Nye and a long line of smiling faces proudly held a “March for Science” banner. We joined the masses of people, holding our own signs high. We heard the occasional call and response chant of,  “WHAT DO WE WANT? EVIDENCE BASED SCIENCE. WHEN DO WE WANT IT? AFTER PEER REVIEW!”. There was an overall feeling of connectedness, and it was an awesome feeling. The march ended at Union Square across from the Capitol Building where everyone dispersed to go back to their normal lives.

A week later I am sitting at my computer thinking how lucky I am to be able to stand up for what I believe in. Archaeology may not be the first thing people think of when they think of science, but we are scientists through and through. With the treat to cultural resources in this country, we must work to preserve and protect them, because they are non-renewable resources, just like our precious planet. Although last Saturday was a long day after being up early and getting soaked, it was completely worth it in the name of science!

IUP Department of Anthropology

American Grad Students in Canada: Our trip to the SAA, eh.

By: Matthew Bjorkman and Britney Elsbury-Orris

Hello! We are Matthew Bjorkman and Britney Elsbury-Orris, and this is our first contribution to Trowels and Tribulations, and honestly…what took so long! We are both first-year graduate students in the Applied Archaeology program, and we have had the pleasure of attending way too many conferences this semester. At the end of the fall semester, while we were riding the high of turning in our final assignment, we volunteered to become members of the IUP Ethics Bowl team. While we did not fully understand the time commitment we had just signed up for (we blame the lack of sleep), we knew that it would give us an opportunity to flex our ethics muscles in competition at the 82nd annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Beautiful view outside the Convention Center

Despite being poor college students once again , we were able to book our trip. Departing from Pittsburgh at way-to-early in the morning, we had a short layover in the San Francisco airport before finally arriving in Vancouver the day before the conference (Trip bonus: we flew on United on both legs of our trip and neither of us was asked to give up our seat or got stung by a scorpion). After wandering aimlessly in the city for an hour, we arrived at our hotel, Hotel Blu. The hotel was fantastic, far too classy for this duo. Our first day, the day before the start of the conference, was spent figuring out how to get our phones to work in a foreign land, and meeting up with Ethics Bowl teammates and other IUP students. We got together and searched for a spot to grab dinner. After searching for a restaurant that Matt swears was selling a pound of wings for $3, we abandoned our search and settled for the White Spot. Here we tested the local brews, ate exotic poutine, and discussed our up-coming presentations and competition.

IUP Ethics Bowl team!

The Ethics Bowl was on the first day of the conference. Fighting off jet lag and the exhaustion of traveling 3,000 miles, team IUP arrived at the Hyatt hotel at 7:30 in the morning. Practice run-downs of our cases and guidance from our mentor did little to calm our nerves. With friends and fans in the crowd, our team performed wonderfully, crushing the cases that were presented. We solved the issue of the troubled museum exhibit, and we fixed Sandy Melmac’s curation crisis. Sadly, we did not crush the competition, and lost by 1 point to the home town Simon Fraser University.

The Ethics Bowl was over before we wanted it to be, but we were now able to experience all the SAA conference had to offer. At first, the number of things happening at the conference was overwhelming. With over 4,000 attendees, this was the largest conference that either of us had attended. We explored the program and the convention center, highlighting presentations we wanted to try to get to. The beautiful part about the SAA conference is that there are sessions on just about any archaeological topic you can think of. Over the course of the conference, we attended presentations on Classic Maya architecture, isotope analysis of faunal remains, geoarchaeology, territorial behavior and ecology, and more. We vi

Looking across the bay at North Vancouver

sited the poster presentations of our IUP colleagues and explored the projects of archaeologists from around the world. We even networked at a CRM (cultural resource management) expo with other archaeologists who were looking for people to work for them over the summer, part-time, and permanently.

Even though we were in Vancouver for a conference, we made time to have a little vacation for ourselves. We explored the city experiencing its beautiful scenery and the other great things that Vancouver had to offer. We reunited with long lost friends from our undergrad days at Penn State and even met up with those we had already met at IUP over countless dinners and drinks. We also had the opportunity to attend a MLS soccer game featuring the Vancouver Whitecaps and the LA Galaxy. We sat in the supporter’s section and like to think we were the reason why the Whitecaps got their 4-2 upset victory.

Go Whitecaps!

In conclusion, even though we did not win the Ethics Bowl, we still had a lot of fun on our trip. The Ethics Bowl gave us the opportunity to get an idea of how we should prepare and what we should expect next year in Washington D.C., when we win. 😉 We got to attend presentations in which we learned about various archaeological work being done throughout the United States and even within Canada and other countries and gained ideas for our future research. We got to see old faces in which we talked with them over many dinners and drinks. We even got to meet new ones in prospects for a CRM job in the future and go to our first MLS soccer game. If you get the chance, take the opportunity to attend this conference. It will definitely benefit you in the long run! Hopefully we will see you all next year in Washington D.C. for the 83rd annual SAA meeting and our second Ethic’s Bowl appearance.

IUP Department of Anthropology

Archaeology and the Public: A New Way To Bridge The Gap

By: Genevieve Everett

This semester we have been talking a lot about how to get the public involved/interested in archaeology and the preservation of cultural resources. Most importantly, how can we make what we do relevant to people outside of our field?  We have read Jeremy Sabloff’s book, “Why Archaeology Matters”, which discusses the many ways in which archaeologists are contributing on a local, regional, national and global scale.  According to Sabloff, as archaeologists we should be “working for living communities, not just in or near them”(Sabloff 2008:17). An excellent example of someone that is attempting to work with the public is ‘space archaeologist’, Sarah Parcak.  Parcak’s new project, GlobalXplorer allows the public to get involved in the effort to combat looting of archaeological sites around the world.

Sarah Parcak is an Egyptologist, and is best known for her work looking at satellite images to find archaeological sites and signs of looting. According to the website, “So far, Dr. Parcak’s techniques have helped locate 17 potential pyramids, in addition to 3,100 potential forgotten settlements and 1,000 potential lost tombs in Egypt — and she’s also made significant discoveries in the Viking world and Roman Empire.” (GlobalXplorer 2017). Check out the TED talk for which Parcak earned the  2016 TED prize of 1 million dollars. Parcak used her award to create GlobalXplorer as a way to train the public to spot looting on satellite images. I went to the website, and decided to sign up as a global explorer. Once signed up, there is a short tutorial video that explains what looting typically looks like when looking down on the earth from a satellite. Once the tutorial is done, a satellite image/tile is brought up, and based on what your learned in the tutorial, you must decide if this tile displays looting or not. It’s much harder than you think, because trees, bushes and mounds of dirt kind of look like looting pits; however, once you look at enough tiles you begin to recognize the pits versus the natural landscape. To date, over 44,000 people have signed up to look at the tiles, and over 9 million tiles have been explored so far!

The work that Parcak has done is incredible, and for an archaeologist like myself, I find this to be extremely fascinating, and an awesome platform for getting the public involved in a joint effort to protect cultural resources. People are drawn to research like Parcak’s, because it is innovative and interactive. Just spouting facts at people about why looting is bad is not enough; rather, giving people the knowledge and tools to combat looting makes them feel like they are making a contribution to something big. Parcak’s research seems to be bridging the gap between archaeologists and the public, creating a new generation of stewards. As more people get involved with this project, there is a better chance that archaeological sites will be protected from looting and destruction. I am really excited to see how GlobalXplorer progresses!

IUP Department of Anthropology

IUP at the Mid Atlantic Archaeology Conference (MAAC)

By: Zaakiyah Cua

Hello everybody, if you haven’t met me yet, I’m Zaakiyah Cua and I’m a first-year graduate student in the Applied Archaeology program at IUP. I’m currently barreling through my second semester. The past seven months have been a whirlwind of gaining experiences and building relationships which will last me the rest of my life. I could go on forever about the many opportunities I have taken advantage of at IUP, the wonderful faculty, and my awesome cohort, but I will focus this post on my recent experience presenting at and attending the Mid Atlantic Archaeology Conference (MAAC).

Zaakiyah and Britney with their poster.

During my first semester of graduate school I took Zooarchaeology taught by Dr. Sarah Neusius. One of the class assignments required me to identify and analyze a collection of about 1000 faunal remains from the Johnston Site, a Monongahela village site which IUP had previously excavated at for several seasons. The faunal collection I analyzed was then combined with collections analyzed by other classmates from the same site. We then each wrote an independent faunal report which analyzed the full collection (about 4000 bones). During the semester, Dr. Neusius suggested the possibility that the faunal analysis could be furthered and the results presented at a conference in the spring, either MAAC, SPA, or both. I approached Dr. Neusius at the end of the semester with another member of my cohort, Britney Elsbury-Orris, and expressed interest in working with the faunal collection further.

As the deadline for MAAC submission was quickly approaching and we were now through finals and gone for winter break, we quickly put together a poster presentation abstract and registered for MAAC memberships as well as attendance to the March conference. Our final product was a poster which discussed how faunal remains varied between the village plaza, domestic areas, and village stockade trenches. We found that faunal remains in the plaza were highly fragmented and highly burned while remains in the stockade trenches and domestic area contained more diverse burning and were less fragmented. Additionally, it appeared that the stockade was used to dispose of and burn refuse.

Flint knapping workshop

MAAC was in Virginia Beach during the last half of spring break. I had never been to Virginia Beach and I had never been to MAAC and I was really looking forward to the trip. In addition to Britney and myself, several other IUP archaeology students attended, as well as Dr. Chadwick who presented a paper. The conference did not disappoint. Not only was the conference extremely diverse in terms of research presented, the attendees and presenters were equally split between CRM archaeologists, students, and archaeology professors or university affiliated faculty. Additionally, the MAAC Student Committee scheduled several events throughout the weekend. Some of these events included a flint knapping workshop, a raffle and social mixer, resume reviews, and other social events.

MAAC also offers student scholarships which are provided by sponsors. These scholarships cover conference registration for students presenting and attending the meeting. Volunteering at the registration booth also waives the registration fee. I volunteered and thought it was well worth it as I met many people and networked during the three hours I was at the table.

Overall, the conference was a success. Although there were a few hiccups along the way, our poster turned out well and we received positive feedback regarding our research. I would highly recommend students attend the MAAC meeting in the future. If possible, I recommend presenting either a poster or paper at the conference. Single authored submissions can enter the paper and poster competitions. There are also opportunities for students to become involve with the MAAC Student Committee as a student representative or other officer position. This is a wonderful way to meet other students, become involved, and represent IUP at MAAC.

IUP Department of Anthropology

The Final Countdown for Graduate School – Round 2…..

By: Jared Divido

It’s hard to believe that I’m already mid-way through my last semester of graduate school in the MA in Applied Archaeology program here at IUP.  The saying “time flies” could not be more applicable to the feelings and experiences that come along with graduate school.

I’m currently on spring break working on the data analysis phase of my thesis research, which involves testing the feasible use of 3D scanning technology for constructing comparative faunal (animal) bone specimens.  Three-dimensional technology has been making a lot of headway in the field of archaeology as a method for constructing or re-constructing 3-dimensional models of found artifacts, site structures, and even site profiles.  The 3D scan of a given object enables the researcher to create a fairly accurate digital model, which could then be used in a multitude of ways for things such as digital archival storage, research collaborations via file sharing, 3D printing for educational purposes, etc.  My background research has found that much of the applicability of 3D scanning has largely focused on the 3D printing aspect of the technology, yet there has been little attention given to usability of the 3D scans as raw data themselves.  My thesis research is attempting to focus on an important aspect of zooarchaeology, which requires a well established comparative animal bone reference collection for the identification and analysis of animal bones that are recovered from archaeological sites.

Animals bones at archaeological sites are often found fragmented, but they can provide the researcher with a wealth of information about the past, including things such as the human subsistence strategies, tool making/tool use, environmental conditions and changes, etc.  A comparative reference collection can often help identify the bone down to taxon or species level by looking at the surface features on the fragmented skeletal element.  Yet, the accessibility of a well established comparative animal bone collection requires a lot of laboratory space and the availability of wide range of animal species.  This often requires researchers to borrow or loan specimens from other institutions, which can be a rather costly and timely process in the end.  I’m ultimately trying to determine if 3D scanning technology could complete replace this process by using the 3D scans in place of the physical skeletal specimens.

At the end of March, I will be travelling to Vancouver, Canada to present a poster presentation on my research at the Society for American Archaeology’s 82nd Annual Meeting.  This will be a great opportunity to share my research findings with others in the field, while also being there to show support for my fellow colleagues whom are also presenting at the conference.  Furthermore, as Danielle mentioned in her blog post, conferences are a great way to network with colleagues and other respected professionals in the field.

I will admit that my academic and professional career interests have not always been oriented toward archaeology or cultural resource management (CRM).  In May 2012, I graduated from IUP with a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology with the intent to pursue a career in forensic anthropology.  I worked hard to make that dream a reality by travelling nearly 3,580 miles away from home to attend school at the University of Dundee, which is located in Dundee, Scotland.  While at the University of Dundee, I had the opportunity to study at the Centre for Anatomy and Human Identification, under the direction of Professor Dame Sue Black (a highly respected forensic professional in the UK).  One might wonder how I transitioned from forensic anthropology to the study of archaeology, but there is a rather intricate connection between the two fields.  My thesis research in the UK involved testing forensic methodologies for cut mark analysis, which are actually deeply rooted in past archaeological field investigations and techniques.

Thus, following the completion of my first master’s degree, I travelled to the Spanish Balearic Islands to perform my first archaeological field school, which involved the excavation and analysis of Roman funerary units and human remains, dating from the 14-16th centuries.  Upon my return back to the United States after my field school, I came to the realization that I wanted to gain more knowledge and experience in archaeology.  I was very happy when I discovered that IUP had an Applied Archaeology program because of my past experience with the faulty during my undergraduate program.  In July 2015, I participated in my second archaeological field school with IUP, which was focused on the excavation of an identified GPR anomaly at Historic Hanna’s Town (1773-18th century) in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania.  I can honestly say that IUP has well prepared me for a career in archaeology or CRM.  I am currently a graduate research assistant for Dr. Sarah Neusius, which has provided me with opportunities to work with the IUP faunal comparative collection, various archaeological faunal assemblages, and faunal databases from numerous prehistoric sites.

The faculty has a real concern and interest for the success of its students.  I have also made some wonderful friendships and created great memories along the way that will last a lifetime.  I look forward to finishing up my final semester and seeing what my future holds upon graduation in August!

IUP Department of Anthropology

There and Fighting Through Mordor to get Back Again…A Graduate Student’s Experience

By: Sarah Henley

Coming into the program I had a Bachelors degree in Sociology and little experience or knowledge about archaeology besides from what I learned on my own through volunteer work at a Civil War camp in Kentucky, a field school in Ireland, and books. My first semester I felt out of place because it appeared like everyone else knew so much more and had more experience than I did. However, I was not alone in the grueling stress of first year graduate work. After working my butt off through classes, the PHAST program, and other various experiences I no longer feel out of place. Plus, this past October I finally got to meet my mentor, Stefanie Smith, in person when I went to Athens, Georgia for the SEAC Conference. I found out that she and I were so similar in our experience it was scary but awesome. Overall graduate school has been one crazy, what feels like never ending, roller coaster ride of stress, sweat, blood and tears, and the occasionally random fun times.

My thesis, in a nutshell, involves investigating the manufacture and trade of Cypriot Red Slip ware (CRS) in Cyprus using portable X-ray Fluorescence (pXRF). I will be testing and comparing the elemental composition of CRS sherds, which date to the Roman and Late Roman Periods, and clay bed samples in Cyprus to determine possible manufacturing origins of the CRS. Then I will connect my results and data to Cypriot trade. Currently I am at a temporary stand still due to things that have occurred in my personal life, three classes and an increasing school work load, and working as a lab assistant 10 hours a week. It is frustrating because I really want to start writing my thesis, and I also have to prepare for my trip this upcoming May, to Cyprus, but what can you do? Life happens.

IUP Department of Anthropology

Archaeology isn’t always about getting dirty

By: Genevieve Everett

The other day I was looking for inspiration for this weeks blog post, so I went to one of my favorite websites, the Munsell Color Blog (http://munsell.com/color-blog/page/2/), which is dedicated to all the ways in which the Munsell Color Chart/Book is applied in the world of  art and science. There are many posts about archaeology, which led me to one particular post, “‘Soiled’–Punk Rock, Archaeology, and the Munsell Color Book–A Love Song” by archaeologist Andrew Reinhard. Reinhard’s post is all about taking the things that he loves, punk music and archaeology, and combining the two. In 2012, he and a colleague organized an archaeology ‘unconference’ at a bar in North Dakota, and had punk bands play sets in between talks. The best part is that Reinhard wrote an entire album dedicated to archaeology with at least one song, “Soiled” that is all about Munselling (sadly the songs were removed). Reinhard and his colleagues even wrote a book called, “Punk Archaeology”, which addresses how punk influences how they approach archaeological research.

I fell down the rabbit hole even further, down into Reinhard’s other project, Archeogaming (https://archaeogaming.com/), “Archaeogaming is a blog dedicated to the discussion of the archaeology both of and in video games (console, computer, mobile, etc.). If a game uses archaeology in some way (such as the Archaeology skill in World of Warcraft), we’ll discuss it here. If the design and function of pottery, textiles, and architecture vary between iterations of a game (e.g., Elder Scrolls), we’ll discuss it here. If a game contains an archaeologist character class or NPC (non-player character), we’ll discuss it here. We’ll review games containing (or about) archaeology, too. The blog will also explore new methods for conducting real archaeology in gaming environments, as well as the theory underpinning studying material culture of the immaterial.” Okay, this is some third tier nerdy stuff, and I don’t mean that in a derogatory way. I think this concept is really interesting, and reflects changing dynamics in archaeology, which lead me to another ‘outside of the box’ archaeological study by Anna Marie Prentiss…

Anna Marie Prentiss is well known for her work in British Columbia at the Keatley Creek and Bridge River sites examining wealth-based inequality in housepits. The article that I found had little to do with the prehistory of British Columbia, instead, the article is called, “Get Rad! The Evolution of Skateboard Decks”(https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12052-011-0347-0). Prentiss et al. studied how skateboard decks have changed over time, and stated, “Tracking the evolution of the skateboard deck demonstrates that evolution is more than a simple model of innovation and selection”. Skateboards are a form of material culture, so why not study them?

Ultimately what I have taken away from this journey is that the study of archaeology is not a ‘one size fits all’ field of study. Just because you’re a well known archaeologist that concentrates on the evolution of hunter-gatherer societies in British Columbia does not mean you are bound to that specific aspect of archaeological research forever. It’s not always about digging in the dirt or applying traditional theoretical perspectives to interpret the past. Whether or not you buy Reinhard’s punk archaeologist (anti) manifesto, it is still one of many ways in which we as archaeologists approach material culture in the twenty-first century.

IUP Department of Anthropology

Success after IUP

By: Kristin Swanton

My passion for archaeology was a direct result of my older brother, Michael, and great uncle, Charles Wray, who both worked as archaeologists in New York. In 2007, I graduated with a Bachelors degree in Anthropology and Religion from Syracuse University. After completing two fieldschools and two archaeology internships, I developed my interest in historical archaeology and working with stakeholder communities.

After college, I knew I wanted to attend graduate school, but my faculty at Syracuse recommended that I get more experience in cultural resource management. I took off two years between undergraduate and graduate school, but it was worth it. I was lucky to be part of the first graduate class in the Masters for Applied Archaeology program at IUP. As a graduate student, I was able to tailor my Master’s thesis to focus on a contact-period battlefield in eastern Connecticut that involved multiple interested parties.

A volunteer dig at the Governor Wolf mansion in PA

The coursework and mentoring from the IUP faculty directly prepared me for my various jobs after graduate school. I have had the opportunity to work for an international engineering firm, as well as the New Jersey Historic Preservation Office (NJHPO) and the U.S. Forest Service. Currently, I work as a Historic Preservation Assistant for the NJHPO, where I assist staff members in their review of projects requiring Section 106 compliance and New Jersey State permits. With my Master’s degree from IUP, I gained the skill sets necessary in CRM and satisfied the Secretary of Interior qualifications as a professional archaeologist.

IUP Department of Anthropology