Lessons From the First Semester of a Grad Student

Somehow, it has already been a full semester since I started as a grad student here at IUP.  I have no idea where the time has gone or why it seems like there won’t be enough time within the next week to get everything done.  Since finals begin next week, I figure now would be a good time for a little reflection.

I won’t lie, this first semester has been challenging, but I’m not in this alone.  After all, as Dr. Ford has been saying all semester, Archaeology is a social science that requires you to be social and I feel so lucky to have such an amazing cohort/class that helps one another.

In the spirit of helping others, I hope I can impart a few things I’ve learned from this semester onto future students.

  1. Grad school is a serious commitment and not just financially. I didn’t realize how little of my life would exist besides classwork.  Make sure you can keep the basics of life in order.
  2. Time management is key if you want to minimize the number of all-nighters. It doesn’t look like much on the syllabus, but it will probably take longer than you expect.
  3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you don’t understand something or you need more time on an assignment, just ask.  The worst that will happen is someone can’t help you.  Then remember, you have a whole department, professors and peers, that could probably help you out.
  4. If you’re as socially awkward as I am, this is going to hurt, but get used to talking in front of others. Between class discussions and presentations, you need to know how to talk to people.  I’m one of those people who hates public speaking, even after reading at open mic poetry nights for a couple years.  What I can tell you though, is that once you know people in the room, it gets easier.  I know this is lame advice but stare at someone you know.  Talking to a friend, teaching them something, is far easier than talking to people you’ve never seen.
  5. You’re not in this alone, no matter the program or department.  All your professors went through grad school and your peers are going through it at the same time as you are.
  6. Remind yourself that this will not last forever. The grass is greener on the other side and all that jazz.

IUP Anthropology Department

Musings of a Recent IUP Graduate

By Samantha Taylor

Let’s face it…grad school feels like an eternity. My two years at IUP felt almost as long if not longer than my four years in undergrad. It’s only been six months since I received my M.A. from IUP and time is flying by. So much has happened and I’m proud to say that IUP has adequately prepared me for life as a professional archaeologist.

A brick pathway found beneath a potential robber’s trench in front of Spotswood’s Enchanted Castle.

This past summer I accepted a job as the assistant site director for Virginia Commonwealth University’s field school at the Fort Germanna/Enchanted Castle Site in Orange County, Virginia. The position was 15 weeks long and my first foray into supervising. I was nervous to teach students how to dig and to serve as a role model for future archaeologists. My job description included assisting the site director (the amazing Dr. Eric Larsen), supervising our four interns, and teaching field school students. Our goal was to locate the Fort Germanna, an early 18th century fort built by Lt. Governor Alexander Spotswood for German colonists. The fort supposedly intersected the west hyphen of the Enchanted Castle, Spotswood’s house which postdated the abandonment of the fort. This summer we excavated the area to the north of the structure which hugged the façade of the house. While we did not find the fort, we were able to better understand the function of the front lawn of the Enchanted Castle. Meanwhile, students and interns were able to gain valuable experience. I was incredibly fortunate that my boss, interns, and students were all wonderful and talented. During my time at Germanna, I took a particular interest in helping design the four public access days that Germanna hosted this past summer. In fact, I will be chairing a session the first ever paper session on Germanna Archaeology and presenting on Germanna public archaeology at MAAC next spring (be there or be square). I doubt I’ve enjoyed a job as much as I’ve enjoyed my time at Germanna. Not only was my position fulfilling, but I made lifelong friends with my crew and was able to inspire some of them to continue pursuing archaeology as a career.

An overview of all of the Test Units opened at Germanna during the 2018 season.

My job at Germanna came to an end on August 30th, but fortunately my next job was already lined up. I started my current position at New South Associates, Inc. on September 4th. I am an archaeologist/field director at the Greensboro office in North Carolina. My job description includes directing field work and writing reports for various projects across the southeast. I spend about 50% of my job working in the field with a variety of archaeologists who come from all over. The other 50% of my time is spent synthesizing data and writing reports.

The Field School on our last day! We were small but mighty!

While it’s only been six months since I graduated from IUP, I feel as though my post-grad school career has been successful and fulfilling thus far. It’s definitely not always easy, and takes just as much dedication and time-management as school did. I know I have a long road ahead of me still, but wherever archaeology takes me I’ll be happy to go. So, to all the current graduate students and prospective graduate students here’s my advice: grad school is an emotional and physical commitment. It isn’t easy but it is worth it. Your two years in classes will feel like an eternity. Your time spent working on your thesis will feel never-ending. But the good news is that the grass is greener on the other side, and that these challenges will ultimately prepare you for what is ahead. Don’t give up, keep going! Your M.A. is on the horizon!

Learning how to 3D Scan artifacts, courtesy of Dr. Bernard Means from VCU’s Virtual Curation Lab (VCL)

IUP Anthropology Department

Public Outreach In Archaeology, Are We Doing Enough?

Something that I have been thinking about recently is public outreach in archaeology.  It may in part be because we’re about two weeks past International Archaeology Day and our open house (which you can read more about by scrolling to the previous blog) or that I’ve recently read some articles on the subject for class.  Not that this is only reason I’ve been thinking about public outreach, but it may just be what has brought it to the forefront.  I wanted to share a few thoughts and I apologize now if this turns more into a flow of consciousness than an informative piece.

Public outreach seems like such a simple idea, you find a way to share your fieldwork, research, and findings with non-archaeologists.  You share what hopefully makes you enthusiastic and get people engaged.  We tend to make this far more difficult than it needs to be, and sometimes for good reasons.  To paraphrase Joe Baker of PennDOT in his 2017 PAC Symposium Presentation, we are not all experts in public communication and that’s perfectly fine.  It may be that only a small percentage of archaeologists are comfortable with and can effectively engage the public, again this is perfectly fine.  In my time with the IUP Anthropology Department, both as an undergrad and a graduate student, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting peers and professionals that are brilliant in their own right but I could not imagine them working in public outreach.  Sure, anyone can post to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Reddit, Snapchat, YouTube, or any of the other dozens of social media platforms or hundreds of blog sites and I encourage it.  There’s significance in spreading information and this is something most of us can do with ease and spread to non-archaeologist audiences.  However, not everyone that’s posting about archaeology should be a communication professional.  We do not all have the necessary interpersonal skills and that’s just how things are.

Public outreach is an important issue for many of us.  The Society for American Archaeology has a set of principles and ethics that they would urge all professional archaeologists to follow.  The very first principle is stewardship and can be broken into two portions.  Stewards are both caretakers and advocates of the archaeological record for the benefit of all people.  The first portion is not much of an issue, though I could argue that we have fallen behind since the increase of archaeology for the sake of salvaging sites, but that’s a blog for another day.  The point on advocating for archaeology is where I think that we have fallen behind.  There are devout advocates who I applaud for what they do even if I take issue with a method or two.  What about the average archaeologist though?  What can they do to fulfill this principle and how can they aid public outreach?  There’s not a true answer, but I think the best way would be by getting people involved from the beginning.  If there are groups already invested, talk to them, see what they would want to know.  I don’t mean to say we should do everything they ask, there’s only so much time and money to go around, but this would be a potential way to get more people interested.  Their questions may even become the basis of new research questions.  Another option could be to open sites to the public for more than just one day a field season or an archaeology day style event at the end.  I wouldn’t call it uncommon to open a site up to visitors and interested peoples, but it’s limited.  During my field school at Squirrel Hill, we never advertised a day when people could come in and learn along with us.  That didn’t stop people from finding us and we, I should just say Dr. Messer, would be more than happy to talk to the few that showed up.  Careful of what we would say, particularly around a couple of older gentlemen who were openly pothunters.  These are the kind of people we both want and don’t want to talk to and they are the kind of folks that I believe add to our cautiousness when involving a site.  I think we are afraid of letting people into sites because of the potential damage immediately or future through additional looting.  But if we can teach people the importance of archaeology and why they shouldn’t loot, do we really have to worry so much?  I honestly don’t know, but I’d like to believe that we wouldn’t have to worry as much.

Again, I feel that we as archaeologists have fallen behind on that second portion of stewardship.  It seems to me that instances of public outreach aren’t necessarily planned that well, more like they are hastily tacked onto the end of a field season.  Something that we can still pat ourselves on the back for and say we did something.  The fact is, we could do more, and I believe we should.  What exactly?  That’s up for debate, the possibilities are only limited by our imaginations.  An archaeology day open house is great, so is opening a site to the public, sharing appropriate posts online with non-archaeologist audiences, and taking the time to work with school programs.  How about sponsoring a TEDx Talk?  How about aiding your local Boy Scouts Troop and helping them get their archaeology merit badge or writing to whoever heads the Girl Scouts and suggesting an archaeology badge?  How about creating a display for public spaces or schools to talk about archaeology?  I’m sure that time and funding will be cited as the main issues with wanting to do more, but should that deter us from even trying to be stewards of archaeology?  No.

I hope this made as much sense on paper, or in cyberspace, as it did in my head.  Please, leave your thoughts in the comment below, lets keep this thought process open and get to some discussion.

IUP Anthropology Department

Archaeology Day 2018

This past Saturday, in the middle of midterms, we hosted our annual International Archaeology Day Open House.  For once in Indiana, PA the weather decided to surprise us in a kind manner.  For what was supposed to be a day of rain turned into a rather nice day even if it was a little chilly.    It made for a spectacular Archaeology Day.  The weather was good enough for our largest attraction to be set up, the atlatl range!  You don’t even need to know the word atlatl to know that throwing spears is incredibly fun.  Though I will clarify, an atlatl is a tool that extends your reach and lets you throw a spear harder and farther than you could without.

Andy the atlatl guy talking a guest through how to use an atlatl.

She hit the target.

After being drawn in by the tempting offer of spear throwing, there was a whole floor of McElhaney dedicated to archaeology in various forms.  From historic and pre-contact artifacts to flotation, zooarchaeology, archaeology in the media and more.  Frankly it would be more fun to just show you so take a little look below.

Chris showing off a bow he made.

Tyler shows folks the ropes (and how they are made)

Chris showing off his knowledge of pre-contact tech.

Jessie handling the pre-contact table.

Janee running the zooarchaeology table.

A nice gathering of folks around the atlatls and pre-contact technologies.

Mace shows what a real archaeologist looks like. *SPOILER: There’s a mirror in the center*

Is it trash or treasure? Well, Angela’s reluctance to be in a photo definitely created a treasure.

Carlos and Heather bustin’ myths about archaeology.

Jared does his thing with the 3D printer.

Brianna talks shop about hominin and hominid skulls

I would like to share a few final thoughts and I encourage replies in the comment section below. We had a smaller turnout this year than years past.  That was partly advertising, partly weather, and partly timing as this year’s Archaeology Day did not fall along homecoming.  I’m nowhere near disappointed though.  Actually, it’s the opposite, I’m ecstatic because those who showed up took interest in what we had to offer.  Quite a few people hung around for a good hour or so (a third of the events length) and asked questions.  There’s a part of me that wants to reach out to as many people as possible but if overall numbers drop while engagement is increased, I’m fine with that.  I wonder if people were more willing and eager to engage because the turnout was smaller, there wasn’t a feeling that you needed to rush along.

I would like to give a special thanks to Andy and Lori Majorsky for giving their awesome atlatl demonstrations, Susanna Haney for the flint knapping demo, and last, but certainly not least, everyone that came together to make Archaeology Day a success!

IUP Anthropology Department

I Can Munsell That (Part 2)

Welcome everyone, it’s time for another edition of my personal favorite posting series, “I Can Munsell That.”  Today we have a special guest, Mr. Bonejangles!  Mr. Bonejangles, do you have anything to say to our wonderful audience?  Oh, I guess you can’t really talk without lips or a tongue or lungs or some form of Re-Animator fluid…  You know what Mr. Bonejangles, we’ll get to work on that as soon as this post is finished.

I don’t know if that’s what it’s called.  It’s a nutcracker that’s been sitting in this office for I don’t know how long.  It looks a little spooky, so I’m just going to assume he’d be a spooky bloke with some wise guy sense of humor, chattering his teeth at jokes or in between some skeletal pun.

As I’m sure you can see, Mr. Bonejangles is a very photogenic skeleton/nutcracker.  However, he does not fit well with a Munsell Soil Color Book.  His colors are a little too glossy to truly match so a few are as close as I could reasonably match.  Bonejangles has five main colors that seem relatively consistent throughout, though there may be some variance in shading, lighting, thickness of paint, or my eyes playing tricks on me.  Mr. B. has two shades of white that I matched closely with colors on the White Page (who would’ve guessed).  The white used for his skeleton minus the skull looked to be 9.5/N (white) and the white of his skull 8/N (white).  Then there is the shiny black which I matched closest on Gley 1 with 2.5/N (black).  I do think his color could be better matched, however I did not have access to a page devoted to the differences between dark black and slightly darker black.  Bonejangles also has these brilliant green highlights along his skull which matched almost perfectly (in my eye) with 10Y 6/4 (pale olive).  Finally, the final color that makes his spookiness pop, bright red eyes, which look like 10R 3/6 (dark red) or at least that’s the closest color I could find.  I admit his eyes are a bit too bright but I must work with what I have.

I would like to leave you on a side note, IUP Anthropology Department is hosting an Open House for International Archaeology Day on Oct. 20th from 12:00-3:00pm on the ground floor of McElhaney Hall.  We are displaying artifacts, faunal specimens, student research, flintknapping and atlatl demonstrations outside (weather permitting).  We hope to see you there!

 

 

 

 

IUP Anthropology Department

I Can Munsell That?

By Zachary Fischer

Today I wanted to bring back an old favorite of the blog, the old field school game, Can You Munsell That?  At the beginning of the week, our cohort Janee brought in a few loaves of pumpkin bread that were just lovely.  As the week went on hungry grad students nibbled on the bread.  This left us with the final slice of a slightly crumbly, but still delicious, pumpkin bread.  So, as I was deciding on what to write, bringing up the Munsell idea, Janee joked that I could Munsell the bread.  I thought to myself, “You know what? I will.”

A chunk of pumpkin bread.

 

A well loved copy that has served its time in the department.

So what is this Munsell thing that I keep jabbering about?  I’ll give you a quick background.  The Munsell color system was produced by Dr. Albert H. Munsell (1858-1918) who was known as an artist and inventor. He created this system to provide a descriptive and systematic form to communicate color.  We as archaeologists, and archaeologists in training, use this system to describe the color of soil layers in a profile.  Normally, you take a sample, pack it down, and place it under the color chip on the chart.  Be careful to avoid touching the color chips as colors can fade and these books aren’t known to be cheap.  I would love to talk more about the Munsell system itself but I honestly don’t know all that much about it.  This was something of a refresher for me and a learning experience for myself and a few cohorts.

I attempted to do this alone, going from page to page, comparing the color of the bread and those in the charts.  Frankly, I couldn’t get a perfect match but had a thought on the closest color.  I was thinking something along the lines of 10YR 4/6 (dark yellowish brown), truthfully it is a bit more yellow than any of my pages show. Unsure, I did what all good social scientists should do and found new perspectives.  By found I mean left my office to see Janee and Heather who were nibbling away at their own lunches.  Both could see where I was coming from and partially agreed.  There was the suggestion of 7.5YR 5/8 and this interests me.  We may have this standard system but we do not all see the exact same shade or hue.  What I think belongs on 10YR, someone else might think goes on 7.5YR.  However, there is one piece I overlooked and that was the crust.  After consulting the physically closest cohorts, a few of us agree that it’s 10YR 3/6 (dark yellowish brown).  Again, I find it interesting that some colors we see may look the same or completely different.  This makes me wonder how effective the Munsell system will be in the future of archaeology but that’s a thought for another day.  Maybe if I get to do a Part 2 I’ll ramble on the topic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can learn more about the Munsell Color System at Munsell.com.

IUP Department of Anthropology

IUP at the 83rd Annual Society for American Archaeology Meeeting

By: Genevieve Everett

Cherry Blossoms around the Tidal Basin

Employers should allow attendees/participants the Monday after the Society for American Archaeology (SAA) conference off. Let me tell you, I’m exhausted, but I’m feeling energized by all the amazing papers that I had the chance to hear, and the poster’s that were exhibited throughout the week.

Wednesday morning, myself, and 6 of my classmates (and luggage) crammed into the Arch Services van, and headed to the 83rd Annual SAA conference held in Washington, DC, in the lovely Woodley Park neighborhood. This was my first ever SAA conference. We arrive mid-afternoon at our small, but cozy Air Bnb that was located about a half hour (walk) from the conference center. After settling in a bit, we all walked to the conference center to register. We walked past yellow daffodils and purple flowers’ cascading down stonewalls, the first real sign of spring. One route we could take to and from the conference was through the National Zoo! After a delicious Lebanese meal (and cocktail), we all headed back to the Air Bnb to prepare for the first day of presentations, posters, and seeing old friends/colleagues.

IUP Ethics Bowl team

Thursday morning was a BUSY day. I was up bright and early to go to Sami’s presentation on her thesis research at Pandenarium, a 19th century Freedman site in Mercer County, PA. This was one of her last presentations before she graduates in May! She did really great! Shortly after I wandered around the poster session, and was particularly interested in the Caves and Rockshelter posters. From there, I headed to watch our Ethics Bowl team debate Cornell University. The point of the Ethics Bowl is to put two teams from different universities in front of a panel of judges, and debate about hypothetical (and in some cases based on real events) ethical issues within archaeology. Our team did amazing, however, they did not make it to the final round. Later I walked around the Expo room browsing books and picking up free “swag”, and from there I stopped by to see Sami and Angie Jaillet-Wentling’s poster. They were presenting the results of the public archaeology days they held this past fall at Pandenarium, which contributed to the assemblage Sami was examining for her thesis.

Sami and Angie at their poster session

The remainder of Thursday I spent alone, going from session to session. This past fall I helped excavate a quarry site in Northern Maine (if you go back to the September blog posts, you can read about it) under the supervision of Nathaniel Kitchel and Heather Rockwell. In the afternoon, Nathaniel presented a paper that the two co-authored on the results of this excavation. Next, I stopped by a talk in honor of Dennis Stanford. I especially enjoyed Ciprian Ardelean’s talk that was partially about working with Dennis Stanford, but also the Chiquihuite Cave in Zacatecas Mexico. Mr. Ardelean talked about being an “outsider” from Romania working in the Americas. He also talked about the importance of working with students. More specifically, the merit and value of getting dirty, working in isolation for so many days, being in nature and cooking and enjoying meals together. I really connect with this notion.

Friday I decided to head toward the Washington monument to see the Cherry Blossoms in full bloom. I did a loop around the Tidal Basin, dodging hordes of school groups. Despite the tourist traffic along the way, it was such a pleasant walk. I wanted to hit up the Natural History Museum, but again, it was swamped with school groups, so I turned around and headed back to the conference. I hit up a few more talks, had a drink with my mentor, and went out to Haikan, an amazing ramen place with some friends. The rest of the night was spent celebrating the fact that our classmate/friend Zaakiyah won the Paul Goldberg Award, a national award, awarded to a single MA student in either the geosciences or archaeology!

Zaakiyah with the Paul Goldberg Award!

On Saturday, my main objective was to attend the symposium, “Wicked Awesome” Archaeology: New Data and Directions In The Archaeological Northeast”. A few friends/acquaintances were presenting during this session, including Dick Boisvert and Zachary Singer. Dick Boisvert is my mentor and is on my thesis committee. He talked about the legacy of the State Conservation and Rescue Archaeology Program (SCRAP). Following Dick, Zach discussed “New Investigations of the Paleoindian Component at the Templeton Site in Western Connecticut”. Much like SCRAP, students and volunteers help excavate the Templeton Site, which to me, is always a wonderful collaboration. After their talk I met up with my family, and we walked through the National Zoo. Later, we met up with my boyfriend, and grabbed dinner at a Mexican restaurant where delicious food and margarita’s were consumed.

The Government, University, and Heritage Stewardship crew!

Sunday, the final day of the conference, and the day of my presentation (at 8 am) in the “Government, Universities, and Heritage Stewardship: A Student and Young Professional Symposium”. I was in this symposium with several IUP classmates, some fellow PennDOT interns, and two graduate students from the University of Montana. My paper was titled, “From Field School to Graduate School: How One Public Archaeology Program Has Made It All Possible”. I discussed the benefits/legacy of SCRAP, and how I am using SCRAP data to complete my Master’s thesis. I also provided some preliminary results/conclusions to my thesis research. As my first time presenting at a conference, I have to say, I don’t think I bombed! I felt pretty confident up there, but that took A LOT of practicing over and over again. Everyone that participated in the symposium did great, and each person had a really interesting topic that related to their collaboration with state or federal government agencies. After our symposium, we jumped in the van, and headed back to Indiana.

Personally, the SAA’s were an amazing experience for me. Roughly 20 plus IUP students, past and present, attended the conference. In addition, three professors in the graduate and undergraduate Anthro department presented papers.  It felt really good knowing that IUP had a strong presence, one that shows that we are a tight knit group, and that we are able to successfully transition from our undergraduate or graduate studies into viable careers in archaeology. Most IUP graduates are working in CRM, while some are getting their PhD’s. I hope that we can continue to show the archaeological community that we have a strong program for years to come. See you all next year in Albuquerque!!!

IUP ANTHROPOLOGY DEPARTMENT

Applied Archaeology Grad Students Represent the Anthropology Department At The Graduate Scholars Forum

By: Genevieve Everett

This week is the beginning of a very busy month for us graduate students (and professors), because all of the conferences/forums are happening one week after another. This past Wednesday was the Graduare Scholars Forum at the KCAC, which is part of IUP Research Week. From our department alone, nine of us partipated in the Poster session. Some of us presented on thesis research, including myself, while others presented research they’ve done for other departments (Geography). Zaakiyah presented a poster on the GPR research she did on Presque Isle, which she posted about a few weeks back on this blog.

Each student was assigned an area to hang their posters for judges and the public to view. From 9:30-11 am the judges came around to each of us, asking us to explain our research, and the implications of this research. This was a very nerve racking experience for me, because this was my first ever poster session. Not to mention, it was the first time I was discussing my thesis research with professionals outside of our department. However, the more I talked about it, the more confident I became. It was also really great meeting other graduate students from other departments, and learning about their research. All in all, I would say that this was an extremely positive experience for me. It forced me to get out of my comfort zone, and show off what I’ve been tirelesslt working on.

I am really excited to say that two people from our department won awards for their posters! Mesfer Alqahtani won Deans Choice for best poster in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Matt Bjorkman won two awards for the two posters he presented on behalf of the honors fraternity Lambda Alpha. He got first place for one and honorable mention for the other that he co-authored. Oh also, Hannah Morris, an Anthro undergrad won Deans Choice for best undergraduate poster for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences!

Below are photos of the grad students with their posters/receiving award that participated  on Wednesday (sorry Andrew, there was no photo of you). Good job everyone!!

Genevieve Everett

Samantha Taylor

Kristina Gaugler

Mesfer Alqahtani

Britney Elsbury-Orris

Heather MacIsaac

Zaakiyah Cua

Matt Bjorkman with co-authors

 

Matt Bjorkman accepting one of his awards

 

California Love: An Archaeological Survey on Santa Rosa Island

By: Matthew Bjorkman and Britney Elsbury-Orris

During our undergraduate years at Penn State (2013-2014), we worked in the Zooarchaeology labs sorting shell midden assemblages from the California Channel Islands. The project was a part of Dr. Christopher Jazwa’s dissertation, which involved studying how patterns of human settlement, subsistence, and mobility were influenced by the changing environment and cultural factors. Five years later, we were lucky enough to receive an invite from Dr. Jazwa to participate in a week-long survey on Santa Rosa Island. The goals of the project were to survey new areas of the island, primarily the interior, to identify and record new archaeological sites for the National Park Service (NPS). Our team consisted of four members: Ourselves, Dr. Jazwa, and Kirk Schmitz (a master’s student at the University of Nevada, Reno).

Day 1: Visit to La Brea Tar Pits and Pink’s

View of faunal remains in the Observation PitOn our first day in Los Angeles, we visited the La Brea Tar Pits and its associated museum. The La Brea Tar Pits are located in central Los Angeles, and the world’s most famous Ice Age fossil active excavation site. The museum included a park, which contained sculptures of Ice Age animals, a Pleistocene garden, and ongoing excavations of the tar pits, as well as the George C. Page museum. The museum contains fossils excavated from pits, some dating back to the earliest excavation in 1915. The museum contained a fossil lab (called the “Fish Bowl”) that allowed visitors to view the scientists and volunteers in their ‘natural environment’ while they worked to remove tar from the fossilized remains. For us, the coolest part of the La Brea Tar Pits was the Observation Pit, which allowed us to get up close and personal with an active tar pit that still housed the remains of extinct Ice Age animals. After La Brea, we visited Pink’s Hot Dogs in Hollywood to eat some of the most ridiculous hot dogs humans have ever made. The portions were so enormous that it put us into a food coma, allowing us to rest for our trip to the island the following day.

View of faunal remains in the Observation Pit

Pink’s Hot Dogs

 

Day 2: Traveling to Santa Rosa and Foraging for Dinner

Waking up early is not our thing. Thankfully the jet lag made our 6 A.M. wake-up call much easier. After loading up our gear and supplies into “the Wagon” (as Dr. Jazwa calls it) we departed to the docks in Ventura, Ca. We boarded the Ocean Ranger, a boat owned by the NPS, and we departed on our 3 hour ride to Santa Rosa (Gilligan’s Island anyone??). We arrived at the Santa Rosa dock in the early afternoon and quickly took our belongs up to the park housing. Our first order of business was to travel to the south side of Santa Rosa to collect mussels from the intertidal zone that would be used for isotopic testing…and dinner! The collection process was not as easy as we would have envisioned, since the tide was relatively high that day. Despite taking some unwanted dips in the Pacific Ocean, we were able to collect our sample (approximately 50 mussels and 20 turban snails) and returned back to housing.  Unbeknownst to us, Dr. Jazwa apparently also has his Ph. D. in the culinary arts (not really), as this was the first of many amazing meals he cooked for us during our stay.

Collecting mussels

Midden site along the coast

 

Day 3+4: Rain, Rain, Go Away!

Our survey got off to a slow start. During the first 3 days we were on Santa Rosa, the island received more rain than it had all year! Santa Rosa is primarily made up of sandstone rock, meaning the roads do not handle water very well, making getting to the survey area impossible. Instead of surveying during these days, Dr. Jazwa gave us a tour of closer sites along the coast. Most of these sites were ones that we had analyzed material from while at PSU. Our tour of the island included visiting the historic ranches, coastal shell midden sites, and Cherry Canyon. While walking through Cherry Canyon, Dr. Jazwa pointed out the numerous rockshelter sites that have been identified.

Rockshelter in Cherry Canyon

 

Day 4: Let the Survey Begin!

The rain had ceased and we could finally start our survey! Unfortunately, the roads were still closed due to the rain so we had to hike a few miles to our survey area. The hike was generally nice, except for the stream crossings and climbing over a mountain ridge. The plan for the project was to do a surface survey along ridge tops on the interior of the island to locate possible inland habitation sites. Our luck was good from the start, as we were able to identify and record four sites that day. All four sites contained lithic scatters that were visible on the surface. We found some really interesting artifacts at two of the larger sites , such as a volcanic chopper, lithic cores, a part of a sandstone vessel bowl, and a broken projectile point. For each site, we had to record the site boundary and the location of the most significant artifacts using a Trimble. We created a sketch map of these features and took site overview photos, as well as close-ups of the significant artifacts. On our return trip to housing after surveying we walked through one of the only two Torrey Pine stands in the world (the other is a golf course in San Diego). The detour added a couple more miles to our hike, but it was well worth the extra leg pain.

Sandstone vessel fragment

Recording a site

The massive pinecones from Torrey Pines

 

Day 5: Oh Deer!

We did not have quite as much luck on our second day of survey. We only located one site, but were able to survey a large swath of land. The site we identified was a large shell midden and lithic scatter adjacent to an old road. We found an almost complete chalcedony projectile point (lying in the road!) and two possible groundstone artifacts. While we were not able to locate any other sites, we did find three complete skeletons of deer/elk. We learned that deer and elk populations were brought to the island by humans in the mid 1900s, but were fully eradicated by 2017 to preserve the natural state of the island. With our final day of survey in the books, we headed back to housing to prepare for our departure and the end of our vacation.

View from atop a ridgeline

Chalcedony projectile point

 

Day 6: Island Packers

We arrived at the dock about an hour and half before our ride home arrived. We used this time to explore the Carrington Point Marine Reserve and play in the sand.  We saw previously identified sites on top of the cliffs, and wandered in coastal caves and rockshelters. An Island Packers boat (equipped with a bar!) picked us and some tourists up to take us back to Ventura. The ocean had some large swells making our return trip exciting or terrifying, depending on how you look at it. We got lucky enough to see some dolphins riding the large waves during the ride, and honestly they were handling the waves better than we were! The Packers boat made a short stop at Painted Cave, a large marine cave on the northern side of Santa Cruz Island, and we were able to take some awesome pictures of it. To put a stamp on our trip, we returned to Pink’s (again) before being dropped off at LAX to return to good ole IUP.

This project was one of the greatest experiences we have had in our young career in archaeology. We were able to learn a lot of new information about the islands, as well as pick up on some new techniques and methods for doing archaeology. We would like to thank Dr. Jazwa for inviting us to be a part of the project, and our professors for allowing us to go on the trip. We recommend visiting the islands if you are ever in southern California!

IUP ANTHROPOLOGY DEPARTMENT

Upcoming Graduate Student Research Presentations from the UK to VA

By: Genevieve Everett

Conference season is upon us! I thought it would be nice to highlight the graduate students that are representing IUP and our department by presenting their research in the form of papers and posters at the following conferences/forums:

  1. The Middle Atlantic Archaeological Conference (MAAC) in Virginia Beach, VA- March 15-18
  2. The Graduate Scholars Forum at KCAC on IUPs campus, April 4
  3. The 89th Annual  Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology(SPA) Meeting in DuBois, PA- April 6-8
  4. The Annualy Society for American Archaeology (SAA) Conference in Washington, DC- April 11-15
  5. The Seminar for Arabian Studies (SAS) in Bloomsbury, London-August 3-5

Below you will read about each student’s individual project/research and which conferences/forum you can find them at this year!

Kristina Gaugler

Presenting research at: IUP Graduate Students Forum

Spatial Database Development for Confluence Park Master Plan

The goal of this project is to create a series of spatial data layers that document the existing environmental conditions at Confluence Park, a 15 acre site managed by the Allegheny Arboretum at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. These maps will contribute to the develop of a support system designed to complement future site planning activities and will include the current topography, vegetation, hydrology, existing structures, and site access points. Factors that may influence the decisions of future planning or construction will be assessed, including the location and condition of on-site sewage systems and retention ponds, riparian zones, and a rapid-bio assessment of streams. This information will help delineate locations on the site that may be suitable for future development. With the tools and basemaps created, users will be able to overlay applications to suit their needs and allow for varying types of analyses to be performed.

Britney Elsbury-Orris

Presenting research at: SPA and SAA

The Kirshner Site (36WM213) is a multi-component site in South Huntington township, Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania that contains two Middle Monongahela villages. Relatively little is known about Monongahela use of animals.  Fortunately, good faunal preservation has made zooarchaeological analyses of materials from this site possible. Identifying and analyzing these faunal remains with respect to taxa and skeletal elements, as well as human and animal modifications, provides important new information. The distribution of faunal remains across the features of the site and its two components has been examined, as they have the implications for relationships between the site’s inhabitants and their environment. These data provide insights into the nature of this site and the activities of its occupants. Comparisons with other faunal studies, like those done on zooarchaeological materials from other Middle Monongahela sites, including the Johnston Site (36IN2) and the Hatfield Site (36WH678), further expands on the understanding of the Kirshner Site and the Middle Monongahela tradition.

Matthew Bjorkman

Presenting research at: IUP Graduate Scholars Forum

Indiana County FEMA Data-based Flood Hazard Analysis

Co-authored with Eisbeiry Cordova-Ortiz & Shanice Ellison

In the past decade we have frequently seen the effects of intense precipitation events, particularly the damage they cause in populated areas. Due to the increased frequency of these events, state and local government officials across the country have developed flood hazard analyses for their jurisdictions. Taking this into consideration, Indiana county is developing a flood management plan to prepare for any adverse effects caused by 100-year storms. Using ArcGIS, a geodatabase was developed to build a 100-year flood depth grid (FDG) using Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) data from Pennsylvania Spatial Data Access (PASDA).  The FDG was used to identify structures that are located in a flood zone and would be susceptible to damage. This project highlights concentrations of vulnerable buildings and provides the value of the estimated monetary damages. These results will assist the county with its development of its comprehensive emergency management plan.

Using LiDAR to Analyze Landscape Evolution: A Case Study of the Squirrel Hill Site (36WM0035)

Light detection and ranging (LiDAR) is an active remote sensing system that has, on occasion, been used by archaeologists to conduct paleolandscape reconstruction studies. Understanding what the landscape looked like is essential for archaeologists to determine how prehistoric sites formed. Rivers are a primary operator in landscape evolution, as meandering and avulsing rivers can create major alterations to a landscape through deposition and erosional processes. Changes in a river’s position on the landscape will have great impacts on the location and preservation potential of archaeological sites This study utilizes LiDAR data from Indiana and Westmoreland counties in Pennsylvania to study landscape evolution near the archaeological site of Squirrel Hill, a Monongahela village site. The goal of the research was to use remote sensing technologies to identify and map extinct channels of the Conemaugh River to understand how the evolution of the landscape around the Squirrel Hill site has affected the site’s formation and preservation.

Samantha Taylor

Presenting research at: MAAC, SPA, SAA

Looking Through Dirty Dishes: A Comparative Analysis of Ceramics at the John and Rosie Allen Residence, Pandenarium, Mercer County, Pennsylvania.

African Diaspora archaeology has become one of the most impactful means by which archaeologists supplement our current understanding of the past. Not only does this subfield have the potential to benefit descendant and local communities, but it also enables professionals to fill in the blank gaps left by the systematic disenfranchisement and intentional illiteracy of an entire group of people. One site with the potential to enhance our understanding of the African Diaspora is Pandenarium (36ME253) a freed African American settlement in western Pennsylvania. Current research at Pandenarium focuses on a comparative ceramic analysis with nearby archaeological sites, other freed African American sites, and slave quarters at plantations. The goal of this research is to determine the socio-economic status of individuals living at Pandenarium, along with participation in local and regional markets. The results of the analysis featured in this paper are a foundation for future comparative studies featuring Pandenarium.

Mesfer Alqahtani

Presenting poster at: SAA and the IUP Graduate Scholars Forum

Presenting paper at: SAS

SAA:

GIS Investigations on Stone-Circle Structures in the North of Saudi Arabia

The theme of the poster will address archaeological phenomena in the north of Saudi Arabia. The archaeological phenomena are stone-built structures that can be seen by satellite images. These stone-built structures have various types, and one of them is the circle type.

The poster will show the method of creating predictive models of stone circles by using the Geographic Information System (GIS). To create these models, two zones from the north of Saudi Arabia should be selected: study zone and applied zone. The study zone is where the distribution of stone circle locations will be analyzed to create predictive models. The applied zone is where predictive models will be applied to be testable in the future.

The predictive models will be based on quantifiable attributes of stone-circle locations from the study zone. These attributes will include the relationship between stone-circle locations and environmental variables such as the landform and the distance of water resources. These attributes will be analyzed by ArcGIS to obtain environmental characteristics representing high, middle, or low probability models for the presence of stone-circle locations. In the applied zone, similar environmental characteristics will be identified to determine high, middle, low predictive models.

SAS:

Geospatial Investigation of Circular Stone Structures in Northern Saudi Arabia

The paper will focus on the circular type of stone-built structures in Harrat Al-Harrah of northern Saudi Arabia. The goal of the research is to recognize the locational patterns for these circular structures based on five quantifiable geographic attributes: elevation, slope, land-cover, distance to sabkhas (temporary water bodies), and distance to wadies (water streams).

The probability modeling methodology conducted uses Remote Sensing and GIS technologies. This study includes identified locations of circular structures in one zone to create the model and a second zone to test the model (225 square miles and 81 squared miles total) of Harrat Al-Harrah, examining the correlative relationship between these locations and the five geographic factors. The results show the favorable geographic factors related to the locations of circular structures in the two zones of Harrat Al-Harrah.

The significance of this research lies in the contribution of recognizing the locational patterns of circular stone structures in two zones of Harrat Al-Harrah that have never been studied before and difficult to access. This pattern will be useful for comparative studies with locational patterns of circular structures in other areas of the Arabian Peninsula when conducting more investigations on this type of stone structures.

IUP Graduate Scholar Forum:

Geospatial investigation of circular stone structures in Northern Saudi Arabia

The theme of this poster will address stone-built structures in northern Saudi Arabia. Specifically, the circular type stone-built structure will be the focus of this research. Stone-built structures are an archaeological phenomena that can be seen via satellite images within this region of the world.

The goal of the research is to recognize the pattern of geographic locations for these circular stone-built structures based on five quantifiable geographic attributes. These attributes include elevation, slope, land-cover, distance to sabkhas (temporary water bodies), and distance to wadies (water streams). Remote Sensing and GIS technologies are used to conduct probability modeling for this research. This study includes identifying all the locations of circular structures in one zone, building a model for their locations, and then examining a second zone using the model. The results show the favorable locations for circular structures in these two zones based on the model.

Ross Owen

Presenting research at: SAA

PennDOT Highway Archaeological Survey Team: Providing Immersive CRM Work Experience to Students

Despite there being more applicants with graduate degrees than there are jobs, the CRM industry suffers from the number of people holding graduate degrees but lacking experience conducting archaeological surveys for Section 106 compliance. Additionally, conducting archaeological surveys is cost-prohibitive and can be a burden on state agencies on projects where federal funds are not involved. These two issues in the field of compliance archaeology prompted the creation of the PennDOT Highway Archaeological Survey Team (PHAST). Through a partnership with Indiana University of Pennsylvania, each year PHAST gives 4 students an opportunity to work on and complete small Phase I and II surveys for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. The students gain experience in the field, and are employed in the lab to perform the necessary background research, GIS mapping, curation and documentation following the guidelines of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Much of this experience is outside the purview of most field technician positions. This paper will explore the successes and failures of the PHAST program from both a professional and financial point of view. How have the students benefitted from their experience within the program, and how has the state benefitted from the services provided?

Andrew Malhotra

Presenting research at: SPA (Co-authored with John Nass, Jr. (Callifornia University of Pennsylvania)

Presenting research at: IUP Graduate Scholars Forum

SPA:

Social Signaling and the use of Style Amongst Late Prehistoric Monongahela Populations: Possible Evidence for Intervillage Political Integration

Communication between groups of people occurs for different reasons and, when using material culture, can take many forms. During the Late Prehistoric period evidence of social signaling in the form of shared stylistic traits appears at several late Monongahela villages from southwestern Pennsylvania. The stylistic trait consists of various forms of executing lip decoration on ceramic jars. The form of decoration using various tools results in the lip looking like a piecrust. This specific form of decoration appears from the Johnson site in Indiana County to the Foley Farm site in Greene County.In is the intent of this paper to document the temporal and spatial documentation and the social/political significance of this stylistic design is the subject of this paper.

IUP Graduate Scholars Forum:

Sanborn Maps of Indiana: Reconstructing the Urban Geography of Indiana, PA

This project will consist of analysis of Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps from 1887-1936 of Indiana Borough in order to depict urban growth patterns, major employers and how these factors changed over time. These maps were brought into ArcMap 10.5 to be georeferenced with road intersections and buildings, digitizing the most important ones. Attribute data including census and city directory data was also extracted for database creation. Through construction of a detailed database and data extraction of these maps, the goals of documenting and analyzing how the borough of Indiana and its people have developed and changed through the target years can be achieved. A future goal is to develop an interactive map with attribute information about its features for use by the public and historical society.

Genevieve Everett

Presenting Research at: SAA and Graduate Student Forum (abstract for forum not provided)

From Field School to Graduate School: How One Public Archaeology Program Has Made It All Possible

The Paleoindian Period of New Hampshire has been studied extensively, particularly in the White Mountains. Volunteers and avocationals from the summer field school known as the State Conservation And Rescue Archaeology Program (SCRAP) have excavated several of the known Paleoindian sites in northern New Hampshire. It is the goal of New Hampshire State Archaeologist, Richard Boisvert to make information and data recovered by SCRAP accessible to scholars as potential thesis and dissertation topics.

This paper outlines how the principal investigators participation in the SCRAP field school has been beneficial to her professional and academic career, including her current Master’s thesis. The purpose of this thesis is to produce a spatial and statistical analysis of the artifact assemblage from excavation block K at the Potter Site (27-CO-60) located in Randolph, New Hampshire in comparison with the Jefferson VI (27-CO-74) salvage block in Jefferson, New Hampshire. This comparison not only examines the spatial relationships within one Paleoindian site (27-CO-60), but also helps the principal investigator make inferences about the similarities and differences between two Paleoindian sites in close proximity. Public archaeology programs such as SCRAP are a valuable part of North American Archaeology, without SCRAP this work would not be possible.

Zaakiyah Cua

Presenting research at: SAA and the IUP Graduate Scholars Forum

SAA:

Loyalhanna Lake: a Geoarchaeological Approach to Understanding the Archaeological Potential of Floodplains

Unlike uplands, floodplains generally yield stratified deposits that may include deeply buried landscapes and archaeological sites. Most state specifications for cultural resources surveys require floodplains to be geomorphically evaluated in order to identify buried landscapes. This is most frequently accomplished via trenching, an effective, but timely, costly, and sometimes destructive method. This project reports on an alternative technique utilizing a multi-proxy methodology coupling geophysical survey with auger sampling. These non-invasive and limited-impact methods produce accurate results without causing extensive destruction to cultural resources. The study area, located along Loyalhanna Creek in Westmoreland Country in western Pennsylvania, is managed by the US Army Corps of Engineers – Pittsburgh District (USACE). As a federal agency, the USACE is mandated to identify and preserve cultural resources by Section 110 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). Unfortunately, federal agencies often face limited staffing, resources and funding to address management of cultural resources. In addition to proposing a method for identifying buried landscapes, this project also provides a case study of partnerships between federal agencies and public universities; a mutually beneficial collaboration which provides agencies with data essential to land management while simultaneously providing students valuable opportunities to conduct cultural resource management assessments.

IUP Graduate Scholars Forum:

Misery Bay Ice Survey Preliminary Results: a Case Study for Testing Geophysical Methods and Collaboration with Stakeholders

Ground-penetrating radar (GPR) and gradiometry are two geophysical methods typically used by archaeologists in terrestrial environments to locate subsurface features. This study took terrestrial geophysical methods out on the frozen ice surface of Misery By, Presque Isle State Park, PA; testing instrument limits across two acres of the bay. If successful, this study has major implications to geophysical maritime investigations, broadening the reach of cultural resource management within these environments by government agencies. In addition to testing new methodology, the project was a collaboration between the PA DCNR, Regional Science Consortium, PA Sea Grant, PASST, and Indiana University of Pennsylvania Applied Archaeology program. The collaborative and public nature of the project drew in stakeholders, largely contributing to the success of the study. This poster presents the preliminary results of the project; both a case study for testing new methods, and the positive implications for collaborative and public cultural resource surveys.

Heather R. MacIsaac

Presenting research at: IUP Graduate Scholars Forum

The Squirrel Hill site in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, was a Monongahela village inhabited from A.D. 1450 to A.D. 1613. Past research conducted by IUP archaeologists at the Squirrel Hill site uncovered evidence of housing, storage areas, and burials. There are conflicting interpretations of the village’s development and expansion over time. One interpretation is that the site contains a single village with an open, central plaza for communal activities, and that the village gradually expanded southward. Another interpretation is that the site contains two overlapping villages occupied at different times. To evaluate these interpretations, this research incorporates a statistical analysis of artifacts and a spatial analysis of structural features based on materials from the 2016 IUP archaeological field school. This research also investigates whether the Squirrel Hill site was inhabited by Monongahela traditional people only or by an amalgamation of Monongahela tradition and nearby McFate phase people.

 

IUP ANTHROPOLOGY DEPARTMENT