Where in the world are IUP Achaeologists this summer?

Summer is upon us (where did the year go?!) and our applied archaeology students are off to many exciting places and experiences. We are very proud of the hard work of our recent grads and current students, and pleased to see that nearly all of our current students are employed! Here are some highlights:

May 2018 graduation

Recent grads:  Samantha Taylor (MA, ’18) recently completed her thesis on the ceramic assemblage at the African-American diaspora site of Pandenarium. She is currently working as the Assistant Site Director at The Germanna Foundation. Danielle Kiesow (MA, ’18) recently completed her thesis investigating land use and gardening practices on the Ojibwe reservation from 1854 until 1930 to analyze the relationship between the Ojibwe at Grand Portage and the Indian Agents from the Bureau of Indian Affairs.  She is currently working as an Archaeological Technician for the Grand Portage Reservation Tribal Council. Undergraduates Harley Burgis (BA, ’18) and Eleanor Schultz (BA, ’18) recently graduated with Honors. Harley, whose thesis explored prehistoric cooking technologies at the prehistoric site of Dust Cave, is off to work as a field technician for TRC while she takes a gap year between college and grad school. Eleanor, who won this year’s Olin-Fahle award, will begin a graduate program in museum studies at Johns Hopkins University this fall. Congrats Grads!

Year 2 cohort:  these guys are off running! Gen Everett (who has been running this blog admirably for the last 2 years), is working as an archaeological technician for the National Park Service at Isle Royale, enjoying scenery the rest of us are envious of. Britney Elsbury-Orris, Heather MacIsaac and Zane Ermine are serving as crew chiefs on several phase I and geophysical surveys for IUP’s Archaeological Services Center. Zaakiya Cua is working as an archaeological technician for the Allegheny National Forest-Bradford District during the week while writing her thesis on the weekends. Matt Bjorkman is utilizing his GIS certificate training by working part time for IUP’s IMAPS (Institute for Mine Mapping, Archival Procedures, and Safety) program, and conducting fieldwork at the Squirrel Hill site as part of his thesis research. Patrick McGinley is conducting his thesis research using geophysical survey to locate Ft. Halifax along the Susquehanna River in central PA, and Mesfer Alqahtani will soon be defending his thesis, which uses GIS to model the distribution of stone circle structures in northern Saudi Arabia. Mesfer recently won the Dean’s Award for best poster at the 2018 IUP Scholar’s Forum. Congrats to Year 2!

Zaakiyah Cua in the field at the Allegheny National Forest-Bradford District (left) and Sami Taylor diligently taking field notes as the assistant site director for the Germana Foundation (right).

Year 1 cohort: Not to be outdone by the Second Years, the Year 1 cohort is also doing impressive things this summer. Ross Owen, whose thesis explores the management of metarhyolite stone quarries in central PA (funded in part by the South Mountain Partnership), is once again serving as supervisor for the PHAST (Pennsylvania Highway Archaeological Survey Team) program. Assisting him as the PHAST crew are fellow first-years Stephen Campbell, Kristina Gaugler, and Sam Edwards. Andrew Malhotra is interning with the Department of Conservation of National Resources’ forestry division, and Chris Thompson is working as a field technician out in the Badlands region of North Dakota. Joe Bomberger works for the Allegheny National Forest, where he worked prior to matriculating into IUP’s MA in applied archaeology program. Finally, Jessie Hoover has begun research on her thesis at the Mary Rinn site and Anthony Gilchrist is taking an underwater archaeology field school hosted by Lake Champlain Maritime Museum before heading to upstate New York to serve as a crew chief for Dr. David Starbuck’s archaeological field school at French and Indian War site of Rogers Island.

Danielle Kiesow in the field at Grand Portage (left) and Anthony Gilchrist sporting the latest style in underwater archaeology (right).

Keep up the awesome work everyone and can’t wait to hear about your summer adventures at the first Fall Graduate Colloquium!

Visit 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

One Luddites Journey Learning GIS

By: Genevieve Everett

Before graduate school I asked friends that had been through graduate programs for some advice, and again and again I was warned that it would fly by fast. They weren’t wrong. Here I am, deep into my final semester of graduate school wondering what happened to the time. I guess it’s true, time flies when you’re having fun….or when you’re really stressed out.

One of the most stressful courses I signed up for in this program was the “Applied Spatial Methods in Archaeology” class. This class consisted of learning/using ArcGIS to create viewsheds, data dictionaries, etc., out of archaeological data. I had never used GIS, and I am not the most technologically savvy person out there, so I knew going into this class that I would be out of my comfort zone. I got passing grades in the class, but there were very few moments where I felt fully confident using ArcGIS. It was frustrating, and I hated asking my classmates for help, because we all have our own stresses to deal with. Looking back, I was so thankful that I took the class, because it has been immensely useful since.

Fake Boundary to show use of Websoil Survey and ArcGIS

This past summer working for PennDOT as a PHAST intern I used ArcGIS all the time to georeference historic maps, historic aerials, engineering plans, and to draw in project area boundaries, which I converted into maps for reports. One of my favorite uses of GIS is creating an AOI in Web Soil Survey, which creates a shapefile showing the soil(s) in the project area. First you upload the project area boundary into Web Soil Survey, which displays the project area boundary (in the real world coordinates that you set in ArcGIS), and the soils present within it. You then download the shapefile associated with the AOI, and bring it into ArcGIS. I created a fake project boundary to show what the end product looks like. In this example there are two soils present, 14B and 214A, which have unique names. For example, 14B, which makes up 98% of this fake project boundary is called Sheepscot. Sheepscot is a cobbly very fine sandly loam. Web Soil Survey also provides information about elevation, slope, farmland classification, typical stratigraphic profile information, and parent material. All of this information comes in handy when writing technical reports.

Another reason I am really glad I took that class is that I have been using ArcGIS heavily for my thesis. Part of my thesis is conducting a spatial analysis of lithics and lithic raw material from a Paleoindian site in New Hampshire, in comparison to another site nearby. By extension, I am attempting to determine what type of activity or activities were being carried out in this area. With the help of Dr. Chadwick, classmates, past theses, and my own problem solving (mostly through the ESRI website), I have made a lot of progress and learned a few new things. One of those things was creating a “fishnet” to create the excavation block grid out of two datum points, because there is no GPS data. Most recently I taught myself how to create Choropleth maps. Choropleth maps display where individual or multiple artifacts are in relation to one another in the excavation block using color gradients. As you can see in the image, each color is correlated with a particular number of Waste Flakes, and the quadrants for which they were found. For example, the red quadrants in the “Total Waste Flakes K-Block” image are the quadrants that have a higher count of waste flakes (90-176). I am also looking at the distribution of artifacts by Zone (or Strat), which are easily displayed in these Choropleth maps for comparison (shown below). My next step is to take these Choropleth maps, and do hot spot/cluster analysis.

The moral of the story? Try something new, even if it scares you. It’s cliché, but you’ll never know if you don’t try.

IUP ANTHROPOLOGY DEPARTMENT

Working At the Carnegie Museum: A Love Affair.

By: Kristina Gaugler

The Carnegie Museum and I have a long history.

Early photograph of the Hall of Architecture

I was born and raised in the North Side of Pittsburgh, and like many a “city kid” I was shuttled by school bus to and from the Carnegie Museum throughout grade school, middle school, and high school. I have vivid memories of sitting at the long wooden tables in the museum cafeteria, under enormous glass windows, scarfing my brown bag lunch so I could get back to exploring. I was the kid who shushed classmates who were interrupting the docents, who asked a thousand questions, read every single word on the exhibit displays, and who didn’t want to leave at the end of the day. When I was an angst-ridden teenager, I would hang out at the museum after school, moping around the hall of architecture or sitting alone in the replica Egyptian tomb. Visiting the museum now, so many years later, I still have the same feelings of comfort and wonder as I did when I was younger. As an archaeologist and general history enthusiast, I love all museums, but the Carnegie definitely holds a special place for me. It feels like my museum.

My purpose in writing this post is to share some of my experiences working and volunteering at the Carnegie. I hope that I also highlight the notion that outreach programs and education within public institutions is valuable, worth our efforts, and fun for people of all ages.

I went to the University of Pittsburgh for my undergraduate in anthropology. While attending Pitt I had a work-study position through the Carnegie at the “Bone Hunters Quarry,” where I taught visitors (mostly school groups) about extinct animals through the excavation of a fake site. I learned that if you gave a small child a chisel and told them to dig wherever they wanted, you were very likely to ignite a spark within them that excited their curiosity in the past. Although, on occasion a spark was ignited within them to throw the chisel, sometimes narrowly missing your own head, those times were fun too. Either way, this was the first time that I really began to discover how much I enjoyed talking to visitors about archaeology and history.

Talking with visitors during Artifact I.D. day at the Carnegie

After graduating from Pitt, I found work as an archaeological field technician. Eventually though, I decided that I wanted to take a break from full time field work to prepare to go back to graduate school. Through a series of fortunate events I began, once again, to work for the Carnegie Museum. This time I volunteered at the Edward O’Neil Research Center, which is the Carnegie Museums off-site collections facility. My supervisor and friend, Amy Covell, allowed me the freedom to work on projects that interested me in the lab. When I started volunteering at the annex, the building was in the process of being renovated and many artifacts were going to be moved to new locations. Thus, I began my time there by helping to build permanent supports for fragile materials, including prehistoric pottery, stone tools, and glass artifacts. I learned proper handling of artifacts in accordance with the most current curatorial procedures, and I learned conservation techniques used in cleaning objects, including removing old plastics, adhesives, and ink that were used in the early days of museum storage and curation.

My favorite task at the museum however, was to be a part of the educational outreach programs. Last June I had the opportunity to speak with visitors about archaeology during the Carnegie’s “After Dark Program,” a monthly series where guests can come to the museum in the evening to explore, eat, drink, and hear lectures on various subjects. Another one of my favorite programs at the museum is “Artifact Identification Day.” This event gives visitors the opportunity to bring in their heirlooms and artifacts to have them identified by staff. It is always amazing, and sometimes humorous (see photo of me holding a Lodoicea) to help identify the items that people bring.

Holding a Lodoicea, or sea coconut, during Artifact I.D. Day. Lodoicea is the largest seed in the world! (And yes, it does look like a butt)

 

I have often thought of the Carnegie as being a museum of a museum. The Carnegie began acquiring artifacts and creating exhibits over a hundred years ago, and many of those early exhibits and artifacts are still on display. Working and volunteering at the museum gave me the opportunity to be a part of the team of people who were helping to conserve and protect these cherished items for future generations. To me, protecting artifacts and archaeological sites begins by showing people why they should care about them. For this reason, programs and institutions that promote stewardship of the past are incredibly important. History is made up of millions of stories. One of those stories is bound to pique the interest of someone! I’m very thankful for my time at the Carnegie, and I look forward to many more years of learning and visiting!

Photo of “Early Hall of Architecture” from: http://carnegiemuseums.org/about-us/our-history/

IUP DEPARTMENT OF ANTHROPOLOGY

My Brief Encounter with a Metal Detecting Hobbyist (Not a Love Story)

By: Genevieve Everett

Over break I was out doing some Christmas shopping at my boyfriends favorite fly shop in Pittsburgh. He spends A LOT of time (and money) there, so he’s gotten to know the staff pretty well, and by default, I have too. Anyway, seeing as I am clueless about fly-fishing one of the staff, Sharon was helping me pick out fly tying material. Sharon proudly introduced me to another regular customer: “This is Gen, she’s studying Archaeology”. The man that she introduced me to immediately decided to tell me that he and his buddies go metal detecting, and all of the “cool” stuff that they’ve found, including, Civil War era buttons, and so on. I nodded as he went on and on about taking objects from areas they knew they were not supposed to be taking them from. He continued to defend his side (at this point I couldn’t get a word in) by stating in some many words, “Why can’t I take these objects and teach my grand children about the past when institutions like the Smithsonian have repositories where artifact assemblages just sit there for years collecting dust?”

Before I go on to tell you how I responded, I will go on to tell you the little that I know about metal detecting in archaeology. Metal detecting is often used as a tool by archaeologists at battlefield and fort sites (Gettysburg, Fort Necessity, etc), because, well, there’s a lot of metal where gunpowder is involved. For example, this summer, the PHAST crew and myself did a metal detecting survey at Fort Deshler, a French and Indian War era fort in Pennsylvania. There are also strict laws (that vary by state) that dictate where and when you can metal detect. According to the Society for American Archaeology, there are distinctions made between private, state, and federal property. If on private property, one must have written permission from the landowner, otherwise it is considered trespassing. Same goes for state property, but this varies by state. Finally, it is typically illegal to metal detect on federal property without a federal permit, much like any federal archaeological work. Metal dectors are definitely breaking the law if they’re disturbing and recovering artifacts from an archaeological site. The moral of the story is, if you’re a metal detecting hobbyist, you better know the laws surrounding the hobby, or you could face jail time and/or fines.

Okay, so my response to the man? I understood where the man was coming from in his final point, so, I didn’t want to come off as “snooty” or “preachy”, because if I’ve learned anything about dealing with the public, that is the first way to make collectors go on the defensive. I told him that his exploits sound really interesting, because, hey, the guy seems like he’s fascinated by the past, even if how he chooses to learn about it is possibly illegal. However, I did tell him that as an archaeologist I have a few suggestions for future metal detecting. I went on to say that he could get in a lot of trouble if he continues to do what he’s doing, especially if the land he’s doing it on is protected. I told him to read up on Pennsylvania metal detecting laws, and if ever in doubt, and when possible, ask for written permission. I told him to photograph and record what he finds and where before pocketing it. In addition, I explained that leaving the found object in the ground, and marking/photographing the location is ideal, and to follow that up by contacting the state archaeologists of the find. By contacting the proper people, he would be making a contribution to the understanding of the past.

I know this guy might not change his ways, but maybe he will? It’s hard to say, since this was such a brief encounter. Before my time in the IUP Applied Archaeology MA Program (no, this is not a plug for the program!) I would not have felt as confident in speaking up about collecting/looting. Like I said above, learning to talk with collectors in a civil manner is the only way to reeducate them about their actions. We may not be able to get through to everyone, but it’s worth the try.

IUP DEPARTMENT OF ANTHROPOLOGY

Tools of the Trade: Actual Archaeology at PennDOT

By : Angela Jaillet-Wentling

From underneath a rusty 1927 Studebaker coupe car (an antique even in my youth) frame, my Papa called out to myself and my brother, “Can one of you kids hand me a the flat-head screwdriver with the stubby handle?” At the ripe old ages of six and four, we may very well have handed him a pair of pliers for all we knew.  He’d roll out on his card dolly with a smile, accuse us of being monkey wrenches, show us the tool he’d meant and head back under an engine most people had given up on fifty years prior. What I’d learned from my Papa, even as I spent more time playing with and picking on my younger brother, was that every job has a tool and some tools are more appropriate than others.

Photo 1. Shovel testing /Phase I archaeological survey, Lawrence County, Pennsylvania. Courtesy Angie Jaillet-Wentling (2017).

One of the first things about archaeology that I found re latable was this idea. I also like dirt, so it’s worked out well as a life/career choice for me! I began my career in Cultural Resources Management (CRM) in transportation through an internship with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT). As a note though, when I told my Papa that I wanted to be an archaeologist and there were jobs for in places like PennDOT, he laughed and hit me with one of the biggest myths I face as a transportation archaeologist “So, you’re going to hold up progress on the highways?!” Another thing my Papa taught me is that you can face almost anything with humor and a quick response. Being new to the profession, I don’t know that I had a good response to his question other than to laugh, give him a mock grumpy look, and say it wasn’t true. This is still true, but now I can tell him we rarely “hold up” a project and that we’re there to ensure that we don’t inadvertently lose out on our shared heritage by pushing projects through without consideration.

As a PennDOT archaeologist, we’re hired as historic preservation specialists and called Cultural Resource Professionals (CRPs) (https://www.paprojectpath.org/penndot-crm/home).  We help guide the implementation of PennDOT’s cultural resources program and the ways in which the individual engineering districts navigate the Section 106 (of the National Historic Preservation Act, as amended [1966, 2016]) (http://www.achp.gov/nhpa.pdf) process and how it may affect the overarching National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) (1969) (https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/whitehouse.gov/files/ceq/NEPA_full_text.pdf), process.  On a more localized level, what this means is that I work as one part of a team which includes myself covering below-ground cultural resources and my counterpart, an architectural historian, covering the above-ground cultural resources realm. We attend design field views early in the project planning process, provide guidance as to what studies may be needed, sometimes performing these studies ourselves, and ensure that each project follows the process in the most efficient way possible. We’re responsible for Findings of Effect or the determination of whether a project’s activities will affect cultural resources and, if so, how PennDOT can mitigate for that impact.

Photo 2. Backhoe Sounding of Ground-Penetrating Radar survey, Fayette County, Pennsylvania. Courtesy Angie Jaillet-Wentling (2017).

That all sounds awfully convoluted and legal, and it is, but it’s also done in equal parts archaeology technical know-how and documentation (findings, reports, and even public outreach).  On any given day, I can be found roadside wielding a soil probe or shovel to determine the extent of previous disturbances (Photo 1) or monitoring the removal of modern overburden by a backhoe to ground-truth the results of a ground-penetrating radar survey (Photo 2) or floating in a kayak in freezing weather to delineate canal resources (Photo 3) or pecking away on my keyboard to notify Federally-Recognized Tribes and Nations across the nation of project status or preparing legally-binding programmatic agreements.  We conduct background research on our projects to provide the best guidance possible and sometimes this gives us a better idea of the methods we’d like to use to investigate differing project areas and potential cultural resources.

Preparing haphazardly for this blog post, I asked Gen Everett what she’d like me to write about.  She though that I should discuss what I do as a CRP and possibly advice for graduates heading towards CRM.  There’s a joke archaeologists like to tell about classifying artifacts, you’re either a lumper or a splitter – as in you either associate or you differentiate the different characteristics of artifacts. I’m going to lump what I find most critical to completion of my daily duties and advice into one basic idea: know your tools and to do this ask questions! 

Photo 3. Canal survey of a portion of the Kiskiminetas River, Westmoreland and Armstrong Counties, Pennsylvania. Left: Angie Jaillet-Wentling. Middle Background: Railroad Trestle. Right: Canal Towpath Bridge Abutment. Courtesy Don Burden (2017).

Archaeology and CRM is filled with resources (and not just the cultural/archaeological/historical kind) in both its practitioners and its methodologies. Familiarize yourself with different methods of investigation so that you can develop a nuanced and effective approach to identifying and evaluating cultural resources that may be impacted by a project. This means that you might need to move beyond the standard shovel testing to remote sensing methods to backhoe trenches. You should be comfortable with the different options, so that you’re confident in choosing the most appropriate tool for the task.  To be comfortable and confident, familiarize yourself with the methods and the people that know them best understanding that you might not be the expert, but you know who is. You can’t come by this knowledge without putting in the research and asking questions!

Once you get to the point where you have something to impart, be it knowledge or support, it probably doesn’t hurt to share it with others. I think this applies to research and experience. What’s the use in learning about our history, if you can’t use that to help others increase awareness?  Publish and present what you can.  Graduate students in the future will likely cite it or critique it, but it furthers your field of study.  I was very fortunate to have early and often mentorship from PennDOT, in the form of the usually laughing and story-telling, Mr. Joe Baker. I count myself even more fortunate in my latest stint as a PennDOT CRP, because we get to work with and help mentor the PennDOT Highway Archaeology Survey Team (PHAST) (https://iblog.iup.edu/trowelsandtribulations/tag/phast/, https://iblog.iup.edu/trowelsandtribulations/2017/08/31/my-summer-as-a-phast-intern/, or https://iblog.iup.edu/trowelsandtribulations/2016/07/13/pennsylvania-highway-archaeological-survey-team-midseason-update/comment-page-1/). It’s a joy to hear their questions, answer what I can, and pose some back to them.

Angie Jaillet-Wentling

Angela Jaillet-Wentling, M.A., RPA | Historic Preservation Specialist

PA Department of Transportation

Bureau of Project Delivery | Cultural Resources Unit

CRP Archaeologist Engineering Districts 12-0/11-0

 

IUP ANTHROPOLOGY DEPARTMENT

Drowning in Dirty Dishes: My Thesis Research At Pandenarium

By: Samantha Taylor

Upon enrolling in graduate school, I had a pretty clear understanding of what aspects of archaeology interested me the most: the African Diaspora and historic ceramics. I never imagined that I would actually be able to pull those two interests together into a thesis topic, but here I am over a year later, waist-deep in artifacts from my thesis site.

The Half-Cellar Foundation at the John and Rosie Allen Residence

My thesis research is on Pandenarium, an antebellum (pre-Civil War) African American diaspora site in northwestern Pennsylvania. In its prime, Pandenarium was home to dozens of ex-slaves who had been freed by their owner, Virginia physician Charles Everett, upon his death. Along with freeing his former slaves, Everett’s will also funded the creation of a modest-sized settlement in Mercer County, Pennsylvania. The freed people of Pandenarium arrived to the settlement in the fall of 1854 to find 24 furnished houses that were built by the local abolitionists. Rosie Allen, a first generation occupant of Pandenarium, was quoted saying that the settlement was “just like heaven.” Despite the economic pull of nearby cities such as Sharon, New Castle, and Mercer, Pandenarium was inhabited until the 1930s.

Excavating Test Unit 2 during the first day of the Public Archaeology Event

My research focuses specifically on a single household at Pandenarium belonging to John and Rosie Allen, the original inhabitants and first-generation freed slaves at the site. In particular, I want to compare the ceramics found around the Allen’s half-cellar foundation to those recovered from a nearby (the Old Economy Village), another antebellum freed African American site (Timbuctoo, New Jersey), and a Virginia plantation that neighbored Everett’s (Monticello, Virginia). The comparative analysis focuses on structures at each of these sites that date approximately to the same time period that Pandenarium was inhabited. By conducting this analysis I hope to determine what types of ceramics the Allen’s were using, how they were using them, and in what ways they were participating in the local and regional economy.

After nearly four months of deliberation and planning with my thesis committee, my thesis fieldwork began on July 14th 2017 and was completed September 17th  2017. Of course there was a month-long break in between those dates in which no fieldwork occurred and my hands (and brain?) were bleeding from all of the washing and cataloging I was doing. Fieldwork consisted of a total of 28 shovel tests around the half-cellar foundation, and two judgmental 1-meter by 1-meter test units.

Both professionals and the interested public were involved in the weekends activities

In order to accomplish this I enlisted the help of my committee, fellow graduate students, and the public. The first weekend of fieldwork went without problem. I was assisted by my amazing mentor, Casey Campetti, and was able to clear the land, lay out my STP grid, and even finish digging the first three STPs. However the next three weekends were riddled with bad weather and poor field conditions, causing me to cancel a total of four days of field work. By the first week of August, 25 of my STPs were completed but we were unable to begin the two test units. Angela Jaillet-Wentling, one of my committee members and the only other person to conduct archaeological research at Pandenarium, and I were able to organize a public archaeology weekend at the site in order to introduce the site to the public and finish up my fieldwork.

Pandenarium’s inaugural Public Archaeology Event occurred on September 16th and 17th. The invitation was extended to the local Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology chapter, graduate students and anthropology professors at IUP, retired veterans, a reporter from a local newspaper, and interested members of the local government. A total of 19 individuals attended the public event, 8 of which participated both days. The event consisted of a site tour, a quick informative speech about the site, the excavation of two test units and three STPs, along with a lunch generously provided by the Jaillet-Wentling clan. The event was also featured on the front page of the Record Argus Newspaper on September 24th, 2017. Overall, feedback from the Public Archaeology Event at Pandenarium was positive and most attendants were interested in attending future public archaeol

A small sample of some of the unique artifacts found at Pandenarium

ogy events. Angie and I hope to assist in hosting more public archaeology events at Pandenarium in the future, as the site is a rare glimpse into a marginalized past.

Following Pandenarium’s Public Archaeology Event, my fieldwork was completed and I have been in cataloging hell. I’m being dramatic, I actually really enjoy cataloging, researching, and analyzing everything that has been unearthed at Pandenarium. To date, I have cataloged and washed 3,226 artifacts from Pandenarium. Also, I currently have a really awesome undergraduate student assisting me with washing! So far this whole “thesis” thing has been a really insane, stressful, and educational experience. I feel as though I’ve really grown as an archaeologist and a person. My future goals for this site are the following: to get Pandenarium listed on the National Register, to track down descendants and get them more involved in archaeology and research at the site, and to hopefully inspire someone *cough* Dr. Ford *cough* to start an undergraduate field school at the site.

In the meantime, if you have questions shoot me an email (TJKW@iup.edu) and keep yourself updated on my research by following the hashtag #Pandenarium2017.

Pandenarium Public Archaeology Day 2017 Article

IUP ANTHROPOLOGY DEPARTMENT

A Trip to Philly for a Look at the CRM Industry

By: Patrick McGinley

23rd Annual ACRA Conference

Hello, my name is Patrick McGinley, and I am a second-year grad student in the Applied Archaeology M.A. program. The weekend of Friday September 8th, I travelled to Philadelphia, PA, with Dr. William Chadwick and four other second-year grad students from the CRM II class being taught this Fall to attend the 23rd annual American Cultural Resources Association (ACRA) conference. ACRA is a national trade association for firms working in the Cultural Resource Management (CRM) industry, of which IUP is a member through its Archaeological Services. We left Thursday the 7th to stay in Philly overnight so that we could attend the first sessions early Friday morning. The conference had a total of 10 sessions over two days, and we had time to do some sightseeing as well.

The sessions covered a wide variety of topics, from political issues, to tax credit programs for historical preservation, to climate change’s effects on the industry, to the I-95 Philadelphia Project. On Saturday, “Student Day,” there was a special meet-and-greet session and a question-and-answer session with a panel which had several decades of experience in the CRM industry between them. One of the most interesting sessions for me personally was regarding the future of CRM in the Trump administration, which discussed what President Trump’s actions to this point suggest about his attitude toward regulation reform, environmental policy, and infrastructure development. The sessions that were specifically designed for students were valuable and definitely one of the highligh

The brick flooring from Benjamin Franklin’s cellar kitchen

ts of the weekend. The meet-and-greet allowed us to connect with many of the attendees of the conference, all of whom are actively employed in the industry all over the country. I even got to talk briefly with the president of ACRA, Duane Peter. The Q&A featured five panelists, including IUP’s own Dr. Chadwick, who discussed how to prepare for and get a job in this industry and gave tips for being successful in it.

During our lunch breaks and in the evenings after the last session had ended, we had time to explore the heart of Philadelphia and eat some great food. The conference was located along Rittenhouse Square, so we were already in Center City. In addition to all the nice places to eat, we were able to see Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, the Benjamin Franklin Museum, and more.

Ultimately, I think this was a valuable experience for my classmates and I for several reasons. It is important to go to these types of conferences as a student in order to get a glimpse of what the professional world looks like. The professionals attending these conferences are very knowledgeable about archaeology, CRM, and a whole host of other topics pertaining to our field. Also, it is crucial to make connections with these people and to get to know them, because they will be our future peers, if not future employers. Lastly, I think attending the ACRA conference in particular was important for us because it gave us an opportunity to hear about the “business side” of CRM and archaeology. Moreover, it has made me more aware of what the industry is like and the larger world in which it operates. As we heard from the speakers, the importance of associations like ACRA has increased in recent years to ensure that cultural resource and heritage protection laws are strengthened and updated as the CRM industry continues to grow into the 21st century.

The grad students enjoying the conference and Philadelphia!

 

IUP Anthropology Department