3D Scanning and Printing in Archaeology

Since last semester (Fall 2022), for a Museum Methods class, I myself, along with fellow graduate students Laura Broughton and Liz McCreary, have been working on a hallway exhibit, focusing on 3D printing in archaeology; essentially how 3D printing could be used for educational or preservation purposes, and the issues that can occur when using this technology. Although we began this as an attempt to study how 3D printing could be useful in archaeological contexts or for archaeological purposes, the project really turned into how 3D printing is not as simple as it sounds. The exhibit is not done yet but be sure to keep an eye out for it in McElhaney Hall, or on our Instagram page, for when it is finished!

Scanning a sherd!

Initially we set out to scan and print different artifacts such as lithics (flaked versus groundstone), ceramics (incised versus painted), and bone, from two different 3D printers. We wanted to compare prints from both printers and the prints of different materials and decorations, in order to determine which printers were better and which materials printed better and could be of more use to the field of archaeology. However, we realized we needed to incorporate a 3D scanner first, and thus to save time and money for filament, we decided to print from one 3D printer. As scanning was more time consuming and more difficult than anticipated, we had to cut back on what materials we selected to print as well.

So, what is 3D printing? It is defined as being a process that makes a physical object based on a three-dimensional digital model, usually through the use of a machine that places down thin layers of a material in rapid succession.  In archaeological contexts, 3D printing has been used at sites like Çatalhöyük to record phases of archaeological investigation in 3D, to make the excavation process virtually reversible through a virtual simulated environment. 3D scanning has been used to create models of Bronze Age tools and weapons from Ireland, in order to conduct experimental archaeological research as the models undergo use-wear processes and investigate the development of damage on replica objects versus the ancient ones. Some researchers have even suggested using 3D digitization of use for both diagnostic and collection management purposes. While the vast number of artifacts and accessibility to full collections, technical knowledge of how to scan objects, and the cost of the software and machines, have proven to be obstacles in the pursuit of giving more accessibility to those around the world to more collections through 3D printing, it is a valiant attempt at preserving the archaeological record in a new way and format. The Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania has even used a handheld 3D scanner to digitize collection pieces that are printed and used in a museum exhibit. 3D scanners can be used to even restore damaged cultural objects or monuments, to get a better sense of what they looked like while intact. These are just a few of the ways that 3D printing and scanning are being incorporated into the world of archaeology and museums.

The Ultimaker S3 3D printer.

For this project here at IUP we used a NextEngine, Ultra HD, 3D scanner and or 3D printing we used an Ultimaker S3, both found in Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s STEAMSHOP, along with the appropriate corresponding filament which we were able to get from Amazon. IUP’s STEAMSHOP is an interdisciplinary digital fabrication lab that gives students, staff, and faculty alike the opportunity to engage in things like pressing vinyl on shirts and stickers, laser cutting logos, and of course, 3D printing objects. We extend a huge thanks to Maker in Residence, Johnathan Grengs, for assisting us during the undertaking of this project!

The lasers scanning the sherd on the acrylic stand.

We selected several prehistoric artifacts for scanning and printing; these included an incised ceramic sherd, a painted ceramic sherd, an arrowhead, and a quartz pendant. We set most of the artifacts on a clear acrylic stand parallel to the scanner and around ten inches away. The pendant did not require the stand. Each artifact was scanned about three times from different angles (top, bottom/back, front, and sides of the artifact), to pick up as much detail as possible. However, we started to encounter issues right from the start. First, the scans would take around half-an-hour each to complete. If the scan was incomplete or insufficient, we would have to take another, which took more time. We then needed to take of any excess data that made their way into the scan, before, taking all of the scans we had made to combine them and fuse them together.

Scans being fused together.

However, sometimes the system would crash when we tried to attempt this. When it comes to errors, when we fused the scans together, we had to align each scan by placing down three points on each, attempting to put them in the same spots to match the scans together, which essentially means we could have been accidently putting the dots in different spots, thus creating an inaccurate complete scan if the fused scans were incorrectly aligned. When we first started, we also did not realize we needed to save each individual scan, so much data was lost, and many scans had to be repeated. We eventually learned to save each scan separately before bringing them all back together to be fused and then saved as one complete scan. Essentially, it was a trial-and-error process that taught us there were going to be many fluctuations in the quality of the scans taken, causing us to have to take more scans than we initially planned for, which again took up more time.

Printing a sherd to scale.

As we moved on to transfer the scans to the 3D printer, another issue was encountered. The file sizes for the scans were so big that the system processing the scans to print them, was unable to do so. Eventually Mr. Grengs was able to fix this, and we moved on to the printing of the artifacts. Again, this took time, anywhere from at one hour and fifteen minutes or up to two-and-a-half hours. Once we were able to print some of the artifacts, we were able to discern many things about the abilities and accuracy of 3D scanners and printers. For example, one of the printed items had leftover data on top of the artifact scans that we missed as it was barely perceptible on the top. The printed object had some rough lines on top, most likely caused by the acrylic stand that was picked up by the scanner and not removed during the editing and fusing process.

The incised sherd printed at 200% its size!

We positioned all of the scans to be printed with the best side facing upwards, in the hopes that we would get the best representation of the artifacts. The bottoms of each artifact had to be printed on a base, which then had to be pried off once cooled. However, this basically made the bottom side unrecognizable compared to the original artifact. This showed us that the position in which we print the artifact is very important. We noted that the sides always printed very smooth-like, almost beautifully, with great detail, while the top looked almost like a topographic map, showing the last of the layers that were printed. This led me to realize that it might be worth it to try to print the objects standing vertically from one side, in the hopes that we would be able to get even more detail on the top, bottom/back, front, and the sides, as well, while only sacrificing a small portion of the side, rather than the whole bottom. We did this with a sherd blown up to 200%, and it came out beautifully!

We also learned that that the quality of the prints was also dependent on the artifacts themselves. Certain artifacts worked better than others, such as the incised lines decorations showing up on the prints rather than the painted designs. And for some reason, the pendant would not scan completely, despite not needing the acrylic scan to stay upright. We suspect this had something to do with the light fracturing through the quartz pendent, throwing off the scanner. At this point in time, we have not yet been able to print the arrowhead, as the scans will not even align properly, so hopefully we will be able to get over this hurdle and get a good print of the artifact.

For those that don’t have access to the software and technology to conduct 3D printings like we do, it has to be noted that it is an expensive endeavor. While also being time consuming and riddled with the potential for errors or to make a mistake, one has to be careful when deciding whether or not this is something they wish to pursue in whatever sphere they are doing so. For those planning on conducting work with 3D printers and scanners, we want this post to serve as a source for understanding that it is a lengthy process that does not always turn out how you expect. This method could be used to create replicas or scans for the public to use or examine, it could be used by museums in exhibits, it could allow greater accessibility to collections and even allow for a more in-depth analysis of artifact features, and so much more. However, I personally believe that one must use the highest quality of software and technology for the most accurate results, but what is currently available is just not affordable or the best quality. While our replicas were to scale and recognizable as to which artifacts they were of, higher quality of tech would certainly have made a big difference. For now, we hope our exhibit will show those starting out that 3D printing is a process, one that takes many mistakes and hours to figure out.

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Resources:

https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/10.5325/jeasmedarcherstu.2.1.0001.pdf?refreqid=excelsior%3A607eaebc6bad3a18247324a05deef839&ab_segments=&origin=&acceptTC=1

https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/24327507.pdf?refreqid=excelsior%3A4b56576788e90abf8501cb4b2f40b66a&ab_segments=&origin=

https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/26160210.pdf?refreqid=excelsior%3Ab3cde67aaa6637c68a77378d1544c100&ab_segments=&origin=

Anthropology Day 2023

Yesterday was world anthropology day so we thought this would be the perfect time to reflect on the relationship between archaeology and anthropology. It’s important to say that archaeology is anthropology through and through (at least in the U.S.) and archaeology developed with anthropological principles of wanting to understand and respect the cultures of the people that we study. But while other subsections of anthropology focus on languages, cultural ideas, and the physical make-up of humans, archaeologists tend to study the history of people and cultures through the stuff they left behind, or material culture.

 

As we know, archaeology tends to adopt methods, theories, and practices of other social sciences. One of the more recent methods that we have adopted is ethnography which is the study of people through thorough observation in order to understand their rich social lives and culture. In archeology, we use ethnography to try to understand past cultures and the patterns that we discover at archeological sites.  By studying a present-day culture that is analogous to a past culture, we can better understand the parts of cultures that we aren’t always able to find through material remains. 

The ways that archeologists use ethnographies vary depending on the site they are studying. Some look at historical ethnographies which are both published and unpublished sources such as archives and field notes. This information is especially helpful if the archeology involves a group that was observed and interacted with in the past but is no longer living, or, who had many cultural changes. Additionally, some archeologists rely on oral histories. These oral histories are like ethnographies but instead of asking questions related to cultural systems or participating in the culture through participant observation, the archeologist invites individuals to share their histories through their experiences or stories that were passed down through generations.  By consulting present-day people about the past and emphasizing group histories that have been passed down archeologists gain information on the lives of the people in the past. This information can then be applied to the material culture of the past groups related to the present-day cultures who gave oral histories. 

Archaeology is best when it consults all the sources it can, and ethnographic sources are some of the most informative depending on the site. We hope you enjoyed anthro day 2023 and we’re looking forward to seeing what the future of anthropology and archaeology holds!

 

Further Reading:

https://www.americananthro.org/anthroday

https://www.thoughtco.com/ethnoarchaeology-cultural-anthropology-archaeology-170805

Parker, Bradley J. 

2011 Bread Ovens, Social Networks and Gendered Space: An Ethnoarchaeological Study of Tandir Ovens in Southeastern Anatolia. American Antiquity 76.4: 603–27. 

Schiffer, Michael Brian. 

2013 Contributions of Ethnoarchaeology.The Archaeology of Science. Vol. 9. Manuals in Archaeological Method, Theory and Technique: Springer International Publishing, 53–63.

Politis, Gustavo

2015 Reflections on Contemporary Ethnoarchaeology. Pyrenae 46.

Archaeology of the Heart

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching! Have you bought the red roses and written notes to your valentine yet? Perhaps one of your Valentine’s Day cards will be in the familiar shape of a heart. But have you ever wondered where that shape came from, its origins, its symbolic and emotional meaning, and how it has transformed from the beating organ inside us all to the simple double-scalloped, v-shaped based symbol commonly drawn up on February 14th? And how did the simple shape become connected to the meaning of love? What archaeological discoveries contribute to our understanding of this symbol?

Ancient Cyrene coin with with heart-shaped silphium design.

To begin, let us ask, can archaeology really reveal human emotions, such as love, from the material culture and historical knowledge that is recovered from excavations? An article by a Sarah Tarlow (2000), titled “Emotion in Archaeology,” discusses just this. She reviews the archaeological approaches to emotion while “arguing that the study of emotion in the past is both necessary and possible.” She also notes that while “emotion history may not in itself be a useful focus for archaeological research, the study of emotion is a necessary part of any endeavor to look at social and cultural aspects of the past. If one cannot write a past which consists entirely of changing emotional states, neither should one write a past in which deeply meaningful aspects of human experience are either assumed or ignored” (Tarlow 2000:730).

Along with studying emotion, symbols are also something archaeologists should be aware of. You could turn to fictional symbologist Robert Langdon from The Da Vinci Code for iconographical inspiration, but John E. Robb’s (1998) article, “The Archaeology of Symbols,” discusses why and how archaeologists in particular, should be dealing with symbols. He concludes that “any serious consideration of ancient society requires us to deal with its symbols,” that “human symbolism is so diverse…that multiple approaches are needed to deal adequately with it,” and that “a major problem in the archaeology of symbols is understanding how varied kinds of symbols relate to each other,” thus “we need to incorporate symbols more fully into our understanding of social relations” (Robb 1998:329, 342).

Heart shapes were initially seen in ancient decorative art. For example, a gold and faience heart-shaped fig leaf pendant dating to 300-100 BCE was recovered from the Indus Valley civilization. Its shape could have contributed to the modern symbol we recognize today, as ivy, fig, and water-lily leaves were commonly found in art and heraldry. Ivy was also a symbol for fidelity. The Ancient Egyptians even believed the heart was the most important part of the body, the key to the afterlife, the source of intelligence, memory, emotion, personality, and even the soul. This belief is the reason that the heart was the only organ kept inside the body when it was mummified, unlike the others that were removed and preserved separately. Some turn to the city-state in Africa known as Cyrene, with heart-shaped silphium, a large fennel, that was imprinted on their coins. While silphium was used as a contraceptive, it might have become associated with the symbol of love as time passed. Some theorize that the heart-shape developed as a stylized depiction of human anatomy, meant to represent breasts, buttocks, or genitalia, while others believe ancient philosophers inspired the shape, as they saw the heart as a central part of a being.

Roman de la poire manuscript, 1201-1300.

While heart-shapes were common in art, it is believed that their connection to love began sometime in the 13th century. As courtly love in Medieval times began to lead to the production of more illustrations of such, the heart-shape began to be used more commonly as a symbol for love; the first depiction is in the 1250 French manuscript the Roman de la poire, with a man handing his heartesque-shaped heart to a lady. Typically, we see the heart being pointed upside up until the 14th century, but as the 15th century emerged, the typical two-bumps-at-the-top-one-point-at-the-bottom-shape, became used more frequently, so much so, it was placed on card decks.

16th/17th century heart-shaped urn from Rennes, France.

Playing cards from the Middle East entered Europe in the 1370s, and while their material was too fragile to survive in the archaeological record, surviving cards from the late 1400s are depict the heart symbol. Artifacts surviving in the archaeological record, including the five heart-shaped urns found in Rennes, France during archaeological excavations in 2015. They dated to the 16th and 17th centuries. Recovered in the basement of the Convent of the Jacobins, the urns contained embalmed hearts, one belonging to Toussaint Perrien, Knight of Brefeillac. Eventually, Catholic Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque’s 1673 depiction of Jesus’ Sacred Heart helped popularize the shape, along with the eventual celebration of St. Valentine’s Day established in A.D. 496, whieh was rejuvenated in the 17th century, with the accompanying love notes affixed with hearts. The Victorian era was rife with the greeting card tradition as well, leading to the heart decorations on mass produced cards today.

Thomas Dillon’s shop in Galway, Ireland with hangning claddagh ring symbol.

One of my personal favorite symbols of love with a heart-depiction is the one on an Irish Claddagh ring. Dating to around the early 1700s, when the design first appeared in an Irish fishing village named Claddagh, now part of the city of Galway, the ring was used as both an engagement and/or wedding ring, in order to save money. The design was created by a Richard Joyce, a craftsman who was taken by Algerians and sold to a Moorish goldsmith to work as an apprentice, only released after William III demanded so in 1689. Upon returning to Galway, he created his jewelry business, along with the Claddagh Ring motif, despite his captor offering half of his wealth and his only daughter in marriage if he just stayed in Algeria to work with him. The rings became popular as they were the only Irish-made rings worn by Queen Victoria and later by Queen Alexandra and King Edward VII. They were made and supplied by a Dillon of Galway, who received the Royal Patent to make them, and since 1750, are still making them today. The hands represent friendship, the heart, love, and the crown, loyalty. Depending on how you wear the ring, it can take on four different meanings. If it is on the right hand with the heart turned upside down and away from the hand, then this means the wearer is not in a relationship. If it is worn on the right hand turned right-side-up and towards the hand, then the wearer is in a relationship. If it is worn on the left hand, with the heart turned upside down and away from the hand, then this means the wearer is engaged. If it is worn on the left hand turned right-side-up and towards the hand, then the wearer is married!

From the verb on the I ♥ NY shirt, to emojis and video game lives, hearts have infiltrated many aspects of our lives. The symbol and its meaning will forever continue to affect the way we express and depict the emotion of love; it may even evolve, altered just as it already has been, changing and shifting just as our societies, languages, and cultures do.

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Resources:

https://www.artandobject.com/news/history-heart-shape

The Archaeology of Love Part I: The Heart of the Matter

https://www.providencevintagejewelry.com/blog/history-of-the-claddagh-and-how-to-wear-an-irish-claddagh-ring/

https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/10.1086/317404.pdf?refreqid=excelsior%3A7ab043d47a386c9d5c1808588da82e5c&ab_segments=&origin=&acceptTC=1

http://users.clas.ufl.edu/davidson/Material%20Culture%20course/

Groundhogs: Friend or Foe?

Yesterday was Groundhogs day! A day when Punxatawney Phil (or Buckeye Chuck, or Woodstock Willie, depending on what state you live in) climbs out of his borrow and decides if it will be an early spring or 6 more weeks of winter based on the presence of his shadow. 

This day originated from a Christian Holiday called “Candlemas” where Christians would bring their candles to the church to have them blessed and ensure their household was blessed for the rest of the winter. Over the years, this tradition became a day of weather prediction as they believed that if there was good weather and bright skies on Candlemas, winter would continue, but if it was cloudy spring would arrive soon. 

Punxatawney Phil held by his handler.

As this tradition spread to other countries in Europe, the Germans had a variation that included a hedgehog seeing its shadow. Then, as German settlers arrived in Pennsylvania and other nearby regions, it became a groundhog that was the prognosticator for a continued winter or an early spring. 

 

This year, a few members of the upper cohort went this year and saw Phil proclaim that we will have 6 more weeks of winter to the crowd’s exasperation. As I stood there cursing Phils’ prediction and dreading a longer snowy and bitter-cold Indiana winter, I began to think of other ways rodents tend to interfere with the environment and make archaeologists’ jobs harder. 

Both present-day, and past rodents share an affinity for burrowing and creating tunnel systems under the ground that has a habit of disturbing sites throughout the United States. Their burrows tend to have a different color and texture than the surrounding soil making them stand out. Not only can they trip up archaeologists who might assume these rodent burrows are archaeological features (guilty), but they make it increasingly difficult to understand the stratigraphy of the site. Additionally, their back dirt tends to include artifacts that are thrown out of context and into upper levels, sometimes meters away from their original location. If that’s not enough, their borrowing can also disrupt larger features and artifacts caches which travel down centimeter by centimeter as the ground around them is displaced by the rodent.

Rodent Hole disrupting the stratigraphy of a unit.

We can’t always blame rodents, because humans have a history of disturbing archaeological sites just as much as they do. Plow scars and cut-and-fill areas are just two examples of the ways that different occupations of people can interfere with the features of a site. Lucky for us, Harris Matrices can help us understand and analyze the stratigraphy of a site including areas that have been bisected by rodent burrows or plow scars. All you need is plain gridded paper (or Excell) and a lot of patience as you start to relate the different stratigraphic levels to each other by context and characteristics. After your finished, your matrix will hopefully look like the one depicted here and will let you understand how each deposit relates to others.

An example of a Harris Matrix and an the associated stratigraphy.

So, while rodents do seem to make our lives harder as archaeologists, especially by predicting more winter which could curtail our spring field projects. We have tools that make it easier to understand why some artifacts are out of context and where the rodent borrows disrupted natural stratigraphy. Given this, I think it’s fair to say that groundhogs are our frenemies.

 

Further Reading:

https://www.groundhog.org/legend-and-lore

https://thesubversivearchaeologist.net/category/burrowing-rodents/

https://germannaarch.wordpress.com/2021/07/12/rodent-burrows-into-our-heart-and-our-site/

https://www.thoughtco.com/harris-matrix-archaeological-tool-171240#:~:text=The%20Harris%20Matrix%20%28or%20Harris-Winchester%20matrix%29%20is%20a,cultural%20events%20which%20make%20up%20a%20site%27s%20history.

Spatiotemporal data as the foundation of an archaeological stratigraphy extraction and management system

New Year, New Me: Ever Considered Becoming a Spy?

New year, new me, a common motto stated in thousands of minds throughout the world as we cycle back to the month of January, marking the beginning of a new or fresh start for many of us. Archaeologists have a unique skill set that allows them to become a new and different person when placed in varying situations. Not only are archaeologists’ explorers of what lies hidden beneath the earth, they are detectives, determining what recovered objects might have once been, they are rebuilders, putting pieces of the past back together to form a larger image, they are adventurers, willing to go to some of the hottest or coldest places on earth to find what has been lost, they are educators, historians, protectors of knowledge, and seekers of truth. Archaeologists have the ability to be placed in new roles and locations, all the while immersing themselves in new cultures, researching the site they are working on, and even learning dead languages. These are probably all contributing reasons (along with being someone who naturally roves and travels the rolling hills and fields of the globe without many suspicions being thrown their way) that archaeologists have been used as spies! A little-known fact that sounds like something out of a novel or from the big screen, but a truth, nonetheless!

T.E. Lawrence

Using his archaeological excavations at the Syrian site of Carchemish as a cover during the first World War, British archaeologist Thomas Edward Lawrence, or Lawrence of Arabia, worked for British intelligence, observing German progress on a railway line that connected Berlin and Baghdad. In 1913, along with fellow archaeologist Charles Leonard Woolley, he was sent to Sinai as part of the Palestine Exploration Fund, as a cover, while they collected military topographical data.

A note from Sir Louis Mallet to Sir Edward Grey, May 20, 1914, regarding Gertrude Bell.

Gertrude Bell was a resource to the British intelligence’s Arab Bureau around the same time, contributing valuable information on Egyptian geography and even spying on Iraqi tribal activities around Basra. Her travels through the Arabian desert from January to May in 1914, constructed reports with valuable information, and prepared her for what more she could contribute to the intelligence departments when she was sent to Arabia after war broke out a few months later.

A commonly recognized archaeologist-turned-spy for a time, is American Mayanist Sylvanus Morley. In 1917 he was not only taking pictures of an old Spanish fort and touring archaeological sites in Honduras which covered more than 2,000 miles, but he was also on the hunt for German agents, shortwave broadcast stations, and submarine bases.

During the second World War, American archaeologists began to take part in espionagesque work, relaying linguistic and geographical information to offices like the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), while some even used their areas of expertise as fronts. Archaeologist Samuel Lothrop was one such person; chosen to spy while working in countries such as Costa Rica, Mexico, British Honduras, and Guatemala. Under the Special Intelligence Service (SIS), a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)-supervised foreign intelligence division in Central and South America, he not only was trained in mail drops and secret codes, but he was also sent to Peru to supposedly carry out archaeological research at Lima’s National Museum, all the while handling local operatives, establishing a network of informants, collecting intelligence, and following political developments.

Clothier’s “research” being cited in a document you can actually access on JSTOR!

Tennis star, William J. Clothier II was turned into an archaeologist by the SIS and Harvard to allow him to gain access to the Peru in the early 1940s. He even “published” an article on Andean Recuay pottery, ghostwritten by an American archaeologist; this article has been cited before without question by several scholars! After spying in Chile and Cuba, and after the war ended, Clothier joined the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Even during the Cold War, the CIA was not only archaeologists, but also art historians, and other academics in various fields, for CIA intelligence-gathering purposes. There have been many other archaeologists-turned-spies throughout history, such as Rodney Young, James Henry Breasted, Dorothy Cox, Virginia Grace, and more; some history has forgotten, or their names never revealed, but their risks and efforts should not be forgotten or trivialized.

However, becoming a spy may not be as adventurous or exotic, like something out of a movie, as one may think. In 1970s, geologist Jon Kalb was falsely accused of being a CIA operative. This threatened the safety of his family, as well as himself, and even harmed his reputation, but he was able to win a lawsuit against the National Science Foundation, who played a part in the rumors that led to the suspicion surrounding him. The fear today for contemporary archaeologists is that they could be put in harm’s way based on historical ties between archaeologists and intelligence agencies. Some suggest that to avoid accusations of spying, archaeologists and professional archaeological organizations should “forswear connections to intelligence agencies for the safety of themselves and their colleagues,” to show that archaeologists are committed “to scientific rather than political goals” (Price 2003).

Should archaeologists assist intelligence agencies for the good of their country or even the world? Or does this shed doubt on the legitimacy of the work that our field is conducting? What do you think?

Check out some of these sources for more information:

BOOKS:

Classical Spies: American Archaeologists with the OSS in World War II Greece by Susan H. Allen

The Archaeologist Was a Spy: Sylvanus G. Morley and the Office of Naval Intelligence by Charles H. Harris III and Louis R. Sadler

NPR PODCAST:

Archaeology Spies with Neal Conan and David Price (author of: Threatening Anthropology: McCarthyism and the FBI’s Surveillance of Activist Anthropologists)

HISTORY HIT VIDEO:

Archaeologist Spies of World War One with Dr. Amara Thornton

JOURNAL ARTICLE:

Spying by American Archaeologists in World War I by David Browman

WEBSITE ARTICLE:

The Perfect Spy by Nancy Brokaw

 

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References:

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2003/sep/04/research.artsandhumanities#:~:text=In%20the%20second%20world%20war,contributions%20to%20the%20war%20effort.

https:/blog.nationalarchives.gov.uk/digging-king-country/

Celebrating National Native American Heritage Month

During the month of November, we celebrate National Native American Heritage Month, or American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month. This celebration is in honor of the original inhabitants of America. Organizations across the States come together to learn about and commemorate the traditions, languages, contributions, and heritage of Native Americans, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and other Island communities during November.

Honoring the history of the Indigenous people of this land began in 1900 when Dr. Arthur C. Parker, a Seneca Indian and director of the Museum of Arts and Science in New York, convinced the Boy Scouts of America to observe a day for Native Americans. After this, an American Indian Day was declared in 1916. In 1976, a Native American Awareness Week was declared by Congress, and in 1990 former President George H.W. Bush signed a joint congressional resolution to designate November as National American Indian Heritage Month. Since 1994, other proclamations have been made with variations to the name; Native American Heritage Month and National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month are two. It was former President Barack Obama who named November as National Native American Month, which is how we continue to refer to it as of today.

Arthur C. Parker, 1918 (Buffalo Historical Society)

To honor this month, let’s reflect on some Native American archaeologists who have made incredible contributions to the preservation of this county’s heritage and past. Arthur C. Parker was born in 1881 on the Seneca tribe’s Cattaraugus Reservation in New York. He was descended from a long line of Seneca leaders on his father’s side, however, because Seneca clan member ship is matrilineal and both his grandfather and father married women of European descent, neither his father nor him were considered to be Seneca. His family moved to White Plains, NY in 1892 and graduated from high school in 1897. Although he attended Centenary Collegiate institute in New Jersey and Dickinson Seminary in Pennsylvania, he did not graduate from either. However, he continued to do archaeological work while in college and became an apprentice to archaeologist Mark Harrington. His reputation grew and he became known as an authority on the Seneca culture; becoming officially recognized as Seneca in 1903 during a ceremony which gave him the name Gáwasowaneh or Big Snow Snake. After working as an ethnologist for the New York State Library in 1904, Arthur became the first full-time archaeologist at the New York State Museum in 1906, serving until 1925. In 1911 Parker notably aided in the founding of the Society for American Indians (SAI). He married Beulah Tahamont, an Abenaki of the Eastern Algonquian, in 1904, whom he had two children with and later divorced, then married Anna Theresa Cooke in 1914, whom he had one child with. Throughout his career he wrote many books and did scholarly research and published Museum Bulletins and articles on the history and culture of Native Americans, with a focus on the Seneca and Iroquois. He was also a consultant on Indian affairs to several Presidents, including Theodore Roosevelt, Taft, Wilson, and Coolidge. After working at the New York State Museum, he became director of the Rochester Museum in 1925. He also served from 1935 to 1936 as the Society for American Archaeology’s (SAA) first president. Throughout the remainder of his career, he received many honors and awards, before he passed away in 1955.

Bertha Parker Pallan [Cody] (Smithsonian Institution Archives)

Bertha “Birdie” Parker Cody, also called Yewas, her Seneca name, is considered to be the first female Native American archaeologist and ethnologist in the United States. She was born in 1907 in Chautauqua County, New York, and is of Abenaki and Seneca descent, as Arthur C. Parker and Beulah Tahamont were her parents. Bertha grew up with her mother who was an actor, even acting in some shows herself, after her parents divorced. She married Joseph Pallan in the 1920s and gave birth their daughter Wilma Mae in 1925. She never had formal archaeological training or a university education, but she did go on excavations with her father as a child and, after her split from her abusive husband in 1927, she began to work as a cook and expedition secretary for her uncle Mark Raymond Harrington on archaeological projects. She made an amazing discovery at the Mesa House site in 1929. She excavated, recorded, and photographed a pueblo she named Scorpion Hill, and later published her work and had the recovered artifacts exhibited in the Southwest Museum. In 1930 she made a discovery in Nevada’s Gypsum Cave using her slim hands to reach into crevices. Her method allowed her to recover a skull from an extinct species of giant ground sloth known as Nothrotherium shastense. It not only aided in getting more funding for the expedition, but the discovery also challenged prevailing theories about the occupation of ancient Native Americans in the Americas as the sloth skull was found next to ancient human tools.

Cody at Gypsum Cave, Nevada (Southwest Museum)

Bertha ended up marring James Thurston, a Canadian paleontologist who was brought in to further aid the work at the cave, in 1931, but he passed from a heart attack only a year later. In 1933 she was hired to work as secretary for the Southwest Museum, and she eventually became assistant archaeologist and ethnologist. Bertha began to conduct more ethnographical work into the mid-1930s. She wrote and published many archaeological and ethnological papers throughout her career in the Southwest Museum’s journal, Masterkey, on many topics from Kachina Dolls to her work with Californian Indian Tribes including the Maidu, Yurok, Pomo, and Paiute. She married again in 1936 to actor Espera Oscar de Corti, Iron Eyes Cody. Her daughter passed accidentally in 1942, so Cody left the Southwest Museum where she had been working for many years and shifted towards activism and Hollywood. Along with her husband, she advised Native American programs and films as part of “Ironeyes Enterprise”, worked with him to host a 1950s television program about Native American Folklore, supported the Los Angeles Indian Centre, and they also adopted two sons of Maricopa-Dakota heritage, Robert and Arthur. She died at the age of 71 in 1978, but her work in the archaeological field lives on. Not only has she conducted work and made discoveries that have greatly added to our knowledge of the past, but her efforts towards influence in the media and spreading awareness and understanding of Native American culture and history, will forever be remembered and appreciated.

Margaret Spivey (Kristen Grace Photography, University of Florida)

Young archaeologist Margaret Spivey is a member of the Pee Dee Indian Nation of Beaver Creek, an assistant chief of the nation’s Upper Georgia Trail Town, and was a Ph.D. Candidate of archaeology at Washington University in St. Louis in 2015. She has stated, “The reason I’m an archaeologist is because I believe we need more research that shows the complexity of Southeastern Native American groups.” Her dissertation focuses on understanding how Southeastern Native Americans interact with animals, identifying and deciphering carvings of animals, and using both archaeology and ethnology to gather information. Her work could provide new insight into early Native American cultures and social movements in the Southwest. Spivey switched from law to archaeology while attending Harvard University in 2004, seeking to improve public understanding and misconceptions, and influence social and political spheres when it came to the cultural past of Native Americans. She was quoted saying, “I don’t think there is a reason to ignore a Native perspective in favor of an outside perspective when looking at materials deposited by Native Americans. This isn’t me looking at it wrong, this is me looking at it differently.” She hopes that her “long-term research will help us enrich and reclaim some of our cultural practices that were unfortunately lost, we just didn’t catch them in time.” As someone of Native American descent, Spivey’s work and perspectives are crucial, as she contributes new interpretations to research being done and artifacts collected as data is being collected. Rather than having to seek out interpretations from Tribes, she can use connections and her life experiences to contribute greatly to the understanding of past Native American cultures.

Morino Baca (photo by Danny Sosa Aguilar)

Dr. Peter Nelson, a Coast Miwok and a citizen of the Federate Indians of Graton Rancheria in the North Bay, became a tenured assistant professor of environmental science, policy and management, and of ethics studies and UC Berkely, after receiving his Ph.D. in anthropology from the same university in 2017. He believes that more native Americans are being drawn into the field of archaeology as new Indigenous know-how and technology, along with Western science, is “speaking to our preservationist values as Indigenous archaeologists and to the values of tribal communities.” Morino Baca, a current UC Berkely graduate student in public health who has ancestral ties to the Genízaro Indigenous community has stated, “There’s a lot of pain associated with that colonization history, so it’s important for younger people in the community to connect to their roots in a positive way, and to engage with their elders because they’re our libraries, and when they’re gone, that knowledge goes with them.” He has worked in New Mexico at Pueblo de Abiquiú to partner with the Genízaro Indigenous community on a cultural revitalization and infrastructure project. Native scholars like Peter Nelson and Morino Baca are just a few who are leading the charge towards better collaboration with Indigenous tribes to find ways to connect western science to Indigenous science during archaeology programs and excavations.

This National Native American Heritage Month, take time to respectfully visit a reservation or Native American heritage site, attend an educational event at a library or museum, attempt to make traditional Native American dishes for Thanksgiving dinner, read the writings or explore the art of Native American authors and artists, or support Native-owned businesses. At the very least take a moment to reflect on and learn about the history of the Indigenous people of this country and the archaeological efforts that are being undertaken around the states today to expand our knowledge of their culture and heritage.

 

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Resources:

https://nationaltoday.com/american-heritage-month/

https://www.nps.gov/subjects/npscelebrates/native-american-heritage-month.htm

https://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/parker-arthur-caswell

www.nysm.nysed.gov/research-collections/ethnography/collections/research-and-collections-arthur-c-parker

www.theheroinecollective.com/bertha-cody/

untoldstories.net/1927/08/bertha-birdie-parker-cody-first-female-native-american-archeologist/

https://www.saa.org/career-practice/scholarships-and-grants/native-american-scholarships-fund/arthur-c.-parker-and-bertha-parker-cody

https://www.saa.org/quick-nav/saa-media-room/saa-news/2020/11/16/bertha-parker-cody-award

https://news.ufl.edu/articles/2015/07/native-american-archaeologist-unearths-a-complex-cultural-history-.html

news.berkeley.edu/2021/02/04/indigenous-archaeology-plows-forward-despite-anthropologys-checkered-past/

Machu Picchu’s Agricultural Sector

Since November is National Indigenous Heritage Month we want to feature an archaeological site that is pretty well known, Machu Picchu, Peru. However, while most people know that it was a ceremonial place for the Incan empire, they may not know that it was also likely a place of agricultural innovation. In fact, there is a whole area that the Incans devoted to agriculture. Through the archaeological evidence, we can see the intelligence and creativity of the Incans as they navigated the steep Andean Mountains.

Machu Picchu Agricultural Terraces

 The agricultural area is comprised of cultivation terraces that look like large step platforms following the incline of the mountain. These platforms were made of many layers of material such as mulch, sand, and gravel that facilitated drainage and prevented flooding which would cause landslides. Additionally, the steps utilized natural drainage as an irrigation system directly from channels that connected the levels. The terraces also maximized the amount of land Incans were able to use to cultivate crops.  The agricultural sector is divided from the urban area of the site by a long 400- meter retaining wall with a water drainage channel to prevent land erosion. By creating these terraces, the Incans could develop and adapt their agricultural practices to the surrounding landscape without worrying about landslides. 

Estela Cóndor
grows five different
varieties of potatoes
to sell in the market,
along with a yellow
tuber called mashua
(Tropaeolum
tuberosum ) that she
cooks for her family.
– Image credit: Jim
Richardson, National
Geographic

Machu Picchu resides in a subtropical climate making the environment mild, warm, and damp. This climate made it perfect for cultivating large amounts of crops. While there is still some debate on if this specific area was where the pinnacle of agricultural innovation occurred, it is true that there were many different types of crops grown at this site leading archaeologists to believe that the indigenous people of the Andes experimented with agriculture more than any other group in the world. In fact, today there are over 3,000 varieties of the potato found in the Andes alone including species such as Pitiquina, Limena, and Phureja. Some of these potatoes were even used to treat headaches and skin rashes.  Not to mention the numerous tomato and pepper varieties that we have in the world today. Most of this innovation and variation is due to the experimental agriculture of the Incans and the other indigenous groups that inhabited Central and South America.

So, if you’re looking for someone to thank when you eat mashed potatoes or french fries, it’s probably the Incans. And, if you plan on visiting Machu Picchu make sure you ask the tour guides about the agricultural innovations that occurred on the very land you’re walking on. 

 

Further Reading: 

Indian Givers: How Native Americans Transformed the World by Jack Weatherford

https://www.pptoursperu.com/machu-picchu-areas-agricultural-urban-quarry/

https://www.perurail.com/blog/everything-you-need-to-know-about-machu-picchu-terraces/

https://candide.com/GB/stories/a0e2f664-6c08-4c86-a768-59716b19c894

https://www.ticketmachupicchu.com/platforms-agricultural-terraces-machu-picchu/

“Dating, Dumping, and Destruction: Reconstructing Life Histories of Farmers and Farmhouses in Central Pennsylvania”

On November 2nd, Dr. Claire Milner, Emeritus Curator and Director of Exhibits at Penn State’s Matson Museum of Anthropology, joined us for her presentation, “Dating, Dumping, and Destruction: Reconstructing Life Histories of Farmers and Farmhouses in Central Pennsylvania.” She described three Penn State archaeological field schools she ran as project director at farmsteads in Central Pennsylvania. Two sites were excavated in Huntingdon County, the Massey site from 2006-2007 and the Scare Pond Farm from 2008-2009. She led excavations at the Foster site in Centre County from 2015-2016, as well.

Dr. Milner began by discussing why we should study farmhouses. Farmhouses are studied in historical archaeology as they can provide valuable informational contribution for the historical record and also address anthropological questions about human behavior. Farming has been and still is an extremely common way of life in the United States, and farmhouses are actually the most common type of archaeological site in the U.S. The 19th to early 20th centuries were a time of huge social and economic change, from industrialization and urban migration to innovations in agriculture and household technology. In Central Pennsylvania, lumbering and iron ore extraction, along with expansion of transportation and marketing networks were growing. However, today, the sites Dr. Milner studied are covered in trees and pastureland.

The Massey site was owned by the Massey family who were also owners of the Scare Pond Farm site. Thomas Massey emigrated from England to Chester County PA in 1683. He had children, and grandchildren, including Mordecai Massey (1747-1837). Mordecai had several children, including Daniel, who established agricultural societies at the state and local levels, and whose daughter Elizabeth would come to inherit the site in 1875 according to his will. In addition to documentary evidence of the family’s wealth and Daniels, from ventures such as co-owning a steel and whisky house, there was also a ‘fancy’ cemetery where Daniel and other family members were buried, with an iron railing around it that adds to the fact that this family had a good amount of money during their time. It is not clear when Daniel established his independent household, but it was most likely after his father’s death, sometime in the early 1840s. The main excavated house was built before 1875, most likely when Daniel started to pay taxes separately from his family, however, later ownership and occupancy is uncertain between the 1870s and 1930s when the state took over the property.

Dr. Milner then went over discovered features and parts of the site that were excavated during her field schools at the Daniel Massey site. The site included a house, privy, garden, porch and patio. They located the north and east rooms of the house, along with a basement. A feature outside of the house was a garden with a barbed wire fence. The archaeologists noted the house layout based on a foundation collapsing into the basement. Trash would have been dumped out of the window area during the sites period of occupation, so based on a perimeter created by a midden, the location of a potential window was discovered. The entrance area of the house was determined to have a porch and patio; the front door was located based on piers of wood platforms into the door, and there was an indication of a brick patio, along with parts of porch pads and other remnants. Both a brick chimney and paved stone floor were also noted. A mystery wall Milner uncovered was eventually determined to be evidence of a rebuilding episode, as the house was T-shaped, buried above an L-shaped structure. There were also coins found inside and outside of this rebuilding, that gives great dates for when the rebuilding took place. Evidence of burnt wood in the basement suggests that a fire could have been the reason for the rebuilding. While a stone pad could have been interpreted as a pad for a staircase, it is unknown whether or not his house had a second floor. Other notable features include the Massey middens, and the Massey privy, a two-hole privy. There were a variety of dumping contexts and stratified deposits that may indicate a shift in dumping behavior and/or occupancy around the house perimeter, the privy, and the area around and downslope from the privy (a possible upslope shift). After occupancy, there was some scavenging of construction materials such as the wood floor, and eventually the exterior of the house collapsed into the interior, as marked by unit profiles and materials in the basement. There was also some garbage dumping within the house after its collapse; found at shallow depths were artifacts such as broken medicine bottles and a scythe blade stuck in the corner of the house at an angle, not contemporaneous with the occupation.

The Scare Pond Farm site was located on an extremely steep sloping ledge, an unusual place. This site included a house, barn, small outbuilding, and unknown building along the sharp sloping hill. It was also uncertain if any Massey’s had actually lived there. There was a spring nearby, but no evidence of a spring house, although a creek was further down slope from the house.

The previous occupants of the house had created lined pathways of stones and the archaeologists tested the barn on the bank, where they recovered a crock pot, and evidence of animals tamping down on the clay floor. They also tested an outbuilding foundation with a horseshoe in it, the foundation of the house itself, and the basement area. There was little found inside the basement; it was surmised that some bricks were from a collapsed chimney. Construction materials such as, a piece of cut wood from the floor and an upper stone tier, had been removed from the site, scavenged by someone. There were dumping features west of the house, one with a feature and one with a concentration of artifacts (stoneware). The recovered stoneware indicated garbage being dumped away from the house upslope. There were scattered stones next to the southeast house foundation wall that were full of mixed materials, which led to the discovery of two more rooms of the house. The walls of the rooms were constructed from whatever materials they could find, including brick and stone, and they could post-date the original foundation. A porch was evident from remnants of three stone pads in a line used as a base for the porch to hold it upright; the front of the porch was lined with stone. Marbles children would have played with were also recovered, most likely they had fallen off the porch. There were some confusing walls, and a mystery building with partly stratified deposits, that included a strangely angled wall, and sat on a slope. There was also a buried brick feature where the angled wall was, perhaps a buried patio. Stratigraphy indicated that there were multiple dumping episodes inside the building, leading to the supposition that animals were kept in one of the buildings on the site. Some features located included stoneware piping that suggested perhaps some type of plumbing was put in for the house during an expansion period. A surprise outside wall and a hitching post on one side of the house were also recovered. A clay layer inside and hitching post outside suggests the presence of animals. The fact that there were no level areas for cultivated fields also supports the idea that this site was perhaps occupied by a tenant of the Massey family who took care of animals.

The Foster Farm was also excavated by Dr. Milner. This site was located on land owned by Penn State University, and by studying it, the researchers can provide information on the Arboretum history, explore 19th-20th century farm life, and compare with the Massey and Scare Pond Farm sites.  Prior to Penn State’s ownership, records show that in 1791 an iron furnace was established by Miles & Patton, with timberland being converted into farms by the furnace owners, as well. The site went through a variety of owners throughout the centuries, records suggest that a tenant farmer was an occupant at the site for at least part of the time. The last owner was Charles Foster (1859-1934) who owned 120 acres, before the land became PSU pastureland in 1935. The Foster Farm landscape is made up of karstic limestone with well-drained fertile soil. However, there is no standing water nearby.

The site included a house, garden, possible cistern, porch, and standing outbuilding, and it had been heavily impacted by mowing. It was assumed that those who used to occupy the site were dependent on cistern water collection, as no other nearby water sources were present. A metal water pipe was found in the basement debris, but it could have possibly been deposited later. A basement foundation was also located, along with a rail line close to the site. Dr. Milner went on to discuss many features and describe parts of the site. There was a pit feature along the exterior of the west foundation wall that was perhaps a cistern. They found the house’s foundation interior, part of a chimney, evidence of a garden, the basement entrance, a west sloping dumping area, and on another side of the house an area of very mixed deposits, along with evidence of dumping around the house perimeter and the indication of a porch based on stacked stones, as well. There was little debris dumped inside the house, but a concentration of debris was along the perimeter, but this was not able to be excavated as it was close to the crumbling foundation wall. There were also areas of activity away from the house, but no discernable structures.

Data from the collection created from all three sites was then presented; artifact types and total counts found were discussed, which included a range of ceramics with a variety of decorative types, glass, metal, animal bones, nails, and other construction materials and debris. Less common artifacts present included smoking pipes, clothing like buttons and buckles, ammunition, pencil leads, coins, combs, musical instruments like a harmonica, toys, part of a pocket watch, and at Foster, a mantle clock part. Rarer but interesting finds included a backpin with the quote, “I’m a devil, give me a soda” found at the Massey site, an Irish pipe with a Home Rule harp design found at the Foster site, and also found at the Massey site were parts of an Admiral Dewy pitcher commemorating the 1898 Battle of Manila.

Dr. Milner then mentioned that by excavating these sites, there are many research opportunities provided. Researchers could delve into site occupation by trying to distinguish tenant versus owner occupancy, or research more on what activities occurred at each site over time. Interested parties could investigate what the objects and houses tell us about variation in human behavior, by measuring differences in wealth and status between occupations within or between sites or by studying differential access to markets and transportation in the Centre region. Researchers could also do intrasite and intersite chronology; determine the age of different occupations based primarily on historic records, and compare them to the archaeological record, or determine the relative chronology of buildings, strata, and rebuilding episodes within a site. Although, there are technical issues with it comes to making the artifact category counts comparable, given that they were excavated at different depths and to different extents. However, she is very interested and willing to work with students, and even have the collection brought to IUP if necessary. In the next few years, she has to finish with the projects and determine the collections fate. From dating projects based on the artifacts and documentary evidence, to research on the garbage dumping contexts and how these episodes relate to the occupations and destruction of the site, there are many opportunities for further research into these three sites.

Dr. Claire Milner’s presentation was extremely informative and educational! We cannot thank her enough for coming and speaking to us!

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Creepy Dolls: A Halloween Staple

Halloween is right around the corner and so we thought it was fitting to talk about a spooky artifact that might make you shiver. This artifact goes by a few names: a penny doll, a bisque china doll, and (the most unsettling) a “Frozen Charlotte doll”. China dolls are already the subject of many people’s nightmares, including mine, but this doll comes with an even creepier story to go along with it.

A Typical Frozen Charlotte Doll

Frozen Charlottes are small, white porcelain dolls that were made in one piece with their arms and legs molded to their bodies. They were first manufactured in Germany and then later in Britain. They also rose to popularity in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The size of the doll ranges between 1-18 inches depending on what it was used for. Smaller dolls were used as decorations on cakes or other baked goods while children played with the larger dolls. These figures are also sometimes called “penny dolls” because their simple design made them easy to mass-produce and made them accessible for children to pay for them with pocket change. 

The story of how these dolls got their name was through an old North American folk ballad called “Young Charlotte” about a vain woman who did not want to wear a coat because it would cover the beautiful dress that she was wearing to the ball. However, on the carriage ride on the way to the party, she became so cold that she froze to death. Therefore, the porcelain dolls with their limbs frozen to their body came to be associated with Young Charlotte and were eventually called “Frozen Charlottes”.

Here’s an excerpt from the folk ballad:

Her father liked to see her dressed,

Just like some city belle;

She was the only child he had,

He loved his daughter well.

Her hair was black as raven’s wings,

Her skin was lily-fair,

And her teeth were like the pearls of white,

None with her could compare

 

At a village just sixteen miles off,

There’s a merry ball tonight,

Although the air is freezing cold,

Her heart is warm and light.

And there she watched with an anxious look,

‘Til a well-known voice she heard,

And driving up to the cottage door,

Young Charles in his sleigh appeared.

 

The mother to her daughter said,

“These blankets round you fold;

For it is a dreadful night, you know,

You’ll catch your death of cold.”

“Oh, no! Oh, no!” the darling cried,

She laughed like a gypsy queen,

“For to ride in blankets muffled up,

I never could be seen.”

(Jump to Verse 8)

“How very fast the freezing air

Is gathering on my brow.”

With a trembling voice young Charlotte cried,

“I’m growing warmer now.”

And away they did ride o’er the mountainside,

And through the pale star light,

Until the village inn they reached,

And the ballroom hove in sight.

 

When they reached the inn, young Charles jumped out,

And gave his hand to her,

“Why sit you there like a monument,

And have no power to stir?”

He called her once, he called her twice,

She answered not a word;

He called all for her hand again,

But still she never stirred.

 

He stripped the mantle off her brow,

And the pale stars on her shone,

And quickly into the lighted hall,

Her helpless form was born.

They tried all within their power,

Her life for to restore,

But Charlotte was a frozen corpse,

And is never to speak more.

A Frozen Charlotte doll in a bottle with a cork that fell in. Image Credit: NPS

 

 

To make it even creepier here is a frozen charlotte that was uncovered at Fort Stanwix in Rome, New York. As you see, she’s encased in a bottle but archaeologists have yet to find out why. Potentially she was meant to be displayed or the bottle was to be broken in order to free her. Both choices are fairly eerie and remind me of the many dolls that dominate horror movies. However, the popularity of this doll at the time shows that the children who played with them were not so scared. Regardless, it is always fun to come across an artifact with such a back story and hopefully you feel the same when learning about it!  We wish you a safe and happy Halloween! 

 

Further Reading: 

https://www.nps.gov/articles/-frozen-charlotte.htm

https://www.nps.gov/long/blogs/frozen-charlotte-figurine.htm

https://umaine.edu/folklife/what-we-do/programs-and-events/maine-song-and-story-sampler-map/places/wells-young-charlotte/?fbclid=IwAR3J2I1kgRch37dq-ICML_jyhm6oZswuLemNxfDsbXso8fNkYW3kN06w62o

https://apps.jefpat.maryland.gov/diagnostic/SmallFinds/Toys/LargeImagePages/18MO609-FrozenCharlotteDoll-1.html

Highlights from the Archaeology Day Open House

After not being able to host it last year due to covid, the Department of Anthropology was finally able to have our annual Archaeology Day Open House here at IUP! We had over 50 visitors who came to learn about and explore the field of archaeology and what it means to be an archaeologist!

We had many stations and activities set up inside and outside of McElhaney Hall. Beginning at the Entrance Table, we had undergraduate students, Kaylee and Callie, along with second-year graduate students Pat and Sonja, welcoming visitors into our Open House. There were posters and pamphlets, candy and snacks, and a place to sign up for anthropology club. This is also where the Archaeology Day passport could be picked up. This passport was used to guide people around to each set-up, so that they could get a stamp for each exhibit and table they visited.

Another station outside was led by first-year graduate student Emma, who presented on the importance of mapping in archaeology. Using a poster, worksheet, and mini grid, children and adults alike could practice mapping. She instructed people on why we do mapping, what we map, why we prefer mapping over taking photographs, what we need to include on our maps, and why we use a grid system when mapping. She stated that it is our goal as archaeologists to record as much information as possible, and that because digging is destructive, we need an accurate mapping of our excavation units before we continue to dig artifacts up, as mapping provides context for the location of the recovered cultural resources, as well as a record of any features and stratigraphy in the unit.

First-year graduate student Liz also had a set-up outside, where she was teaching people about stratigraphy. She used different colored, kinetic sand and small rocks and pottery sherds in a clear box to mimic the stratigraphic layers archaeologist encounter as they dig down into the soils. She also had a bright and colorful poster, along with a matching worksheet that allowed visitors to learn more about stratigraphy, and what various layers can look like.

Also outside was Susanne Haney from PennDOT (Pennsylvania Department of Transportation) and the Westmoreland Archaeological Society Chapter #23 of the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology. She was doing flint knapping and instructing others on how to do it as well. She also had brought many examples of prehistoric artifacts, many of which she had made herself. A few things she showcased were an atlatl, stone tools and pendants, a nutting stone, flint ridge chert, obsidian, red catlinite from Wisconsin that can be used to make pipes, bifaces and scrapers, a tiny, dried gourd to represent the ones used by ancient Native American to hold up fishing nets in the water, and cordage made from plant materials such as basswood bark and dogbane, and also deer sinew fibers.

When you entered McElhaney Hall, on one side you could enter the Children’s room. This room contained many activities to keep kids entertained, but also to introduce them to the world or archaeology. From ceramic analysis to coloring worksheets, paleolithic “cave” paintings, making wampum bead bracelets, and more, kids were guided by volunteer Heather and first-year graduate student Kahlan through a range of archaeological topics. This will hopefully serve as a foundational step for the younger generation in their archaeological journey.

The next room over held our section on Zooarchaeology, led by first-year graduate student Emily and second-year graduate student Zach. Emily discussed hominins and showcased how skulls changed over the course of millions of years to bring us to the skulls of the modern-day humans. She also laid out stone tools that correlate to each skull and displayed a replica of footprints made by the primitive species Australopithecus afarensis, or “Lucy,” from 3.6 million years ago. There was even a worksheet for students to match the pictures of the skull replicas to their corresponding names and date ranges. Zach was in charge of animal bones and skeletons and used a display that had visitors match the animal to an individual bone, which included a bear skull amongst others. He also displayed whole turtle shells, cat, fish, and frog skeletons, shells, and a pig head that had many visitors intrigued and curious to know what it was!

In the same room, third-year graduate student Ashley was displaying her ongoing master’s thesis on Modoc City. She exhibited many of the historic artifacts that she has excavated from the site, which dates from 1873 to around 1890, although these were just a few from the 9+ whole boxes Ashely has filled. She also laid out several newspaper articles describing life in the city during its time of occupation. Some of the historical artifacts presented include a broken frozen charlotte, makeup containers or compacts, utensils, suspender clasps, bells, an original Dr. Scholl’s foot-eazer, glass and ceramic pieces, pocket watch components, dresser handles, boot heels, and even a mint container!

  Second-year graduate students Amanda and Emma, along with Dr. Chadwick, a professor here at IUP, were also in this room, discussing the PHAST (PennDOT Highway Archaeological Survey Team) program, what goes inside a dig kit, and what some of the geophysical tools used in archaeology are and how they operation. These such geophysical instruments included metal detectors and ground-penetrating radar.

Back in the hallway second-year graduate student Luke was displaying a historic artifacts collection. He explained that historic sites are those that date between European contact in America to our modern day. As part of his graduate assistantship, he takes care of the legacy collections here at IUP. Some of the artifacts he works with are from excavations done 50 years ago at Hanna’s Town, a 1700s site, so he has been going through them, organizing them, and putting them in archival bags for storage, to keep up to new standards of preservation and to prevent deterioration and disorganization. He also displayed a historic artifact learning collection of things we see often at historic sites for visitors to observe and interact with.

 There was also a prehistoric artifact collection, hosted by Westmoreland Archaeological Society Chapter #23 of the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology. Many of the artifacts on display were recovered by Sidney Guest, a member of the chapter, as well as from the group themselves. Their exhibited collection included, petrified wood, a wide assortment of bifaces and projectile points, a large nutting stone, and even some tools archaeologists use in the field, to name a few. Mr. Guest explained that some of the artifacts were from excavations at a rock shelter near Derry, PA. He also stated that their chapter had just sent many boxes of artifacts to the State Museum after finishing up a dig they had been conducting over the past 16 years at a Monongahela village site with two overlapping village components. The Consul site (36WM100) included 49 houses and produced over 19 radiocarbon/AMS dates, with one of the villages dating to the Early Monongahela period around A.D. 1350, and the other to the Middle Monongahela period around A.D. 1450. We are so grateful that the Westmoreland Archaeological Society were able to come out and join us!

First-year graduate student Laura was next to the prehistoric artifacts set-up, and her station was about garbology, the study of modern humans through analyzing modern-day waste, and its connection to archaeology. She noted that archaeologists excavate landfills and utilize ethnographic interview methods to understand how humans create and dispose of waste, to answer questions about waste disposal, and to help apply these interpretations in other settings and studies. Laura also included a QR code on her handout that links students to “A Tale of Garbage” by Ian McTaggart for more information, and she provided a take home activity worksheet that had visitors keep track of their trash disposal habits to see what this can tell them about their trash practices. She also engaged with visitors by having them participate in an activity where they had to determine which bag of trash came from which room in the house, which simulated how trash can lead to inferences about people.

In the final room inside, we had second-year graduate student Jacob in the floatation lab teaching and instructing people about how and why we use the laboratory technique of archaeological flotation. The floatation machine is used to recover tiny artifacts and plant remains from soil samples, which visitors got to experience up close.

And finally, as people exited our Archaeology Day event, they passed by our Exit table, manned by first-year graduate student Wesley. He was passing out free posters and information on stewardship through fliers. He was also having those who left voluntarily fill out a paper with questions about their experience. We had great feedback, one visitor commented, “It was fun and interesting😊,” and many people noted their favorite activities.

A huge thank you to everyone who came out and supported this open house, and to those who put everything together, Dr. Andrea Palmiotto and second-year graduate student Mikala Hardie! We will most definitely be hosting this event next year, so please join us again, or for the first time, in 2023!