Metarhyolite and Resource Management

By Ross Owen

Metarhyolite is a metamorphic rock which occurs naturally on the South Mountain, near the Pennsylvania-Maryland border. For as long as 10,000 years, metarhyolite has been quarried from pits dug into bedrock, and then shaped into blades and projectile points. Between 5,000 to 2,700 years ago, the frequency of metarhyolite artifacts and the distances they are found at increased substantially (from the Chesapeake Bay to Western PA and Southern NY). The reasons for this are not well known.

Michaux State Forest boundary in background. Representative photographs of metarhyolite artifacts and natural samples in foreground.

Michaux State Forest in Pennsylvania currently includes much of the area that was quarried for metarhyolite stone-tool production. Evidence of quarrying can be seen on the forest floor – pits in the bedrock typically surrounded by the chipped stone debris left as evidence of past people splitting boulders into manageable sizes to transport out of the mountains and into the neighboring valleys to the East and West.

Chipped stone debris at base of metarhyolite outcrop. The pit in the center is from looters illegally taking artifacts from the site.

My thesis aims to incorporate our current understanding of the prehistoric quarrying in Michaux State Forest into the forest’s management plans and policies. Ongoing research of the quarries is only possible if they are preserved for future generations, and without a clear framework for managing the quarries along with the other resources that the forest manages, their preservation is in jeopardy.

 

“You can’t plan for what you don’t know you have.”

Roy Brubaker, District Forester, Michaux State Forest

 

This quote sums up frustrations accompanying the management of archaeological resources at any scale quite well. Before management strategies can be developed, inventory and context are needed. In this case a variety of methods were used to collect information about the prehistoric archaeological resources in Michaux State Forest. A field survey coupled with Geographic Information System (GIS) development and analysis studied the distribution of prehistoric quarries throughout the forest. Geochemical analysis using portable-X-Ray Fluorescence (pXRF) and petrographic microscopy was used to describe the variable chemical and mineral composition of metarhyolite outcrops in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and in artifact collections found at archaeological sites around the region.

The dashboard above display figures depicting the raw reading taken by the pXRF device for specific elements, as well as the results of Principle Component Analysis used to identify elemental factors contributing to the pXRF results. The maps correspond to the locations of the sample groups used in this study.

The results of this study have led to the development of management practices for the prehistoric quarries in Michaux State Forest, which will be presented to the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, as well as the State Historic Preservation Office. There is ongoing consultation between the agencies, the research team, and the South Mountain Partnership which helped to fund the study. The project uses inter-agency collaboration and inter-disciplinary research to improve our understanding of the prehistoric quarries in South Mountain and help state agencies manage them more efficiently and effectively.

IUP Anthropology Department

Can You Dig It? An Excavation In Athens

By Heather Lash

I am not allowed to post pictures of the site, Aixonidai Halai, as are the rules of this excavation, but I will do my best to describe the entire site and my specific working area. The entire site is gated off by a tall metal fence which helps to outline what property is being worked on. Around the site are very elegant two- or three-story white, tan, or yellow plastered apartment buildings all surrounded by their own fence and various types of foliage. A highway runs right in front of the site, and the road which leads to the entrance of the site is a two-way street but really should be a one-way street because the number of cars which park on each side (illegally? legally? who knows because parking laws don’t exist). The entrance of the site is signified by a small clay hill which opens into an area full of rocks, clay, and ruins. To give you a better idea of what I am talking about, see the picture below of another excavation’s ruins. (Thanks to Google for providing this picture when I typed “archaeological ruins” into the search bar. I cannot take credit for this photo.)

Photo belongs to Ben-Gurion University. This site is Tel Be’er Sheva.

Aixonidai Halai looks somewhat like this, except much less clean, and the walls are deteriorating much more than this. Also, there is so much dirt, the dirt is everywhere, even when you do your best to remove it from the rocks to make them clearer. The wind blows, and your entire trench is covered again. Overall though, the picture gives a pretty good idea of what I was working with in Voula. On the first day of excavating, our group of 8 was split into two different teams. My team was in trench A9 and the other team was working in trench A8. Archaeology in Greece is much different than archaeology in the United States, or at least in comparison to the field school experiences I’ve had.

The digging style consists more of fast paced work using pick axes, hand axes, hoes and shovels to clear the dirt more quickly. Trowels are only used for articulation of features, such as walls, or for helping to make the trench walls straight. Not only is the digging style different, but so are the trowels which are used while digging. Non-Greek trowels are very common and used for many other purposes such as gardening or masonry.

Greek Trowel

These trowels are sharp on two sides which connect into a point. Greek trowels are sharp on three sides, and the three sides connect to make the shape of a triangle. Due to my previous use of a non-Greek trowel, I was much more comfortable using what I was familiar with, but it was cool to get some experience with a different kind of tool. This entire excavation overall was a really interesting and different experience because you’ll only really get this kind of digging in Greece.

Non-Greek Trowel

 

The purpose of our excavation was to continue to discover the story which was uncovered by previous excavations of the area. The trench directly next to mine had stone walls intersecting and opened up into a giant courtyard which was then surrounded by more walls. The foundations of these walls are thought to belong to workshops, and we were attempting to find the remaining outline of these workshops. To start out in our trench, we first needed to remove all the topsoil which included weeds, foliage, and other modern contamination. To do this we each used pick axes across the trench, pulling up the weeds first before we could really dig into the dirt. Once we got a substantial amount of the topsoil ripped up, we would use hoes to create giant dirt piles which we then removed from the trench to start the process all over again until we reached the next layer. While digging we had to pay special attention to what we possibly could be hitting in the off chance we found something of importance. However, most of the inclusions in the topsoil are modern and are not relevant to the project. Once getting through the topsoil, the technique is started all over again, moving between pick axes, hoes, shovels and sometimes the trowels.

Layer 1 quickly became much more interesting than the topsoil. In this layer we began to find materials which gave evidence of our progression towards the time period when these buildings were first built. Our progress of digging slowed as we were told to be cautious when encountering larger rocks as they could be the feature we were looking for. When we found a rock, we would dig around it until our layer was all flat, then we would articulate the edges of the rock to determine if it was just part of the building’s collapse, (meaning no other rocks would be found below it) or if it was actually important and needed to stay in the ground. This process continued for at least one whole week until we pretty much uncovered all of the important rocks and until most of the trench was completely level.

The outcome of the findings from both trenches really helped to put things in perspective and helped to develop and challenge what had previously been found, and determined about the site as a whole. The team in A8 unfortunately did not find any large features or materials which indicated their space was a part of a workshop. They found rocks which contributed to collapse probably from the building which was found in my trench, A9. Despite not finding much, these women worked hard the entire time, and never complained about their situation. Luckily, though, my trench happened to continue and substantiate the story which was discovered before.

Not only did we uncover one large wall, (which helped to give more shape to the walls which were found in the previously excavated trench beside us), we also found a wall which extended perpendicularly from the middle of this large wall. Our professor said this perpendicular wall seemed to have been built at a later time. It was only part of a wall, and seemed to stop purposefully, probably signifying an entrance into a small space which contained evidence of a pythos. This pythos was our big find!!! A pythos in Ancient Greece was a large container used to store materials such as grains or oils and helped to keep them fresh. In our trench, within the small adjacent wall, we discovered the semicircular outline of the pythos and then the presence of many floor tiles around the back end of the pythos, most likely indicating another entrance way into the storage room. In this area, where the larger wall met up with the smaller wall was also the presence of lots of charcoal and a permanently changed soil color.

The charcoal and darkened gray soil color indicated at one point there was a fire in this spot, and in relation to the rest of the building, most likely a fire used to destroy the building after use. Another great find was the presence of steps next to the large wall signifying there was a possibility of at least one other floor in this building. In fact, our professor said by the size of the room, this building we were working in may have been one of the biggest at the site. This is why the other trench had much less luck finding things. A lot of the collapse from our building ended up in their trench. Also, if it was one large room then it would also make sense for them not to find much other than pottery sherds.

Speaking of artifacts, other finds throughout both trenches included pottery handles, stems, bases, fine Athenian blackware, some pieces of marble (not ancient), some building nails (most likely not ancient), some worked bone and shell, and plenty of floor tiles and roofing tiles. We actually found plenty of pottery and a handful of the other stuff throughout our layers but what we really wanted to find was the walls, or a hearth, or a pythos. The fact we were able to help so much and excavate to the best of our abilities and surpass our professor’s expectations was pleasing. It was a lot of fun and we all learned a lot. Yeah, we had to wake up at 5am each morning, and there wasn’t a site bathroom which made things interesting, the weather wasn’t the greatest the entire time, and we probably could have found more than we did, but none of that really mattered to us. We all worked our hardest and were proud of all our work. I would not hesitate to do it all again! Also, Voula is beautiful and I couldn’t be happier to have traveled to the coast every single day. Hopefully soon I’ll get the chance again to dig, and travel.

IUP Anthropology Department

VR Archaeology

I’ve never tried to hide it, I am a huge geek.  Something I’ve been following closely for the past few years is virtual reality.  VR technology has been around since the 1970s, but it wasn’t until 2012 or so when the Oculus Rift hit the scene that VR became more accessible for the average consumer.  Of course, there was Nintendo’s Virtual Boy released in 1995, but it didn’t really catch on.  Since the Oculus Rift is still in production and has spawned numerous generic devices, I’m using it as the current standard of home VR technology.  Anyway, VR has become more widely available in the modern market and has been used for everything from videogames to training medical and military personnel.  Within the past few years, the realm of archaeology has really started to play with VR and I for one am ecstatic.

VR within the realm of archaeology has focused on the obvious of bringing sites to people.  This is done by using reality capture techniques (like photogrammetry, LiDAR, and sonar) that scan a site and allow for the creation of a digital model.  Bringing the sites to people encourages education of archaeology and could potentially reduce tourism related issues at sites.  There’s always the devil’s advocate approach, worrying that this could encourage looting, but let’s try to be positive about the general human population for a moment.  Still, VR goes beyond bringing sites to the public.  As of 2017, the Smithsonian Magazine reported VR had been used to reconnect the Tejon tribe with sites of their cultural heritage.  Now, this may be no different in the execution of reproducing the site, but there is an actual connection here between people and the site.  This is only from within the first few years of VR really taking off with the public, I can’t wait to see how far it can be taken.

Imagine, one day you may be able to put on a VR headset and look at any site in the world (assuming it’s been digitized).  Better yet, you may be able to interact with artifacts in situ.  Or how about going on a virtual excavation to better understand the site, doesn’t that sound amazing?  It’s all possible, but there’s a catch.   This can’t be done for free, you need to do all the coding to interact with the artifacts and purchase or rent equipment to produce the site model itself.  You can’t forget the cost of whoever has to initially record the site plus whatever expenses there are for the archaeological examination.  In short, this is pricey now, but it’s possible that the costs will decrease through time as it gets easier to do this kind of work.  Despite the current costs, I hope VR becomes a staple of public outreach in archaeology.  I really think the possibilities are only limited by our imaginations here and that this could become an incredible teaching tool for future generations.

What do you think?  Let me know in the comments below!

IUP Anthropology Department

Future Archaeology and… Aliens? Wait… What?

I feel like this needs a disclaimer, I was just trying to amuse myself in writing this.  This is not to be taken seriously, but if you want to  continue the conversation then just leave a comment.

One of the most attractive aspects of archaeology, in my opinion, is the ever-expanding nature of the study.  We create more archaeology as we live, so we could never learn everything (even excluding all the data that has been lost).  This means that there will always be archaeology which I find amazing, but there’s also a sadder aspect to that.  We will never know everything.  Are we piecing together scraps of the past in a futile attempt to leave our mark?  I think that we’re making some difference, that what we’re doing is not a waste.  But if we will never know everything, I wonder why this will be the case.  I’ve pondered this quite a bit, and frankly, I haven’t come up with any positive answers.

This is where things are going to get a bit weird, and maybe I’m trying to look too far forward, but I think it deserves a mention.  We as a species will go extinct at some point.  Now, this could be from any of the infinite possibilities and scenarios.  I’m not going to get into hypotheticals because your brain will tell you a better story than I can and that’s not my purpose here.  Obviously if we go extinct then we can’t learn about the past anymore as we have all become the past and there is no current or future.  What I wonder is if we as humans will be uncovered at any point in time beyond extinction.  I am personally a firm believer that intelligent life exists beyond Earth.  This does not mean I believe that they have ever contacted us in any way, shape, or form.  I simply believe life exists beyond what we know.   Assuming some other life form would come across our remains, would we have left enough information for them to understand us?  Forget the odds of another species being able to translate our written thoughts and ideas.  Would another species even care about us being some lost civilization?  I don’t know and frankly I’ll never be able to answer that.   Technically aliens could do archaeology, after all it is a study of humans and I’ve never seen it defined as a study by humans.

I feel like aliens doing archaeology would be kind of funny.  Especially if they uncover a recording of the Ancient Aliens guy.  I don’t know how a conversation between other intelligent life would go, but the thought of aliens calling that guy a liar just makes me chuckle.

IUP Anthropology Department

Flotation Therapy (Archaeology Edition)

Something I’ve found myself thinking more and more often is that working in the wet lab, processing flotation samples, is relaxing.  Now, this could just be the tired mind of a grad student enjoying a few moments of peace and there’s some truth to that.  However, there’s more to it.  It’s been feeling like a productive therapy session.  There’s something fulfilling about taking liters worth of samples and revealing what the soil has hidden, particularly of the legacy collections that have been keeping their secrets for thirty or forty years.  Although, I don’t know what will happen with the materials retrieved once they have been bagged and labeled.  Sure, some materials will be examined sooner or later for research questions that might not have been asked yet.  However, I have a suspicion that those of the legacy collections, which sometimes are more plastic (from the degrading trash and/or sandwich bags originally used to store them) than anything else, may just be stored away indefinitely.  It seems like a shame, but I hope this material will be examined at some point.  It may seem sad, but it’s fun to wonder what this material could contribute to archaeology.  Perhaps this will inspire me to pursue researching micro-artifacts, including those of these abandoned collections   That’s enough of my rambling for now.

For anyone unfamiliar with flotation or what exactly I’m talking about, keep reading and I’ll try to make it short.  If I didn’t make this clear earlier, flotation is a process that separates tiny artifacts, plant materials, and the like from soil through water.  These artifacts separate into two groups called the light and heavy fractions.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, the light fraction floats in the water while the heavy does not.  We at IUP are fortunate enough to have a flotation machine which cuts the amount of time and effort put into collecting these microartifacts.  You do not need a flotation machine to do flotation, a bucket of water and a sieve will suffice, but it makes the process far easier.  In the case of a flotation machine, you have a pump that keeps the water flowing and helps to agitate the sample and separate the soil and microartifacts.  You pour a sample into the main compartment, gently.  The water flows through an opening, carrying the light fraction, and then through a screen that collects the light fraction.  The heavy fraction remains in a removable screen in the main compartment and gets collected once the light fraction has finished collecting.  The machine gets cleaned out when changing sites, and just every so often, to avoid accidental contamination and to keep the machine functioning properly.  If I left you with more questions than answers, leave a comment and I’ll try to answer you ASAP.

Light fraction

 

IUP Anthropology Department

SAA Government Affairs Update January 2019

All credit of this post goes to the president of the Society for American Archaeology, Susan M. Chandler, RPA.  I would have preferred to post a link to this statement in light of the recent government shutdown, unfortunately I could not find such a link.  For clarification, this piece comes from the most recent (Jan 2019) edition of the Society for American Archaeology’s Government Affairs and International Government Affairs newsletter compiled by David Lindsey.  I post this today with the intent of providing one of many viewpoints of the recent government shutdown.  Within the foreseeable future, we hope to have a companion piece authored and posted by a source from within the CRM industry to present an additional narrative. 

 

At long last, the government shutdown is over – at least for now. Furloughed government workers are returning to a backlog of missed work and are assessing what damage may have been caused to cultural resources while they were away.

 

In contrast to previous shorter shutdowns, the Department of Interior recalled 800 employees to issue drilling permits during the shutdown. According to the Western Organization of Resource Councils, 224 oil and gas drilling applications were processed, 22 permits were approved, 15 oil and gas leases were sold, and thousands of acres of subsurface mineral rights were leased during the shutdown. In contrast, no federal archaeologists were available to process archaeological permits, review reports, or analyze potential impacts to cultural resources from energy extraction or other projects. Cultural resource consultants who rely on federal contracts, federal permits, or federal compliance review were also impacted by the government shutdown, as were university programs receiving federal funding.

 

SAA’s 2015 member needs assessment survey revealed that roughly 7 percent of SAA members (roughly 500 archaeologists) work for the federal government, and an even larger number of members do the bulk of their archaeological work on federal lands or with federal funding or permits. The American Cultural Resource Association is compiling shutdown stories to share with legislators about how the shutdown affected archaeologists’ ability to do our jobs. If you have a shutdown story, please share it at https://www.acra-crm.org/acrasphere/7135390/Reply?replyTo=7135390#7135390.

I have received some feedback asserting that SAA was wrong to have taken a stance against funding for the border wall when urging members to contact their Senators to end the shutdown. I want to clarify that our opposition to the wall is based on the very real threat that construction of a border wall – or border fence – will be done without any archaeological surveys or mitigation of impacts to archaeological sites. In August 2018, the Coalition for American Heritage (CAH) filed comments with the Customs and Border Patrol regarding their decision to waive crucial preservation and environmental laws to expedite the construction of 33 miles of fencing in the Rio Grande Valley along the U.S. – Mexico border, stating “This decision will endanger irreplaceable cultural heritage resources, including numerous archaeological sites that would otherwise be considered prior to construction.” We have every reason to believe that, should the administration receive funding to build additional segments of border walls, they will continue to waive national historic preservation and environmental laws to expedite construction.

SAA will continue to advocate with the new Congress for continued adherence to existing federal legislation protecting cultural resources, for stronger laws to safeguard against the export of looted antiquities, and for adequate funding for cultural resource programs. We are optimistic that the new Democratic leadership in the House will be receptive to our message and will continue to reach across the aisle to key Republican members of Congress to assist us in our efforts.

Susan M. Chandler, RPA

President

 

Again, we hope to have a companion piece posted soon to provide an additional narrative of the effects of such a shutdown.

IUP Anthropology Department

I Can Munsell That? (Part 3)

Today we bring you the latest installment of “I Can Munsell That.”  The series where I get to Munsell something unusual for my own enjoyment and curiosity and share the results with you.  In this edition we will be using the Munsell Soil Color Chart on a delicious snack that someone was so kind to make and contribute to the collective grad lounge snacks.  What is it you ask?  Maple, peanut, and bacon popcorn!  You heard me right, that’s a sweet and salty popcorn mix.

This lovely snack has four main parts to examine: plain popcorn, glazed popcorn, glazed peanuts, and bacon.  Due to different amounts of the maple glaze, there are an array of hues on the glazed items, so I will focus on what shade seems the most prominent.  Let’s begin with the base of this, plain ol’ popcorn.  It fits quite well with 9.5/N (white) on the white page.  The glazed popcorn is where the issues of hues begin.  To me, it looks around 10YR 4/6 (dark yellowish brown), side note the color depicted in the image is slightly different due to lighting but I note it like I see it.  Then we have the peanuts which get fairly close to 10YR 6/8 (brownish yellow), almost a perfect match.  Finally, we have the bacon which doesn’t have the best color match in a Munsell color chart (surprise!) but there’s a decent match.  This specific bacon bit was around 10R 3/4 (dusky red).

 

plain popcorn

glazed popcorn

glazed peanuts

bacon

That’s all for today folks.  Thank you for indulging me in my nonsense.  Need more silliness?  Want to know more about the Munsell color system?  Click here or here to be redirected to my older posts on the subject.  Or you can click here and see where the inspiration for this series came from.

IUP Anthropology Department

Thinking About Archaeology in Media

Sitting in my office, coffee in hand, I scroll through various websites.  In truth, I’m just looking for new or interesting articles that I’ve yet to see.  However, I’ve been noticing a pattern and it’s not quite positive.  There is a degree of pseudo-archaeology that sticks its ugly nose in.  Now, the positive thing here is that this degree of disinformation and inaccurate representation does not apply to most articles that I have been seeing but it fluctuates depending on the website.  Particularly on social media (mainly Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit) is where I see the highest degree of false or self-serving archaeology. I guess this shouldn’t be surprising as most of the articles I’ve seen like this come from those sites that post anything for sensationalism and reap that sweet, sweet ad revenue.

The point I’m trying to reach is that I’m seeing archaeology inaccurately represented and used for self-serving purposes more than I should.  By no means am I the only person to notice or feel the need to write, perhaps vent, about this.  Archaeology is not accurately represented in media, and this is the basis of my complaints.  For media to pass along a message, it needs to be digestible for the average reader.  Archaeologists, whether budding or professional, are not the average reader.  It is not designed for us, but for the public audience.  Where we want to know everything from methodology to data interpretation, this would make the average public audience glassy-eyed between the minute details, terminology, and the typical length of an article.  It needs to get to the point while glamorizing various portions of the work to draw in the audience and keep their attention.  Or, it needs to be done in a manner that serves a purpose beyond upping ad revenue.

You know, my most notable grievance come from media outlets that I have enjoyed for years, like the Travel and History channels.  These outlets give archaeology a home in mainstream media outlets, but it becomes twisted and warped.  Legitimate archaeology becomes intermixed with conspiracy theories, like the idea of ancient aliens.  I think Dr. David S. Anderson spells this out clearly in his Washington Post article about “Legends of the Lost” stating:

“Legends of the Lost” often ends up in just such a place. (Megan) Fox, a Hollywood actress, is clear throughout the episodes that she wants to find evidence of myth and magic — and to show up the devotees of “hidebound academia.” To come to these conclusions, she is perfectly happy to make use of scholarly research that can fit into her narrative, but sadly most everything else is left out of the show.

Essentially, this is an example of media cherry-picking information to best suit their needs, and in this case the needs are sensationalism and viewership.  Yes, this is far more entertaining for a typical audience but that doesn’t make this information correct by any means.  I could complain about more shows like American Pickers (antique dealers with shop called Antique Archaeology), The Curse of Oak Island (glorified treasure hunting), Pawn Stars (with their history of dealing historical artifacts), Ancient Aliens (duh), and a fair few others.  Frankly, these shows like to take the information that fits their story and make leaps that Evel Knievel couldn’t.  Not all of them do, Pawn Stars and American Pickers try to give a brief history of material possessions, but that is how I see them.

I’d like to say that I’m upset by the way that archaeology is portrayed in the media, and to a degree I am, but it is not all bad.  There are outlets that show archaeology for what it really is.  There are hundreds of archaeology blogs, numerous documentaries, and even a few TV shows that do this.  While I can’t vouch for the quality of every blog, documentary, show, book, magazine, publication, and whatever else but they do exist, and I hope those sources get picked up more by the general public.  Will they? Maybe a few, but if it’s not made to entertain then the interest in it will probably be limited.

IUP Department of Anthropology

Holidays and Skeptical Family

Welcome to the first post of the new year folks!  I hope everyone has enjoyed the various holidays and found this time restful, relaxing, other adjectives, and so on.  I know that I have felt exceptionally lazy since the last semester ended, but I have caught up on some much-needed sleep.  So, let’s start the year off with something I’ve experienced before, something I’m sure so many of my peers have experienced as well.  While holidays are a time for bringing families together, it is also a time for those estranged relatives to judge every aspect of your life.

“Why don’t you have a girlfriend?”

“Have you found a job yet?” 

“That’s an interesting degree, but you’re not going to find work.” 

OK, hold up, I can stand some prodding and poking into my personal/private life, but you can’t just make a judgement call like that without knowing the extent of archaeological or otherwise anthropological work.  Now, I managed to avoid that last statement this year, but I’ve heard it before and something tells me that those reading this blog have probably encountered this.  So, let’s debunk this.

What can you do with your degree?  Well, it’ll vary based on what degree(s) you have and where you choose to specialize, but let’s use my current degree and what I’m working towards as an example.

Anthropology BA – There’s more you can do with a BA in Anthropology than your doubting second cousin twice removed will ever believe.  Here is a list of job titles taken strictly from Indeed (a site dedicated to jobs): Archaeological Field Technician (very first result), Research Assistant (American Museum of Natural History), Administrative Aide (various ANTH Dept), Case Manager (social services), Mental Health Technician (various hospitals), Public Programs Coordinator, Audience Research Associate (Philadelphia Museum of Art).  Look, there is work available in hospitals, museums, social service groups, and CRM.  There’s more if you take the time to just look around.

Applied Archaeology MA – So a BA wasn’t going to be enough, eh?  Yeah, it seems like it never is anymore.  Every job wants the highest degree imaginable plus five years of experience.  So, this degree seems a little more straightforward.  I assume most people getting a MA in Archaeology, applied or otherwise, are probably trying to become a registered professional archaeologist.  This of course opens pathways further in CRM and academic archaeology.  That’s not the only possibility though, you can get work as a conservator, a heritage manager, or in an array of museum positions related to curation, education, and preservation.

Look, I could expand this to other similar degrees and/or continuations of these degrees, but there’s more than I’ll ever be able to list.  The fact of the matter is, you can find work in archaeology and anthropology.

IUP Department of Anthropology

Lessons From the First Semester of a Grad Student

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

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

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

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

IUP Anthropology Department