Category Archives: General

Engaged Archaeology Project Reflection

My engaged archaeology project was the combination of the survey and writing aspects in which I analyzed the components of engaged archaeology and the guidelines that are followed by the archaeological community when addressing the public.  In conjunction I conducted a survey in which I analyzed a sample of the general public in order to determine the success of the archaeological community’s direction of archaeological information to the public.  Questions that were addressed include:

– What are common association that you make concerning the field of archaeology?

– Has the archaeological community shared enough information concerning archaeological study?

– If so, how have you obtained this information? If not, what are some suggestions that can be used to improve the spread archaeological information?

From these questions, I discovered that majority of the sampled public had incorrect assumptions of the field of archaeology ranging from Indiana Jones (of course) to The Mummy and other Hollywood based depictions. Others associated the field of archaeology with that of paleontology or dinosaurs, again, another misconception provided via the media. In other aspects of my investigation, it was revealed that the general public feels that the archaeological community does not reveal enough information concerning the field of archaeology and offered manners to improve it such as; targeting elementary school education, or providing college credit in high school by operating in digs and other archaeological related processes. Another suggestion offered the option of requiring that archaeology related courses be required as a prerequisite. This is a smart option because it will provide all collegiate educated individuals with some grasp upon archaeological inquiry. This is important because in the surveys conducted many of the collegiate population lacked correct knowledge concerning the field of archaeology. A mandated archaeological study will address this lack of knowledge.

In correlation to this point it is important to recognize that the archaeological community has began targeting the younger populations because it has been discovered that they do not have interest based desires. Essentially, that targeting the younger populations will ,potentially, originate interest for archaeological information if that is what they are exposed to . Another interesting point that was found in my study is that, the percentage of participants that agreed that the archaeological community shared enough information, revealed that majority had obtained their information from non scholarly sources such as media and other sources of that nature. I, also noticed the lack of effort in some responses that were given and it furthers the point that  the public does not view archaeology with much importance. This is completely false due to the fact that archaeology is directly tied to that of other areas of study such as the natural sciences and

Therefore, it is through my survey that I realized that the aspect of engaged archaeology is not as dispersed as we have thought. The public seems to be becoming increasingly influenced by the media into thinking of misconstrued perceptions. As a community we need to spread information to the public! We need to correct these misconceptions!

Final blog post, archaeology of music

For my engaged archaeology project, I picked the archaeology of music as an engaged component. I had planned on doing it with a historical component, but with the primary focus on what people thought about today’s music, if they thought it was better or worse than the music of the music and why. I planned on doing a survey of many people, expecting to find that most people preferred the music of the past. I would then do a lot of research on the trends and styles of music of time to answer the question why people thought today’s pop music was bad. However, when I started doing the research for this, I felt attracted to a more use-based approach and sort of decided that instead of trying to make this an engaged question, I would talk about how much music affects us all the time in our daily lives and what the implications of this cultural submergence in music could tell us. I decided to write a ten to twelve page paper still on the archaeology of music, but instead of trying to make it an engaged issue, I decided to show the relevance of music and prove it as a significant topic that needed to be highlighted further and investigated by scientists and archaeologists. I first start my paper off as intended with a historical background of the evolution of our ancestors and their brains which allowed them to produce and use music as ways of communicating and emotional expressions. I follow this with a brief history of the vessels of music, musical instruments and discuss the earliest types of sound-producing objects meant for this purpose. Next I discuss music’s use and meaning in several different contexts beginning with central Asia and lutes, where the lute is a symbol of the enlightened intellectual in society and reflects good manner and good taste. Then I discuss another context, the context of the middle-east with their instrument, the saz. The saz in this context is a symbol of freedom and rebellion. After this I interlude with a discussion on gender implications of music and performance in a couple different cultures, and lead into the context of Africa where gender plays a big part in their culture’s use of music. In this culture instruments are representative and equal to human beings because they used to make drums out of human body parts, therefore they are sacred and now used in rituals to summon spirits. Any woman who sees these instruments is executed on site. After that I turn to an American and modern context. I surveyed many people about music but what I was getting after is what they used it for and what purpose they thought it served in society. Following that I discuss my personal experience with music and my archaeological use of it and try to convince the reader that society could not function without music. Therefore we need to be very conscious about the types of music that we listen to in public because music is so influential. I believe my paper does a supported scientific job of explaining the extreme significance of music and I hope you enjoy it!

Engaged Archaeology Project

For my engaged archaeology project, I created a website that examined common misconceptions about archaeology held by college students, as well as the impact of archaeology on the financial world. I first created a survey on surveymonkey.com that is linked to my website. This gave me a base of what students currently do and do not understand about the field of archaeology. I then took the results of the survey to create a page on my website that cleared up the things students thought about archaeology that are incorrect. I took the top 5 most falsely-answered questions from my 10-question survey to make the “Misconceptions” page. The last page of my website was titled “Finance” because I wanted to examined the overlap between archaeology and the field of finance. I did this in three distinct ways – the financial effect on material culture, the financial value of artifacts, and the financial motivators for the dispersion of cultures.

This project provided not only exposure to the community for the field of archaeology, but also gave me a skill I had not possessed in creating a website. I was blown away by the user-friendly nature of using website creators such as wix.com. I had always been intimidated by the prospect of making a website, but it is in fact much easier than I had ever thought.  I had multiple templates to choose from, and it gave me a platform to present my information to the community in a succinct way.  I had also never created a survey online before. This will serve me well in the future as I can obtain information from a group of people in an expedited manner and can analyze this information all in one place.

This was a very worthwhile project that allowed me to explore with creativity in a way I typically do not in my finance classes. I hope that users find my website informative and easy to use.

Website: http://george60.wix.com/archaeology-explored

 

“Why does archaeology matter to me?” BONUS- RL

This last blog post for this class is a sad one, but at the same time it is the best way to end a great semester learning about archaeology.  Going along with what most people said, I took this class as an substitute for an IAH. Taking an early morning class is a drag, but this class was definitely not a drag. My first day I walked into class thinking that archaeology is the study of dinosaurs… makes me laugh right now. It is actually the answer that is used by most people who are asked what archaeology is. I quickly learned that archaeology had nothing to do with dinosaurs, but that it what paleontology  is for. I can most defiantly inform people about archaeology  and the importance of CONTEXT with remains of the past that is found.

Archaeology is a way to tell a story about the people in the past and how they may have lived. By understanding the context of the remains found in an excavation or at a site can help explain the people who may have inhabited their. Not everyone can understand the importance of an artifact such as  a pot from 1,000 years ago. Instead this pot in its certain location can explain a story about a family that lived in a shack because of features in the ground and they used the pot to heat up their food by the river. Being able to tell a story is very important in explaining the findings to the public. I did not realize how tough it was to teach the public about archaeology and help them understand the past. Doing the archaeology project was difficult in producing a music video to help inform people without   dousing them will a million facts. The public do not always enjoy long 50 page papers that talk about findings.

Archaeology is important to understand the past life of our ancestors and to see how they lived their lives. Being able to understand the history of our people and their nations will allow us to learn about the successes, beliefs and medical practices that they may have used in their traditions. I think archaeology matter mostly to me because there is so many subfields that you can learn from that can help explain questions that you may have about the people who inhabited the earth in the past. One great example of this is pseudo- archaeology.  Learning about psuedoarchaeology and how people recorded in history about aliens or astronauts came from space and taught the people how to implement certain practices. I was always curious about the idea of extra terrestrials, but the idea that people in the past had or their experiences is very interesting to me. Archaeology always has curiosity and mystery in every field. Being able to see all types of archaeology especially the underwater archaeology was awesome. Who knew I would use the word awesome talking about archaeology? Learning about underwater archaeology and the different processes that are used to apply for excavating is truly something I will never forget. Although this was just an introduction class, I definitely feel like I have learned more than I imagined and feel very educated. Sitting in the lecture about underwater archaeology , I was able to understand the speaker with his use of the  terms of archaeology . This was a very great moment for me to be able to be as knowledgeable as I am for just an introduction class.

Archaeology is important to understand the past and how we as a society can learn from past peoples mistakes or implement their practices today. I believe archaeology to me can’t be explained in just one sentence. To me archaeology is understanding the context of remains that is found and try to understand the story about the past.  Being able to unravel the mysteries of the past will help our society become better. Even though this was just a introduction to archaeology, I will take what I learned from class and help educate other people about archaeology and its importance.

 

ARCHAEOLOGY  RULES!

Bonus Blog Post – Why Archaeology Matters to Me

As an anthropology major, and the only one in this class at that, taking intro to archaeology was very important to me.  Prior to taking this class, I had experienced the other three sub-fields of anthropology, so it only felt fitting to try out the last subfield as well.  Regardless of which sub-field I choose to focus on in the future, the multidisciplinary aspects of archaeology will most definitely be useful to me.  I have found that I am particularly drawn to the specific topics of Conservation and Public Relations parts of archaeology.

As I am currently interested in either social or physical anthropology, I definitely see myself using the principles of archaeology in the future.  Through social anthropology, the analysis of material culture will most definitely be important.  Along with that comes the documentation and preservation that we discussed in class.  I have a hunger to know more about different cultures, both those that still exists and those that don’t, which is a big part of why I chose the field of anthropology in the first place.  Therefore, the archaeological aspects of using material culture and importance of context really spoke to me.  I now realize how crucial it is to look at the past for clues about the present.  I have always found it interesting, how different cultures met and were able to make impacts on each other – whether good or bad.

The more practical aspects of archaeology that we learned, such as surveying, will be useful if I choose to focus on physical anthropology.  My ultimate goal in this field would be to work with government and non-profit organizations to work in areas of warfare and genocide.  I would like to be able to use the skills learned in this class to find lost bodies of victims and return them to their families and hometowns.  Sometimes this task can be relatively difficult, as unidentified and unclaimed bodies have nowhere to go.  It is sort of reminiscent of what Dr. Jackie Lillis-Warwick described to us about unclaimed material culture and skeletal remains of the Native Americans.

In conclusion, the things we learned in this class about archaeology have really opened my eyes.  Although anthropology is generally classified into four main subfields, I am slowly realizing how interdisciplinary they can be and that I can definitely dip my toes into more sub-field than one if I desire, which I fully intend to do!

Final Blog Post EverRrRrRrRrRrR!

The Game Description at the outset:

The Task – I need to Create/build/write something having to do with “engaged” archeology.

What is engagement? – Students make a psychological investment in learning, in understanding the material and incorporating or internalizing it in their lives.

Project Description – “Most archaeologists realize that they have to do more to engage with and educate the public about the past. What “engaged” archaeology means, however, is often a source of discussion (and debate)”.

Personal Belief: I am and always have been under the impression that active learning is the only way to truly understand/process the world around us. Every single day we are bombarded with sensory information and through these complex combinations of interactions, a picture of the world is painted before us. I therefore would like to create a game, or in other words a conceptual challenge by which several abstract pieces of material information can be tied together in order to create an overall understanding of something. I want these abstractions of information to be intuitively strung together in such a way, that they reveal a hidden message [much like the work true archeologists do]. A process by which field information can be related to a deeper understanding, which may even then be related to answer the “Bigger questions” that are of concern to many social and historical domains.

Game: The game is going to be called Puzzles. Why you ask? Well that is the puzzle. Seriously though, it will be an archeological game that consists of 4 layers of puzzles.

• Taking pieces of the wood, I plan to make a boxed-game. This game will consist of 5 dynamic levels of challenges and Archeological know-how. Each level will be a self-explanatory challenge by which the process of archeology can be uncovered, and the true message will be uncovered. As I believe we will be presenting to one another, I do not want to give away all of my secrets, and ruin the game. The first level will be excavation however. You will have to systematically dig your way to the next level. That is all I will share for now. You’ll have to play to solve the mystery!
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Final Design:

This is what I set out to do for my engaged archeology project. The game began with a trip to the Home depot, and ultimately ended at the Hobby Lobby when I decided that I didn’t have the time to physically build EVERYTHING from scratch. So grabbing some fake dirt, a few skeletons, a bag of miniaturized logs, and a few boxes, I set out to build a game that would really make people think.

So once I had all of the material, I began to plan out dimensions and constructs that would be utilized within the game. My idea was to make a 3-Dimmensional overlay plot of the three boards, which incorporated information from every “puzzle” level of the game. The first box was straightforward. It had a preset grid from which you could dig with your miniature trowel (which was the end of a fancy ink-well pen), until you uncovered two known objects – a skull and a rib cage. This was supposed to be a tedious and a frustrating level because that’s sort of what archeology is during an excavation. It’s long, it’s slow, and it’s detailed. So after locating the two pieces, you could move on to puzzle number two. The hope was that although it wasn’t mentioned, that one would take detailed notes and measurements of the location/size of any artifacts found and exactly where they were found within the grid….. Because remember, context is everything in archeology!

Level two consisted of finding a ruined site. It was your job as the archeologist to uncover all details of the site, and to make a detailed drawing of the site within the confines of the grid. This was for further practice at taking detailed notes/possibly being a reminder to go back to puzzle one to complete it.

Level three was an incomplete puzzle, with one piece fixed atop the final board – to which a random word jumble was generated/set. Once the puzzle was complete only a fraction of the words were covered. The point being that if you only look at the parts instead of the whole picture, the true meaning of the game would escape your grasp. To actually solve the game, detailed sections had to be overlain onto the see-through paper that was provided. Once this was overlain onto the word jumble, everything became clear. The words desired lay within the foundation and within the head/rib cage that were dimensioned in very precise locations in order to perfectly match the words. The message that was revealed was, “Once you open your mind to the impossible, sometimes you are able to find the truth”. Or something along those lines, as I am probably paraphrasing the quote. The author of this quote, well at least the person that spoke it, his name is Walter Bishop. He is a character in the TV show Fringe that I watched frequently over the summer. I just really loved his quote and felt it pertained, because if you were able to open your mind to see “outside of the individual boxes”, then, and only then could you unveil this message.

My point of this game, was to demonstrate that archeology may not seem like much at times on the surface. However, when you take the context that is provided from that work, and you apply them to the world or to the historical timeline. That is when the magic happens. That is when you uncover truths that you may never have seen otherwise, or that you would have never known. So alas I am finally done. I am very proud of how my game turned out, and I hope someone enjoys it someday. It was a great intellectual challenge for me to create, and I loved that. Signing off.

Submerged History of the Adriatic – Extra Credit

Before the lecturer Hrvoje Potrebica spoke, the man who presented the lecturer spoke about the Archaeological Institute of America, and I do believe that he stated that he was the director of Central Michigan chapter. He discussed the benefits of membership that included opportunities to excavate, study abroad programs that would allow students to participate in archaeological projects, and subscriptions to the American journal of Archaeology and archaeology magazines. He stated that the price for students was bout $40 annually. I thought this was pretty cool because it always students to get involved in archaeology beyond the classroom.

The lecturer begins by describing Croatian Adriatic, he states that there are 1246 islands and more than 400 registered underwater archaeological sites both in the sea and inland waters. He then stated that there are more than 200 shipwrecks with remains of prehistoric settlements. I thought this was quite interesting because I did not even know that so many shipwreck discoveries have been made. Another fascinating thing that the lecturer brought up in his introduction is that archaeology in Croatia began in 1889 but Frane Bulie, who conducted the first scientific exploration of an underwater site. Some of my friends that I have asked about archaeology think that the study is relatively new but the start of archaeology in Croatia validates the studies longevity.

One of the most interesting sites that the lecturer discussed was The Bay of Cikat at Mali Losinj, he stated that the entrance to the bay was a shipwreck with cargo of Roman tegulae. He stated that material culture found included fragments of amphorae, roman pottery, modern pottery, different types of clay pipes and two iron cannons. I liked that when he was discussing the shipwrecks he had pictures of the items. The items stated above resembled some of the items we talked during class when discussing ceramics and material culture.

Also he talked about Project Adrias (Archaeolgy of Adriatic Shipbuilding and Seafaring), and the goal of the Adrias project is to protect shipwrecks and to even learn how ships were made in the past by doing so they can make conclusions regarding the ships structure and the reasons the ship was destroyed.

One thing that I found interesting about identifying which material culture belonged to the crew and which ones were acquired from different parts of the world was when the lecturer stated that if we wanted to know where the ship came from we should look in the kitchen because that’s where we would find what the crew uses.

Other interesting shipwrecks he discussed was:

  • Stoba Promontory, Island of Mijet where they found a glass cup still in tact. I thought that was extraordinary
  • Sv. Pavao (St. Paul), Island of Mijet, where they found a ship bell with the actual date engraved on the bell.
  • Findings in the Hutovo Blato Lake, where discovers included a Graeco Helmet, and late Bronze Age belt plate.

Overall I really liked the lecturer especially because he incorporated so many discovers in his hour-long lecture. He was very informative and the topic was fascinating.

Bonus Blog Assignment

Last Tuesday, I attended some of the “Submerged History Of The Adriatic” lecture. Sadly, I had to leave thirty minutes into the presentation because I had a late lab. Nevertheless, I will write about what I did see.

Before this lecture, I remember reading someone’s blog post about underwater excavating and I found it to be quite fascinating. So it was really cool that we had the opportunity to learn more about underwater archaeology through this lecture. Even though Dr. Potrebica has a soft voice, it was still relatively easy to pay attention to his lecture (especially when paired with the beautiful images from his slides.)

At the beginning of the lecture, he stated that around the Croatian site, there were 400 archaeological sites and over 200 shipwrecks (71 of them being modern – WWI and WWII era.) The Croatian site is an archaeological goldmine, with so many intact artifacts (such as kitchen courseware, oil lamps, pottery, etc.) I was amazed at how well the artifacts were preserved, especially the glass items found at one of the sites. With so many different sites underwater, it shows just how important this nontraditional form of excavating is. When thinking about how our Earth is changing, different methods of archaeology are a must for adapting to these changes. He stated that Neanderthals had previously lived on one of the submerged sites, meaning that over time, the coastline moved inland. It makes you think about how future archaeologist may be studying coastal cities in underwater ruins.

Even though I had to leave early, I am glad that I caught one of his important quotes that stuck out to me. He mentioned that archaeology was a way of “entering people’s lives” and that an archaeologist’s job is to “tell stories of the people who made [these] items.” I like the idea that through archaeology and history, the people of the past live on through what they built and used. It reminds me of the importance of studying the past and how archaeology acts as a direct connection between the past and the present.

Submerged History of the Adriatic Assignment

This lecture was interesting in the fact that not only did it address the techniques and discoveries made within the Croatian Underwater environment, but it specifically addressed the issue of conservation and spreading awareness as to the destructive elements of site looting and interference. It served as a prime example of an archaeologist serving to educate the public as to the realities of the field of archaeology, and not just delivering fantastical ideas.

The Croatian Adriatic consists of 1246 islands, 5790 kilometers of coastline and more than 400 registered underwater archaeological sites. Within these archaeological there have appeared more than 200 shipwrecks (3 pre-history and 71 modern), most of which stemming from the Roman empire. The history of the Adriatic serves to explain the reason of the data found. In 1889 France Bulic underwent the first exploration of underwater sites, thus paving the way for the founding for the Department of Underwater archaeology in 1960. Presently, it is part of the Croatian Conservation Institute and has undergone many different projects each separated into sections.

Within this environment, exists the only underwater Neanderthal site, Vindite, and is important in the fact that it has potential to provide evidence as to whether or not Neanderthals and modern humans coexisted. However, it has been a slow process because the geology of Adriatic is mixed, making it very difficult to excavate. Artifacts, primarily Mousterian tools have been found in uneven layers of sediment, thus suggesting that during the Ice Age  the Adriatic may have been land. As stated before over 400 sites exist, including  the Vizula Peninsula and Bay of Cikat. The Viztula Peninsula site consists of both land and underwater archaeology, however this site is very shallow and can prove disastrous to the preservation of underwater sites. Much evidence has been found dating back to the first and fifth centuries, including combs and horn handled amphora. The Bay of Cikat is located in the west port of Mali Losinj and contains many remains of Roman Pottery, medieval building materials, dating back to the 17th century.

As a result of this project, Project Adrias was formed which focuses on the Archaeology of Adriatic Ship Building and Seafaring. The sole focus of this experiment is to enhance the public’s knowledge of the history of sea building. As a result, analysis has occurred on discovered shipwrecks and has been able to determine the composition of a ships structure and in what ways it differs/ is similar to that of modern naval construction.

This portion of the presentation was important because of the fact that it stressed the disastrous effects of looting and tampering with site construction. Hvorje Potrebica stressed that excavation and gathering of its contents was extremely important and needed to be done as soon as possible. Out of all two hundred shipwrecks, only two were not plundered! However, removal of an underwater site’s contents may be unattainable due to the degraded status of the material. Therefore, an attempt has been made to create underwater museums, in which tourists could undergo scuba dive to the different sites in the Adriatic and view its contents. However, in order to protect each “exhibit” , cage have been built and surround it. This serves and a safer alternative for materials and innovative experience for tourists, potentially striking more interest in archaeological conservation.

Bonus Blog: Submerged History of the Adriatic

I went to the lecture about the Submerged History of the Adriatic on Tuesday’s night. Honestly speaking, Hrvoje Potebica’s voice is really low that I had a hard time to hear what he said. No matter what, the content of the lecture was amazing and lead me to another world. There are more than 400 archaeological sites located in Adriatic, and archaeologists have excavated many sites and unearthed gorgeous pottery, architectures, etc. Due to the global warming, the sea level rose dramatically for centuries, hence, it trigger the foundation of underwater archaeology. Excavation underwater at least you should get a diving permit, and it waste a lot of energy than excavation on ground. Consequently, archaeologists face a sea of challenges when they are excavating include security. However, water become one important factor in preserving these material cultures since the characteristic of water though sometimes it will also do harm to them.

 

More importantly, there was one question aroused my attention and interest. Hrvoje Potebica was asked about the situation of site preservation in Adriatic. Unfortunately, he said that there are limited police so the preservation bears much more pressure. And because many archaeological sites are below water, so it is difficult for archaeologist to protect it. In addition, the 400 sites are distributed around 1200 islands, policeman cannot travel around every sites and the areas are much large so looting is a serious problem for archaeology. Compared with land preservation, underwater preservation needs more human resources and techniques. Land preservation simply need to prevent people away from the archaeological sites, but underwater preservation cannot prevent people from sites. From the lecture, I have saw beautiful pottery and sculptures, I cannot imagine that these artifacts are stolen and sold to black market, it will be a huge loss to not only archaeology but also the all human beings.