About Ethan Watrall

An anthropological archaeologist who has worked in North America and North Africa, Ethan Watrall is Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology and Associate Director of MATRIX: The Center for Digital Humanities & Social Sciences at Michigan State University. Ethan also serves as Adjunct Curator of Archaeology & Heritage at the Michigan State University Museum. In addition, Ethan is Director of the Cultural Heritage Informatics Initiative and the Digital Heritage Fieldschool in the Department of Anthropology at Michigan State University. Currently, Ethan is Co-PI of Enslaved: People of the Historic Slave Trade, an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation funded project. Previously, he was Co-Director of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) funded ARCS: Archaeological Resource Cataloguing System project, Co-Director of the NEH funded Digital Archive of Malian Photography project, and Director of the NEH funded Institute for Digital Archaeological Method and Practice. Ethan’s primarily scholarly interests lie in how digital methods and computational approaches can be leveraged to preserve and provide access to archaeological and heritage materials, collections, knowledge, and data in order to facilitate research, advance knowledge, fuel interpretation, and democratize our collective understanding and appreciation of the past.

Class Survey

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Hey folks – as promised, I’ve created a survey for the class.  I’m hoping that you will take a little bit of time to complete it (because it will help with future versions of this class – as well as a all other Anthropology online classes).  They survey can be found on ANGEL – located under the Lessons tab.  I’m going to close down the survey at the end of the weekend.

Bonus Blog!

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So, I promised it…and here it is, your bonus blog.  This time, I’ve got a specific question:

Which aspect (topic, etc.) in Egyptian archaeology (that we either covered in class or didn’t cover in class) do you think is the most important?  Why?  Make your argument!

The post is due on Thursday, the 18th (before midnight) – no response is needed (just the post).

 

Wiki Info

As promised, here is the info for the course wiki (http://classwiki.matrix.msu.edu) and for the archaeological site report.

Firs, the guidelines for the archaeological site report.  Generally speaking, I would like it to include the following sections/content:

  • Intro
  • Introduction to location, geography, geology, setting, etc.
  • Discussion of excavations – both past and present
  • Results and significance of excavations
  • Conclusion – importance of site & excavations, how it fits into overall egyptian archaeology (and related to other similar sites), etc.

In terms of sources, I far prefer archaeological and egyptological sources (articles, books, book chapters, websites, etc written by actual archaeologists and egyptologists) as opposed to sources that write about the site from a generally uninformed or casual perspective.  I don’t care whether the sources are digital or physical.  Sources such as wikipedia, about.com, dictionary.com, etc, etc, etc are not not acceptable (wikipedia is always a good place to start, but it isn’t an acceptable authoritative source).  I would suggest looking to Google books as they seem to have digitized a lot of the early (early 20th century) Egpyptian archaeological sources.

Also (as I said in last week’s weekly intro video), I’ve prepared a short screencast tutorial on working with the course wiki.  You can find it in the Tutorial Videos section of the course website.

I also promised a handy-dandy guide/cheat sheet for wiki formatting:

http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Help:Formatting

Its also likely that you’ll be including images in your site report (remember, images have to be cited as well).  Here is an intro on how you can do that:

http://www.mediawiki.org/wiki/Help:Images

Open Access: A Note to Non-Michigan State University Students

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Greetings!  Welcome to ANP491: Archaeology of Ancient Egypt! If you aren’t already registered for the class, you’ve either come to this website via the recent Boing Boing post, via Audrey Watters’ recent Weekly News Roundup post on KQED MindShift, though the social media (the class announcement has been making the RT rounds on Twitter), or simply stumbled across it via a search.

A couple of quick notes that will help you enjoy (and, more importantly, understand) the class.  Archaeology is a regularly offered class in the Department of Anthropology (being taught online this summer) at Michigan State University.  The class is also Open Access.  This means that most of the content (video lectures, etc.) are freely available to the public.  You can’t “register” for the class – like a student at MSU would (in order to get credit towards a degree).  However, you can view all of the learning materials and read all of the stuff students write for the class.  I also let non-registered students comment on blog posts (so you can take part in the class discussion if you want – though I moderate).  There are some of the readings that non-MSU people don’t have access to (specifically journal articles) – this is for copyright purposes.

It is worth pointing out that while Michigan State University is technically part of the Open Courseware Consortium, it does not have a top level approach to Open Courseware or Open Access Courses (such as the MIT Open Courseware Initiative).  This course is Open Access because I personally believe it is my responsibility as a professor at a university that is both a public institution and a Land Grant institution to work for the public good – and offering all of my classes as Open Access (not just this one) is one of the ways I do this.

Its also very important to point out that, unless otherwise stated, the materials in this class are being made available through a Creative Commons BY-NC 3.0 License.  I would ask that respect that license.

This having been said, I hope you get something worthwhile out of the class.

Welcome to ANP491: Archaeology of Ancient Egypt

I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome everyone to the online version of ANP 491: Archaeology of Ancient Egypt.  This course will introduce students to one of the most fascinating societies in human history: ancient Egypt. The class will challenge students to explore the origins and fluorescence of the rich cultures of Egypt, ranging from the earliest foundations of the Egyptian state in the 5th century B.C. to the splendors of Roman Egypt under the rule of Cleopatra. By exploring case studies that highlight the extraordinary archaeological heritage of ancient Egypt, the course will focus students’ attentions on key anthropological concepts, such as kinship, ritual, political economy, mortuary practices, and cultural contact.

There are a few things that you need to do first before anytihng else:

  1. Watch the Class Introduction Video (located in the Week 1 Schedule section of the course website).  This will give you a run down of everything we’ll be doing in the class.
  2. Create a Twitter (http://www.twitter.com) account and subscribe to my Twitter feed (https://twitter.com/captain_primate).  Remember to use the #anp491 hashtag for class stuff
  3. Create a Gravatar account (www.gravatar.com).  Remember to use your MSU email address
  4. Login to the course website (you should have already received the invite email) and change your password and display name (if you don’t know how, check out the Tutorial Videos.
  5. Be absolutely sure you look through the entire course website (especially, the About, Assignments & Grading, and Schedule sections).  If you have any questions, send me an email or comment on this post (which would be good because it means that everyone in the class would benefit from both the question and the answer)

As a total aside, I’m interested in trying out Google+ (https://plus.google.com) to create a network for the class.  If people are interested in trying this out, raise your “virtual” hand.

You will be receiving a separate email (sent to your official MSU email address) shortly with an invite to the class blog.

PLEASE NOTE: If you registered for this class after Tuesday (July 5th), you will not have received your invite email to the class blog. Please email me ASAP, and I’ll get you set up. Also, if you are having trouble accessing the course blog, email me ASAP.

ADDITIONAL NOTE: I changed the parameters of the blog entry/response assignments slightly after I made the course intro video.  So, my discussion of that assignment (in the video) doesn’t line up with the new requirements of the assignment.  Check out the Assignments & Grading section of the course website for full details.

I’m looking forward to working with you this semester.