Tag Archives: outreach

Time-lapse Excavation at Hammerfest, Norway

I was delighted to find this video of a time-lapse excavation performed by the Tromsø Museum of a turf and stone structure from the 1700s. What really makes this video is the graphic in the corner of where the camera is located and the overall plan of the structure, highlighting what is being excavated. It transforms what looks like a bunch of workers shuffling around rocks in the mud into something inteligible. This is the translation of the video description I got in Google Translate from the original Norwegian:

Time-lapse of the excavations on the structure of S5 in the period 9.6. -21.7.2010. The structure is constructed dwellings of turf and stone. The shape of the structure implies a dichotomy where one part may have been a timber construction and the other part a hut construction. On the inside of the thick sod walls were found neverlag in different levels (see eg.Context 102). Remains of buildings is mainly dated to the 1700s, but can extend down to 1600 – the number and up to 1800′s.  Time-lapse footage shows the last part of the excavation, where the scroll. chimney, walls, entrances and some luck are being put excavated / removed. Towards the end of the grave none appeared a rock pit in one wall of the house, where the fill, context 118 and 128, were removed.

Video from the archaeological excavations in Cut Vika and Vika Mountains, Hammerfest, performed by the Tromsø Museum, University Museum.

 

Excellent video and a fairly easy way to help the audience see the archaeology.

A quick, unrelated note:

Thanks again for everyone who commented on the previous entry about health and safety. I’ve long wanted to make a series of videos or comics to make boring topics such as OSHA compliance easy to understand, but when to find the time?

World of Warcraft’s Archaeology Skill

From Blizzard’s website:

Hunting the unknown, discovering the lost, knowing the forgotten. The Explorers’ League of Ironforge is redoubling its efforts to learn the secrets of the past. The league has begun teaching the discipline of archaeology to all members of the Alliance in a bold attempt to procure as many ancient relics as possible. This initiative is being matched by the campaign of the Reliquary — a Horde faction formed from an unknown council based in Silvermoon. The Reliquary is training members of the Horde in the art of the dig and challenging them to find any and all artifacts of historical significance before the Explorers’ League does. Each side now jockeys for position, relishing in the chase, vying for control of time-lost relics, and jealously guarding any valuable information the objects may impart.

With their latest expansion release, Cataclysm, World of Warcraft has added a “secondary profession”–archaeology. Players of WoW can now survey for, find, and reconstruct artifacts.

In the above video, the basics of the archaeology skill are demonstrated. In a large map, areas that you can “excavate” are indicated with a trowel. Once you are there, you activate a “survey” skill to help find the artifact. I found this “survey” mode to be the most interesting, as you place what looks like an old-school theodolite and evaluate the flashing light next to it. If the light is flashing green, then you are close to treasure. If it is flashing red, then you are far away. What archaeologist wouldn’t like that? If you go to the correct area, then you find a bag on the ground (perhaps dropped by a previous, clumsy archaeologist?) with an “archaeology fragment” or a (“fossil fragment”, sadly) inside. When you get 30 fragments, you can piece them back together and it creates a useable item.

As a non-WoW participant I became aware of this new development in the game in two ways.  One of my fellow archaeologists in Qatar has been playing as an archaeologist in WoW. Apparently the in-game play action of archaeology is incredibly tedious, which is perhaps appropriate. He says that people complain on the special WoW archaeology chat channel about it, and he tells them, “this is what I do in my real life too!” If he’s like me, he dreams about archaeology as well, which would complete the 24-hour cycle of non-stop archaeology. The other way I found out about it was a slightly more troubling development. A google search for “how to do archaeological survey” turned up with WoW links. It looks like it has changed now, perhaps specializing its search results to my particular interests, but it is a good reminder of what an incredible juggernaut WoW is in gaming culture. There are 12 million subscribers to this game, and while individuals may have more than one subscription, that’s still a substantial fraction of people playing an online game, sharing experiences and forging communities of practice.

What does the new WoW profession of archaeology mean to the broader definition of archaeology? Well, already they have some blatant failures in that they include fossils of ancient ferns as artifacts, though the fact that they also have “night elf” artifacts may remove that somewhat abstract designation of artifact typology. It also is typical in gaming realms that the archaeologist keeps the treasure. A simple change might be a reward of a more abstract kind in lore or experience points.

While this is the kind of nitpicking that Cornelius Holtorf takes issue with in his Archaeology is a Brand, there might be an interesting set of talking points for education here. A side-by-side comparison of the depiction of archaeology within the game and of true practice might make for an entertaining lecture in an introduction to archaeology class. A well-phrased letter from an archaeology society to Blizzard may not actually change much within the world, but may help guide future development of this skill. Engagement with this game’s audience may prove enlightening and fruitful in the end.

Do any other archaeologists have experience with this skill in WoW? Any further commentary?

Dhiban, the Photo Show

One of my goals this season was to hold a photo show, highlighting photos from work on the tall and in the community to show some of the people of Dhiban what we were doing.  We rarely get visits from local folks so we thought it’d behoove us to bring some of the tall to them.  I intended to do something similar last year, but ran out of time.  It was a priority for the 2010 season.

After a couple of meetings with the mayor, he allowed us to use the Dhiban town hall, a building in the middle of the town that is used for community functions.  We had the photos developed in Madaba, and bought frames there as well.  Hanging them was rough as the town hall, like almost every other building in Dhiban, was made out of cinder blocks.  But after much preparation (including runs to buy sweets and tea) we held the show last Thursday.

Along with the photos on the wall we ran a slide show with a lot more of the images taken from the season.  This seemed to be the most popular part of the show, and people sat and watched until photos of themselves or of people they knew appeared on the screen, then cheered.

A lot of town dignitaries showed up, but not as many of the regular townsfolk.  It was disappointing in that respect, but a good first step.  I’ll have a lot more details in my dissertation, if you care to know!

Archaeological Site Formation

When turf rooves collapse.......they do so inside the building and before the walls. This explains why a typical sequence might have collapse from the walls sealing more indistinct collapse (roof)- and all kinds of humic / woody stuff beneath that (roof structure).

"When turf rooves collapse.......they do so inside the building and before the walls. This explains why a typical sequence might have collapse from the walls sealing more indistinct collapse (roof)- and all kinds of humic / woody stuff beneath that (roof structure)."

Many (okay, most!) of the archaeologist-photographers that I know like to take photos of buildings in various states of disrepair.  I think it’s probably a requirement of the profession, right?  Anyway, Dave (whom I met this weekend in Copenhagen) uses this love of decay as an opportunity to talk about archaeological site formation.  How completely logical and brilliant at the same time!  Anyway, I encourage you to check out his new group on Flickr, Archaeology: Site formation or when buildings fall down, and perhaps spend a bit of time describing your artfully framed photos.

In the meantime, don’t forget about Archaeology in Action, the Flickr group dedicated to showcasing archaeological fieldwork from around the world.

Early morning, ice in the pit... Skålbunes, Nordland

Early morning, ice in the pit... Skålbunes, Nordland

Burning Çatalhöyük

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Burning Çatalhöyük: A Virtual Public Archaeology Event hosted by UC Berkeley Students and Faculty
2PM-4:30PM Pacific Standard Time (10PM-12:30AM GMT or Universal Time)
December 10, 2008
Location: Okapi Island
http://slurl.com/secondlife/Okapi/128/128/0
(You must have the free Second Life browser)

Join us for Burning Çatalhöyük, a project developed by OKAPI, the Berkeley Archaeologists at Çatalhöyük, and the UC Berkeley DeCal program. Çatalhöyük on OKAPI Island, in development since 2006, is an exploration of the past and present of a 9,000 year old site located in present-day Turkey.  In this demonstration we intend to burn the existing models down in order to better understand the use of fire in Neolithic settlements.  In consultation with fire experts Karl Harrison and Ruth Tringham, and architecture expert Burcu Tung, a team of undergraduate apprentices have replicated the burning sequence of Building 77, a structure excavated in the summer of 2008.  OKAPI island also hosts reproductions of modern developments present at the site, including a water tower, Sadrettin’s café, the Chicken Shed and the nightly bonfire.

Remixing Activities:

(2-2:15)
Guided Tour of OKAPI Island by Ruth Tringham, (Professor of Anthropology, UC Berkeley, and Principal Investigator of Berkeley Archaeologists at Çatalhöyük) and the Remixing Çatalhöyük team.
(2:15-2:30)
Niema Razavian will introduce the work that the Fall 2008 Decal class has done on the island, and how this fits in with a broader UC Berkeley education.
(2:30-2:45)
Roland Saekow will demonstrate his teleportation system, to guide new visitors around the island.
(2:45-3:00)
Kira O’Connor will show the site datum she has constructed, and talk about how datums are used at archaeological sites in general.
(3:00-3:15)
Clark-Rossi Flores-Beyer will demonstrate the skeleton model he has managed to manipulate into a crouch position, in accordance with how people were buried at Çatalhöyük.  He will briefly discuss burial practices in the settlement.
(3:15-3:45)
Garrett Wagner and Raechal Perez will discuss their own reproductions of the interiors at Çatalhöyük, and how they decided to configure the space on their own.
(3:45-4:00)
Colleen Morgan (UC Berkeley PhD Candidate, excavator at Çatalhöyük) will wrap-up the program with a discussion of why virtual reconstructions of archaeological sites are important, and what Second Life can do to increase our understanding of the past.

What is Second Life?
Second Life is a 3-D virtual world created entirely by its residents. Okapi Island is owned and build by the OKAPI team (that’s us below!) and the Berkeley Archaeologists at Catalhoyuk.

Getting Started
To visit Okapi Island, you will need to create a user account and download the client software–both free.

To create an account, visit www.secondlife.com, click on Join (in the upper right corner) and follow the instructions. Note: You do not need a premium account to use Second Life or visit Okapi Island.

Next, download and install the Second Life client for your computer:
http://secondlife.com/community/downloads.php

Launch the Second Life client and enter your password. You will likely begin in Orientation Island. To visit Okapi Island, click Map, enter “Okapi” in search field and click Search. Alternatively, you can click on the following slurl (second life url) in your browser, and you will be transported there:

SLURL:
http://slurl.com/secondlife/Okapi/128/128/0

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Prescot Street

L-P Archaeology has started a lovely multimedia blog covering their work on Prescot Street.

http://www.lparchaeology.com/prescot/

They have a nice overview of the site, videos, and blogs from the excavators.  My friend Anies is doing a great job with the filming there, and he mentions how difficult it is to record while you have several other duties as an excavator–something I will have to face over the summer.  Fully integrating video recording into the excavation process might be a pipe dream, but it’s wonderful to see it popping up in the “real world” at a contract excavation.  The only thing I might add is a creative commons license on their flickr stream.   Overall, a great example of how to set up a dig blog for outreach.

In other news, I’ve managed to get sick for the fourth time this semester, one week away from taking my oral examinations.  I’m usually completely healthy–it might be that I’ve been under a bit of pressure, perhaps?

Pedagogy and Facebook

I was pretty chuffed to receive an Outstanding GSI (read – Teaching Assistant) award for teaching Introduction to Archaeology last year.  There isn’t a prize awarded initially, but you can enter a one-page essay describing a teaching problem you have encountered and what you did about it to get an additional prize.  Sorry about the citations–I don’t usually like to use them on blogs, but, y’know.

For your perusal:

You have a friend request.”  This email notification has become a standard occurrence in my email in-box. I had been on the social networking site Facebook for about six months, networking with my fellow graduate students and professors, joining groups related to my profession, and even planning a conference event using the popular site. At first I did not recognize the profile photograph of the person requesting my friendship, as his face was obscured by a beer keg, but I instantly recognized the name: it was a student from one of my sections. Was this request an invasion of my privacy, or an honest attempt at extending the open, informal attitude I valued in my classroom to an online venue? Where were the boundaries between personal and public in the technologically enhanced social realm of the university? Further, could we use these potentially invasive technologies to help teach our students?

After experiencing this odd disconnect between a more traditional teacher-student relationship in the classroom and becoming “friends” online, I wanted to identify the exact dimensions and repercussions of this new challenge in teaching. A critical pedagogical engagement in archaeology offers the potential to serve as an emancipatory practice, in that dominant political and historical narratives are challenged with the material record, providing a way for students to examine these narratives within their specific historical context and provide their own interpretations (Conkey and Tringham 1996; Hamilakis 2004). Would connecting online help foster a community of practice within the discipline (Lave and Wenger 1991) and offer reciprocal relationships in place of the traditional banking model of education? While there is already an element of self-disclosure in the classroom on the part of instructors trying to communicate concepts regarding a discipline that is largely based on field work, research has shown that students who interact with instructors on websites (O’Sullivan, et al. 2004) and social networking sites (Mazer, et al. 2007) attain higher levels of affective learning, but this needs to be accompanied by an active process of privacy management (Mazer, et al. 2007: 4-5).

Given the potential for an enhanced engagement with students, I chose to address social networks on three fronts: in my section syllabus, in the maintenance of my online presence, and as a research topic for students. In a single line, crafted to avoid insulting students or to exclude all possible future interaction, I stated, “As a rule, I do not accept Facebook or Myspace friend requests from current students.” In class I elaborated upon the importance of maintaining privacy and professionalism, emphasizing this necessity to an audience who might have not thought about current and future ramification of complete self-disclosure. On the social networks I went through the security options, allowing students a certain amount of access to my profile while keeping other, personal interactions private. I was able to capitalize on my detailed knowledge of these sites by giving students the option of creating a Facebook profile for a 19th century resident of the former Zeta Psi fraternity house on campus. The fraternity was the subject of research by anthropology faculty and is used as an object lesson in Introduction to Archaeology. Students who made a profile had to form a narrative around a research question, using excavation data, photos and other evidence. Designing a mock profile made the students ask questions about the day-to-day life of individuals in the past, a primary goal of the course.

Unlike last year, I have not had any friend requests from current students. The process of evaluating and maintaining these boundaries caused me to critically assess my own presence online, and to emphasize the potential of destructive self-disclosure with my students.  Integrating social networks into assignments fostered a level of enthusiasm, creativity, and engagement with archaeological topics absent in the more traditional essay format. The potential to establish communities of practice in broader academic life through social networks is an enticing venue of research, provided that boundaries are maintained.

Conkey, M. W. and R. Tringham
1996    Cultivating thinking/challenging authority: some experiments in feminist pedagogy in archaeology. In Gender and Archaeology, edited by R. P. Wright, pp. 224-50. University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia.

Hamilakis, Y.
2004    Archaeology and the politics of pedagogy. World Archaeology 36(2):287-309.

Lave, J. and E. Wenger
1991    Situated learning : legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge England ; New York.


Mazer, J. P., R. E. Murphy and C. J. Simonds
2007    I’ll See You On “Facebook”: The Effects of Computer-Mediated Teacher Self-Disclosure on Student Motivation, Affective Learning, and Classroom Climate. Communication Education 56(1):1-17.

O’Sullivan, P. B., S. K. Hunt and L. R. Lippert
2004    Mediated Immediacy: A Language of Affiliation in a Technological Age. Journal of Language and Social Psychology 23(4):464-490.

Cal Day

Each year we try to have an outreach program for Cal Day with offerings for children and adults.  I’m actually double-booked–I’m supposed to help out with the Cheney House excavations AND with the Second Life demonstration.  Oh well.

Here is the schedule, if you happen to be in the Bay Area on Saturday.  It’s pretty star-studded, all things considered:

9–11 am | Archaeological Research Facility, 2251 College Ave.

Play With Clay

Learn how to make and decorate your own ceramics the way people did in the past. Clay available — bring your own kids!

10–10:45 am | Archaeological Research Facility, 2251 College Ave.

A Llama Caravan in Southern Peru
Traveling with a traditional llama caravan bearing salt and tubers, archaeologists recently journeyed to the highlands of Peru to carry out an ethnoarchaeological research project. See a documentary of the experience and hear from the research director. For more information visit the project site online at http://www.mapaspects.org/caravans/2007_project.

Laboratory Manager Nicholas Tripcevich

10–11 am | 219 Dwinelle Hall

How the Vikings Told Stories
The Vikings are famous for many things, including their colorful, vibrant stories. Learn about the storytelling techniques they used, and then try retelling a Viking tale.

Professor Linda Rugg

10 am–4:30 pm | Hearst Museum of Anthropology, 102 Kroeber Hall

Open House at the Hearst Museum of Anthropology
Visit the museum and view its exhibits on Native California cultures, Rajasthan, Ancient Egypt, and more! For a better understanding of all the museum has to offer, take the docent-led tour at 1:15 pm, following the 1 pm Taiko performance.

11–11:45 am | Archaeological Research Facility, 2251 College Ave.

Marking the Landscape in Stone and Paint
What is rock art and what can we learn about the images produced during the Paleolithic era? Find out!

Professor Meg Conkey

11 am–noon | Archaeological Research Facility, 2251 College Ave.

Flintknapping
Have you ever tried flintknapping? Stop by to see Berkeley archaeologists in action and feed your curiosity about how stones are made into tools.

11 am–1 pm | Archaeological Research Facility, 2251 College Ave.

Rock-Art Painting
Try your brush and hand — literally — at making paints and helping paint a rock-art mural.

Noon–12:45 pm | Archaeological Research Facility, 2251 College Ave.

Bridging the Gap Between Real, Imagined, and Virtual at a 9,000-Year-Old Archaeological Site
Hear about the innovative archaeological research at Çatalhöyük, Turkey, and discuss the findings of that project.

Professor Ruth Tringham

Noon–2 pm | Archaeological Research Facility, 2251 College Ave.

Rock-Art Recording
No, not with mixers and synthesizers, but with actual rocks! Learn how archaeologists record rock art in this hands-on activity at Berkeley’s very own rock-art site.

1–1:45 pm | Archaeological Research Facility, 2251 College Ave.

Historical Archaeology and Hansen’s Disease: A New Perspective from Hawai’i
Hear about the ongoing historical archaeological research being done at the former Hansen’s disease (leprosy) colony on Molokai, Hawai’i.

Graduate Student James Flexner

1–2 pm | 160 Kroeber Hall

Anthropology of Things That Matter: Marking Nuclear Waste Sites Forever
Debate over nuclear waste raises the concern that buried waste might not stay in place forever. How could waste sites be marked clearly for thousands of years to come? An anthropological study suggests we should be skeptical of the proposals for marking such sites, and explains what people think about cultural continuity and the persistence of things we make.

Professor and Chair Rosemary Joyce

1–3 pm | Archaeological Research Facility, 2251 College Ave.

Attention: Excavation in Progress
Don’t miss this chance to see Berkeley students working on their continuing investigation of the historic Cheney House archaeological site on campus.

1–3 pm | Archaeological Research Facility, 2251 College Ave.

OKAPI Island in Second Life
Visit OKAPI Island in the 3-D, virtual environment of Second Life, and explore the past and present of Çatalhöyük, a 9,000-year-old village located in present-day Turkey. The island, constructed by undergraduate research apprentices, features virtual reconstructions of the excavation site and multimedia exhibits of research data.

2–3 pm | Archaeological Research Facility, 2251 College Ave.

Andean Ceramics of South America: A Journey Through Space and Time
Hear about the social and technological construction of Andean ceramics and how these artifacts can be used to answer important archaeological questions.

Graduate Student Andy Roddick

Community Archaeology in Action

LAARC Community Dig
As one of the admins for the Flickr group Archaeology in Action, I have to weed through the photos occasionally, taking out the travel shots from Cairo and whatnot. It can be a real pain, and having to split hairs about what “archaeology in action” is and is not feels a little stifling. However, it really is the best way to keep a good, focused group, and I get the pleasure of seeing photos from sites around the world.

Today, for instance, we received a submission from the LAARC, or the London Archaeological Archive and Research Center from the Michael Faraday community-based project they did last summer.

The flickr series they posted with the project is wonderful–lots of images and it really shows the progression of the excavation and all of the kids involved. Though I wonder if they have to get signed releases from the childrens’ parents, like we do here in the states. And they even have creative commons licensing! Bravo, LAARC.

It looks like they have a youtube feed as well:

Please submit your field photos to Archaeology in Action–it gives me something to look at while writing my literature reviews!

Climbing Trees

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So we finally had a full day of archaeological outreach at the Presidio, where we were able to work through our full program with a group of kids. At times I’ve been pretty tired of outreach, and wanting to get back to archaeology proper, but being able to interact with these kids was actually pretty amazing. They were a class from Hunter’s Point, which is a notoriously bad part of San Francisco and they were all scrappy as hell, even at the 4th grade level.

During the first part of the day, we take them on a small hike on one of the trails through the Presidio. We try to get them to imagine what it was like without all of the trees, which are only there because the US military planted them. It’s hard to do, to say the least, because they’re huge, imposing eucalyptus trees and their leaves and seed pods cover the ground. There’s also some Monterey pine and cyprus mixed in, which are closer, but still not quite right.

One of the kids noticed that the National Park Service has been trimming the lower branches of the trees and asked me why the trees “were all pointy like that”. I told him that they had been trimmed, but it was kinda nice, because they leave about two feet, which makes the trees easy to climb. I got a blank stare. I had to ask, “um, have you ever climbed a tree?” Only one out of eight had, and only once. My heart broke, just a little bit.

All-in-all, it was a good day, and we were able to convey some information about the Ohlone and the Spanish colonists at the Presidio, but I think the sunshine, big trees, and getting dirty (we made mudbricks, of course!) were probably the most valuable parts. I told them that the Presidio is a national park, that they owned it and could come back at any time. And while I couldn’t officially condone it, I told them that the trees were perfect for climbing.