Tag Archives: outreach

Heritage Jam Video Series Complete

Over the weekend I finished up the series of short videos for the upcoming Heritage Jam and I’m fairly pleased with them. I have a much larger video project coming up for EUROTAST, featuring the incredible work of the research fellows, and so it was a good way to get back into the video-making groove again.

Each of the videos is a challenge to the participants of the Heritage Jam, as outlined by Dr. Julie Rugg.

Challenge One: Dynamism

Challenge Two: Visibility

Challenge Three: Class

In each video Dr. Rugg identifies some interesting challenges for visual interpretation in cemeteries. I enjoyed learning about cemeteries from her as I edited the videos.

I’m never quite 100% satisfied with the videos that I make either, as there’s always more that can be done. When I teach filmmaking to archaeology students, I tell them that you can pretty much spend an infinite amount of time editing a video, making it as perfect as possible…but I have other projects, so finding “good enough” is not wholly satisfying, but does get the video out there for other people to view. If anything, all of this just makes me appreciate the professionals that much more!

Even if you aren’t participating in the Heritage Jam, the videos may make you look at cemeteries in a different way–they certainly did for me!

(PS: Try to watch them in HD if you have the bandwidth!)

Archaeologists Making Libraries: Di Hu

After working for several years near Pomacocha, Ayacucho, Peru, UC Berkeley archaeology PhD candidate Di Hu was approached by teachers at the local school. They needed quality books to help educate their students. In Di’s words:

High in the Peruvian Andes, the historic village of Pomacocha is nestled among high cliffs, rivers and volcanic mountains. With a population of around 800-1000 people, Pomacocha boasts a preschool, a primary school, and a high school. Despite the curiosity and enthusiasm of the students, Pomacocha does not have a public library. The schoolchildren have only basic textbooks that emphasize memorization of facts. Because of the lack of resources in Pomacocha, the schools cannot afford to buy non-curriculum books.

With all of the high-tech public archaeology and community outreach going on in archaeology these days it is easy to forget that some of the communities we work in still need basic amenities. Things that we take for granted. To serve this relatively low-tech need, Di started a crowdfunding campaign last April on Indiegogo:

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/first-public-library-for-schoolchildren-in-a-rural-peruvian-village

She did incredibly well, beating her goal by $350! I was happy to contribute a little bit to the project, and I’ve been getting updates as Di has made back to Peru. I was very touched when she sent me a photo of the books that I sponsored, with a specialized nameplate:

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The books are:

Muerte en la Vicaria by Agatha Christie (I asked for murder on the Oriental Express, but it was taken already!)

La Mujer en el Tiempo: Cronologia ilustrada que abarca mas de 20 siglos de personajes y eventos que marcaron la historia

500 Años de patriarcado en el nuevo mundo

Good stuff. Thanks, Di!

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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