Video Recordings of Talks at ARF

Archaeology Talks recorded 2016-2017

In January 2016 the Archaeological Research Facility began video recording many of the presentations we host at the ARF.

Note about video quality: In the lower-right corner of the viewing window is a Gear icon. If the gear does not have a red “HD” on top then you can improve the viewing quality if you have a reasonably fast internet connection. Click on the Gear icon, click on Quality and choose 1080p HD.

7 September 2016, ARF Brownbag

Prowessing the Past: Considering the Audience, Ruth Tringham (Anthropology, UC Berkeley)

The aim of this presentation was to shift the focus of 3D modeling in archaeology and cultural heritage to consider the ways in which a more active motivation and engagement of their users (whether professionals or general public) might lead to the long-term sustainability of the models and visualizations. Currently the life expectancy of 3D models in installations or on-line is generally quite short. My argument is that engagement with the models should be measured not so much how many users/visitors a model receives, but in how long and through how many re-visits the users wish to visit the same model. I am guessing that for most users, the visit is a one-time short event. I identify five major strategy foci that might lead to longer and more specific usage of the models and thus to their longer-term sustainability; these are: 1) active user participation, 2) meaningful exploration, 3) cultural presence, 4) multi sensorial experience, and 5) the education of attention, with greatest emphasis given to the latter. I end with idea that these five foci in fact could all be embraced within the gamification of the models, not necessarily as video games, but as media-rich non-linear narratives that go by various terms, such as Walking Simulator, Interactive Digital Stories, and Alternative Reality Games that take advantage of a mixed environment of Augmented and Mixed Reality as well as the more “traditional” Virtual Reality modeling. I finally point out that such gamification could potentially make powerful contributions to draw attention to socio-political and ethical issues of cultural heritage and archaeology.

https://goo.gl/SXGHUD

 

14 September 2016, ARF Brownbag

Timing and magnitude of paleolakes in the Atacama Desert during Late Quaternary and its implication for the initial human colonization of South America, Ronald Amundson (Environmental Science, Policy and Management, UC Berkeley)

The hyperarid Atacama Desert has long served as a natural barrier to human dispersal. Paradoxically, some of the earliest known archaeological sites in the Western Hemisphere, dating from the late Pleistocene, are found in what is now an absolute (lifeless) desert. It has been determined that these occupations were sustained by perennial fluvial activity and biologically productive riparian ecosystems due to runoff from the western slope of the Andes. The waxing and waning of human occupation is tied to the temporal changes in this water flow. To date, the hydrological changes required to sustain this water flow, and the changes in the entire drainage system – particularly basins – has not been explored.
Here, we examined present day salt-covered playas that serve as the termination of regional hydrological flow, finding that these were fresh water lakes and marshlands during the Central Andean Pluvial Event (CAPE) that occurred during the late Pleistocene and Early Holocene. We performed field descriptions and radiocarbon analysis of stratigraphic profiles on both paleo-shorelines and lacustrine deposits that lie within the Pampa del Tamarugal (PDT) basin. We identified the collected gastropods, plant remnants, phytoliths and diatomea, which provide a reliable source for paleoenvironmental facies interpretation.
These data clearly indicate that a paleolake existed at the location of the present-day Salar de Bellavista, and that wetlands or lakes were present at the Salar de Llamara and Pintados. These past aquatic systems are coeval with the activation of the riparian systems of the PDT reported by previous studies. These lakes would have contributed to a starkly different set of resource constraints for early inhabitants than the inhospitable conditions that exist today. Additionally, the presence and projected geographical outline of these water resources provides guidance in the search for additional evidence of human occupation in the region, and for understanding the geographical connections that existed among these earliest inhabitants of the Western Hemisphere.

https://goo.gl/wrJdgM

 

21 September 2016, ARF Brownbag

Notes from the Highlands: The 2016 Field Season of Project ArAGATS and the State of Paleoenvironmental Studies of Bronze and Iron Age Armenia, Amy Cromartie (Cornell University)

Project ArAGATS, a joint project between Cornell University, Purdue University, and the Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography of the Republic of Armenia, is in its 18th year of research on the Tsaghkahovit plain in northwestern Armenia. Situated in the shadows of Mount Aragats, this area is rich with multi-period archaeological sites ranging from the Paleolithic to the present. Focusing on the Bronze and Iron Age, Project ArAGATS launched its 2016 field season continuing its inquiry into the role of warfare and fortress settlements in shaping the local and regional political landscape. This presentation will discuss our preliminary 2016 results of systematic landscape survey, and our program of excavation at the sites of Aparani Berd and Gegharot. In addition, Project ArAGATS launched a new initiative to expand our paleoenvironmental knowledge of the region. I will discuss the state of this research, and our current project strategy to fill in Bronze and Iron Age gaps in these data.

https://goo.gl/Jk5Hkq

 

28 September 2016, ARF Brownbag

“Mortuary Ritual in Iron Age Korea, Jack Davey (Center for Korean Studies, UC Berkeley)

The emergence of complex, stratified society and increased contact with Han China makes the Korean Iron Age (ca. 300 BC to 300 AD) a valuable archaeological case study in secondary state formation. However, the rapid pace of social change, scope of technological and economic development, and cultural diversity in the southern portion of the peninsula also allows the region to be a compelling starting point for questioning and redefining these well-worn archaeological topics. But despite the accumulation of a huge volume of archaeological data since the 1970s and the presence of a vibrant academic archaeological community in South Korea, the region remains relatively unknown and understudied outside of East Asia.

This talk introduces the material culture of the Iron Age, the major questions of concern to Korean scholars working on this material, and suggests how mortuary data upends models of unilineal social evolution and textually derived narratives typically applied to the region. By focusing primarily on grave goods (the only recoverable material at most sites), I argue that broad similarities in the mortuary ritual of the region masks significant variability in the adoption of new tomb elements, elite legitimizing strategies, and differing degrees of participation in regional customs. The picture that emerges is one of competition, emulation, and indifference among a number of small, politically independent groups that served as the foundation for the first historical kingdoms on the Korean peninsula.

For best viewing quality click the Gear icon and set the viewing mode to 1080p HD.

https://goo.gl/TKahzs

 

5 October 2016, ARF Brownbag

Connectivity on the Edge of Empire: Movement, Liminality, and Ritual in the Southern Levantine Drylands, Andrea Creel (Near Eastern Studies, UC Berkeley)

To the untrained eye, the Sinai, Negev, and southern Jordan may appear stark and empty, a vast, lifeless, unchanging horizon on the edge of nowhere. Indeed, communities in the ancient Near East and the Mediterranean often perceived these lands and their inhabitants as peripheral and marginal, if not dangerous and barbaric. However, thousands of years of archaeological remains, often still visible today, attest to quite another picture. This is a sedimented landscape, a palimpsest, where multiple communities inscribed themselves over the millennia. Many of these communities subsisted on a flexible patchwork of pastoralism, foraging and limited agriculture, trade, and mining, framed within the punctuated and cyclical movements of pilgrimage. In so doing, these communities actively drew on the visible past and movement through an arid landscape to constitute and cultivate their identities and an entangled connectivity with neighboring regions. In the Iron Age II (1000-600 BCE), the rise of the Assyrian Empire both facilitated and constrained this connectivity. The Assyrians bounded and funneled the flows of people and materials through this region in ways that foreshadowed the later empires of Rome, the Early Islamic Caliphates, and the Ottomans. However, local communities drew on the ancient meshworks of pilgrimage and the visible past to generate and foster new senses of self and ways of seeing in the midst of empire.
This talk analyzes the interaction of ritual, movement, and empire in the Iron Age as the confluence of multiple and overlapping senses of liminality unique to these lands. I suggest that both local and outsider communities (albeit in different ways) perceived these lands in terms of the potency of ambiguity and transitions. In the drylands, this potency manifested as a distinct and complex interplay between movement and mobility, aridity, marginality, and ‘betweenness.’ I utilize evidence of roadside ritual at Ḥorvat Qitmit in the Negev and Kuntillet ʾAjrûd in the Sinai as particularly pertinent case studies in understanding the complexities of ritual and multiple, overlapping liminalities in the drylands in the shadow of empire.

https://goo.gl/iQW85f

 

12 October 2016, ARF Brownbag

Recent Advances and Future Direction for Research in Inca Cusco, Alexei Vranich (Archaeological Research Facility, UC Berkeley)
Generations of architects, archaeologists and historians have correlated the present geometry of the city of Cusco with the distribution of the major Inca compounds, streets and open spaces. Furthermore, a number of intensive architectural surveys of the city have been carried out, including several recent efforts and, as a result, nearly all the standing architecture has been recorded in one form or another. Notwithstanding, “the fact that several alternative models of the former Inca capital can be derived from largely the same data sources” is evidence that “our understanding of the Inca capital is fragmentary at best” (Bauer 2004: 211). As a consequence, we need another approach to break this logjam. This paper, then, presents the results of the recent work in the former Imperial capital, and a recommendation for a methodological and theoretical redirection of the manner by which one could investigate and visualize the Inca city of Cusco.

https://goo.gl/SEjpkD

 

19 October 2016, ARF Brownbag
The Evolution of an Island Socio-Ecosystem: 1989-91 Excavations at the Tangatatau Rockshelter Mangaia Island, Central Polynesia, Patrick V. Kirch (Anthropology, UC Berkeley)

Excavations undertaken in 1989 and 1991 at a large rockshelter site on Mangaia Island in the southern Cook Islands revealed a well-stratified sequence spanning the period from just after initial Polynesian colonization ca. A.D. 1100 up through European contact in the late 18th century. Tangatatau Rockshelter yielded extraordinarily rich assemblages of vertebrate and invertebrate faunal remains and of macrobotanical plant materials, providing evidence for transformation of the island's ecosystem over the period of Polynesian occupation. In addition, many thousands of portable artifacts revealed a sequence of technological change and adaptation. Following Kent Flannery's famous dictum that "I will publish no site before its time", Prof. Kirch after 25 years has finally completed a definitive monograph on the Tangatatau excavations. A precis of the main results will be presented in this talk.

https://goo.gl/EeCQcm

 

02 November 2016, ARF Brownbag
A Multivariate Approach to Activity Pattern Analyses: The Case of Middenbeemster, Netherlands. Celise Chilcote and Sabrina Agarwal (Anthropology, UC Berkeley); Menno L.P. Hoogland (Archaeology, Leiden University)

Despite arguments over methodologies, clinical and osteological studies have provided evidence that patterns in human skeletal morphological variations can be correlated with general patterns of activity. A whole-body life-course approach, which combines a variety of activity pattern analyses, provides the strongest support for activity related morphological variations and their development over life. This study presents the preliminary results of a larger research project examining social identity over the life course in the historic dairy farming community of Middenbeemster, NL, through the examination of skeletal markers of bone growth and maintenance and activity-related stress. It is hypothesized that the high demand for Dutch dairy products by the Dutch East India Company will be reflected in the manifestation and intensity of skeletal markers of activity, suggesting age/sex specific workloads, for the historic population of Middenbeemster. In this initial study 88 adults (m=46, f=42) were chosen to be analyzed for the following variables: non-pathological osteoarthritis of all appendicular joints, 8 non-genetic non-metric traits, and 27 entheseal insertions (per side) chosen to represent a variety of major muscle groups/movements. Statistically significant differences in upper limb activities between the sexes as well as in lower limb activities between different age groups were found, suggesting workloads divided by both age and sex. Combined analyses of the data with archival records on this historic community, provide a unique opportunity to examine and interpret patterns of activity related markers over the life course and refine non-destructive osteological methodologies.

https://goo.gl/4vBjNN

 

09 November 2016, ARF Brownbag
Jomon Food Diversity and Climate Change: Lessons from Prehistoric Japan by Junko Habu (Anthropology, UC Berkeley)

This presentation is a preliminary report of "the Small-Scale Economies Project," a trans-disciplinary project that focuses on the importance of food diversity, networks and local autonomy for long-term sustainability of human societies.

The project starts with a hypothesis that a highly specialized subsistence strategy can support a larger community for a short period, but a decrease in subsistence and food diversity makes the production system and its associated community more vulnerable in the long-run. Using archaeological and ethnographic case studies from northern Japan, I argue that such a trans-disciplinary approach can contribute significantly to our understanding of long-term human-environmental interaction.

https://goo.gl/Etpktr

 

16 November 2016, ARF Brownbag
Arid Zone Hunter-Gatherer Rock Art: a View of the Great Basin from the Western Desert, Jo McDonald (University of Western Australia).

The Australian arid zone was occupied soon after the arrival of modern humans to its shores – some 50,000 years ago. Throughout this remarkable period of time, hunter-gatherers have demonstrated all of the modern-human hallmarks – resilience and symbolic behaviour –signing the land and adapting to changing environmental landscapes. Like Australia, ethnographic models for Great Basin hunter-gatherers involve low population densities, flexible local organization and mobility, and a highly portable technological base closely articulated with landscape features. An adaptive rock art chronology for the Great Basin based on occupation indices, climatic indicators and information exchange theory is proposed using a stylistic analysis from the Pahranagat Valley. Arid zone hunter-gatherer mobility and the use of rock art as an information strategy are discussed as global phenomena.

https://goo.gl/WLe6Sb

 

20 October 2016, ARF FALL LECTURE
A Paleogenomic Perspective on the Population History of the Central Andes and the peopling of South America, Lars Fehren-Schmitz (UC Santa Cruz). Professor Christine Hastorf's introduction was unfortunately not recorded.

The Central Andes harbor perfect experimental conditions to study the relationship of environment, culture and the evolution of human genetic diversity. In the ~14,000 years since the onset of human presence, the population history in the Central Andes has been driven by episodes of environmental change, adaptation to ecological conditions, cultural innovations, political interactions, and population pressures. Due to the relative isolation of prehistoric Native American populations from the global gene pool until the European Contact, admixture with other continental populations can be eliminated as explanation for observed genomic changes making it ideal to study genetic adaptation, or the impact of socioeconomic changes on genetic structure. Recent technological advance in molecular genetics opened up new and exciting opportunities for paleogeneticists to gain insights into prehistoric population dynamics and the evolutionary adaptability of our species inconceivable just a few years ago. Here I will report on the efforts of our lab to use these genomic tools to explore Central Andean population history. I present new insights into the ancestry of early Andean highlanders, population relationships, and admixture events that help us to better understand the interaction of Central Andean groups with other regional populations of South America, but also how selection due to the exposure to physical stressors like hypoxia shaped the Andean gene pool.

Lars Fehren-Schmitz is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at UCSC, member of the UCSC Genomics Institute, and one of the three PIs running the UCSC Paleogenomics Labs. Before he came to UCSC he worked for Yale University, the Ruhr-University Bochum, and the Georg-August University Goettingen where he also received his PhD in Biology in 2008. He also received two MA degrees from the same institution in Archaeology, and Biology. Dr. Fehren-Schmitz’s research uses ancient and modern DNA in research frameworks informed by archaeological and paleoecological sources to explore how the twin forces of culture and biology shaped human genomic diversity, demography and health.

http://socialsciences.ucsc.edu/academics/singleton.php?&singleton=true&cruz_id=lfehrens

https://goo.gl/KqalsZ

 

18 January 2017, ARF Brownbag
Hearst Museum Legacies: The Collections of L.L. Loud 1911-1946, Paolo Pellegatti (Phoebe Hearst Museum, UC Berkeley)

The Hearst Museum of Anthropology curates archaeological collections going back more than 150 years. Under Kroeber's directorship (1904 - 1947) the museum had its own active field program separated from the Department of Anthropology and, often following tips from landowners, researchers or accidental discoveries, it dispatched a handful of archaeologists whose work will result in the discovery of many important sites and more than 90,000 catalog records. Once the Department started to play a bigger role in field research, these collections provided the base over which Robert Heizer and the California Archaeological Survey will eventually build on, eventually increasing the number of objects in storage at Berkeley to a total of 900,000 catalog records accompanied by hundreds of cubic feet of documentation. A hundred years later, the older collections, with their documentation, field notes and photos tell us a story of a California landscape that is long gone but despite the nostalgic vibes they sometime transmit they have not lost their anthropological and research value. This presentation introduces the archaeological collections accrued to the museum through the work of Llewellyn L. Loud, janitor, guard, preparator and unofficial field archaeologist for the museum between 1910 and 1946, and how his discoveries are remembered and remains relevant in our time.

https://goo.gl/P7Bdr6

 

25 January 2017, ARF Brownbag
Many Ways of Working: Oral History, Archives, and Archaeology of the Arboretum Chinese Quarters, Stanford. Christopher Lowman (Anthropology, UC Berkeley)

Farmers, gardeners, builders, cooks, janitors, launderers, restaurant-owners: the Chinese diaspora community in nineteenth century Palo Alto, California, was made up of men, and a few women, who took on many ways of working to support themselves, their families, and their communities. Their integral role in the development of the Bay Area’s infrastructure is sometimes obscured because of systematic exclusion, destruction, and erasure in the early twentieth century. However, using a combination of oral history, archival research, and archaeology, the ongoing Chinese Arboretum Quarters project is piecing together the way a Chinese community, outside of a Chinatown, lived, worked, and survived in an era of racialized immigration restriction.
https://goo.gl/B8v98k

 

01 February 2017, ARF Brownbag
Persistent Places or Occupying Wide Open Spaces? Alternative Pathways to ‘Neolithization’ in the prehistory of the Near East, Lisa Maher (Anthropology, UC Berkeley)

With a specific focus on eastern Jordan, the Epipalaeolithic Foragers in Azraq Project explores changing hunter-gatherer strategies, behaviors and adaptations to this vast area throughout the Late Pleistocene. In particular, we examine how lifeways here compare to surrounding areas and what circumstances drew human and animal populations to the region. Integrating multiple material cultural and environmental datasets, I discuss some of the strategies of these eastern Jordanian groups that resulted in changes in settlement, subsistence and interaction and, in some areas, the occupation of substantial aggregation sites. Five years of excavation at the aggregation site of Kharaneh IV suggest some very intriguing technological and social on-site activities, as well as adaptations to a dynamic landscape unlike that of today.

https://goo.gl/jBSpcD

 

07 Feb 2017, ARF Brownbag
Revealing social relationships and intersectional identities in a pre-Columbian Muisca community through diet and activity (Sabana de Bogotá, Colombia AD 1000-1400), Melanie Miller (Anthropology, UC Berkeley)

The Muisca cultural group occupied a large Andean territory around the Sabana de Bogotá (Colombia) for at least 800 years before the Spanish arrived in 1536-37. Historically, the Muisca have been portrayed as a classic chiefdom society, with an emphasis on social rank and hierarchy as a primary aspect of Muisca social life. Highly stratified societies are characterized by differentiation between groups along various socially defined axes, and traditional models have emphasized social status for the Muisca. I examined 199 individuals from a Muisca population (Tibanica archaeological site, AD 1000-1400) to see how diet and activity patterns are intertwined with biocultural aspects of identity including sex, age, and social status. The kinds of food a person consumes and the kinds of labor they perform are related to socio-political-economic relationships. To investigate social identities and relationships in this Muisca community I studied 199 individual's tooth and bone samples using stable isotope analysis to track dietary patterns over the lifetime and I performed cross-sectional geometry analysis on long bones (humerus and femur) from 63 individuals to study habitual patterns of physical exertion related to repeated activity. The data indicated that a fundamental aspect of Muisca social identities and relationships were differences between the sexes, with divisions between males and females affecting daily practices such as eating and working. These results demonstrate the capacity for bioarchaeological studies to provide unique data that can illuminate complex social relationships that may not be observed through other lines of evidence.

No video recording is available.

 

15 Feb 2017, ARF Brownbag
Queer(ing) Frontier Indentities: Tracing Cultural Brokering at 19th century Fort Davis, Texas, Kat Eichner (Anthropology, UC Berkeley)

This presentation focuses on the cultural slippage that occurs in frontier zones where competing worldviews create conditions for alternative, innovative, and layered performances of intersecting identities. As spaces of translation, frontiers are the ideal location to study entangled identities. Inhabitants of these queer landscapes constantly negotiate the multiple live realities of often conflicting ideologies. I propose a combine framework pulling from queer and borderlands/frontier studies for understanding the fragmentation and fluidity of experience in the American frontier during the 19th century. This study considers materials utilized in the daily lives of black and Latina laundresses who worked at the multi-ethnoracial, military fort of Fort Davis, Texas. With their identity as Americans, women, care-takers, military employees, and racialized individuals constantly in flux, these women balanced their relationship with one another, the civilian community, and their military colleagues as a way of creating, enacting, and redefining entangled personhoods and identities that were defined by their living on a geographic and cultural boundary. Moreover, the study considers the women’s roles as cultural brokers who navigate contentious social and physical landscapes by simultaneous asserting, contesting, and reasserting their intersecting personhoods in their daily interactions and performances.

No video recording is available.

 

1 March 2017, ARF Brownbag
Models of Settlement Systems in Pre-Hispanic and Modern Mesoamerica, Mario Castillo (Anthropology, UC Berkeley)

This talk details collaborative work on settlement patterns in the Valle de Mezquital, Mexico, with scholars and descendant community members. The first an analysis of regional settlement ecology in the Tula region of Ancient Mesoamerica. The second is a survey of vernacular housing from Mexico's post-revolutionary period. In regards to Tula this presentation will discuss the development of a regional settlement database containing the location and attributes of residential sites drawing on full coverage surveys and other published material in order to investigate the relationships between the spatial arrangement of sites and spatial heterogeneity of the landscape through time. In regards to housing in Amealco, this presentation will discuss documentation of material remains of folk housing and interviews of dwelling experiences drawing on ethnoarchaeological fieldwork and post-field work content analysis to elaborate on the phenomenology of landscapes in rural farming communities in the area.

https://goo.gl/sJep3K

 

3 March 2017, ARF Panel Workshop
Cultural Resources Management Panel Workshop

Participants: Adrian Praetzellis (ASC Sonoma), Dana Shew (ASC Sonoma), John Holson (Pacific Legacy),  Jim Allan (WSA), Kyle Brudvik (Rincon), Adie Whitaker  (Far Western), Matthew Russell (ESA), Rebecca Allen (ESA), Scott Byram (BAC)

The ARF hosted brief presentations followed by a panel discussion on the state of consulting in the US. The event was followed by a reception where students had an opportunity to speak with representatives of seven local CRM firms.

https://goo.gl/wfqFM6

 

8 March 2017, ARF Brownbag
Where the Heart Is: Thoughts on Home and Contemporary Encampments at the Albany Bulb. Annie Danis (Anthropology, UC Berkeley)

A former landfill turned informal public space and long-term encampment, “the Bulb” had been home to dozen of residents in an informal settlement from the late 1980s until the summer of 2013. After legal battles with the city all residents were evicted and a number of projects to document and aid the fractured community began. One such project was the Archaeology of the Albany Bulb, which surveyed house-sites using traditional methods of archaeological of mapping and documentation. These visual representations serve as authoritative narratives of home in the face of forced displacement and erasure of homeless histories in the Bay area. Blending creative production and scholarly research the project challenges conventional notions of homelessness and explores the political possibilities for an archaeology of the contemporary.

https://goo.gl/qG6TCF

 

15 March 2017, ARF Brownbag

Ayer Memorias: Archaeological Evidence of Land-Use Patterns at the Pueblo de Abiquiú, Alexandra McCleary (Anthropology, UC Berkeley)

This paper will discuss the most recent excavations in the Genízaro Pueblo de Abiquiú, NM. Abiquiú, as one of the oldest and most successful Genízaro land grants, is a key area for better understanding the history of Indo-Hispanic settlements in Northern New Mexico. Three distinct sites were excavated, representing domestic, defensive, and agricultural contexts. The paper will go over the preliminary results of the excavations, ground-truthing GPR results, and the ongoing collaborative process that has been crucial to the success of this project.

No video recording is available.

 

22 Mar 2017, ARF Brownbag
P-Transforms:  Mapping Change in the Archaeological Publishing Landscape, Mitch Allen (ARF, UC Berkeley and Scholarly Roadside Service)

The reward system for archaeologists in the academy is inextricably interwoven with the ecosystem of scholarly publication, a system going through rapid transformation. While the move to a digital landscape is not new, it has opened up a wide range of possibilities: open access journals, database publishing, easier international collaborations and dissemination, among others. The traditional publishers of journals, textbooks, and monographs have been forced to transform their publishing strategies in the face increasing competition from new players and new models -- generalist journals, book aggregations, and predatory publications. Citation indexes have become outsized in importance. The distinction between scholarly and popular audiences is increasingly blurred. A long-term specialty publisher of archaeology will outline some of these major changes, suggest what impact they might have on archaeologists’ publication strategies, and hypothesize some possible directions for the near future.

No video recording is available.

 

4 April 2017, ARF SPRING LECTURE
Recursive Archaeology: An ontological approach to anthropomorphic ceramics from first millennium CE northwest Argentina Benjamin Alberti (Professor, Framingham State University)

The question driving this talk is how to understand anthropomorphism in archaeological material, particularly in three-dimensional artefactual form. A “recursive” archaeology starts from the premises of ontological pluralism, by which I mean that peoples’ truths and experiences of reality vary. Archaeological materials carry the residue of ontological difference. The goal is to recognize and feel the impact of that alterity latent in our materials, which can then form the basis for analysis and conceptual innovation. Recursion occurs when concepts developed locally from the encounter with alterity are allowed to stand against archaeological ones, such that the latter are transformed by the former.
What anthropomorphism means in a given context, therefore, depends upon the nature of underlying ontological commitments. Typically, anthropomorphism in artefacts is understood as a result of scheme transfer in which meanings associated with the human body are transferred to other materials. Alternately, it is understood as a representational practice in which cultural narratives are played out in material form. It may even be understood as an externalized cognitive process. These approaches rely on specific concepts of “body,” “representation,” “materiality,” and so forth. A recursive approach, in contrast, puts into question these concepts by working with our material in a way that maximizes the potential for ontological difference to emerge. By way of example, I develop an alternative theory of anthropomorphism in relation to a series of anthropo-, zoo- and biomorphic ceramics from first millennium AD northwest Argentina.

No video recording is available.

 

5 April 2017, ARF Brownbag
Codex Painting Practices and Technological Traditions in Ancient Mesoamerica: Non-Invasive Scientific Analyses of Pre-Hispanic and Early Colonial Pictorial Manuscripts, Davide Domenici (University of Bologna)

Non-invasive scientific analyses recently performed by the European mobile laboratory MOLAB on a number of pre-Hispanic and early colonial pictorial Mesoamerican manuscripts allowed us to chemically characterize their material compositions, significantly deepening our knowledge of Mesoamerican codex painting practices. Davide Domenici, a Mesoamericanist from the University of Bologna (Italy) working with the MOLAB team, will present the results of the scientific analyses and discuss some of their cultural and historical implications, including a comparison with information recorded in early colonial sources, the spatial and chronological variations pointing to the existence of different technological traditions, the emic values associated with the materiality of color, and the changes that Mesoamerican codex painting practices underwent in early colonial times.

https://goo.gl/FSHtMb

 

12 April 2017, ARF Brownbag
The Digital Dilemma and the Future of Archaeological Publication: Stories from the Gabii Excavation. Matt Naglak, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Classical Art and Archaeology

In the past month, the first major publication of the Gabii Project excavation was released, a large-scale international archaeological initiative led by Nicola Terrenato and the University of Michigan since 2009. What makes this publication unique is its entirely digital nature, where the standard textual narrative is intricately combined with the 3D recording and reconstruction inherent to our documentation strategy as well as the use of the Unity gaming engine for the final product. This new approach to archaeological publication, while seemingly inevitable due to the onset of digital techniques and vast increase of digital data collected in the field, nevertheless raises interesting questions with respect to the future of publications, peer-review, user-interaction and interpretation, as well as the requirement for digital storage. Here I propose to review the in-the-field data gathering methodology of the Gabii excavation as well as its digital publication strategy and open-source release of its collected data for the Area B Republican period house. It is hoped that such a discussion will lead to a beneficial conversation on the future of both excavation methodology and archaeological publication.

No video recording is available.

 

19 April 2017, ARF Brownbag
Revising Our Ethics?: A Report and Open Discussion on Revising the SAA Ethics Principles

Meg Conkey (Professor Emerita, Anthropology, UC Berkeley and Member Committee on Ethics, SAA)
The SAA’s Committee on Ethics (COE) has been charged with revising the original 8 Principles (as established in 1991) as follows: “The current Principles of Ethics focuses on obligations to the archaeological record rather than to other communities. The Board charges the COE to review the current Principles and consider whether it should be expanded to address the ethical obligations of archaeologists to other stakeholders, individuals and communities”. The current COE has been working on this charge and, not surprisingly, has found that this is not merely a matter of adding a few phrases to the end of each Principle.
This presentation will present a short history of establishing ethics by the SAA, and where the COE is at this point in the revisions process. Input from the audience is desired! Following the talk, there will be an open discussion on suggestions about revisions of the ethics principles.

https://goo.gl/FPJHq9

 

26 April 2017, ARF Brownbag

Summing Up 7,000 Years of Bay Area History at Tolay or How Will I Ever Get It Done?! Or Responsive Justice Is Never Done! Peter Nelson (Anthropology, UC Berkeley)

From its inception, the Tolay Archaeology Project has been a Community-Based Participatory Research project that adheres to the tenets of responsive justice. Responsive justice stipulates that researchers should recognize the histories of marginalization and trauma in the communities with which they partner, redistribute benefits from their research to community partners, and be accountable and responsive to community partner needs even after a project is completed. In this talk, I will outline the archaeological project that I designed and implemented with the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria to support ecological restoration at Tolay Lake Regional Park in Sonoma County, California. This approach involved establishing and adhering to core research values and working with tribal committees to ensure that the research continues to be relevant and worthwhile to the tribe. I will show through this case how research that is co-produced with Native American communities can lead to richer understandings of the past and can positively impact the lives of many different peoples today.

No video recording is available.

 

Archaeology Talks recorded Spring 2016

3 March 2016, ARF Brownbag
Glimpsing into the Gallery: The Latest from the Overhaul of the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology, Adam Nilsen (Hearst Museum of Anthropology, UC Berkeley)

Hearst Museum staff have been preparing for a major overhaul of the museum's gallery, aiming to maximize its community impact when it reopens at the end of 2016. With a vast collection of 3.8 million objects from around the world, in combination with the powerful work of Berkeley researchers, the museum is well positioned to teach multiple audiences in innovative ways. Two of the aims of the new gallery are to encourage visitors to think like anthropologists in their everyday lives, and to spark interest in people whom they may perceive as different. Dr. Adam Nilsen is the Head of Education and Interpretation at the museum, and in this brown bag, will give a presentation on the plans for the overhaul and the inaugural exhibit. He will welcome your input.

https://goo.gl/rwK2TM

 

5 March 2016, ARF Special Lecture
Introducing Homo naledi, Caroline VanSickle (University of Wisconsin)

In 2013, six women entered a challenging cave system to excavate over 1500 hominin fossils from a single chamber in the Cradle of Humankind in South Africa. In 2014, a group of about 60 scientists, including myself, came together to systematically compare those fossils with previously known hominin remains. We examined all regions of the skeleton and often had multiple individuals to study for each skeletal element. We tested the null hypotheses that the Rising Star fossils did not differ from known hominin species. In all cases, the hypothesis was rejected. In this talk I will introduce you to the new hominin species that we announced in September 2015, Homo naledi.
Dr. Caroline VanSickle earned her Ph.D. and M.A. in Anthropology at the University of Michigan, and her B.S. in Anthropology at Kansas State University. She is currently the Wittig Postdoctoral Fellow in Feminist Biology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and holds honorary research affiliations with both the Anthropology Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and with the Evolutionary Science Institute at the University of the Witwatersrand. As a paleoanthropologist, VanSickle's research focuses on the identification and interpretation of sex differences in the hominin fossil record based on the anatomy of the pelvis. She has studied original hominin fossil material at institutions in the U.S., Great Britain, Spain, France, Germany, Croatia, Israel, and South Africa. She is currently the lead researcher studying the Homo naledi pelvis.

https://goo.gl/s7NDsF

 

9 March 2016, ARF Brownbag
Integrating drone mapping into research and teaching, Dr. Greg Crutsinger (Academic Program Director, 3D Robotics)

This talk will describe Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and the trajectory of the drone industry in Silicon valley as well as 2D and 3D aerial mapping applications in archaeology. The lecture will provide recommendations for affordable drone solutions for field research.

https://goo.gl/VuMUKM

 

4 May 2016, ARF Brownbag
In the Mouth of the Monster: the Maya site of Lagunita and its Zoomorphic Facade, Arianna Campiani (Anthropology, UC Berkeley)

The “Archaeological Reconnaissance in Southeastern Campeche” Project, directed by Ivan Sprajc, PhD, started 20 years ago with the aim of register the Maya sites that lie under the thick jungle of southern Campeche, Mexico. Most of the settlements documented in the 1930s by K. Ruppert and J. H. Denison of the Carnegie Institution of Washington were re-discovered, along with dozens of other newly recorded sites. Lately, the project extended its surveys in the north side of the Calakmul’s Reserva de la Biosfera (the natural protected area around Calakmul), discovering the massive Maya site of Chactún. In 2014, while exploring the surrounding areas of Chactún, we documented Lagunita, one of its peripheral settlements, which was lost for almost 40 years. Its more impressive characteristic is constituted by a zoomorphic façade that decorates one of the main buildings of the site. This decoration is typical of that portion of the Maya lowlands, nevertheless its architectural location results unusual. After talking about the general context of the re-discovering of the site and of its principal urban features, I will address the stylistic and architectural characteristic of the zoomorphic façade.

https://goo.gl/sxeqco