• Name: Paul McLerran
  • Locations:Virginia, United States
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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Center for American Archaeology: Adult Field School

Kampsville, Illinoise - The Center for American Archaeology will be conducting their annual Adult Field School this summer, offering a structured, intensive excavation and lab experience for students and other adult volunteers interested in assisting in the retrieval of data that will shed additional light on the life-ways of Middle Woodland/Hopewell period (50 B.C. to 250 A.D.) native americans. Running from July 21 to August 15, 2008, this field school offers an excellent opportunity for anyone interested in developing or expanding their field experience. As so much work conducted by American cultural resources management firms involves the investigation and recovery of native american settlements, anyone building personal professional credentials may want to consider this. See the website for more information.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Passport in Time

Are you a student, avocational archaeologist, or anyone looking for a meaningful volunteer experience? The USDA Forest Service's Passport in Time program offers opportunities to the public to participate in a variety of archaeological projects throughout the United States. These experiences require no participation fee and accept volunteers for varying lengths of time. Time commitments can be as little as a few days. If you are a student or volunteer looking for an additional learning experience, this price is hard to beat. For more information, go to the Passport in Time website.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Exploring the Roots of Angkor

It may surprise some to know that Angkor Wat was a center of the world's largest urban settlement -- the largest known urban area of the preindustrial era. Recent mapping work has revealed that the sprawling urban metropolis influenced an area of 1,100 square miles, with a massive irrigation system that had no ancient rival. The results of archaeological investigation suggests that the great Angkor civilization eventually collapsed due to overpopulation and environmental issues -- in a sense, it collapsed under its own weight and the inability of the population to effectively manage its resources. There are, however, investigations being conducted that are exploring the opposite end of this spectrum -- how did this civilization begin? What are the origins?

Beginning in December, 2007 and continuing into February of 2008, Dr. Charles Higham of the University of Otago, New Zealand, will be leading an expedition of Earthwatch teams in Thailand to recover and analyze evidence of a sophisticated indigenous civilization that, he suggests, may have played a major role in the foundations of the culture associated with this spectacular site. The 2008 investigations will focus on the remains of Ban Non Wat, a large mound ringed by banks and moats. A major objective will be to determine the relationship of the site to other nearby prehistoric sites. Ancient settlements dot the landscape of Thailand, many of which were large and complex enough to leave clues of social organization, technology and trade as early as 2000 B.C. Ban Non Wat represents one of these settlements. The team will excavate and search for human burials, food remains, pottery, metals, and other artifacts. They will dig alongside local villagers and process finds at the field lab. They will stay in the Phimai Inn, which boasts a large swimming pool, hot showers, and air-conditioned rooms, with Western or Thai breakfasts and Thai dinners served under the pavilion next to the swimming pool. The hotel will provide lunch to take to the dig site each day. Volunteers will also have convenient access to the market and to Angkor Wat itself for sightseeing.

If you are interested in joining the team, see the website for more information.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The Archaeological Digs Store

Arguably one of the largest online one-stop shops for items related to archaeology, this site includes a huge selection of books, site excavation publications and reports; and apparel, equipment (like trowels!) and software useful for the archaeology enthusiast and professional. In association with Amazon.com, it affords a range of purchasable items anywhere from (for example) GIS software and 'Practical Applications of GIS for Archaeology' to 'A Preliminary Report on the Excavation of the Sons of Ramesses II in the Valley of the Kings'. The store continues to expand its inventory. To view the store, click here. For the best quality sifting screens, go to Stoney Knoll.

Rediscovering Jamestown

For many years it was assumed by scholars that the original James Fort constructed by English colonists in 1607 at the site of Jamestown, Virginia (the first permanent English colony in America) had long been claimed for oblivion by the waters of the nearby James River; however, since 1994, the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities, in conjunction with the University of Virginia, have conducted excavations that have revealed thousands of artifacts and soil features clearly identified with the Fort. Thus far, these excavations have uncovered most of the palisade wall lines, bulwarks, cellars, and buildings that were all part of the original James Fort configuration. This is the "glamour dig" of American historical archaeology. It is meticulously executed, well managed, and extremely well documented and published. An ongoing account of the discoveries can be found by going to this site.

You can also apply to be part of this investigation as Dr. William Kelso of the Univesity of Virginia leads a formal
field school during the summer of 2008. The field school is designed to teach theory and methods of fieldwork in American Historical Archaeology. Students will learn how to investigate the features related to James Fort and to identify and interpret 17th century European and Native American artifacts. In addition, upon successful completion of the program, students will receive six (6) graduate credits in Anthropology from the University of Virginia. You should know that this would involve a six-week commitment, provided your application is accepted. And if it isn't in the cards for you now, it might be worth keeping it in mind for the future.

FYI: Publications related to the Jamestown Rediscovery project and the Jamestown historical account.