Monday, February 8, 2016

Interesting field schools

I don't  usually post information about field schools because there are many of them, I often cannot testify to their quality, and the news quickly expires.

But, here are a couple of exceptions.

The Hungarian field school seems to offer nice funding, which is a little unusual for field schools.  I hope the NSF funding implies a level of scrutiny that ensures a good research design and syllabus. I paste below the body of the e-mail I received about it.

The CRM field school is run by a very reputable archaeological consulting firm and the Institute of Field Archaeology, which is new but seems to be running good field schools.

1.  Hungarian Bioarchaeological Field School

Dear CURL Members,

I am writing to provide information about an international NSF- REU archaeology field school opportunity for undergraduate students.

The Bronze Age Körös Off-Tell Archaeological (BAKOTA) Field School is a summer undergraduate research program sponsored by Quinnipiac University and the National Science Foundation’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates Site program. Students accepted into the program will work with an international, multidisciplinary research team on the bioarchaeological analysis of a Middle Bronze Age cemetery in eastern Hungary. Student travel, housing, food, field trip fees, etc. will be covered by the NSF in addition to a $500/week stipend (total $3,000). Eight Fellows will be selected from the pool of applicants. Students must be a US citizen or permanent resident, and currently enrolled in an undergraduate program to be eligible.

For more information about the project and field school check out our website ( and our Facebook page (

Website and Online Application:
Application Deadline: March 18, 2016
Field School Dates: July 4 - August 14, 2016
Field School Location: Quinnipiac University & Hungary
Contact Information: Dr. Julia Giblin (

Kindly pass this information on to colleagues and students who might be interested. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me.

Many Thanks!

Julia I. Giblin, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Anthropology
Quinnipiac University
275 Mount Carmel Ave.
Hamden, CT  06518-1908
Office:  CAS1, Room 337
Office Phone: 203-582-8381

2.  CRM field school

CRM Training at Coconino National Forest

The IFR and Statistical Research Inc. (SRI) – one of the foremost CRM firms in the US – have partnered to offer a unique field school at the Coconino National Forest near Flagstaff, Arizona.  The US AZ-Coconino field school is design to train students for positions in the Cultural Resource Management (CRM) field.   Students will conduct a typical small-scale CRM inventory and evaluation project in one of the richest archaeological areas of the West.  The pinyon-juniper and juniper woodlands of the Colorado Plateau have been home to people for many millennia.  The area contain a wide-ranging archaeological record that extends from the Archaic (6,000-3,000 BCE) to the historical period.

The goal for the 2016 season is to train students in basic CRM survey, mapping, in-field analysis, and excavation methods through an intensive pedestrian survey of Forest lands in the Winona and Ridge Ruin area. Our research goals are to identify and assess any prehistoric or historical-period resources that can contribute important information regarding prehistoric land use and historical period settlement in this area.

The US AZ-Coconino field school will expose students to the rich cultural heritage of the Southwest, as well as to the techniques, legal regulations and practices governing CRM archaeology.  Since most archaeology positions in the US are within CRM, this field school offers applied training for students seeking career in that industry.   This program is directed by Dr. Richard Ciolek-Torello, Vice President for Research at Statistical Research Inc.

Will you please let interested students know about this program?
Ran Boytner   
Elden Pueblo, located within the program research area 
Recording rock art at Picture Canyon, just east of Flagstaff (AZ) 
Please share with students and other interested parties!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Job advertisement for Florida Public Archaeology Network, Regional Director

The job opening for the Director of the Southeast and Southwest Center of the Florida Public Archaeology Network has been re-opened or extended (I'm not sure which). Here is a link to the advertisement on the SAA web site.  If you previously applied, please do not re-apply. Your application is still in the system and will be considered.

Please apply!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Best job title in the world

Recently several articles (for example, in the Washington Post) have appeared the press lauding the creation of a new position in the United States' Federal government entitled "Planetary Defense Officer." You might assume this is a military position dedicated to destroying extra-terrestrial warships, a job for which Will Smith is uniquely qualified, as described in the documentary film Independence Day. In reality, the new Planetary Defense Officer sits at NASA and his primary responsibility is to coordinate intergovernmental responses to impact threats posed by near-Earth objects, such as comets and asteroids. Having lived and worked on the edge of the Chicxulub crater, I think it is a good thing that someone worries about that topic full time.

Those who think that this is the best job title ever, are, I am sad to report, wrong. The best job title in the world is "Director of Time," who works at the U. S. Naval Observatory. I wonder, though, does the Director of Time have a TARDIS? If so, where does he park it?

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Legal stuff

The university at which I am employed recently fired a tenured professor, allegedly for activities related to his blogging. I say "allegedly" because many of the details remain murky, presumably because it is a personnel action.

Hoping to keep my job, I have added a disclaimer to blog page header, above.

Disclaimer about the disclaimer: I'm not sure if I have any minions, but I added them to the list just in case.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Job posting for a regional director, Florida Public Archaeology Network

My Department is advertising a job for a regional director for the Florida Public Archaeology Network:

Here's the text of the advertisement, which can also be found here:

Director, Southeast and Southwest Regions The Department of Anthropology, Florida Atlantic University, invites applications for a full-time position as Director of the Southeast and Southwest Region Public Archaeology Center of the Florida Public Archaeology Network (FPAN). The Center operates from FAU's campus in Ft. Lauderdale.
We are seeking a Public Archaeologist, topical specialization open, for the position of Director. Applicants must have an MA or Ph.D. in Anthropology with a preferred focus on the archaeology of Florida or the southeast United States. The successful candidate will have demonstrable experience in public archaeology, outreach, and leadership roles. Most important is a willingness to develop opportunities and strategies for engaging diverse publics on archaeological issues. As Director of the SE Region Public Archaeology Center the responsibilities will include supervision of the Center staff and oversight of all administrative and budgetary responsibilities of the Center. Applications may be submitted electronically at, position #01003185.

Florida Atlantic University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability status, protected veterans status or any other characteristic protected by law. Individuals with disabilities, requiring accommodation, please call 561-297-3057. 711.

Please do consider applying!

Happy Gregorian New Year! Administrativa....

Well, we've made to the start of another New Year (Gregorian). So, Happy New Year, unless you're waiting for 1 Imix, which comes in February, or the beginning of the next tun, which starts on November 30th.

Way back in 2013, I wrote in these pages, ..."it would be easier to stipulate that I'm always sorry for not posting more frequently."

I've been thinking that I should post a series of stipulations at the beginning of each year, to palliate at least the perennial disappointment of my readers.

So, I hereby stipulate that:

1) I'm sorry that I don't post more often;
2) I'm sorry that my posts are not better composed, in the form of neat little essays;
3) I'm sorry that I don't post more of my actual research results (but there are real issues about whether that would interfere with future publications, consent of colleagues and funders, etc.); and,
4) I'm sorry that I'm not a better photographer.

Silliness aside, I think this is an appropriate juncture to mention that Google is changing Blogger functions related to "following" individual blogs. So, if you stop getting e-mail alerts about my posts, that's why. I haven't been able to get the "follow" function to work for new subscribers for more than a year now, so it may not be possible to follow the blog anymore. I hope that Google doesn't mess this up further, but I have a bad feeling about it.

Fun way to start the New Year!

I hope all my readers enjoyed the holidays and have a prosperous new year.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Article about Isabelle Clérié, one of our former students

Isabelle Clérié is one of our former undergraduate students. She went on to earn, I think, two Master's degrees. One, if memory serves, is in non-profit management and the other in applied anthropology. She is working in Haiti, and a columnist at Forbes has posted a short profile of her recent work. Although I lament that she did not continue studying archaeology, I have to admit that the work she is doing instead is probably more important. She is a testament too what you can accomplish with brains, fortitude, and charisma. I could not be more delighted with her great success. Congratulations, Isabelle!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Tampa Fossilized Coral

I have in my lab some fossilized coral from the area of the Wetherington Island site, which is located  just east of Tampa, Florida. The site is a major Paleoindian and Archaic quarry site that runs back from the north bank of an abandoned channel of the Hillsborough River. There are ancient quarry pits dug through a buried gleyed A horizon into the limestone marl, chert workshops where they heat treated the chert, and megafauna bones in the Paleoindian strata. The deposits of chert and chalcedony at the site are very rich. When the water in the creek is low, you can see a large chunk of modified bedrock chert sticking out of the riverbed. By modified, I mean it has been partly chipped away; it is covered in flake scars from knapping. Excavations at the site have produced literally tons of debitage (See Brown 2001 and references therein). A fair portion of the debitage is fossilized coral, which is presumably what archaeologists in the region call "Tampa Fossil Coral." The quarrying apparently intersected a fossil reef embedded in the Tampa Limestone Member of the Hawthorne formation.

Early today, I was showing some flakes of the fossilized coral to a colleague and, as always, it was difficult to see the skeletons of the coral animals in the rock. You can only see them when the flake or chunk has fractured perpendicular to the axis of the coral animals; then they appears as stars or asterisks in the chert. Out of frustration, I took some pictures of the flake with my digital microscope, and they came out surprisingly well, so I thought I would share them with the world.

First are a couple of pictures of the flake (ventral and dorsal) and then a few closeups of the ventral face. You will probably need to enlarge the photographs (by clicking on the thumbnails) to see what I'm describing.

Low magnification microphotograph of the ventral face of a fossilized coral flake. The skeletons of the coral animals are visible as star- or asterisk-shaped shadows embedded in the stone. This is not an archaeological specimen, but rather a modern, experimental one.

Low magnification microphotograph of the dorsal face of a fossilized coral flake. The skeletons of the coral animals are visible as star- or asterisk-shaped shadows embedded in the stone. This is not an archaeological specimen, but rather a modern, experimental one.

Close-up of the dorsal face of the specimen above.

Close-up of the dorsal face of the specimen above.

Close-up of the dorsal face of the specimen above.

Close-up of the dorsal face of the specimen above.

It is very lovely rock, which turns bright colors--red and orange--when heat treated. I think the coral animals are clearer in these microphotographs than in real life not only because of the magnification but also because I used polarized light. The flake was resting on a shiny white surface and it is possible that it reflected some of the incident light back through the specimen, which is translucent, creating enhanced visibility.

At least in North America, ancient lithic artifacts are made out of fossilized material, including fossilized (or petrified) wood, more often than one might imagine. 

Reference cited

Brown, Clifford (2001). The Fractal Dimensions of Lithic Reduction. Journal of Archaeological Science Vol. 28, No. 6, pp. 619-631. 

The essential tools of ceramic analysis

The tools of ceramic analysis
Thanks to Kelsey for the photo.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Biological Anthropologist job

My Department is pleased to announce the following tenure track position opening:

Florida Atlantic University. The Department of Anthropology invites applications for a full-time, tenure-track position in biological anthropology at the Assistant Professor level starting August 2016. Research specialization is open, but we are seeking a candidate with expertise in paleoanthropology, human esteology, human variation/evolution, bioarchaeology, or forensic anthropology. Potential linkages to multidisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary research are welcomed. A Ph.D. in anthropology is required at time of appointment. The successful candidate must be committed to undergraduate and graduate teaching and mentoring as well as demonstrating research potential and a commitment to generating grants and external funding. Applications must be submitted online at (posting no. 990243) and include an application letter, CV, names/contact infor for three references, and supporting materials (e.g., publication samples, teaching materials). If needed, large documents can be sent to: Search Committee, Dept. of Anthropology, Florida Atlantic University, 777 Glades Road, SO171, Boca Raton, FL 33431. FAU is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability status, protected veterans status, or any other characteristic protected by law. Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodation, please call 561-297-6057, TTY/TDD 1-800-955-8771.
Please feel free to contact me if you have questions about the position. I will do my best to answer them.