Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Florida Anthropological Society's annual announcement of the Dorothy Moore grant for student research in archaeology

This morning I received the Florida Anthropological Society's annual announcement of the Dorothy Moore grant for student research in archaeology. Here is the text I received:



The Florida Anthropological Society (FAS) is making available $500.00 to be awarded annually to archaeology students (B.A., M.A., or Ph.D.) who are currently enrolled in a Florida university. The grant money will assist students conducting archaeological research in Florida. Grant funds can be used to cover the costs associated with archaeological fieldwork, special analyses (e.g., radiocarbon dates, faunal or botanical analyses, soils analysis, etc.), and, in some cases, travel expenses associated with presenting a paper based on the student's research at a professional meeting.

Students interested in applying for the grant should submit a letter not to exceed two pages that describes the project for which the funds are being requested; what research question(s) or problem(s) are being addressed; how the funds will be applied to these problems; what, if any, additional funds will be used to accomplish the research; and how the research will contribute to Florida archaeology. The applicant should include a budget indicating the amount requested and describing how the money will be spent along with a letter(s) of support from faculty.

Applications for the 2017 award are now being accepted and can be sent to: Dr. Robert Austin, FAS Student Grant, 7224 Alafia Ridge Loop, Riverview, FL 33569 or via email to roc_doc@verizon.net. Deadline for applications is March 31, 2017.

Best of luck to those who apply.


Monday, November 7, 2016

High Chancellor Sutler is in the Senate!

I know the presidential election has sucked all the air out of the room, but let's not forget that the down-ballot races may be important.

For example, did you know that High Chancellor Sutler was running for re-election to the Senate from Missouri?

Don't believe me? Compare the photos below. The High Chancellor is the sane-looking one.



Monday, October 31, 2016

Anonymity in Peer Review

In a recent blog post, Michael Smith has raised important concerns about the anonymity of peer review. I wish to raise another. In their endless quest to invade our privacy, companies like Microsoft and Adobe have reduced or eliminated the anonymity of document authorship. In other words, personal information such as your name or affiliation may be embedded in electronic documents that you create. I realized this as I was writing up a peer review a few days ago. This could, obviously, compromise the anonymity of peer review. If you send your review to a journal editor in a document that contains your name and then he or she forwards it to the article authors, they could easily discover your name. In some cases, just your institutional affiliation would be sufficient to identify you. I, for example, am the only Maya archaeologist at my university, so it would be relatively easy to deduce who a reviewer was if the name of the university were hidden in the document properties.

In fact, you can remove such information from Word documents and, I believe, pdfs.  I had to dig through a bunch of help files to find out how to do it, and then I changed my settings to prevent saving personalized information. Of course, the new settings now force me to click on pop-up dialogue boxes every time I save a document. That won't get old.

So, you might want to check the document properties before you send a supposedly anonymous review to an editor.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Capuchin monkey flaking creates flaky editorial in the journal Nature

In an article posted on the journal Nature website yesterday, a team of scientists reported that Capuchin monkeys in Brazil engage in a kind of percussion with quartz pebbles that results in the creation of split cobbles and flakes that are sometimes conchoidal (Proffitt et al. 2016). The purpose of the behavior is mysterious, but the monkeys can bee seen liking the stones or the debitage from them.

It's an interesting article, but what really caught my attention was a strange editorial about the research, which was published in the current issue of the journal (Anonymous 2016). It's common, of course, for Nature to publish commentaries on major articles. They are written by experts in the field and are designed, I suppose, to provide both context for and insight into research, especially for readers who are not specialists in the field. Those commentaries are attributed to their respective authors (i.e., signed) and published in a section entitled "News and Views." The commentary on the flaking-monkey article, however, was published anonymously as an editorial before the appearance of actual article in print.

Editorials in Nature, as in other similar journals, normally address matters of science policy and ethics. I can't remember seeing an editorial that commented on an article in the issue unless there was some policy or ethical issue related to the article.  This seemed so strange to me that I flipped back through several issues to check my memory, and I couldn't find another instance like this one.

What, you ask, did the editorial say? I find it hard to pin down main point of the little essay, but perhaps the penultimate line summarizes it: "In the end, the activity of banging rocks together should be seen as precisely that, and not as the first, proleptic step towards the stars." That statement and similar ones could be read as an attempt to diminish the significance of the findings. I don't know if that was the intent of the editor, but I note that the editor did not say anything laudatory about the research.

Again strangely, the title of the editorial is different in the html and pdf versions of the journal. In the html version it is "One sharp edge does not a tool make:Capuchin monkeys have been observed smashing stones to produce flakes ­ — but why they do so remains a mystery." In the pdf it reads, "Sharp Practice: Monkeys can make tool-like objects, but that doesn't mean they know what they are doing."

What a mix of enigmatic weirdness! All in all, it is peculiar, perhaps extraordinary, that the editor of a journal, especially such a prestigious and prominent one, would publish such a vague, rambling, ambiguous, and possibly unflattering commentary on a research article published in their own journal. 

Anonymous (2016). Sharp Practice: Monkeys can make tool-like objects, but that doesn't mean they know what they are doing. Nature 538:290.

Proffitt, Tomos, Lydia V. Luncz, Tiago Falótico, Eduardo B. .Ottoni, Ignacio de la Torre, and Michael Haslam (2016). Wild Monkeys Flake Stone Tools. Nature doi:10.1038/nature20112.

Monday, October 17, 2016

A new reason to boycott Elsevier

There are lots of good moral reasons to boycott Elsevier journals, from unconscionable open access fees to high subscription charges. I can add another, less moral than selfish, but a new reason nonetheless.

I have grown increasingly frustrated with the monumentally complex Elsevier manuscript management system that the company has used to manipulate authors and reviews. I have had to create multiple profiles, and then went through hell to consolidate them into one system. I finally had the courage to complain to a journal editor about it, and he was very rude about it, so much so that I fear that I have foreclosed my opportunity to contribute to the journal, which is particularly unfortunate because it is one of the most highly ranked journals in the field. Even more unfortunate, two of the four top journals in my part of archaeology are published by Elsevier. Take a look at the Archaeology Journal Ranks page on this blog and click through to see who publishes what.

So as not to burn all of my bridges, I agreed to review an article for another Elsevier journal and it turns out they have instituted yet another new document management system and they old accounts didn't roll over to it. So, I had to start the registration process again, and create a new account. I really couldn't believe it. I mean, really, what could the executives at Elsevier possibly be thinking? It's truly astonishing the horrendous disregard that they seem to have for all their clients, the authors, editors and reviewers without whom Elsevier cannot exist.

If one could actually communicate with any of the executives of Elsevier, I suspect they would give the typical corporate answer, that they changed the software for our convenience, as when your bank tells you that they moved all the ATM machines to Malaysia "to serve you better."

So, Elsevier has a disproportionate influence on archaeological publishing. They publish the Journal of Archaeological Science and the Journal of Anthropological Archaeology (via Academic Press). We probably can't do anything about the latter, but we might be able to change the publisher of the Journal of Archaeological Science. It is published by the Society for Archaeological Science, and so we could try to get together and pressure them to change their publisher when their current contract ends. I'd rejoin the Society just for that. How about you?

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Piedras Pintadas, Icalupe, Somoto, Nicaragua

I don't want to leave my devoted readers hanging, so I'll start by saying that Hurricane Matthew had little to no effect on Boynton Beach. The big headline was that one of the restaurants on the Intracoastal Waterway got a few inches of water in the parking lot.

Now, to the point of this post: a much delayed description of the petroglyphs at Piedras Pintadas.

Near the end of our last field season, Jorge Zambrana very kindly took us up to Somoto to see the Cañon de Somoto and the petroglyphs at Piedras Pintadas. Somoto itself is a lovely old town in the highlands, cool, picturesque, and pacific. (Most of the photos in this post were taken by Kelsey Willis.)

Somoto in the northern highlands

Colonial church in Somoto during Sunday mass

The first day, we visited the museum and took photos of some of the pieces in municipal museum. They have some interesting artifacts, including Ulua Polychrome, Campana Fine Line Polychrome, Usulutan ware, Segovias fine supports, and an Ulua-style marble vase.    

 In the evening, we drove to the Parque Ecológico Municipal Piedras Pintadas in Icalupe. It's a huge doline or perhaps an uvala high in the pine-clad hills. On one sheer wall, where is slightly undercut, there is a whole field of petroglyphs, in many places daubed with red and blue paint.

Pine-clad hills around Piedras Pintadas

First view into the doline where the petroglyphs are located

The limestone strata are clearly visible

The first petroglyphs you see as you come down the path

More petroglyphs

The red paint is noteworthy in this section

And yet more...

I like the blue wading bird

Do you see the crab?

Very interesting petroglyphs. There have been some studies of the iconography, but I doubt the subject has been exhausted.

There are some artifacts scattered about. We saw a couple of sherds of Segovias.

Deymins, the archaeologist who acted as our guide and who knows the site well, told me there are caves about, including at least one in the park.


The next day we went to the Cañon de Somoto. It was indescribably beautiful, but we have no pictures because we couldn't carry them in the inner tubes. It is truly spectacular and merits a visit.

 Later in the day, Deymins took us to another petroglyph site near Somoto. The first set of carvings occur in a small rock shelter formed by a group of fallen boulders. I don't remember the name of the site, and I apparently did not write it down.

Petroglyphs in rock shelter near Somoto

Another petroglyph at the entrance to the rockshelter
As I was about to kneel to crawl into the rockshelter, I saw a snake. Deymins said it was a tamagás, one of the deadliest vipers in the region.  I killed it with my new machete. (My old machete was "detained" by Customs, even though I bought it in Nicaragua.)  Unfortunately, the new sheath was not up to its job, and the machete cut through it and halfway through my belt.

Dead tamagás

We visited one more set of petroglyphs nearby and went back to Somoto. If you look on a map, you can see that the northern Chinandega borders of the Department of Madriz, where Somoto is located. In fact, the town of Somoto is located only 27 kilometers from the Chinandega border, but since there is no road that way, you have to go east at least as far as Leon and the north, all of which takes many hours.

The visit was truly lovely and unforgettable. The area will well reward a visit by anyone who enjoys a beautiful landscape or archaeological remains.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Hurricane Matthew

Well, well, the first bands of clouds from Hurricane Matthew are now passing over my house in Boynton Beach, Florida. One current forecast has the eye of the storm hitting the coast about 15 kilometers north of me, in West Palm Beach,  and then skimming the coast north and east to the Carolinas. Of course, 15 km is nothing to a hurricane like this. One tiny jiggle, and I could take a direct hit.  It is quite a powerful storm. It's currently a strong Category 3 with winds of 125 miles per hour (mph), but it's forecast to strengthen to a Category 4 before coming ashore.

I've been through six or seven hurricanes, not counting those I successfully dodged through evacuation, so I know that a Category 3 or 4 is no fun. I've never thought that hurricanes were a blast, but a major hurricane, Category 3 or higher, is a different beast from a Category 1 or 2. There's a world of difference between a 75 mph wind and a 150 mph wind. The difference is that, while a Category 1 storm may harm buildings, the damage is usually light, whereas a Category 4 can wreck, ruin, flatten, and totally destroy houses and other structures. The contrast is described in the Saffir-Simpson scale as "some damage" (Category 1) versus "catastrophic damage" (Category 4). Here's how NOAA describes a Category 4 hurricane:

"Well-built framed homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls. Most trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles downed. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months."

The only good news is that the coast will be on the weak side of the storm--provided it doesn't come fully ashore--and also the storm is fairly compact--so that the very high winds only extend 30 or 50 miles from the eye. 

The bad news is that the storm surge is expected to be very powerful and dangerous. The storm has the potential to scour archaeological sites off the beaches from here to the Carolinas. In this region, the coastal sites, or what survives of them, are highly significant and, of course, already imperiled by sea-level rise. 

No small number of my students live north of me in the zones of greatest danger, from West Palm to Jupiter to Vero Beach. If you read this, seek shelter and stay safe. As the emergency folks say, you should be rushing your emergency preparations to completion.

I'm happy that my wife is out of town and safe. I'm supposed to fly out of Miami International Airport tomorrow afternoon to join her. Last time I checked, my flight was not eligible for a free rebooking. I have no idea whether the airport will be open tomorrow, and even if it is, who knows whether I will be able to get there. If my house is gone, I may have more important things to do. 

Of course, the Weather Channel is tuned to such an intensely unrelenting pitch of hysterical fear-mongering that I don't know how they can talk when they are panting so hard. If their voices get any higher, only dogs will be able to hear them. CNN is, naturally, giving them a run for their money.

It took me quite a few hours last night and this morning to get my inadequate hurricane shutters locked down. I hadn't lowered them in at least 6 or 7 years, and several of them were welded or rusted in place. I had to buy new parts and tools, and I ultimately had to cut some parts with a hacksaw to lower them, and even drilled new bolt holes to fasten them. Fortunately, as a bit of cave archaeologist, I had a great headlamp that I was able to use to work in the dark. It was quite a relief to finally get the the shutters in place. I've packed up most of our essential papers and other stuff just in case the roof blows off toward Tampa, and I need to jump in the car. 

Get under cover and stay safe!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Rosetta observes fluffy fractal particles from the early solar system in comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenk

I haven't written anything about fractals in this space in a long time, but this news item deserves mention.

A news brief in today's Science magazine (Clery 2016) reports that the European Space Agency's (ESA) Rosetta spacecraft has observed a population of fluffy fractal particles in the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenk, which it is studying. The particles were observed at a wide range of magnifications, from ~ 1mm to 1 µ, using three different instruments on the probe. The shapes are statistical fractals that might have formed through the gentle agglomeration of particles. They are thought to have formed in the early solar system.

You can watch to parts of the relevant presentation that was apparently lived streamed from the ESA. The discussion by Thurid Mannel starts around 28:51, but it is continually interrupted by periods during which the signal was lost.

Fluffy fractal particles from the origins of the solar system! Hot stuff!

I have embedded the video below for your convenience.

Reference cited

Clery, Daniel (2016). Rostta ends 2-year comet mission with final descent. Science 353(6307): 1482-1483.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

First conviction for destruction of cultural properties at the International Criminal Court

National Public Radio (here in the United States) and many other news outlets are reporting that Ahmed al-Faqi al-Mahd, the first individual tried in the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes involving the destruction of cultural properties, has been sentenced to nine years in prison. He had previously pleaded guilty to orchestrating attacks on mausoleums and other buildings in Timbuktu (a World Heritage Site) while that city was occupied by a militant group associated with Al-Qaida. Such war crimes are hardly crimes of passion, but rather well-planned, deliberate tactics designed for political ends. Therefore, prosecution and punishment may well serve as a deterrent.

The destruction of cultural property appears to fall under the jurisdiction of the ICC because it is included in the Rome Statute under which the Court operates and presumably other states were unable or unwilling to prosecute. For example, in Article 8, "War Crimes," Section 2, paragraph b(ix), reads in part,
“Intentionally directing attacks against buildings dedicated to religion, education, art, science or charitable purposes, historic monuments, hospitals and places where the sick and wounded are collected, provided they are not military objectives;” (emphasis added)
Similar language appears in other places in the treaty.

Let us hope that this successful prosecution serves as a salutary lesson for others who would attack and destroy the common heritage of humanity.

News discussion of consultation under the National Historic Preservation Act

The American Indian protests over the Dakota Access Pipeline have been in news a lot recently, and I've been discussing it with my public archaeology class. On National Public Radio yesterday morning, there was a news report about litigation over whether the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers properly consulted as required by the National Historic Preservation Act. This link will take you to a transcript and recording of the news report that discusses the Standing Rock Sioux's lawsuit against the Corps. It is rare to hear these kinds of technical issues discussed in such a broad public forum, but it is a good thing because, it seems to me, marginalization and discrimination thrive in the shadows when peoples are ignored or forgotten.

Monday, August 22, 2016

The 2016 Season in Chinandega

The 2016 season in Chinandega was a success! We were able to offer significant logistical support to Hector Neff and Fred Lange. It was also a pleasure to provide aid and comfort to Marie Kolbenstetter from the University of Leiden in her Choluteca project. We enjoyed visits from Jason Paling and Justin Lowry's field school and Patrick Werner and Edgar Espinoza's team from the Canal project.

In addition to those extra-curricular activities, we also succeeded in studying the ancient pottery of Chinandega, which was the reason we were there.  In fact, I don't think it is an exaggeration to say that we have succeeded in creating the outline of a ceramic sequence that runs from the beginning of the Late Preclassic through at least the Early Postclassic, an interval of more than 1,000 years. We have identified materials from all of the periods comprehended by those dates, and, perhaps more important, we think we have identified the ordinary, local pastes and wares corresponding to the major intervals, which will become the key to dating most sites.

I use the term "outline" advisedly because we are still missing most of the details that would convert the sequence from a sketch into a vivid portrait. While we have identified materials from each major period, i.e., Late Preclassic, Early Classic, Late Classic, and Early Postclassic, we only have a pure deposit of ceramics from the earliest phase, the Late Preclassic. The other materials mostly come from mixed deposits and are therefore more difficult to sort out. So, some of our chronological attributions are supported by less than overwhelming evidence, which will need to be shored up in the future. For almost all our materials, the sample sizes are too small to permit the kinds of descriptions we would really prefer to develop. Ideally, one needs an array of whole vessels as well as lots of sherds to be able to describe vessel forms and ranges of variation. We lack most of that information. We can only hope that future excavations will supply the samples necessary to develop those descriptions.

This sequence comes from the coastal plain region, the least known part of the Department of Chinandega. In the northern part of the Department, in the foothills of the highlands, the pottery is very different, but fortunately, it appears closely related to better-known materials in the Segovias region to the north. We started analyzing the northern pottery this year, but almost everything remains to be done.

We had a really great team this year, and I sincerely thank everyone who helped.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Climbing the Cosigüina Volcano with guide Marvin Meléndez

A couple of weeks ago, we took Sunday off and climbed Cosigüina, the westernmost volcano of the Maribio chain. Forming the end of long peninsula that juts out into the Pacific, it creates a looming headland that guards the entrance to the grand Bay of Chorotega. It's a large, complex shield volcano capped with a  low stratocone.

In 1835, Cosigüina exploded. According to Briffa et al. (1998), the volcanic explosivity index of the eruption was 5, making it one of the most powerful in recorded history. The violence of the eruption demolished part of the cone and changed the contour of the mountain forever. Today the cone is lower, about 900 m, and it encircles a deep crater over a kilometer across which harbors a beautiful lake.

Some friends introduced us to a great guide, Marvin Meléndez. He is director of rescue operations for the municipality. He said that when people get lost on the mountain, they call him, so why not cut out the middleman? He was a very genial companion as well as a very professional guide who put safety first. He knows every inch of the mountain and is very experienced. I recommend him highly. His number is 8775-5594. Don't climb Cosigüina without a guide. Every year, people get lost on the mountain, and sometimes they die, usually from dehydration. If you go, bring much more water than you think you'll  need, and then throw some Gatorade in your backpack.

It's a lovely climb, steep towards the end. The young and sprightly will enjoy it. Those who, like me, are older and more sluggish, will struggle, but the end is worth the effort. The view is spectacular. Even from the eastern rim of the crater, you can see west across the mouth of the Bay to El Salvador, where the volcano Conchagua  stands watch upon the other headland.  You can see the Honduras across the Bay to the north.

Looking back toward Nicaragua, you can see the whole length of the Peninsula of Cosigüina lying as a road leading back to El Viejo and Chinandega. You can see from the Bay and the magestic Estero Real to the Pacific on the other side.

It's very beautiful.

Cosigüina crater lake

The Estero Real from the rim of Cosigüina

The Estero Real to the left and the Pacific to the right.

The Gulf of Chorotega

Marvin Meléndez

Reference cited

Briffa, K. R., P. D. Jones, F. H. Schweingruber, and T. J. Osborn (1998). Influence of volcanic eruptions on Northern Hemisphere summer temperature over the past 600 years. Nature 393:450-455.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Two more fieldwork rules

1. If you run out of drinking water, don't brush your teeth with Gatorade.
2. You can dehydrate while cooking, so keep drinking or you could pass out.

Never ask me how I know these things.

Do you have rules on your project? Send them in!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

What Happened to the Ice Cream Sandwiches

So, I had to go to Managua for about 55 hours and by the time I got back my students were on the verge of resorting to cannibalism. I left them with a kitchen full of food and enough cash to feed a Nicaraguan family for a year, but when I walked through the door yesterday, they'd polished off all the Snickers, including the backup Snickers, and the emergency backup Snickers, and we were totally out of ice cream. I took them out to dinner that night, which was yesterday, but that would obviously be only a temporary solution.

Now, for you to understand the rest of the story you have to know that I spent a couple of days last week showing a colleague around who wants to core near the inland margin of coastal estuaries to find evidence for the origins of agriculture. Hence, I took him to some sites in the swamps here in Chinandega so he could decide if any of the spots looked propitious. Now, I think that Chinandega has the best swamps (a dubious distinction), but I'm biased. We were standing around on a mound in the Estero Real looking an a piece of obsidian and talking to the landowner who, by now, qualifies as an old friend, and he said, "My neighbor found a vein of that stuff down at the bottom of a well he dug down the road here."

That sounded highly improbable, though not impossible, but we had to go see. We drove over to the neighbor's house, and he comes out with a small, narrow, stemmed dart point made of obsidian, and he confirmed that it came from deep in a well he excavated, which he offered to show us. Now, a point is not a vein, but a deeply buried site would be pretty interesting too.

We tramped over to his watermelon patch, and he showed us a large irrigation well, several meters on a side, which went down close to 10 m. We could see beautiful stratigraphy in it, including what looked like a 1.5 m thick ash fall lying on top of a very sharp contact with an underlying stratum. The ash layer started over 1 m down from the modern surface, so the contact was probably close to 3 m below the modern surface. If the spear point came from "deep" in the well, it would be far below that. Fascinating!

I decided that I would need to get down the well one way or another, and thought probably a ladder would be the best way. My local friends offered to build one, but I'm familiar with those kind of ladders, having almost died using one in a cave in Yucatan, and I declined. I asked around in Chinandega after ladders, and it seemed like I would probably have to buy it at the SINSA hardware store, which is expensive. The 10 m ladder was close to US$300. I thought it best to measure the depth of the well before spending that much money. Some friends of mine were scheduled to bring their students over this morning, and I decided to take them out there to look at some sites, and they were kind enough to bring a long tape measure for me to use to measure the depth of the well.

We got out there, and it turned out to be only 4 m down to the bottom of the first ledge where there was a concrete shelf they used to support the irrigation pump. From there it is 3 or 4 more meters down to the next stage, after which a small round well takes you down the final reach to water table.

Knowing that, I could now buy my ladder, which really only needed to be about 5 meters long. So I took my students to lunch with our friends, successfully staving off the cannibalism for a few more hours, and then we went to the supermarket where we replenished our supply of Snickers and ice cream. It is always better to shop after you've eaten so you don't buy a lot of junk on impulse. I asked for, and received. some old cardboard boxes at the supermarket to use to protect the roof of the car when we tied the ladder on, and we popped the cardboard in the back of the SUV with the groceries. 

Then we popped by the SINSA hardware store to pick up a ladder. They had a 6 m ladder at a good price, so I bought it, some rope, and a hard-hat. We put some, but not all, of the cardboard on the roof, laid the ladder on it, tied the ladder to the roof rack with the rope, bought more rope, tied the ladder some more, and set off for home, very slowly, with my red hanky dangling from the back of the ladder.

We got home, carried the groceries into the house, untied the ladder, laid it on the porch, and I drove the car back to the parking lot on the other side of the plaza, about 2.5 blocks away.

About an hour later, I heard my students asking each other where this was and where that was, and they realized that some bags must have been left in the car. They asked me for the car keys, headed off to the parking lot, and eventually trooped back with several bags that had been hidden behind a large piece of cardboard.

About 8:30 pm, I got a hankering for an ice cream sandwich, but I couldn't find them in the freezer. I asked my students where they were, and one said, "They suffered a mishap in the car. We took extraordinary measures to save them, but they didn't make it."

So, I guess if we make it through the night we'll have to go back to the store tomorrow. So that's what happened to the ice cream sandwiches: they melted because they were inadvertently hidden behind the cardboard we got to cushion the ladder we bought to find the deeply buried site in the well on the edge of the huge estuary.

I'm going to lock my door tonight. I'll let you know what we find when we finally get to the bottom of the well.

We really need to draft a roommate agreement that covers cannibalism. And zombies. Definitely need to address any potential zombie-related issues.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Will the nightmare never end?

Now they are selling "Archaeology Soap" for kids with dinosaurs in it. Please, think of the children!

On Being a Full Professor

I believe that I officially became a Full Professor yesterday. It may seem like a strange date, but it was the start of the University's new fiscal year, which means that our new contract starts.

It doesn't feel any different. Wait....oh, nope.


Subscribing to the blog--again

Dear Fan(s):

In the Blogger settings, I found a way in which I could e-mail posts to a set of specified e-mail addresses. I'm testing it out now (with this post) on an unfortunate student (and on myself), but I think it will work.

So, if you want to receive posts from this blog by e-mail, feel free to send me an e-mail to my office e-mail, which is on the right-hand side of the blog's front page under "About me."




It worked! It's a heck of an awkward work-around, but it worked.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Say Archaeologists Dig Up Dinosaurs again...I Dare you

The theme of the blog for those who missed it the first time

From Quickmeme.com.

Seriously, though...say it!

New site! And a visit to an old one

We have had a guest from the University of Leiden staying with us, and she was interested in seeing some of our salt-making sites. I have wanted to re-visit Rubén Darío since I realized that the pottery we surface-collected there was so very different from anything else we had seen in our collections.

Because Rubén Darío is located near many of the salt-making sites (at first, we assumed it was one), I thought we could kill two birds with one stone, visiting Rubén Darío and then moving along to the salt-making sites.

Rubén Darío was as buggy as ever, not surprisingly, especially since it has been raining frequently. The mosquitoes were terrible even though we were well-armed with repellent. One stung me on the lip so viciously that it felt like a bee or a wasp, and I suppose that it is possible it was.

Not content with examining the pottery scattered on the near side of the stream, we crossed over on a fallen tree, and our guide took us to see more material on the far side. I've been over to the far side in the past, and so I knew there were sherds on the other bank, but I had never explored over there. Our guide, Davíd, took us to see a pile of stone and earth full of sherds.

Pile of rocks, dirt,and sherds
I thought it might be a fragment of a mound, but he explained that it was probably a push-pile from when the dug the canal. Canal? I asked. He said, oh, yeah, that stream is a canal that was excavated to drain the pastures further inland. He explained that it was excavated a long time ago, before he was born. I knew the stream seemed peculiar--unnaturally straight and deep, with vertical walls--but I didn't know it was artificial. That helps to explain why the stratigraphy seemed so strange. It's possible that the site was deeply buried before the canal excavation cut through it. We'll need to explore that possibility. Davíd then walked a little further downstream (toward the Estero Real) and up onto slightly higher ground and showed us more patches of sherds, as well as what might have been the remains of a couple of structures on top of the hill.

Possible structure

Then we went to another nearby site that we had walked past very briefly the year before. We had thought it might be another salt-making site, and indeed, on this visit, we looked more closely at the pottery and decided it was probably briquetage.

We also noted that the mound at the site, although fragmentary, was larger than I remembered. I paced off 34 m before I got to the recent road cut that damaged it. It is also more than 2.5 m high, possibly 3 m or even more. I decided we should probably name the site Nolasco.

Mound at Nolasco. Note the large size of the stones in the retaining wall.

We visited another site or two that day. Overall, it was a good day in the field, despite the heat and the bugs.

Florida State University to dump Antarctic ice core curation facility

There was a report in Nature on Thursday saying that Florida State University was going to close an NSF-funded curation facility that stores and makes available for research ice cores from the Antarctic. Being involved in curation and paleoclimate research and the Florida State University system, this is disappointing but hardly surprising news. The government of the State of Florida finds the subject of climate change to be anathema. Curation--in any field--never seems to receive proper attention or funding. Storing specimens, I guess, just doesn't smack of sexy new discoveries, although the study of scientific collections is absolutely essential to the whole scientific enterprise. And, despite endless lip service, and the efforts of some dedicated individual administrators, the Florida State University system is not really committed to science, scholarship, or research because the legislature views the system as an expensive jobs training program.

Yet another sad day for science and education in Florida.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Student Archaeology Journals

Two new student archaeology journals seem to have had successful launches.

Inter-Section: Innovative Approaches by Junior Archaeological Researchers has its first issue out. It is based at the University of Leiden, which, unusually for Europe, has an active program of New World research. The journal's home page is here. The journal has an attractive interface and was professionally designed. I didn't try to download articles or the whole number, so I don't know if it's possible, but it seemed easy to read online.

The International Journal of Student Research in Archaeology also looks very professional and attractive. It's first issue can downloaded whole from Dropbox, and individual contributions are apparently available on Academia.edu. It does not appear to be connected to a single university,and the students running it are quite an international group, though perhaps predominantly European. Love their logo, the crossed pen and trowel. The pen is mightier than the trowel, of course.

It's always great to see young folks engaged, ambitious, and making things happen.

The hard part will come with the transitions, as students leave and are replaced by new generations. Students are by their nature transient (or should be, although we all know that one permanent graduate student), and therefore it is hard to create continuity within the flux. All professors probably see how student organizations die and resurrect every few years as classes graduate. It is often difficult for the faculty to recruit new student leaders for organizations. I'm not sure what would happen with organizations that are not based in a single institution. I'm not saying continuity is impossible for students, but they will need to work at it actively, worry about it, develop a plan, have a policy. 

Where's my cane? I need to shake it someone.

Good luck to both journals!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

"...and the blessed land a-heaving like the sea with earthquakes..."

So said Billy Bones, the pirate, thanks to Robert Louis Stevenson.

The USGS says that in the last five days there have been eight, count 'em,,eight (8, ocho, waxak) earthquakes starting with last Friday's 6.1 magnitude shocker. Not aftershocks, of which there have been myriad, but separate quakes.

The number drops to seven if you don't count the one off shore, but rises to 9 or 10if you include the nearby ones off of El Salvador.

Except for the offshore ones, they've been concentrated along the southern edge of the Nicaraguan depression, running east from Puerto Morazan.

What the heck is going on? Is the volcano looming over us going to explode? (It's actually unusually calm.)  Enough is enough. My students and I are getting a tad jittery. Of course, if we were from California, I'm sure this would be nothing, bread and butter, not worth getting out of bed for, but since we're not from the left coast, we're taking it a little harder.

Text us when we can let go.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Follow Wdget Does Not Work (although feel free to keep trying it)

And I'm not surprised. I don't understand why Google would make it so extremely difficult, if not impossible, to follow their bloggers, but I would bet that it's not a sweet and altruistic reason.

Hating Google right now....

Test Post to See If the New Subscriber Gadget Is Working

I hope the new "Follower" widget works. No one has been able to follow my blog for years. Blogger is the worst blogging platform, except for all the others I've tried.

If this works, I'll say so in the next post.


Equipment review

When you've owned as many GPSs as I have, and if they're as critical to your work as mine is, and if you use them as much as I do, then you will love or hate yours, or both, as I do mine.

I have a Garmin Oregon 500. When I bought mine 7 years ago, it was more than twice as expensive as any GPS I had ever owned, and I was really excited by the color touch screen and base map, features I'd never had before.

When it arrived, the touchscreen was poorly calibrated, so the instrument systematically miscalculated the position of my finger. I fixed that, but the screen has always been clunky and insensitive. You have to tap it hard to get it to respond. Maybe that's intentional--a feature designed to make the instrument more durable in the field, perhaps--but I've broken a lot of nails using it. Good thing I don't care too much about my manicure.

But the most annoying feature about the model is the organization of the menus. It's very hard to find the command you want. I've always found the intuitiveness of the command interface the most attractive feature of Garmins, which is why I've bought about 15 of them over the years, but with this model they really lost their way.

Actually, the single worst problem with it is that it's nearly impossible to get it to just display the data from a waypoint after you've recorded it. There are  couple of ways to get to the data, but they are really work-arounds and you have to go through a large number of screens to get to right ones.

Another weakness is that it sucks the juice out of batteries like a chimp eating a mango. I could have driven a Tesla to Moscow with all the batteries I've run through.

Also, the chip can come loose if you put it on the dashboard and drive like hell down a dirt road. Fortunately, if you open the back and take out the batteries, you can slide the chip back into its slot.

On the positive side, the damn thing has taken a heck of a beating and still works as well as it ever did. It's been through a hell of a lot of bangs, dings, swamps and scorching heat.

In 2013, it fell of my belt (apparently)--the damn carabiner never wants to hook onto my belt loop and I'm too fat to see whether it's hooked on properly--in a freshly plowed field along the north bank of the Rio Negro here in Chinandega. We were exploring the ancient site of the town of Somotillo, which moved to its current location in the early 1700s. I was getting dizzy from the heat when I realized it was missing--no shade in a plowed field--but I remembered where I had taken the last waypoint, and we went back and, amazingly, found it. Then we waded back across the river to the car, which was parked in the shade. I turned the key and looked at the display on the dash and it said 44 degrees. That's over 110 degree F, in the shade.

Nicaraguans are not joking when they say that Chinandega is the hottest part of the country. I've looked at the NOAA satellite data, and it really is.

So, the Garmin has been whacked, soaked, and fried--everything but breaded and baked--and it's still working.

I should probably name it, but I can't think of anything appropriate, like the name of a drunken sailor.

So, it's time to get a new GPS. I will probably get another Garmin, but my enthusiasm for brand has dipped a little.

Kelsey finds her first site!

I hope Kelsey forgives me for blogging about her, but I woke up at 2:00 am with a fluttering in my left ear that made think an insect had crawled into it, and so blogging seemed like the natural thing to do. The alternatives were: 1) keep working on the informe, which I will probably do when I finish blogging, or 2) peer review a couple of articles that are waiting in my Inbox. I didn't think it would be fair to the authors to review their cherished work while tired and grumpy, so I'm blogging.

Last Sunday, we decided to take a drive in the countryside. I wanted Aaron, one of my students, to see a bit of Chinandega, which is very picturesque, because he has never been to Nicaragua before.

If you follow the paved road north out of El Viejo, ancient Tezoatega, keeping the volcano on your right hand, you eventually come to Tonalá and then Puerto Morazán, where the road ends at the Estero Real,  It's a beautiful new road, which replaced one that felt like one giant pothole and looked like it had last been paved when Sandino was fighting the Marines. A few kilometers north of El Viejo, there is a turn-off to an even newer paved road to the left, about 8.5 km (as the crow files) north of the plaza in El Viejo. This second, smaller road is paved with what they call "adoquines," which are concrete paving blocks set together in an interlocking pattern.

The "adoquinado" road runs north, and after about 2 km, it comes to the village of Cuatro Esquinas, where I found a site last year. That site has the distinction of being the one I found at highest velocity. By the speedometer, I was doing about 50 kph when I saw the potsherd on the side of the dirt road there.I slammed on the brakes, threw the SUV into reverse, and backed up to the site. The sherd was only 2-3 cm across, so my three passengers were suitably amazed when I pointed to it through the window.

When you get to Cuatro Esquinas, there is a dirt road going west near the southern end of town. About 2.5 km along this road is the village of Amayo. To get there, you have to turn right (north) at the T-junction, and drive about half a klick. From the town, drive west another half a click and turn north.  On Sunday, we were winding our way south along that same road, when Kelsey asked me to stop. I looked out the window and there was a stone mound on a platform in the fallow field. Kelsey dismounted and said there was pottery along the edge of the road. We whipped out the camera and GPS and took a couple of photos and a GPS point. A young teenager carrying two kittens, one in each hand, strolled up.

(Another big aftershock just rattled the house--in real time as I'm typing. It's been more than 24 hours since the quake and we've felt dozens of aftershocks.)

The youngster introduced himself as the custodian of the farm, and he allowed us to go into the field and look at the mound. He also pointed out a couple of other nearby mounds.
Here's the mound, looking east from the road. The mound appears to be sitting atop the north end of a long platform.

Aaron, standing tall on the mound, flanked by kittens.

The loose rocks are mound fill. The cobble size is typical of the mounds in the region.

Looking north from the first mound toward another one pointed out by the watchman. The low mound is slightly left of the electrical post.

Kelsey playing with the kittens on the slope of the mound.
Lovely site. Nice drive. It's always a good day when you find a mound site. I'm pretty sure this is Kelsey's first. She decided to name it Tecomatepe, an indigenous toponym we found on the local INETER topographic quadrangle map sheet (2754_2). Good name for a sweet site.

The kittens were really cute. They acted like puppies.

Back to the informe! I wonder if I can write a type description before the next aftershock hits. (There's a sentence I never expected to write.)

Friday, June 10, 2016

Earthquake update

The aftershocks continued through the night. One of the early aftershocks was reported to magnitude 5.1 and another 4.8. Those rattled us pretty well, too. The government has gone into emergency overdrive mode, but I still have seen or heard reports of serious damage, injuries, or deaths. I heard a report on the TV or radio laast night that 4 houses had collapsed in Puerto Morazan, but I haven't heard it repeated. On the TV this morning, one of the officials, possibly a geologist, said that the building code prohibits construction on active faults, but I don't know if it's enforced. There seem to be many irregular settlements.

The quake was certainly strong enough to do a lot of damage, so the lack of destruction and casualties reflects well of the country's institutions.

Earthquake in Chinandega

The quake hit while we having dinner in a nice restaurant--Los Portales--in Chinandega. I've been in smaller quakes,but nothing like this. It was powerful, although we  could stay on our feet. We ran out into the courtyard by the pool. I've heard reports that it was a magnitude 6.1 centered on Puerto Morazan, a small, very poor town on the Estero Real about 30 kmnorth of us.

The aftershocks are continuing even now, at least 45 minutes later.

We're all okay--Kelsey and Aaron and my Nicaraguan family.

I haven't seen a lot of structural damage--no collapsed buildings in the street.

A lot of people are hanging out in the street, presumably to avoid injury if an aftershock knocks the house down. I also haven't seen buildings with large cracks in them.The electricity and water are still functioning.

However, my shaving cream can did fall into the sink,and I may need an extra scoop of ice cream to settle my stomach.

There have been many aftershocks, which continue.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Job Advertisement for an Archaeological Outreach Coordinator at the Florida Public Archaeology Network

The Department of Anthropology at Florida Atlantic University is advertising the position described below. Please note the closing date, which is rapidly approaching. Please do apply if you believe you are qualified. Thanks!


Job Posting:

Florida Atlantic University (FAU) Department of Anthropology seeks an Outreach Coordinator (position number 980313) for its grant-funded Florida Public Archaeology Network (FPAN) office in downtown Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. The Coordinator must be knowledgeable about Florida archaeology and the overall mission of the Florida Public Archaeology Network (FPAN), assist the Regional Director with public outreach and other center efforts, and supervise staff and volunteers. A Master's degree in an anthropology or related field or a Bachelor's degree in anthropology or related field and two years of experience in anthropology, archaeology, or closely related field are required. Professional experience with public outreach, public interpretation, education, or heritage tourism required. Candidates must have excellent communication skills, be able to work independently, access a variety of buildings or field sites, and have a valid driver's license. Applications and personal information (CV/Resume, names of references, other supporting materials) must be completed on-line through the Office of Human Resources website at https://jobs.fau.edu, position no. 980313. The deadline for application is June 1, 2016.

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.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Wiley's Manuscript submission system

Am I the only one who hates the manuscript management systems used by the big publishers? I asked this once before, in a rant about the Elsevier system, but I received no response. Now I've had a similarly unpleasant experience with what I think is Wiley's system, although in this case I was simply trying to submit a peer-review of an article.

First I found through trial and error that I had to change not one but two of my browser settings just to get the site to work. Then I had to change my password because they revamped the website and my old password, which was difficult to find, wouldn't work. Then they tried to force me to create a profile. Then I closed my browser and gave up. That's just far too much crap to go through for the privilege of reviewing an article. I thought nothing could be worse than Elsevier's website, but  I may have been wrong.

This probably all sounds petulant and querulous, but how much hassle should I put up with for the privilege of doing free work for a huge multinational corporation?

Peer review is a form of unpaid community service upon which these journals rely, so I am frankly astonished that the highly paid executives running these companies would make it harder for scholars to perform it.

It's crazy enough that I donate my time so that these corporations can get richer. I'm not inclined to jump through a bunch of hoops to do it. I'm happy to contribute to the advancement of science if the journal is published by a scientific society, but doing it for commercial publishers is just getting silly.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Funny and Beautiful*: Hope Jahrens's Blog

I don't remember reviewing any blogs in this space. It hardly seems like the best use of my time or this space.

But, I was paging (i.e., clicking) through the journal Nature this morning before my 8 o'clock class, and I saw a review of a new book entitled Lab Girl by Hope Jahrens.** The review was enticing, so I Googled the name and her blog popped up. The blog is fabulous, as funny and startling as it is strikingly and beautifully written. Some of the comics are hysterical. There is also some excellent advice. I thought the post "How to Turn A 'Good' Proposal Into An 'Excellent' Proposal in Eight Admittedly Arduous Steps" offered some of the best advice I've read on grant writing. And it was funny to boot.

 The blog is worth a look. So, pause Ph.D. Movie 2 and check it out.

*The writing, which is also funny. 
**Blog is not monetized. I don't get anything if you click through and buy the book.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Photos of the Rubén Darío site

These are photos of the Rubén Darío site in the Department of Chinandega, Nicaragua. Back in July of last year I posted photos of some of the ceramics from the site. It's an unusual site, located on the edge of the large Estero Real estuary, at the interface between the Tertiary uplands and the alluvial lowlands of the Nicaraguan Depression or Graben.

(Actually, I'm posting these for a friend because they are too large to e-mail.)

High density of pottery on the surface of the lowest terrace. Some sherds are large.

High density of pottery on the surface of the lowest terrace.

Looking upstream (south) along the channel of the Estero Apupú.

Looking upstream (south) along the channel of the Estero Apupú. Note the low energy of the stream.

Looking downstream (approximately north) along the Estero Apupú. The mangroves start within a couple of hundred meters (or less)

Creating a little bridge over the stream with driftwood.

On the west bank of the Estero Apupú. Note the soft, fine-grained sediments into which I am sinking. Pure muck. Cannot be washed out of clothing.

Monday, April 11, 2016

SAA Conference in Orlando

Well, the SAAs are over and, despite being held at that overpriced and rather creepy Potemkin Village near Orlando, the Annual Meeting was productive and interesting. Florida Atlantic University was well-represented by students and alumni.

The symposiumm I organized with Geoff McCafferty, Cerámica Sin Fronteras, went well. We had a prime time slot, Friday afternoon; interesting, original, and significant papers; and a good audience. Rosemary Joyce saved the entire symposium with her adapter for the projector's serial cable. We had participants from Canada, the U.S., France, and Honduras. My students Kelsey Willis and Ashley Gravlin Beman gave excellent presentations, for which I can take little credit because I merely offered a little coaching. Even though I'm directing their research, I learned (i.e., acquired new information) from their presentations. I want to convey my sincerest thanks to all who participated. I regret that more our of Central American colleagues could not attend, but I was delighted that Dra. Eva Martínez came from Honduras and spoke about her work in the Jamastrán Valley.

In addition to my symposium, several others included substantial participation by folks from FAU. Christian Davenport organized a session on the Belle Glade Culture. He is a Ph.D. candidate at FAU, and many of our students and former students presented papers in that symposium, inclulding Katie Smith, Dorothy Block, Rebecca Stitt, and, of course, Chris himself.

Valentina Martínez, one of the other archaeologists on the faculty, presented at least 3 posters, including one with Andres Garzon-Oechsle, a graduate student here, and another with Nicole Jastremski, a biological anthropologist in our department (and a former graduate student!).

Ryan Wheeler, Director of the R. S. Peabody Museum, former State Archaeologist of Florida, and graduate of our department, organized a symposium in honor of Wm. Jerald Kennedy, a professor emeritus in our department. That session included not only Dr Kennedy himself, but Michael Harris, the current department chair, and a whole passel of department alumni.

I noticed that there were other alumni of our program around in other sessions, but I don't even know the whole list of our former students, so they're difficult to track.

A small assemblage of twenty or thirty of us went out for a bite on Saturday night. What fun!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Cool website on women archaeologists

Trowelblazers has short biographies on women archaeologists, both historic and contemporary. They also include some geoscientists of various persuasions, but we can overlook that despite our strict "No Dinosaur" policy. They have dug up (no pun intended) some great historic photos to accompany the articles.

They also contributed to the development of a "Lottie the Fossil Hunter" doll that is cute beyond belief. If you scroll through the blog, you can enjoy photos of the doll performing fieldwork and analysis in different venues and contexts. Apparently, they take her on the road with them. It's a lot of fun. If the doll weren't sold out, I'd buy one.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Archaeological Material Culture

Cafe Press is a website to which one can send an image or logo, and they will print the design on a variety of objects, such as tee-shirts and coffee mugs, presumably on demand; they sell them through their online store and split the profits with you.

For some reason that eludes memory, I recently searched the site for "archaeologist" and found some interesting artifacts. ("Some" > 2000.) Most, inevitably, were banal: "My career is in ruins" or "Archaeologists do it in the dirt."  Even more predictably, there were some dinosaur items as well as, happily, some "No Dinosaur" items. (I'm not trying to sell anything, and I don't get a cut. This is a non-commercial, unmonetized blog!) I particularly like the bumper sticker that says, "Archaeologists don't dig up dinosaurs." Perhaps I should also mention the baby jumper that says, "Archaeologists Don't Dig Dinosaurs" because the picture of the dinosaur with the line through it is executed with a great deal of spirit.
The "Archaeology: Trowel and Error" coffee mug is fun, especially because the trowel they show in the picture is not the kind we use, hence the "error," I suppose, in the motto.

I got a kick out of the various objects you could buy with Munsell color charts emblazoned on them. (I linked to a 10YR travel mug, but you can pick the hue, apparently.) My enjoyment had nothing to do with the fact that my latest article is on the analysis of Munsell colors. (Subliminal message: It's open access, so please follow the link, download it, read it, and cite it!)

Probably my favorite item was the tee-shirt that read, "Archaeologists: Stronger than your average geek!"   The question of why I enjoyed this one so much could only be answered, I'm sure, after intensive psychotherapy, so we'll probably never know. Sadly, the yearnings of my Freudian neurosis will not be soon satisfied: the item is a little pricey and out of stock.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016


Reposting an e-mail....

The Florida Anthropological Society (FAS) is making available $500.00 to be awarded annually to archaeology students (B.A., M.A., or Ph.D.) who are currently enrolled in a Florida university. The grant money will assist students conducting archaeological research in Florida. Grant funds can be used to cover the costs associated with archaeological fieldwork, special analyses (e.g., radiocarbon dates, faunal or botanical analyses, soils analysis, etc.), and, in some cases, travel expenses associated with presenting a paper based on the student's research at a professional meeting.

Students interested in applying for the grant should submit a letter not to exceed two pages that describes the project for which the funds are being requested; what research question(s) or problem(s) are being addressed; how the funds will be applied to these problems; what, if any, additional funds will be used to accomplish the research; and how the research will contribute to Florida archaeology. The applicant should include a budget indicating the amount requested and describing how the money will be spent along with a letter(s) of support from faculty.

Applications for the 2016 award are now being accepted and can be sent to: Dr. Robert Austin, FAS Student Grant, 7224 Alafia Ridge Loop, Riverview, FL 33569 or via email to roc_doc@verizon.net. Deadline for applications is March 31, 2016.

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 (http://bakota.net) and our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/bakotaproject).

Website and Online Application: http://bakota.net
Application Deadline: March 18, 2016
Field School Dates: July 4 - August 14, 2016
Field School Location: Quinnipiac University & Hungary
Contact Information: Dr. Julia Giblin (julia.giblin@quinnipiac.edu)

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!