Uncategorized Archaeologist, Archaeology, Day of Archaeology 2011, Florida Public Archaeology Network
Hi all! Well today is the Day of Archaeology 2011 and I am very excited. For those of you who may not be aware of what this means, well, the Day of Archaeology 2011 was created to give people a glimpse into the daily lives of archaeologists. Written by over 400 contributors, it documents what they do on one day, July 29th 2011
, from those in the field to specialists working in laboratories and behind computers. This date coincides with the Festival of British Archaeology
, which runs from 16th – 31st July 2011. Archaeologists will continue to post to this Day of Archaeology blog for an entire week after the Day of Archaeology.
The Day of Archaeology was born after a Twitter conversation. Some folks thought it would be interesting and fun to organize something for those working or volunteering in (or studying) archaeology around the world. Thanks to some very talented and hard working, tech savy people, the Day of Archaeology became a reality. So I hope that you all will check it out at http://www.dayofarchaeology.com/
. There are approximately 400 archaeologists from around the world contributing to this project. So take some time and get to know what it is that archaeologists that work in various aspects of the field do on a daily basis! It really is a cool project!
Now, below is my post from The Day of Archaeology 2011 blog. There are so many individuals contributing, that you might have a hard time finding my post. So read on below, but don’t forget to visit the Day of Archaeology web site to see what other archaeologists are doing around the world. Enjoy!
Hello! First let me introduce myself! I am Barbara Hines, the Outreach Coordinator for the Florida Public Archaeology Network’s North Central Region (www.flpublicarchaeology.org). I have been working with FPAN for just over a year now, and have loved every second of it so far. Prior to Public Archaeology I worked in Cultural Resource Management. Because of that experience I have a wide range of interests as far as archaeology goes, but I tend to get a bit more excited about historical archaeology (especially the antebellum stuff). At FPAN our mission is to promote and facilitate the conservation, study and public understanding of Florida’s archaeological heritage through regional centers, each of which has its own website. We have a total of eight regions throughout the state of Florida.
Today I don’t have any field work going on, but there is still a ton of stuff I am trying to get done by the end of the day today. First thing I do everyday is update our facebook and twitter status. You can follow FPAN North Central on twitter at @FPANNrthCentral. I try to post upcoming outreach events and sometimes interesting articles about local archaeological finds. After that it is on to the rest of the day’s tasks.
Today I am trying to finalize plans for an upcoming event I have going on in Blountstown, Florida. I have teamed up with the FPAN Northwest Region, the Panhandle Archaeological Society at Tallahassee and the Panhandle Pioneer Settlement for a Public Archaeology Day. It will be located at the Panhandle Pioneer Settlement on September 10th. This is going to be a great event where the public can bring their own private artifact collections so that they can have them identified by Professional Archaeologists. This is a great way to create a working dialog between the private collector and archaeologists. I think this is very important and allows archaeologists to get a more holistic view of the archaeological record. I have been trying to line up volunteers and work on other logistical matters.
The Thank You Wall!
This morning I went to the P.O. Box to check our mail. I love checking our mail because it is always filled with thank you letters from children. I visit a lot of classrooms and present on archaeology. FPAN also has a ton of hands on activities we do with the kids to teach them about different concepts relating to archaeology. It is probably my favorite part of the job! I have a bulletin board in the office where I display some of my favorite thank you notes and newspaper clippings about some of our events. It is a constant reminder of the impact we are making, and I hope it is a lasting impact. I am a true believer that education will lead to the conservation of our important archaeological sites. In fact, another one of my goals today is to email my education contacts to let them know that I am ready for the upcoming school year. I have a listing of emails for teachers and educators that I email on a regular basis to keep them updated about FPAN outreach events. Some of the teachers even give the students extra credit if they attend! We also conduct teacher trainings to equip the teachers with the necessary skills to incorporate archaeology into their existing curricula.
We also do a lot of things with adults as well. Today one of my main goals is to finish a presentation that I will be giving in early August to a group of adults in Columbia County. I will be talking about the turpentine industry in North Florida. From the 1700s to the early 1900s it was an important industry in this region and I have had the opportunity to work on several sites that contained the remains of turpentine camps. It has been a long time interest of mine. And to think, I had no idea what the turpentine (sometimes called Naval Stores) industry was until I moved up here to Tallahassee! Turpentine was used to seal ships and was also an ingredient in many other products, such as paint thinner, beauty products and medical products as well. I have been compiling information for this presentation for months, now it is time to create the power point and get down to business. I have some really cool pictures that I am very excited to show the public. I found them at the state archives.
This whole summer I have been busy going to summer camps and doing archaeology activities with the campers. Last week I attended a Girl Scout camp and did a whole bunch of lessons with them. Their favorite activity though, was learning to use the atlatl. The atlatl, or spear thrower, is a prehistoric hunting tool. It even predates the bow and arrow! We all spent some time outside learning how to use it. With the use of the atlatl you can learn to throw a spear three times farther and faster! That would come in pretty handy if you had to hunt large game for dinner. The kids always get a kick out of it and so do the adults! Today I want to unpack all my summer camp supplies and send an email to the Camp Director to thank her for inviting me to come and teach the campers about archaeology. I hope that the campers all enjoyed it as much as I did!
Well, I believe that is my day in a nutshell. It is probably pretty different than what most people would expect. No digging in the dirt for me today! As much as I do love excavating, I am pretty glad to be in the air conditioning today, as it is almost 100 degrees Fahrenheit outside today. However, when I was doing Cultural Resource Management I was regularly out there in the heat, so I know I could do it if I had to! I hope you enjoyed this entry and I really hope I gave some good insight into the typical day of a Public Archaeologist!
Uncategorized Archaeology, Florida, Florida Public Archaeology Network, Girl Scouts, Summer Camp
Around this time of year many FPAN offices are busy working summer camps around the state. When I tell people this, they always ask, “What do kids do at archaeology summer camp?” Well, I decided that would be a wonderful blog topic. Most seem to think that we put the kids in a big pit and make them dig in the dirt all week long. Well, I don’t know about you, but in this heat, that does not sound too appealing. Thank goodness archaeology summer camp involves a variety of activities – some indoors and some outdoors!
This summer I worked with three different summer camps, and all three ran very differently. At one summer day camp I spent one hour with a different group of children each day. So each day I did the same activity, just adapting it to make it age appropriate for each individual group. I spent that week doing an activity called “Ancient Graffiti”. In this activity the children create a graffiti panel to show how people expressed themselves in the past. The campers learned that wall paintings, rock art, and even graffiti are found at archaeological sites throughout the world. They learned that pictographs created by prehistoric Native Americans are studied by archaeologists to interpret their meaning and use. Archaeologists use this type of rock art to understand the beliefs, religion, experiences, or stories of the people who created them. We even took it one step further and discussed how graffiti created during historic times can be studied the same way. The children even had the chance to learn about some ancient rock art found within a cave in Florida! The campers worked on their ancient graffiti in groups and had to tell a story without using any written words. They then had the chance to share their story with the rest of the campers. It is a great activity, and the stories were very entertaining. There were hunting parties telling about their latest catch, stories of adventures around the world and even stories of aliens landing on earth!
The second day camp I had the same group every day. Therefore I was able to do a different activity each day. This allowed for a more in depth look at Florida archaeology. We did a variety of activities, but the camper’s favorite one seemed to be the Chocolate Chip Cookie Excavation. This gave the children a chance to learn that excavation is a very scientific process and takes time. They also learned the importance of documentation by mapping their cookie prior to excavation. We took this lesson a step further by discussing the Law of Superposition, which states simply that in an undisturbed environment, the artifacts that are closer to the surface were deposited more recently than those that are found deeper within the ground. This, in turn, led to a productive discussion on the importance of not disturbing archaeological sites. It never ceases to amaze me at how intelligent and observant children can be! They latched on to this concept and ran with it.
The third camp was a Girl Scout sleep away camp. I was probably busiest at this camp. It was a week long and there were multiple archaeology activities scheduled each day. We had a chance to do both indoor and outdoor activities. Many activities I did with the campers came from either Project Archaeology or Beyond Artifacts. Beyond Artifacts is available for free on the FPAN website, and FPAN offers Project Archaeology workshops on a regular basis (www.flpublicarchaeology.org). I would have to say though; Atlatl Antics was probably the favorite activity for these campers! What could be more fun than learning about Native American technology and then having the chance to learn how to throw with an ancient hunting tool, the atlatl (also sometimes called a spear thrower)! The campers had a blast and learned that although prehistoric cultures did not have tv’s or computers, their technology was anything but primitive!
So there you have it, archaeology summer camp in a nutshell! Of course I could not go over each individual activity that the campers did throughout their stay at summer camp, but as you can see, it so much better than being stuck in a pit for a week! So, while this summer is coming to an end, remember, there is always next summer!
Uncategorized Archaeology, Beyond Artifacts, Education, Educational Resources, Florida, Florida Public Archaeology Network, Public Outreach
Shipwreck on a Tarp, from "Beyond Artifacts". Avaliable on FPAN website.
When I first tell people that as part of my job I sometimes meet with school groups, they automatically assume that I simply show slides from excavations that I have worked on. However, what I do is something that I feel is much more meaningful and has a greater impact than just simply showing pictures. Instead of showing children what I do, I use hands-on lessons that allow them to become the archaeologist and learn about the past. Archaeology is a multidisciplinary science and can be used in the classroom to teach a variety of skills. Not only can children learn about the past, but they can learn about the scientific method, classification, geography, observation, inference and evidence, as well as other valuable skills. Most educators do not know about the many resources available to them that t hey can use to incorporate archaeology lessons into the curricula that they already use throughout the school year. You can find some of these avaliable resources on FPAN’s website, http://www.flpublicarchaeology.org/resources/. Additionally, FPAN regularly conducts Teacher Workshops in order to help familiarize teachers with these lessons so that they will feel more comfortable using them in their classrooms (check with your local FPAN office for details and scheduled workshops).
Now, once they realize that I do more than just show pictures of sites, they then automatically assume that I do “mock excavations” with the children. However, that is not
Mystery Cemetery, from "Beyond Artifacts". Avaliable on FPAN website.
the case either. The children do not have to get down on their hands and knees in an excavation unit to learn about archaeology. In fact, I have found that children prefer food over dirt any day! And what better way to learn about excavation techniques than excavating a chocolate chip cookie. Or what about learning about stratigraphy and the Law of Superposition with peanut butter and jelly? This also allows the students to expand their horizons and look at every day and familiar objects in a very different way. What about using the contents of the classroom trash can (the clean trash, of course!) to teach them how archaeologists use items to learn about past activities at a site. There are a variety of ways to create a unique archaeological experiment in the classroom without every getting dirty.
Atlatl Antics avaliable on the FPAN website in "Beyond Artifacts".
These lessons can be used throughout the year and are great for summer camps as well! Not only does it expose children to the reality of archaeology, not the Hollywood idea of what an archaeologist does. No offense to Laura Croft and Indian Jones of course. I have fond memories of going to the movie theater to see these action packed movies. However, it is important that children learn the science of archaeology. These lessons not only teach about scientific inquiry, they also have the potential to teach the enduring lesson of stewardship. After all, archaeological sites are the only glimpse we have into our shared past and if these sites are destroyed they are gone forever. In the future it will be up to our children to ensure that these sites are preserved for their children and so on.
So, take a moment and look over the many lessons available on our website! We are always available to answer questions that educators might have regarding incorporating archaeology in the classroom.