Society for Historical Archaeology 2012 Conference in Review

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Barbara Hines, blog author, visiting Ft. McHenry.

This past week I met up with historical archaeologists from around the world in Baltimore for the  45th Annual Society for Historical Archaeology Conference. The first lecture I

Original cross brace of the flag pole at Ft. McHenry, discovered by archaeologists.

attended was the keynote speaker, Eamonn P. Kelly, who is keeper of Irish Antiquities at the National Museum of Ireland. He is in charge of the Irish Archaeological Collections and gave a wonderful talk titled, “Secrets of the Bog Bodies”.  I attended multiple paper sessions throughout the week, some on terrestrial archaeology and others on underwater topics. Session topics ranged from the public interpretation of shipwrecks (where Dr. Della Scott-Ireton, Director of FPAN Northwest,  unveiled the SSEAS program, which stands for Submerged Sites Education and Stewardship program) to the African Diaspora in a Global Context (where Monica Beck, with UWF, gave a paper on the Ormans and Merchantilism in the Port of Apalachicola. Many will remember Monica from the Orman House project). In addition I attended a great session titled, “Three-Minute Material Culture Forum: Artifacts and Identities”. During this panel each speaker has three minutes to discuss an artifact and what we can learn from it. After every five or so speakers there is time for group discussion. It was a great session and I thought it was such an innovative way to get a glimpse into archaeology from around different areas around the world! Don’t worry, I am keeping this format in mind for future public outreach events in the North Central region!

In addition to all the paper sessions, I attended the Gender and Minority Affairs Committee (GMAC)  meeting. As a member of the committee, the social media liaison for the

The Baltimore Civil War Museum

committee and the liaison to the Public Education and Interpretation Committee (PEIC), I had a lot to discuss! If you like this blog, you should also check out the SHA blog to see what they have going on! The blog has just been launched, so there is a ton of brand new content! Speaking of the PEIC, they put on a phenomenal Public Archaeology Day at Fort McHenry. While there I had the chance to explore the fort and learn all about the history of the Star Spangled Banner! Becky O’Sullivan, FPAN intern at our West Central office, joined me on the tour. After that, we took some time to see other historic sites throughout the city of Baltimore. There is a ton of history in Baltimore, more than I could see in half a day! We stopped in at the Baltimore Civil War Museum; saw the Phoenix Shot Tower (where lead shot used to be manufactured); scoped out the Civil War Battleship, Constellation; visited the historic cemetery where Edgar Allen Poe is buried, and toured the historic neighborhood located throughout Baltimore. Of course, no tour of Baltimore would be complete without eating some crab! So for lunch, Becky and I stopped in at one of the many seafood restaurants in Baltimore and had ourselves a delicious crab cake! All in all, I would say that the 2012 SHA Conference was a great success

Edgar Allen Poe's grave marker at his original grave site.

and I came home with a wealth of knowledge and a renewed appreciation of our country’s history!