The Earliest North Americans with Dr. David Kilby - TAS 50

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The people known to archaeologists as "Clovis" were widely thought to be the first people to migrate to North America. Where did they come from and how did they get here? Also, when did they get here? These questions remain unanswered in North American Prehistory but we're getting a lot closer. Dr. David Kilby joins us to talk theories and some of the latest evidence.

Lincoln Harschlip - Profiles 76

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Profiles in CRM features short interviews with CRM professionals from all experience levels and educational levels. I ask a standard list of questions and see how each person answers them based on their experience.

The Questions

  • What is your name and who do you work for? (this question is omitted for those that wish to be anonymous)

  • What's the highest degree you've earned?

  • How long have you been working in CRM?

  • Where have you worked?

  • What is the position you usually have in CRM and what is the highest position you've attained?

  • What is the best thing that's happened to you that's related to being a CRM Archaeologist?

  • What is the biggest thing you would change that would make being a CRM professional better?

  • What is your career goal in CRM?

  • If you could give an undergrad thinking about CRM one piece of advice, what would it be?

So You Want To Be A Drone Pilot? - ArchaeoTech 90

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Drones are fast becoming a standard archaeological tool. Their cool factor is undeniable, but maybe you're on the fence about their actual utility. Or, maybe you're sold on their usefulness and want to jump in but don't know where to start. In today's episode of the ArchaeoTech Podcast, we'll help get you up to speed.

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Micah Smith - Profiles 75

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Profiles in CRM features short interviews with CRM professionals from all experience levels and educational levels. I ask a standard list of questions and see how each person answers them based on their experience.

The Questions

  • What is your name and who do you work for? (this question is omitted for those that wish to be anonymous)

  • What's the highest degree you've earned?

  • How long have you been working in CRM?

  • Where have you worked?

  • What is the position you usually have in CRM and what is the highest position you've attained?

  • What is the best thing that's happened to you that's related to being a CRM Archaeologist?

  • What is the biggest thing you would change that would make being a CRM professional better?

  • What is your career goal in CRM?

  • If you could give an undergrad thinking about CRM one piece of advice, what would it be?

Is CRM Ready for Synthesis? - CRMArch 147

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Follow Our Panelists On Twitter

Bill W. @succinctbill; Doug @openaccessarch; Stephen @processarch; Bill A. @archaeothoughts; Chris W @Archeowebby,@DIGTECHLLC, and @ArchPodNet

Blogs:

What's New in Apple : Sept 2018 - ArchaeoTech 89

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Apple had their usual September announcement recently and Paul and Chris break down what the new tech is and what it means for archaeology. Should you upgrade to the new phone? Do you need the new watch? Will the new operating system crash your hard drive? We'll talk about all that and our experiences with iOS 12, Watch OS 5, and MacOS Mohave, 10.14.

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A 5000 Year Old Burial Site in Kenya with Elizabeth Sawchuk - TAS 49

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5000 years ago pastoralists in Kenya created a burial site with a specific plan. For at least the next 400 years, possibly as long as 800 years, over 500 people of all ages and classes were buried with amazing precision and care. With no system of writing it's unclear how they accomplished this. Dr. Elizabeth Sawchuk, one of the researchers on the project, gives us some insight into life around Lake Turkana 5000 years ago and about the people buried there.

Who Let The Dogs Out? Animals 03

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The skeletal remains of dogs are simultaneously very distinct in their characteristics, but also very similar to other animals. Compare a dog skull to grey seals or foxes to see what we mean!

Dogs seem to have had a special relationship with humans - this can be observed in some burial and ritual rites involving dog remains. There is currently a lot of interesting research happening that combines aDNA (ancient DNA) analysis with zooarchaeology to better understand human-dog relations and the domestication of the dog over time.

Due to breeding techniques, the skulls of certain modern dogs have been transformed beyond recognition - if you're brave enough, Google some of the breeds we mention in the episode.

And we unfortunately have no idea who let the dogs out still...sorry.

Further Reading

  • Fagan, B. (2015) The Intimate Bond: How animals shaped human history

  • London: Bloomsbury Press

  • Toynbee, J.M.C. (2013) Animals in Roman Life & Art

  • Barnsley: Pen & Sword

  • Merrifield, R. (1987) The Archaeology of Ritual and Magic

  • London: Guild Publishing London

  • Van Grouw, K. (2018) Unnatural Selection

  • Oxfordshire: Princeton University Press

  • Houlbrook, C. and Armitage, N. (2015) The Materiality of Magic. Oxford: Oxbow Books.

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Random Encounter Episode II - CRMArch 146

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Our special guest rolls a die and we pick a brief topic to discuss. Always steeped in roll-playing tradition, this game takes a cyberpunk setting.

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Follow Our Panelists On Twitter

Bill @succinctbill; Doug @openaccessarch; Stephen @processarch; Chris W @Archeowebby,@DIGTECHLLC, and @ArchPodNet

Blogs:

Bill Whitehead on Using Drones in Contract Archaeology - ArchaeoTech 88

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Drones are here to stay in CRM Archaeology. Archaeologist Bill Whitehead of SWCA in New Mexico talks about how they're using drones and other technology to enhance the products they can return to customers and increase the accuracy of their maps. At some point in the near future we're going to see a requirement for an FAA Part 107 UAS license on a job advertisement. No is the time to start learning about these so you aren't left in the dust later on.

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Food Sovereignty and Natives Outdoors - HeVo 21

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On today’s podcast we have Ashleigh Thompson (Miskwaagamiiwi-zaaga’igan- Red Lake Anishinaabe Nation), a fourth year PhD student at Jessica’s alma mater, the University of Arizona. She talks about how she came to anthropology and the importance of representation. We talk about food sovereignty and not oversimplifying the way we talk about people based on their food practices. We also go into what it’s like to reconnect with your culture and language as an adult and the importance of education both to have a larger impact and what it can teach you about yourself. Finally, we close out by hearing more about Natives Outdoors (a public benefit corporation trying to increase Native American representation in the recreation industry that gives 5% of the profits on their gear back to Native American run non-profits focusing on language & cultural preservation, outdoor recreation, and environmental issues), cultural appropriation, and how we can balance recreation, preservation, and being respectful at culturally important places.

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It's Unethical to NOT Go Digital - CRMArch 145

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Going digital is, in Chris’ opinion, a morale and ethical imperative. We are the stewards of other people’s history and it’s our job to ensure their data are secure for as long as it takes. This quote regarding the destruction of the Brazil Museum in September of 2018 says it all:

Folks, there’s nothing left from the Linguistics division. We lost all the indigenous languages collection: the recordings since 1958, the chants in all the languages for which there are no native speakers alive anymore, the Curt Niemuendaju archives: papers, photos, negatives, the original ethnic-historic-linguistic map localizing all the ethnic groups in Brazil, the only record that we had from 1945. The ethnological and archeological references of all ethnic groups in Brazil since the 16th century… An irreparable loss of our historic memory. It just hurts so much to see all in ashes.
— Cinda Gonda

Follow Our Panelists On Twitter

Bill @succinctbill; Doug @openaccessarch; Stephen @processarch; Chris W @Archeowebby,@DIGTECHLLC, and @ArchPodNet; 

Blogs:

Getting Things Done - ArchaeoTech 87

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There is a lot to do and think about in business and in the business of archaeology. We often don't think of common business tools when trying to finish a project - mostly because we just want to think about archaeology. However, modern tools like team communication apps and project management apps are great at helping everyone organize, get on the same page, and get the work done on time and under budget. We have to be careful that we don't use TOO much in our work flow and that we don't get "notification paralysis" with everything turned on. Learn what to use, how to use it, and how to dial in the notifications so they come at just the right times and tell you what you need to know.

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Old McDonald Had A Farm - Animals 02

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The distinction between domestic and wild animals is sometimes difficult, especially if the domesticated species is still morphological very similar to its wild counterpart. Cat being a notorious example. Size is usually a good indicator (wild counterparts often being bigger). Differentiation is usually achieved by means of biometry, which consists of set measurements taken from the bones. Previous research has established standards for measurements taken from individuals of known ID (wild and domestic), to compare your assemblage to. However one needs to bear in mind that modern animals may not look exactly like they used to, and things become even complicated when a species also presents several different breeds bearing distinct morphological differences (e.g. domestic dog

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Zooarchaeology 101 - Animals 01

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Zooarchaeology is, as the word suggests, the study of animal remains from archaeological sites. It is a relatively new discipline that has been steadily  gaining popularity since the 1970s. Zooarchaeology can provide inference on past people’s economy, dietary habits, society and culture. 

Faunal remains recovered from archaeological sites are initially processed, identified to element and species whenever possible and finally used in quantitative and qualitative analyses to further our understanding of a given archaeological site. Zooarchaeologists will frequently attempt to gather information on the animals’ age, sex and season of death as well as looking out for bone modification (either pathological or taphonomical i.e. signs of disease and butchery/burning/gnawing). This data will then be analysed within the regional and historical context of the site.

When carrying out the analysis of a faunal assemblage, the first step is to identify as many bone fragments as possible to element and species. It is important for this process to be as accurate as possible, thus if in doubt it is best to label the specimen as unidentifiable rather than risking biasing your sample). As not all recovered fragments will not have retained enough diagnostic characteristic for confident ID, the whole sample is somewhat biased from the very beginning, hence it’d be best not to add to that with potential misidentifications. Identification of skeletal remains is largely carried out by morphological analysis, though species which present a similar anatomy may require additional tools such as biometry (which relies on measurements): this is the case for sheep/goat, to mention a few. Morphological ID is a skill that takes a lot of practice to refine, and reference collections represent an invaluable asset in order to learn and maintain your knowledge of comparative skeletal anatomy. These will be mostly comprised of modern specimens of known ID. It is important to bear in mind, however, that the morphology of a given species is unlikely to have remained static throughout time and your archaeological material may thus slightly differ to the modern reference specimen. Some species also present remarkable morphological and size variations (dogs, for instance), so these are all factors to be mindful of when analysing an archaeological assemblage.

The age at death of an animal is frequently determined based on epiphyseal fusion. For those who are unfamiliar with the concept, most bone is comprised of two parts: the central diaphysis (commonly known as the shaft) and the two epiphysis, which stand at the periphery of the bone. In several bones, these three parts are not fused together at birth, and research has been carried out to determine fusion age stages for different elements and species. 

Another frequently used method for ageing is tooth eruption and wear. 
Assigning age at death is useful in order to determine kill off patterns, which ultimately provide inference on animal exploitation. For instance, a sample mostly comprised by adult/elderly cattle indicates that they may have been used as working animals. Similarly, if the sample is comprised by numerous juveniles as well as adults, dairy production is a likely candidate. 

Further inference on exploitation is provided by sexing the animals, which is usually carried out by looking for sexually dimorphic traits (i.e. morphological traits which will differ between males and female - e.g. antler in male cervids, with the exception of reindeer). 

Pathology is the study of disease. It can provide information on animal exploitation and sometimes pet keeping. The latter hypothesis is for instance argued when an individual presents numerous pathologies which required constant human care and that would render the animal economically unviable to keep, yet it was still looked after. 

A common marker of animal exploitation which is not uncommon in cattle remains is a bone growth within the metatarsal/tarsal articulation, known as spavin. The latter is caused by chronic inflammation, most likely induced by traction. 

Taphonomy is a huge subject and an academic discipline in its own right. Within zooarchaeology, the aspects of taphonomy which are mostly looked at are man/animal induced bone modification. This can take the form of butcher marks, scorching caused by cooking, and gnawing from domestic animals and scavengers alike. 

Further Reading

  • "Identifying and Interpreting Animal Bones: A Manual" - April M. Beisaw (2013)
  • "The Archaeology of Animal Bones" - Terry O'Connor (2000)
  • "On the Average Day of a Zooarchaeologist, or Like, So What Do You Even Do?" - Alex Fitzpatrick https://animalarchaeology.com/2017/11/09/

Team Black - Getting a Job in Archaeology - CRMArch 144

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It's a bit of a different show today. Chris talks about Team Black and what it's hoping to do for archaeology. From resources to webinars, there is a lot over there. The last half of this shorter episode is an example of a Team Black Webinar on getting a job in archaeology.

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Follow Our Panelists On Twitter

Bill @succinctbill; Doug @openaccessarch; Stephen @processarch; Chris W @Archeowebby,@DIGTECHLLC, and @ArchPodNet

Blogs:

Using Math and Maps to find Mounds in the Southeast US - ArchaeoTech 86

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Dylan Davis is lead author on a paper titled, "Automated mound detection using lidar and object-based image analysis in Beaufort County, South Carolina." The article details his teams efforts to create algoritms and workflows for a computer system to identify mounds and earthworks. The results were stunning! They covered an amazing amount of space in a short period of time and ground truthed just a few of the results which resulted in the discovery of some previously undiscovered mounds. This is just the beginning for a system like this.

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Seneca-Iroquois National Museum - HeVo 20

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On today’s podcast we speak with David L. George-Shongo, Jr., Acting Director of the Seneca-Iroquois National Museum. The Seneca-Iroquois National Museum just celebrated opening a brand new $18M facility, including a new museum/cultural center, archives, and decontamination area. Dave talks about the opening and the long process of developing the museum in the community (without bringing in any outside funding!). He also speaks about NAGPRA from the 1990s until now and working with other tribes to provide curation space if needed as well. He discusses the Men’s Cultural and Ritual Language Program and the importance of using Seneca words in explaining Seneca concepts in addition acting in a culturally appropriate manner while doing anthropology or heritage preservation. Mostly, he wants people to understand that the Seneca are people too and not only that they are still here even if they use modern tools, but that they will be here as Seneca into the future.

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Hotels on the Weekend and Fire Season - CRMArch 143

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Sonia and Chris start the episode by discussing something we saw on Facebook - which is something no one should do! Anyway, should archaeologists get per diem on the weekends on long term projects? We have our opinions. We spend the rest of the episode talking about the rough fire season in the western U.S. and how to deal with smoke and fire's effects on archaeology.

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