Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Society for Historical Archaeology's 46th Annual Conference

Enjoying the view!

            Hi everyone, it’s Erica providing a quick update on what the Fort St. Joseph staff were up to earlier this month. In early January, I along with Dr. Nassaney, travelled to Leicester, England to attend the 46th annual conference of the Society for Historical Archaeology (SHA). Our project zooarchaeologist Dr. Terry Martin and several project alumni, including Cynthia Nostrant, LisaMarie Malischke, Andrew Robinson and Andrew Beaupré were able to make the trip as well. It was exciting to have the conference in England this year as it’s only SHA’s second time there and we had the opportunity to hear about what historical archaeologists across the UK and other parts of Europe are working on as well.
'Key in Palm' 2nd place - B&W artifact
            Conferences, like SHA, are important for professionals and students in the field to attend. It takes research a long time to go through the peer review process and be published in journals or books, but archaeologists present their current work at these conferences so we can keep up with what is going on in the field. Individual presentations are placed into sessions, each organized around a specific theme. This is a great way for us to meet other people who are working on similar topics and share our ideas.
Principal Investigator, Dr. Michael Nassaney, organized a  day-long session where authors from the American Experience in Archaeological Perspective book series, of which he is the editor, presented papers dealing with their specialization. The session sought to highlight how archaeologists have used archaeology to come to understand the American experience in ways which often challenge and force us to reconsider the “official” telling of history. The presentations dealt with both specific topics like farmsteads, race, and cemeteries as well as theoretical frameworks like Dr. LouAnn Wurst’s (our department chair here at Western) presentation on class. Dr. Nassaney updated everyone on some of his recent work using Fort St. Joseph to explore the trends in the historical archaeology of the North American fur trade. Dr. Terry Martin’s presentation was in this session as well. He used the faunal remains from Fort St. Joseph and other French Colonial site in the region to explore how foodways provide insight into colonial relations.
'Carefully extracting the deer mandible' 1st place - Color Field Work
Late Saturday afternoon I presented my paper (and got to spent the whole conference with it looming over my head…yay…) which deals with using archaeology in children’s education programs. Among all of my responsibilities as Public Outreach Coordinator this summer I managed to sneak in a few hours of work with the summer camp programs which provided the context for my paper as well as my upcoming thesis. Andrew Robinson and Andrew Beaupré both presented on some of the work they have done post-Fort St. Joseph.
Although graduate student, Susan Reichert, was not able to attend the conference she did submit some of the photos she took on site as the staff photographer this summer. And (drum roll), her submissions garnered a third place ribbon, two second places ribbons, and a first place ribbon for a color image of fieldwork.
      Overall, the conference was a success; we learned a lot about many topics in archaeology and we able to share our work with others. After the conference I went to Marseille, on strictly non-work related business, but I did get to see some of the fascinating excavations which were done at the old Roman Docks there. We’ll be looking forward to the next SHA conference which will be held in Quebec! But until then we have another busy and exciting field season in Niles to prepare for!
                      -Erica D'Elia

'How many archaeologists fit in a unit?' 2nd place - Color portrait

‘Searching for clues, Fort St Joseph’ 3rd place Archaeological fieldwork

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