Tag Archives: archaeology

Queer Archaeology and the Public

In last week’s post I discussed the necessity of taking queer archaeology into the field and laboratory because these are where archaeology “happens”. However, there is a significant portion of the archaeological process that I ignored in that post – engaging with the public. All archaeology should be public archaeology to some degree; if we are not making an impact on people outside of the academy, then at best archaeology is a hobby, and at worst it’s irrelevant. Thus, if queer archaeology is to make the impact that I am sure that it can, it must be willing and able to engage with its various publics. This is no easy task. “Queer”, like many of our other favorite academic terms such as “feminism” and “Marxism” are rife with social and political tension.  In addition, queer archaeologists are people too. In attempting to take their work to the public, they are exposing themselves to the kinds of reactions queer individuals experience in other social situations. These two issues – how do queer archaeologists disseminate their work to non-archaeologists and how do queer archaeologists protect themselves – will be my concern for this post. Taking Queer Archaeology Outside of the Academy Queer archaeologists [Read More]

NAGPRA After Kennewick Man

Last weekend, Congress passed legislation that directs the Army Corps of Engineers to transfer the human remains of Kennewick Man, also known as the Ancient One, to Washington state authorities so they can repatriate him to claimant tribes in Washington State. Tucked into a 270-page bill called the 2016 Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act, Section 1152 requires transfer of the human remains within 90 days after the president signs it into law. Barring new developments, we seem to be nearing the end of a long saga. His remains were found 20 years ago, in 1996, and the litigation began the same year. It has been twelve years since the Ninth Circuit ended the lawsuit, ruling that Kennewick Man was not “Native American” within the meaning of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). (For those who aren’t familiar with the Kennewick Man case, visit my footnote[1] down below for an overview.) While some research still questions the cultural link to Native Americans, a 2015 article in Nature reported that his DNA is closer to local Washington tribes than to any other population, and as a result, last spring the Army Corps of Engineers began repatriation consultations. A senator from Washington [Read More]

An Archaeologist’s Guide to Election Season: A Preface

It’s Election Season – but what does Archaeology have to do with it? November 8 is a mere three weeks away.  Where do we start, so close to the end of what has been perhaps the most divisive and vitriolic election in the history of our country? Over the next month, I propose to assemble a series of posts exploring the relationships between archaeology and the national and global issues facing the country as we elect our 45th President.  These connections are rich, challenging, productive, and continually developing, though perhaps not immediately apparent to a general public that sees archaeology as a discipline dealing exclusively in a distant, resolved past.  As we witness wars, our own and others, through images that many of us can barely comprehend from the safety of our homes; as climate change, mindless of the debates around its existence in political circles, takes its increasing toll, already displacing whole communities and leaving the Great Barrier Reef dying in its wake; as Black bodies are met with fear and violence and exposed to national input on the validity of their lives and the justification of their deaths; as sacred lands and access to clean water are denied to Native Americans in the name of profit; as women [Read More]

Public Archaeology and our Vast Public Lands

Greetings! I am Kellam Throgmorton, PhD student in archaeology, and I will be at the helm of the Binghamton MAPA blog this month. Over the next several weeks I will be highlighting the ways that archaeology intersects with the vast public lands located throughout much of the western United States. These are spaces that collectively belong to the citizens of the nation, though opinions vary widely on what they mean, who controls them, and how they should be managed. These opinions are often expressed in strong language and actions: an armed occupation of federal facilities in Oregon; contentious public meetings between ranchers, Native groups, environmentalists, and federal officials in Utah; and ongoing peaceful protests by tribal members in North Dakota intent on protecting vital cultural sites. In this month’s posts, I will explore the surprising connections between these events, public lands, and archaeology. Previous guest editors have interpreted “public archaeology” in numerous ways. Clearly an important facet of public archaeology is critical engagement with one of several “publics”—be they descendant communities or people who simply have an interest in local history. Similarly, previous posts have used the term “archaeology” primarily to refer to the material remains of the past—houses, monuments, [Read More]

Public Engagement Abroad: Peyre Blanque Archaeological Project

The last few posts for MAPA, I’ve been discussing different aspects of public engagement. As part of that I wanted to talk about public engagement in a non-american context, how its different, and why those differences create a whole different type of archaeological heritage. In an earlier blog post, I discussed the ways in which we engage with the pubic as archaeologist, and how it can be technically more difficult than it first seems. In many ways these are site or project specific. I went to talk with BU faculty members Dr. Sébastien Lacombe (Director) and Dr. Kathleen Sterling (Co-Director) who together run a project in southwestern France called the Peyre Blanque Archaeological Project.  The project has been running for the last 9 years, and aside from having amazing archaeology, it has a pretty amazing relationship with the public too. I sat down with both Dr. Sterling and Dr. Lacombe to get their perspectives on public engagement at Peyre Blanque and how it differs from American archaeology. First some background on Peyre Blanque. The project is a very rare Upper Paleolithic “open-air” settlement (more precisely a Middle Magdalenian, about 16,000 BP) located on top a ridge. Not surprisingly a modern hiking trail runs along side it. In many cases, a [Read More]

MAPA Co-Director Featured on the Archaeology Podcast Network

We are pleased to announce that news of the MAPA program has gone national! Dr. Randall McGuire, one of MAPA’s co-directors, was recently interviewed by Chris Webster on the Archaeology Podcast Network (APN). APN is a mainstay of many in the archaeological community and has a broad audience spanning the United States. The APN has several different programs, all run by archaeologists, touching on a wide array of subjects including shows like “Anarchaeologist”, “Archaeology and Ale”, “Profiles in CRM”, “Prehistories with Kim”,  “ArchyFantasies”, “CRM in the 21st Century”, and one of my favorites, “The Struggling Archaeologist”. Dr. McGuire went on Chris’s show, “CRM Archaeology” to talk about MAPA, and what it has to offer archaeological field technicians working within Cultural Resource Management firms. With MAPA just getting off the ground this year, Chris had a few questions about practicality and the kinds of hands-on skills people can hope to get at Binghamton. To address these questions, Dr. McGuire first talked about the long history Binghamton has in training graduate-level archaeologists for positions in CRM and other public realms, and how these prior successes speak to the effectiveness of the original archaeology program . But McGuire also made it clear that [Read More]