Returning to the Classics: A Brief Look at My Non-Career as a Classical Archaeologist as a Trip around the Met Museum

Animal Archaeology

For Heritage UX’s blogging carnival on exhibit interactivity and archaeology, I thought it might been fun to highlight artefacts on display at the Metropolitan Museum in New York City.


Well, even though I no longer study as a classical archaeologist, there are a few pieces that I spent a lot of my undergrad year studying, both academically and just for fun, as I found them to be incredibly inspiring.

Even now as a zooarchaeologist, I still think of these pieces as inspirations – without them, I’m not even sure if I would have found as much interest in archaeology.

Here’s a selection of my favourites:

Statue of Kaipunesut – this wood statue from Egypt (ca. 2528 BCE) was the subject of my first ever archaeology paper and so the statue’s had a place in my heart ever since. Looking back, I think those cracks in the wood that I…

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What’s in a Programmed Name?-An Experience at the Tech Museum of Innovation

There is nothing on the floor of the case except for a jumble of building blocks, each marked distinctively with an alphabetic symbol. A glinting metallic arm swings around from one side of the case to another, humming and crooning as it’s dainty grip reorganizes the blocks. This one goes here. That one goes there. The arm continues sweeping block letters around until I recognize my own name, the one I told the robot to know.

This interaction occurred at the Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, CA. I happened to be in the area with a group of Interns from the Humboldt State University Library for a special collections delivery, and this was one of our elected side trips.

This is my favorite interaction because it was simple, but it brought up so many meaningful questions about how humans relate to technology. A flooding of Asimovian relationships becoming reality right before my eyes. It spelled my name because another human programmed it to ask for my name value and display that visually with the blocks. I found myself pondering all of the possible ways I could program this arm beyond the building blocks, now that I realized it could be programmed to fit my identity.

This was not the only interaction I enjoyed. There was also an eerie crowdsourced jumble of museum visitor faces projected onto a wall, and a drawing arm that would scan an image of your face and draw it out with a single line.




It got me pondering on our relationship with heritage as well. It is important to be mindful not only of which heritage is being shared but also how it is being shared.  The ability to have a bit of control of the outcome of this exhibit was empowering, and I remember that feeling more than anything.

Have you ever been to the Tech Museum before? What was your experience like?

(Note: This blog was written as part of my blogging carnival “Engaging with Interactive Exhibits and Interactions” You can still submit a post through January 30, for more details visit the post here!)

Celebrating The Women of Archaeology – 2017 Edition — Bones, Stones, and Books

via Celebrating The Women of Archaeology – 2017 Edition — Bones, Stones, and Books

Celebrating The Women of Archaeology – 2017 Edition

Written by: Dani Bradford,Steph Halmhofer, andNikki Martensen

*Authors and contributors listed in alphabetical order

**Featured image from Steph Halmhofer

It all started with a suggestion on Twitter by @ArchyFantasies to start a “Women of archaeology support group”. The support group began on Twitter and then quickly moved to Slack to allow for more people to join, as the response to the group was overwhelmingly positive. Initial conversation quickly turned to the inclusion of femmes in round-up lists (i.e. top 10 archaeological discoveries, best Twitter accounts to follow, etc.), after Dani Bradford mentioned the disproportionately small representation of femmes included within these lists. The lack of femme representation in archaeology is not a new problem (for examples, check out “Women in Archaeology” (Claassen, 1994) and “Excavating Women: A History of Women in European Archaeology” (Diaz-Andreu and Stig Sørensen, 1998)). It’s also not a problem limited to archaeology, as Brian Switek recently wrote of palaeontology for Wired. Today projects like those of @TrowelblazersRaising Horizons and @BeardedLadyProj are working hard to change the stereotypes of femmes within a variety of fields and bring to light their important contributions both historically and today.

Building off this idea of increasing representation, the authors decided to round-up and celebrate the accomplishments of femmes of archaeology in 2017. We didn’t want to do a ranked round-up, we wanted to give everyone the chance to decide for themselves what they wanted to celebrate. We took to social media and asked the femmes of archaeology to share with us what they were proud to have worked on in 2017. From academic articles to blogs, to curating exhibits and opening dialogues on disability and accessibility, the femmes of archaeology were certainly busy through 2017! Join us in celebrating all of these incredible femmes and what they’re proud to have accomplished in the past year!

If you’re a woman in archaeology and would like to join our Slack support group, click here

Also, be sure to check out the 2017 Day of Archaeology contributions, which include many, many wonderful women (a project initially co-founded by @lornarichardson)

Name Type of Accomplishment Accomplishment & Link (when possible)
Sarah Ashbridge Project member (Operation Nightingale) Exercise: Joan of Arc and Exercise: Magwich
Kelli Barnes Journal Article Compound-Specific Amino Acid δ 15 N Values in Archaeological Shell: Assessing Diagenetic Integrity and Potential for Isotopic Baseline Reconstruction
April Beisaw Book Chapter Chapter 6, “Ruined by the Thirst for Urban Prosperity: Contemporary Archaeology of City Water Systems”
Tyla Beke Field Archaeologist History unearthed in NOTL
Katie Biittner Blog Anthropology As
Alexis M. Christensen Blog Post/Conference Presentation (1st Public Archaeology Twitter Conference) “Archaeology in Popular Comics and Graphic Novels” – My Contribution to the 1st Public Archaeology Twitter Conference
Benjamina Dadzie Blog Post “New Finds from Henry Townsend Letters
Claire Ebert Journal Article “Regional response to drought during the formation and decline of Preclassic Maya societies”
Freya Fenton Conference Presentation (European Association of Archaeologists 2017) “Jade Dragons and Wooden Crosses: Changing Attitudes to Archaeological Artefacts Within the Tomb Raider Franchise”
Kate Fitz MA Thesis “The integration of an established industry: glass in the early Roman Empire”
Alex Fitzpatrick Blog Post “Keeper of the Archives: Sith Archaeology and Propaganda”
Sarah Foxley Report “Results of the 2016 Content and Computing Survey for Historic Environment Records in England”
Rebecca Gilmour PhD Thesis “Resilient Romans: Cross-Sectional Evidence for Long-Term Functional Consequences of Extremity Trauma”
Helen Goodchild Journal Article Borgring: the discovery of a Viking Age ring fortress
Alice Gorman Website Article “Friday essay: trace fossils – the silence of Ediacara, the shadow of uranium”
Dorothy Graves MacEwan Journal Article Monuments and Landscape: Investigating a Prehistoric Monument Complex at Lochbrow, Dumfries and Galloway
Steph Halmhofer Comic Book Review Tomb Raider: Survivor’s Crusade #1 – An Archaeologist’s Take
Lesley Howse Research project Alarniq Archaeology Project
Leah Islemoe Conference presentation (Canadian Archaeological Association 2017) “Women Within the Land: Salish Womens Puberty Landworks in the Archaeological Record”
Catrine Jarman Website Article “The truth about Easter Island: a sustainable society has been falsely blamed for its own demise”
Ilka Knüppel Gray MA Thesis “The Search for Jesus’ Final Steps: How Archaeological and Literary Evidence Reroutes the Via Dolorosa”
Robyn Lacy Blog The Spade and the Grave
Reecie Levin Journal Article “Breadfruit Fermentation in Pohnpei, Micronesia: Site Formation, Archaeological Visibility, and Interpretive Strategies”
Michelle Low Conference Presentation (Tea With the Sphinx 2017) “Ancient Egypt Reception Studies – The Use of ‘Archaeogaming’ to Educate Digital Natives”
Nikki Martensen Blog Post “An introduction to User Experience for Archaeologists and Heritage Professional”
Laura Mary Blog Post “Sexism in the archaeological discipline: The situation in the French-speaking world”
Sarah McClure Journal Article “Farming with Animals: Domesticated Animals and Taxonomic Diversity in the Cardial Neolithic of the Western Mediterranean”
Lauren McIntyre Journal Article “The York 113: osteological analysis of 10 mass graves from Fishergate, York”
Kirsty Millican Journal Article Monuments and Landscape: Investigating a Prehistoric Monument Complex at Lochbrow, Dumfries and Galloway
Diana Moreiras Website Article “Who did the Aztecs kill during their bloody sacrifices at Templo Mayor?”
Aisling Nash Project Report (also published in British Archaeology, September/October) “Have you Found Anything Yet?”
Theresa O’Mahoney MA Thesis “Empowering Archaeology: What model of disability do people with dyslexia in university archaeology courses experience?”
Vanessa Oakden Report Chapter Chapter 10, Section 2, ““Cheshire Past in 2014; Finds Reported under the Portable Antiquities Scheme”
Sara Rich Blog Shipwreck Hauntography
Lucy Shipley Book “The Etruscans: Lost Civiizations”
Florence Smith Nicholls Blog Post “Barriers to Entry in Archaeogaming”
Kisha Supernant Journal Article “Modeling Métis mobility? Evaluating least cost paths and indigenous landscapes in the Canadian west”
Becky Sykes Exhibition Manager Raising Horizons
Michelle Turner Blog Post “Legislative Attacks on Historic Preservation and Archaeological Research”
Annelies Van de Ven Exhibition Curation “(Re-)Producing Power”
Melandri Vlok Journal Article “A New Application of the Bioarchaeology of Care Approach: A Case Study from the Metal Period, the Philippines”
Sarah Ward BBC Interview (The Conversation) “Diving Into the Past”

(featured image – I went with this because I couldn’t find anything better! I thought the nailpolish may be a decent representation of ‘women’)