Categories
Archaeology

How You Can Help Archaeology Sites

Visiting archaeological sites can be a great way to connect with nature and experience adventure. Yet when visitors flock to these places, they may end up damaging the site forever. Learning how to be a better visitor is one way you can help archaeology sites. When visiting sites, you can be mindful of the cultural experience and also be a steward of cultural preservation.

The Effects of Visitors at Archaeology Sites

People might not intend to disturb the art at archaeological sites, but many tourists are bound to cause some damage. Visitors who intentionally damage rock art sites are undoubtedly the biggest part of the problem. These practices can be anything from touching the walls the art rests on to littering throughout the archaeological site. Visitors could even go so far as to destroy the art, either with graffiti or carving names.

However, far more people unintentionally damage these archaeological sites. This leads to the eventual erosion of the art from the walls, alteration of the archaeological site, and permanent loss of important cultural history. Loss of these sites means we will lose a link to a piece of history, one we may never recover again. That’s why learning how to preserve our history is important.

How to Visit a Rock Art Site

One way to be a better visitor to archaeological sites is to connect with independent conservation organizations that provide visitors with information on touring archaeological sites responsibly. One such organization called Friends of Cedar Mesa has tips on how to protect ancient sites:

Teach Each Other

Children (and let’s be real, many people in general) may not understand the gravity of the sites they are visiting and may be inclined to touch artifacts or excavations. It’s important to educate them on the importance of preservation and conservancy from a young age.

Don’t Touch Artifacts

Even though these artifacts have survived for hundreds or even thousands of years, human contact can leave behind damaging oils that do a significant amount of harm.

Be Mindful of Walls

The walls may seem sturdy, but they are part of an ongoing movement process and can become unstable as other sections undergo their own excavations. Please stay away from walls, and try not to lean against them.

No Pets

Some people may want to take their dog or other pet on hikes into ancient excavation sites; however, it’s best to leave pets at home on these trips. Pets can cause damage by either digging or stepping on something they shouldn’t.

Obey the Signs

Most areas will have signs directing you onto certain paths. Be sure to look out for these signs to make sure you follow the right route.

These are just a few tips you can follow to help make a difference in protecting our national heritage sites.

Public Intervention Campaigns

Many organizations are dedicated to the preservation of cultural heritage sites and ancient archaeological sites. In addition to Friends of Cedar Mesa, there are others like Tread Lightly and The Archaeological Conservancy. Of course, federal, state, and local governments also enforce preservation laws and monitor for vandalism, but they can only do so much.

With millions of Americans visiting archaeological sites every year, it is unrealistic to monitor everybody. You are the best steward for protecting the sites and ancient cultural histories we admire. By following a few key steps and being aware of the potential harm human activities can do, you can preserve ancient history for many generations to come.


Categories
Anthropology Archaeology Arts and Culture Digitization Museums

The History of Museum Technologies and Digital Participation

In their article, Four steps in the history of museum technologies and visitors’ digital participation, Christensen traces the history of curation toward digital participation. They assert that exhibited objects are in dialogue with their surrounding paratexts. In this discussion, Christensen draws from examples of the Bode Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and Dr. Johnson’s House to present four museum technology history steps.

The four steps refer to print reproductions, photography, audio guides, and independent museum paratexts via digital and participatory forms. Christensen concludes that museum objects’ significance has shifted from being about their historical context to how they interact with modern times. 

This is important for both the archaeologists who first uncover materials and the museums that display them. When collecting data, archaeologists may choose to employ more interpretive methods.

Providing a detailed archive of the data collection process allows institutions to reassess interpretations in the future when visitor tastes change. I think another key point from this study is that visitors care more about experiences than learning. This means modern institutions will need to balance recreation and information and learn how to market both to their visitors.


Categories
Archaeology Arts and Culture News

Film Premiere for Making Ties: The Cangdong Village Project

On May 30, the Stanford Archaeology Center will host the live premiere of Barre Fong’s Making Ties: The Cangdong Village Project.

If you cannot attend the premiere, the film can be viewed at https://cangdong.stanford.edu/documentary-film

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Categories
Archaeology News

Center for Digital Archaeology Training Tips Blog Series

While I was interning for the Center for Digital Archaeology (CoDA), I wrote a series of short blogs based on a few of their webinar classes. This was a fun learning experience for me, because some of these topics were things I knew nothing about. It is always humbling to me how a little bit of knowledge can spark brand new hobbies and interests.

Browse through the links below to read my posts on the CoDA blog!

Photography and Photogrammetry for Archaeologists

Introduction to GIS for Archaeology

The Art of Narrative in Your Workflow

Lighting for Photogrammetry

Always Have A Backup Plan (A blog about Data Backup)

Choosing Your First Drone

Stop a Moving Lens with Tape (a photography equipment hack Featuring my favorite tool, blue painters tape..)

Placing Coded Targets for Photogrammetry in the Field

Questions for Clear Communication in your Project

To find out more about the Center for Digital Archaeology, you can visit Digitalarch.org


Categories
Archaeology Teaching Resources

Interpretive Poster Activity for Archaeology Courses

I created this assignment for an introduction to archaeology course while I was a teaching assistant at Humboldt State University.


Assignment:

You have been the lead archaeological researcher at a site for years, but a recent decrease in tourism has severely threatened your funding. In an effort to promote new visitors and attract funding, the site management team has decided to produce an advertisement campaign. You are each responsible for creating a travel poster with information to entice the public.

Examples of historic travel and tourism posters can be found though the Library of Congress digital archives.

Instructions:

-Choose any site related to this week’s lectures on the development of complexity on North America.

-Using PowerPoint or a similar program, create a single slide poster with 8 ½ X 11 dimensions.

-On a separate slide, provide your sources for images and information (this includes your textbook!)

-Then either upload to the class website, or print out and bring to a physical class session for discussion!

*Your Poster must include the following to receive credit:

-Name of Site

-Image of site (pick your poison: maps, photographs, artist renditions)

-At least 5 “facts” about your site (What will the public find most interesting about the site?)


Categories
Anthropology Archaeology Arts and Culture News

Rock-Art Vandals: An Assessment of Public Interactions with Archaeological Resources

“Rock Art Vandals: An Assessment of Public Interactions with Archaeological Resources.” Research presented at the Anthropology Research Symposium, Humboldt State University, March 24, 2016.

Abstract

This project studied the public opinions and discussion of the effects contemporary humans have at archaeological rock art sites in the United States. Preservation of rock art sites is attempted by a perpetual separation of visitors, by creating physical barriers at sites, or keeping site locations a secret. Little has been done, however, to assess public access to information relating to site locations and preservation information. This project utilized open-ended questionnaires to assess the opinions of the online rock-art community in relation to this topic. These opinions were compared with the content in public texts to assess the public accessibility of information. This research represents the potential of an affiliated public to make a significant contribution to the discussion on rock art site preservation and public interaction.

RAV word cloud
Word Cloud generated from Research Data