Why we need more public archaeology programs . . .


I actually had this conversation at a party–okay, it’s a little exaggerated, but this person really had skull fragments and artifacts from a site he visited back in the 1970s.  He said the site had been badly looted, so what did it matter if he took stuff, too?  Everyone else was doing it.  I kept hinting at repatriation and how wrong it is to steal artifacts, but it fell on deaf ears.  People need to understand that it’s both unethical and illegal to remove artifacts from archaeological sites.  It doesn’t matter if ‘everyone is doing it.’

Artifacts: What Keeps the Archaeology World Spinning

What is an artifact? Literally anything made by human hands: an arrowhead to a rusted out tin can. Without artifacts, there really wouldn’t be much for archaeologists to do. No beautiful projectile points to drool over, nothing to painstakingly record. And, perhaps most frightening, no Indiana Jones to steal golden statues from temples and wrench dangerous artifacts away from Nazis. And what would archaeology be without Indiana Jones, eh? When I’ve described the actual definition of an artifact to the public, I get completely different reactions depending on whether my audience consists of children or adults.

Kids really get a kick out of being told that anything made by human hands is an artifact—a pencil, a table, a plate! I had one young boy ask me, seriously, if his poop was an artifact, since he made it; after trying really hard not to laugh, I told him, that since his hands didn’t make it, that no, poop isn’t an artifact. Aren’t kids great? Adults, on the other hand, focus more on the necessary age something has to be to be considered an artifact. In the U.S., something—a tin can or pottery fragment—has to be at least 50 years old. That gets a few guffaws about how some of them could be considered an ‘artifact’ (although, not technically). I did send my dad the application National Register for Historic Places when he turned 50, quite the gag gift for a history buff.

*Please note: it is ILLEGAL to take artifacts from archaeological sites located on public lands (i.e. NPS, BLM, State Park, etc.). So, let’s say you’re walking along a lovely trail at a National Park and you see the coolest arrowhead or the most beautiful piece of ancient pottery. Is it okay to look at? Yes. Is it okay to take a picture of it? Yes. Is it okay to put it in your pocket and weasel away with that artifact? NO! Always—ALWAYS—put artifacts back where you found them.

Women in Archaeology Podcast: THE REPRESENTATION OF WOMEN ARCHAEOLOGISTS IN MEDIA – EPISODE 9 (September 4, 2016)

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This is a great episode and I really enjoyed being part of the discussion.  It is difficult to think of positive fictional representations of female archaeologists!

Episode Summary: Today the panel discusses the way women archaeologists are represented in a variety of media including TV, Movies, and Video Games. We talk about what there is out there for us, and what kinds of role models we’d like to see going forward. We’re also joined by special guests Chelsea Rose of Time Team America fame and Meghan Dennis aka @GingeryGamer.

Jobs in Archaeology: Part 4


Every archaeologist has a duty to educate the public about the importance of protecting and preserving archaeological sites.  There will always be those who will steal artifacts from sites–people love arrowheads–but I honestly think the vast majority of people would want to protect the past if they understood how fragile it is.

Women in Archaeology Podcast: Episode 1-ARPA AND THE OREGON OCCUPATION (April 10, 2016)

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This was the first Women in Archaeology Podcast panel I got to be a part of–I absolutely loved being part of the discussion.  Since then, I’ve become one of the co-hosts.  Here’s what the episode is about:

The Panel discusses the application of ARPA in recent court cases and how ARPA could be used in the prosecution of the Oregon Militia Standoff.