What’s Up Next on the Archaeological Horizon?

Pic: Me with my super serious archaeologist face doing some super serious archaeology work in the lab.

I finished my Masters thesis.  Written, polished, submitted, and accepted kind of done.  Which is kind of crazy for me, since it’s been a goal I’ve been working towards for the past 5 years.  I’m still in a little bit of disbelief that I’m actually finished!  So, I guess the next question is, “now what?”  I was worried I would be facing a lot of downtime after finishing, but in reality my situation is exactly the opposite!  So, what am I up to and what will you soon be hearing about on my blog?

  1. I’ve got a new job!  Well, to be more specific I’m working with a new company.  Same type of work, new company.  I’m working as a bioarchaeologist in the archaeology department of a large engineering firm.  You may be surprised to hear that engineering firms have archaeology departments, but it’s true!  Many also have their own geology and environmental sciences departments too.  We don’t only do work for the engineers.  The company I’m now working with does a lot of work in Ontario for Parks Canada.  My first field survey was for Parks Canada, in Rouge National Park.  And it sucked, for all of us.  We were repeatedly swarmed by fire ants.  We’ve also just started another massive Parks project.  So, what am I working on?
    1. Rouge National Park survey – this was a 2-day survey on a couple of small
      IMG_20170919_181952_846[1]
      Who knew there would be so many fire ants hiding in the ground here?
      plots within the park.  Nothing major and we didn’t find anything significant.  Though we did discover that fire ant bites sting first, then bruise, then get itchy.  I had to take my pants off in the middle of the field to shake them out when they reached *ahem* delicate areas.
    2. Queen Street Screening – I’m working on screening a significant amount of soil excavated from within close proximity to the Queen Street burials in Ottawa (AKA the Barrick Hill Cemetery).  I’m looking for any miscellaneous human remains that may be in the excavated materials.  I started this work on Monday and I’ll be working on this for a couple of weeks! Update: Since I first started writing this draft our screening is complete and now I’m working on IDing what was collected in order to determine an MNI (Minimum Number of Individuals)
      20171006_111702[1]
      Building an MNI database involves a lot of time, patience, and attention to detail! Identification of the smallest fragments might be needed to determine different individuals.
    3. Point Pelee Excavations – This is a huge and exciting project for Parks Canada in Point Pelee National Park.  We have members from the Caldwell First Nation and Walpole First Nation, whose history on this land extends thousands of years back, excavating with us.  The project will be 8 weeks long (I said it was huge), and I’ll be working on it for 5 weeks, after I wrap up the Queen Street screening project.
    4. Other projects – We have a few other small projects in the works which may or may not pick up after Point Pelee, depending on how the weather cooperates with us.  I’m also spending some time in the lab, labeling artifacts and working on the inventory and MNI (Minimum Number of Individuals) database for the Queen Street screening project (I have to determine how many different people any recovered human remains may represent), as well as cleaning and labeling artifacts from other projects.
  2. I have a new volunteer job! In addition to my paid job, I’m also starting up a volunteer position in the research department at the Canadian Museum of Nature. **Remember when volunteering to make sure you’re very careful with your time as to avoid being taken advantage of for free work.** This position has been in the works for a little while now and it’s finally getting started.  My job is to identify and label over 13,000 faunal (animal) remains from an archaeological site in Nunavut.  My expertise in Northwest Coast archaeology is definitely coming in handy to help me identify all the sea mammals this Nunavut collection includes (i.e. seals, walruses, whales).  I LOVE museum collections work and haven’t had much of a chance to work in museums for a couple of years now.  I’m really excited to get back into the museum groove, especially at such a fantastic museum!
  3. I’m working on a textbook!  You might have read my post about soliciting co-
    20170908_152742[1]
    You’ll have to take my word for it that the screen on my computer in the background is related to the open access North American Archaeology textbook I’m on the steering committee for, and a co-author for!
    authors to contribute to an open access textbook on North American archaeology.  I’m on the steering committee for this exciting book, which I’ve been involved with since the very beginning!  I’m also co-authoring the Northwest Coast chapter with some fantastic Northwest Coast archaeologists who I’m very excited to be working with.  We’ve started to move into the actual chapter planning process, which will lead to the chapter writing process.  This is an entirely brand new experience for me, which is equal parts exciting and terrifying.
  4. I’m working my way towards publishing my glass bead research! Very slowly working my way towards publishing my research.  The first step in publishing is deciding on which journal you want to publish in.  This will guide your writing, from the general structure to length to style of citations.  I’m in that first step right now, trying to decide which journal I want to try to publish in.  I have a few in mind, one of which I’ve been invited to publish in and would be a perfect fit, but I’m not too happy with the difficulty in accessing their articles so I’m not 100% sold on that journal.  I have a couple of other journals in mind, I just need to find the time to sit down and actually look at them in depth!  I’m also thinking of running some XRF analysis on the beads, which I’ll blog about in the near future.
  5. Conferences! These are still many months away, but it’s on my mind!  I love
    Screenshot_20170807-154352[1]
    I’m hoping to present a poster on my completed glass bead research and chair a symposium about our open access North American Archaeology textbook!
     conferences and I’m excited to be prepping for the Society of American Archaeology‘s 2018 conference in Washington, D.C.  I have an abstract for a poster presentation about my glass bead research submitted, as well as a submitted abstract to chair a symposium about the open access textbook I’m working on.
  6. Steveston Public Archaeology Program! This one I’m super excited for.  I’m going to soon start developing a public archaeology program in Steveston, BC.  The goal is to work together with the Musqueam and Tsawwassen Nations and the Steveston Historical Society to build an archaeology table to display during the Steveston Farmers Market to educate the public on the very long and little-known history of the Steveston area.  I’ve also spent time chatting with Canadian historian Andrea Eidinger (of the wonderful Unwritten Histories blog) about working together on this project, which would be super awesome!  This is still only in the very, very, very early planning stages, but I’m hopeful to get it started in the near future!

So, that’s what I’ve got coming up on the horizon.  No rest for the weary, but I’m excited for all these projects and to see where they may lead me!  Plus they’ll make for some (hopefully) interesting blog posts!

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