What Was Anthropology Up To This Summer? A Lot!

Posted on 8/31/2016 10:27:49 AM

Summer isn’t a break for IUP anthropologists. It’s the time when students and faculty can get out and do anthropology field work. This was a particularly busy summer, with students working on independent and group research projects and faculty pursuing their research across the state, nation, and globe. Below is a summary of what IUP anthropologists were up to over the past three months, but if you want to see more, check out our Facebook, Instagram, and blog pages.

Several students pursued independent research and enrichment.

Nancy Lopez Sosa, a senior and applied anthropology track student, completed a 10-week, summer public health internship at John Hopkins University. She underwent a rigorous selection process and was selected from a national pool of students to participate in the Maternal Child Health Careers/Research Initiatives for Student Enhancement–Undergraduate Program (MCHC/RISE-UP).

Angelica Sterling and Bridgette Burrell both participated in internships at the Washington Center. Angelica analyzed qualitative data and worked on higher education policy reform, and Bridgette created a magazine for the Sindi American Political Action Committee.

Sean Duncan and Harley Burgis traveled to excavations in Italy and Romania, respectively, while grad student Sarah Henley participated in an underwater excavation in Menorca Spain.

Cole Kedzierski was in Malta, where he attended the Off the Beaten Track Field School for Anthropologists and he conducted ethnographic research on small-scale fishermen.

Photo of Sean Duncan's field school excavation in Italy
Photo of Sean Duncan's field school excavation in Italy

Twenty-one students were also involved in IUP-sponsored archaeological excavations this summer. The Archaeological Field School was held at a Native American village site called Squirrel Hill during the first part of the summer. Working six days per week for five weeks, the students uncovered a wide range of features and gained valuable experience in excavation, recording, and site survey. Students that had already completed a field school were hired for the Fort Necessity and Pennsylvania Highway Archaeological Survey teams. PHAST is a PennDOT-sponsored crew that does archaeology across the state ahead of transportation projects. This is a great way to get paid experience in cultural resource management.

Five graduate and undergraduates were also hired to conduct excavations at Fort Necessity National Battlefield. This crew worked for seven weeks to investigate geophysical anomalies identified the previous season and to dig test pits in areas where the National Park Service plans to make improvements to the park. We also held a metal detecting class at Fort Necessity, where 15 students and faculty were trained to use metal detectors for archaeological research, and we successfully identified one of the French firing positions (very cool!).

The PHAST Team hard at work
The PHAST Team hard at work

Several grad students also made good progress on their research (with apologies to those I’m forgetting).

Cheryl Frankum, Nichole Keener, Jay Taylor, and Ashley Taylor (no relation) continued their research at the Revolutionary War era Hanna’s Town, joined by undergraduates Eden VanTries, James Miller, and Kelsey Schneehagen.

David Breitkreutz completed his geophysical survey of the site and is currently processing the data.

Emily Masters conducted excavations at a World War II POW camp site near Carlisle, Pennsylvania, while Kate Peresolak excavated several test units and collected dendrochronology samples from a log cabin in Fayette County, and Hannah Harvey mapped and excavated a glassworks site near Blairsville.

Danielle Kiesow started her research at Grand Portage National Monument.

Many of the other graduate students worked for CRM companies across the region.

Photo of Grand Portage National Monument, where Danielle Kiesow did an internship
Photo of Grand Portage National Monument, where Danielle Kiesow did an internship

The faculty weren’t growing moss either.

Abigail Adamsreturned to her research site, a private women's health clinic in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to conduct ethnographic research. She also taught the Sutton Summer Scholar Program.

Amanda Poole did preliminary field work in Ethiopia. She met with policy makers, aid organizations, and scholars on the topic of refugee policy, as Ethiopia is now the number one refugee hosting country in Africa. Poole will begin her ethnographic research this September on the topic of refugee youth education, secondary migration, and humanitarianism in the Horn of Africa. In August, Poole was invited by the U.S. State Department to speak on the Eritrean migrant crisis at an executive analytic exchange in Washington, D.C.

In June, Lori Labotka presented a paper, "Vending Machines in Prison: No Frills Policies and the Cost of Incarceration," at the Cultural Studies Association conference in Philadelphia. She also started preliminary research on a long-term ethnographic project with prison administrators and policy makers to explore the impacts of moral evaluations of prisoners on policy making and punishment practice. 

Francis Allard spent one week in Vietnam meeting with archaeologists at the Institute of Archaeology of Vietnam (in Hanoi) to discuss the details and objectives of a long-term project that will focus on the Bronze Age of northern Vietnam; accessing a number of bronze fragments dating to 1200–500 BCE, whose composition we will analyze at IUP this coming academic year; and meeting with archaeologists in Hong Kong to discuss the extension of the project to include Hong Kong bronzes dating to the same period. He also presented a paper at the conference of the Society for East Asian Archaeology, held jointly by Harvard University and Boston University, and was elected president of SEAA, which is a growing international organization (now with 500 members) whose mission is the broad promotion of the field of East Asian archaeology and the facilitation of scholarly exchange among archaeologists of the region.

Within Pennsylvania, Sarah Neusius continued her National Science Foundation-funded research to make sense of Archaic period diets through big data, and Lara-Homsey Messer and her students continued making discoveries using the micro-artifacts. Ben Ford got his gills wet in Lake Erie training recreational divers to record shipwrecks, and even doing a little recording himself.

Whew, I’m winded just describing all of this. Long-story-short, there are plenty of opportunities for Anthropology majors. Just remember, the world is your classroom.