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Confirmed Sessions

Submitted by lance.evans on Thu, 05/13/2010 - 8:51am

Session Abstracts (Listed Alphabetically)

1. The ANARKY Session: The (Sustainable) Archaeology of Sustainability

Session Chair: Adam Benfer (University of Calgary)

Anthropological inquiries into sustainability and sustainable practices can be conducted using many methods and theories, by all subdisciplines, and on any population, past or present. The environmental issues that currently confront us are also found in the past; the archaeological record contains numerous examples in which societies developed long-term sustainable practices to cope with changing environments, but it also contains many more situations in which populations failed to respond to environmental stress. Taking a reflexive approach, we can also consider sustainable archaeological research methods and practices to mitigate negative impacts on the communities in which we study and the environment in which we live. Using diverse methods and approaches, the papers in this session explore sustainability among a variety of populations distributed across time and space, including early hominins of Olduvai Gorge, Classic Maya city dwellers, Moche communities of Jequetepeque Valley, early European colonists in New England, elementary school children in Calgary, and modern archaeologists.

 2. Destroying our Past? Destructive Methods in Bioarchaeology

Session Chair: Bjorn Bartholdy (University of Calgary)

Over the last century, there has been a significant development in the technology associated with the analysis of past human societies. These novel methods - such as stable isotope analysis, ancient DNA sequencing, radiocarbon dating and histology - provide valuable information on the diet, health, migration patterns, phylogenetics, and antiquity of material culture with increasing accuracy. A fundamental component of these methods, is that they often require the partial or complete destruction of the archaeological specimen examined, which themselves represent a finite resource. In this session, the concept of sustainability will be approached in terms of the ever-expanding arsenal of techniques that are available to the bioarchaeologist. Does the information obtained from these methods justify the process of destruction? Is it possible, with a growing assortment of non-destructive techniques, to obtain similar information without jeopardizing the possibility of future analysis? These questions and many more will be addressed, by scholars employing both destructive and non-destructive methods, in a dialogue on preserving material culture for future analysis.

 3. Escaping the Grey Literature: Recent Contributions from Cultural Resources Management

Session Chairs: Laura Nuttall (Stantec Consulting Ltd.) and Michael Turney (Golder Associates Ltd.)

Cultural Resources Management (CRM) in Canada has been proven to be a viable, sustainable employment alternative to academic archaeology. In a time where academic careers are growing increasingly scarce, students graduating with archaeology degrees have turned to CRM for long-term employment. Driven by client timelines and budgets, CRM archaeologists, in conjunction with provincial regulating archaeologists strive to maintain best practices, and produce data that is of high interpretive value. Due to the inherent nature of the job, CRM archaeologists have the opportunity to record and excavate a wider variety of sites, in more remote locations than most academic archaeologists. Through their experience they have tried numerous methods and methodologies, ever increasing their data recovery. This session will focus on recent contributions to Canadian archaeology made by CRM archaeologists including, new field methods and methodologies, as well as highlighting significant sites that may be otherwise lost to the grey literature.

 4. Ethnoarchaeology, Heritage Management, and Community Outreach

Session Chair: Tatyanna Ewald (University of Calgary)
Community members, local residents, or individuals with ancestral ties to archaeological sites often question the sustainability of archaeological field practices. It is often challenging to demonstrate how archaeological research is relevant and beneficial to non-academic circles and contemporary societies. However, multiple platforms have been forwarded to mitigate such issues, including field schools, public archaeology programs, preserving traditional ecological knowledge and heritage, and community outreach. The Ethnoarchaeology, Heritage Management, and Community Outreach session presents an opportunity to discuss the inadvertent barriers archaeological research sometimes erects for the non-academic public. In addition, this session would like to consider ideas on how to best communicate our research with those individuals who question the sustainability of archaeology as a discipline. To accomplish this, presenters in this session will discuss sustainable approaches to heritage management and land use, cultural preservation, the coupling of archaeometry with ethnographic studies, creating meaningful partnerships with local communities, and encouraging public participating in in excavations and laboratory analysis.

5.   Inspiring Endless Horizons: The Presentation and Engagement of Archaeology
Session Chairs: Meaghan Peuramaki-Brown (Athabasca University) and Shawn Morton (University of Calgary)
Archaeology is not sustainable; it is a resilient discipline. In order to survive, we have appeased the needs of our many stakeholders by continually modifying our engagement with a diverse audience through diverse media/mediums. Part of this modification involves expanding and encouraging non-traditional voices, as viewed through a Western Academic lens, in the development and promotion of our knowledge. In light of increasing economic scarcity, these ever-changing methods of engagement also include the pursuit of research funding through non-traditional channels. This session delves into such resilient activity by showcasing individuals in the Maya archaeological community (and beyond), who are exploring and promoting the endless, yet constantly evolving, horizons of presentation and engagement; their successes and failures highlight the importance of this discussion and should be of interest to those in all culture areas of the discipline.

6.   Jane Holden Kelley: A Sustaining Force in Archaeology
Session Chairs: Adrianne Offenbecker (University of Calgary) and Kyle Waller (University of Missouri)
Over her long career, Jane Kelley has made significant contributions to the discipline of archaeology. Her extensive research spans from Yaqui life history to Southwestern archaeology, and from invaluable fieldwork in Mexico to influential treatments of archaeological theory. Her contributions are not limited to her own impressive accomplishments, but are also reflected in the generations of archaeologists she inspired. As a tribute to Jane’s wide range of influence, this session consists of a mix of papers and panels from colleagues, former students and friends who have come together to celebrate Jane’s life and career. These talks highlight Jane’s influence on Northwest/Southwest archaeology, archaeological method and theory, and her substantial contributions to the Department of Archaeology at the University of Calgary. The presenters will demonstrate not only the strength of her influence on current generations of archaeologists, but how the legacy of her work and mentorship will continue long into the future.

7.   The Past, Now Showing in 3D: The Application and Ethics of Using 3D Technologies for the Dissemination of Archaeological Data
Session Chair: Jared Katz (University of California, Riverside)
New technologies are allowing archaeologists to document and interact with the past in ways that were previously impossible. The potential impacts of the effective implementation of this new tool are dramatic and exciting. Applications range from allowing archaeologists to stand in a virtual recreation of an excavation while writing their interpretations, to emailing and then 3D printing copies of artifacts. 3D scanned monuments and vessels facilitate epigraphic and iconographic analysis by allowing scholars to freely rotate the object and view the image from any angle. The usefulness of 3D models is not solely academic in scope, as this new technology allows for different forms of interactions with the public. Students can do a virtual walk-through of an archaeological site in their classroom and museums can allow people to touch and play with 3D printed replicas of objects they have on display. This change in how we relate information to the public can bring the past to life for people, and make the field of archaeology more accessible to a broader audience. With this new technology, though, comes many potential ethical issues centered around questions of ownership and access. This panel seeks to discuss not only how 3D technology can be used as a tool for archaeological investigation, but also how to use it responsibly. By discussing both the various uses and the ethics of this tool now, we can begin to take full advantage of it while mitigating the potential of harmful practices in the future.

8.   Student Session
Session Chair: Laura Tucker (University of Calgary)
This session will feature presentations from seven students focusing on a wide variety of archaeological methods and topics. Rennie will discuss the identification of tree species used for charcoal found in Nicaragua based on cellular structure and the implications that this research has for future archaeological and ecological work. As well, Forward will explore evidence of social inequality and community organization in the Rio Parita Chiefdom of central Panama. Livingston will discuss how various characteristics of tombstones were used to explore changing attitudes towards death and dying over time in Nova Scotia. Also, Lee will discuss the lack of interest from African scholars regarding paleoanthropological work in Africa based on his observations from a research project in the Olduvai Gorge. Christakis will explore novel excavation and laboratory methods that reduce the risk of modern contamination when dealing with phytoliths and starches from residues on ancient artifacts. Finally, Fleming will discuss eleven Geographic Information Systems (GIS) scripts in ArcGIS® and the limitations associated with them regarding temporal and visual information.

9.  Sustaining Cultural Identity through Ritual: Responses to Conflict and Catastrophe
Session Chair: Marieka Arksey (University of California Merced)
The theme of Sustainability provides the opportunity to address both failures and successes in past sustainability practices, while at the same time, acting as a forum to openly discuss the benefits archaeological research can have on promoting sustainable living today.  One of the fundamental means by which groups sustain a sense of community identity and solidarity, especially in the face of conflict and change, is through ritual practices.  This session seeks to address the theme of ritual sustaining identity along two inextricable and complementary veins:

1. Archaeological analyses which explore the diverse ways that past ritual activities from around the world  have been used to express dissatisfaction, sustain identity, raise awareness, and effect change in response to conflict and catastrophic events.

2. The ways in which modern archaeological practice engages with modern local and global communities about these past ritual practices to support a sustainment of identity through an active collaborative production of heritage.

Because ritual practices are often one of the more ephemeral practices to search for in the archaeological record, the theme of ritual also provides an ideal opportunity for further discussion of the sustainability of anthropology as a discipline by looking at the diverse ways in which archaeologists approach the challenge of preserving, disseminating, and communicating the relevance of these often “invisible” findings to others.