Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Student Hilary W. Presents at Conference

Art History and History double-major Hilary Waltz presented a paper entitled “Religious Art of the Sixteenth Century” at the Indiana Regional Conference of the Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society held at Indiana Wesleyan University on March 24, 2012. Hilary’s paper won best paper in the Religious Art category. Congratulations Hilary!

Hilary (third from left) with Dr. Heidi Strobel (in red) and students at Harlaxton in spring 2011.

Majors at Harlaxton Visit Flag Fen

UE Archaeology and Art History majors spending the spring 2012 semester abroad at Harlaxton, UE's campus in England, visited the site of Flag Fen last week with their British Prehistory instructor, Archaeology and Art History alumna Hilary Wolkan ('09) last week.  Major Marley R. (who took these photos) reports that the trip was very interesting and more field trips are planned this semester.

Hilary at Flag Fen.
Sam, Shannon, Dorothy, Emily and Kayla at Flag Fen.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Students Screen Soil from Hovey Lake Site

Around 20 UE students, most of them archaeology and art history majors, screened soil from the Hovey Lake Site west of Evansville on Saturday March 24.  The soil had been taken to Angel Mounds for screening.  Lots of interesting artifacts and ecofacts were discovered, including a nice rim sherd with handle from a Mississipian vessel.  Thanks to everyone for their help!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Alumnus Profile: Jack G. ('04) in Palermo, Sicily

Jack in Monreale, near Palermo, Italy.
This year I received a Fulbright grant from the J. William Fulbright Program  to conduct my dissertation research in Italy for my doctoral studies in medieval history at Western Michigan University, and I am now halfway through my time in Palermo, Sicily. The Fulbright program provides wonderful opportunities for graduate and post-undergraduate students to conduct research in all fields of study from the arts to the sciences. My current research in State Archives of the city of Palermo examines slavery and wage-labor for fourteenth-century Palermo. Palermo offers an important perspective on slavery in the Middle Ages because it possessed one the highest concentrations of slaves in the medieval world, as much as 12% of a population of around 50,000. I hope to understand the institution of medieval slavery better by comparing this ancient method of acquiring forced labor, with the labor markets for ‘low-skilled’, free workers.

This kind of study would be impossible for an American student to conduct if not for grants like the Fulbright. The best way for scholars to learn about slaves and laborers is to search through the extant records of notarial archives. Notaries were vital to the urban world of the later Middle Ages, particularly in the large, commercial centers of the Mediterranean that emerged after the eleventh century. They were the official record keepers for all business transactions such as bills of sale, marriage contracts, wills and testaments, and many others. They offer unique insights into the workings of everyday life. These are not easy documents to access, however; very few are published and they are typically written in Latin but in shorthand with scripts that can be daunting (most people who look at notarial hand for the first time mistakenly think it is Arabic!). Finally, the registers of these notaries can be very large, numbering in the hundreds of pages. The process of sifting through these records is strenuous and time consuming but also exciting. You never know what exciting revelations the next volume could contain. I often describe what I do as an archival historian as a sort of 'documentary archaeologist,' though I remain a lot cleaner at the end of the day than when I was digging at Murlo as a UE undergraduate.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Emperor Leopold I at UE

On March 14, friends of the department Alexandra Leich and Janet Lorence gave UE archaeology and history students the opportunity to view a late-17th century document signed by Emperor Leopold I.  Janet Lorence discovered the rare document at an auction on top of a stack of Newsweek magazines!  Nearly 100 students and faculty viewed the document and learned about its contents, the calligraphic aspects, and the history of the Habsburgs.  Thanks to all who attended!

Alexandra Leich, Janet Lorence, Alan Kaiser and Lesley Pleasant at the document viewing.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

SHUMLA Field Methods in Rock Art featured in Texas Highways magazine

The March 2012 issue of Texas Highways magazine features a story on the 2011 session of SHUMLA Field Methods in Rock Art.  Junior Katy Schmidt participated in the 2011 season and can be seen in the third photograph in this article. 

For information about the 2012 season, visit SHUMLA's website.


An internship is a fantastic way to gain practical experience working in a museum or other cultural institution.  UE students have the opportunity to intern during the fall and spring semesters at such places at the Evansville Museum, the Reitz Home Museum, CMOE - the Children's Museum of Evansville, and Angel Mounds.  Now is the time to plan for a fall 2012 internship! 

Seniors Anna S. and Josie C. represent CMOE, where they are both interns, at Kids Art Fest at the Evansville Museum.