Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Student Travis J. at Vinovium, UK

Travis digs Vinovium.
From June 28 to July 28, 2013, I participated in an amazing field school in the north of England at the Roman fort of Vinovium (Binchester) built in the late 1st century AD. During the excavation season we lived in the nearby town of Durham, which is located about a 30-minute drive from the site. Our accommodations were provided by Durham University, which sponsors excavations at the site during the summer. Our team consisted of students from several countries, including the United States, Nepal and Australia. We were assisted by a large number of students from the University of Durham and local volunteers from the area surrounding Binchester. The site itself consisted of two trenches: one focused on the fort and the other on “Vicus,” or the town. We had the option to work in either section and I chose to be a part of the team working in the fort itself.
During the dig I was moved around constantly to different sections; this was an excellent opportunity for me to get to know all of my awesome trench-mates and work in different parts of the fort. During the first week I worked in one of the barrack blocks and our group was given the extremely difficult task of excavating Roman cobbles. I was then moved to the Roman latrine where we excavated down until we reached the stone bottom of the structure. We were constantly running into a number of massive stone items which were identified as two wash troughs and two sections of stone that turned out to be toilet seats. I was lucky enough to find three round Roman tokens engraved with numerals which were later discovered to be game pieces and a bronze belt buckle. It seems that at every field project the most exciting thing is discovered near the end of the dig. During our last week, as we reached the bottom of the latrine, we discovered was appeared to be the top section of an arch. Upon digging down further, we uncovered the full arch and determined that it was one of the drains that evacuated water and waste outside the fort.
Our typical workday schedule was to eat breakfast at 8:00 and then head off to the site to begin work at around 8:30. As to be expected while in England, we had a mandatory “tea break” around 11:00 and then lunch around 1:00. One of the surprising things about my experience at Vinovium was the heat and the severe lack of rain.  During the middle of the day temperatures would peak at around 93 degrees and we only had one day of rain. This led to a large portion of the team returning home with tans or major sunburns.
On the weekends we went on field trips organized by Dr. Devore and Dr. Chatfield, directors of the field school. Our trips included a five-mile hike along Hadrian’s Wall to the fort of Housteads, a unique experience touring Durham including watching the miner’s gala, and a trip to the west coast of England to visit a museum about Roman Britain. Each student had the opportunity to work on a number of projects related to the site out of the field. One option was to work in the lab facilities at the University of Durham classifying and learning about different types of pottery and the processes through which they were made. Another option, which I chose, was to assist in the virtual reconstruction of the fort that was to be presented to the public in an online environment. The final option concerned the conservation of artifacts, mostly coins, iron fragments, gold artifacts and glass. One of the best and most rewarding aspects of my field school was the opportunity to work with a diverse and dedicated group of people from various backgrounds. Our team became more than just a group of students working at a site; we became a group of friends that came home after a day under the hot sun covered in dirt and still be able to laugh and enjoy the experience. I think that everyone on our team, students and professors alike, left the field school feeling a huge sense of accomplishment and pride in our work. I know I did. 

Student Korine P. at Fort Ouiatenon, IN

For four weeks in summer 2013, I participated in an archaeological field school sponsored by the University of Southern Indiana at Fort Ouiatenon in West Lafayette, IN. This field school was originally scheduled for May 15-June 15, but due to the flooding of the Wabash River, our excavation was delayed until May 20. At first, I was a little nervous because this was to be my first field school experience, but after my first day in the field, I knew that I would be just fine.

The focus of the 2013 season was to excavate in the vicinity of Fort Ouiatenon, a French fort constructed in1717. Our investigations focused on areas just outside the fort perimeter where a number of Native American villages were located. Previous excavations at this site focused on the fort itself and not in areas outside the fort where the Indian houses were located; thus, there are hardly any data at all about the Native Americans who lived there. We knew that there were Kickapoo villages on the side of the river where our site is located, so an anomaly that appeared in the magnetometry reading was most likely a Kickapoo structure of some sort. In addition, we took a trip to the Tippecanoe Battlefield Museum to look at the artifacts that were found through previous excavations at the fort. To think that you can learn all of this through research!

Flooding near the site.
I learned a great deal from my field school experience. I learned how to read and interpret a magnetometry map, conduct pre-excavation research, draw maps and features, screen soil, fill out different types of paperwork, and dig using correct excavation techniques. While excavating, we were able to support the hypothesis that this circle anomaly was a Kickapoo structure due to the mass amounts of charcoal and post holes. We did not have enough time to excavate the whole structure, but we did uncover about a quarter of a structure some 20 feet in diameter. Additional experience that we did not expect to get was canoeing back and forth to our site! In the last two weeks of the field school, the Wabash River flooded again, so we had to get a canoe to reach the site. This was an experience that I will never forget and it made me fall even more deeply in love with my major: archaeology.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Student Kayla K. at Jezreel

For one month in May-June 2013, I lived in a kibbutz called Yizre'el in the Jezreel Valley on top of the hill that was a short drive away from where our dig site is located. Technically, there were three separate areas of excavation but I only worked on the one in the field near the spring. The other two were on the “tel”: one was the wine press and the other was the excavation of the cisterns around worked stone that could have been a fortification wall. I used quotes previously because technically the hill we worked on is not a tel in the archaeological sense of the term even though most call it that. As stated previously, I worked out in the field above the spring in Square T-14 with Michael Kolestos and Susannah Morris.
Kayla (left) and Vanderbilt University graduate student Susannah (right).
In my square, for the first three weeks we worked on removing large rocks as well as layers of smashed mud-brick and collecting any pottery, flint shards, and animal bones we had found. During those three weeks we weren’t sure if we had found a wall or an altar, so we affectionately dubbed it “Walter”. In the last week, we officially found a wall and a professional architect who specializes in ancient construction told us that “Walter” was actually two walls which were built over our third wall! These two walls which made up “Walter”, however, were not connected in the sense that they create one building. Unfortunately, we did not find anything else which would help us identify what these walls were part of or what they were used for.

 Outside of excavating five days a week from 5:00 in the morning to 12:00 in the afternoon, we went on a variety of field trips or had an exciting lecture after dinner. I went on every single field trip, and visited archaeological sites like Megiddo, Hazor, Bet She’an, and Gezer as well as major cities like Jerusalem and Nazareth. While I had to go on all of these trips as a part of my credit course, I definitely had a fun time on each trip. As for lectures, they focused on interesting subjects such as games, the importance of horses, and the sexuality behind cultic figurines.

 But what really made this trip and field school worth it to me was all the people I met and became friends with. Actually, I would say more than friends. I lived in a house with about 18 other people and saw everyone in the whole dig school every day, working side by side with them, sharing meals with them, and experiencing some of the most amazing things with them that will forever stay with me. I will never forget the four weeks I participated in the Jezreel Field School and mainly this is due to the people I spent it with. As Nate Biondi states in thevideo on YouTube, “we are one really big…weird family.”  I wouldn’t mind having a family reunion by attending another season of the Jezreel Expedition Field School.

Student Mike S. at Jezreel

My experiences started the moment I stepped off the plane at Ben Gurion Airport in May 2013.  Just the look and feel of Israel itself was beyond anything I had ever experienced before, and that is coming from someone who has traveled over three continents.   The kibbutz we stayed on, Kibbutz Yizre’el, was so welcoming and friendly that it very quickly felt like home, especially after a long day of digging or fieldtrips. 

While staying in Israel for four weeks was amazing enough, the excavation part of the expedition was incredible as well.  I was pretty nervous about going on a dig with no experience and felt like I would probably be slowing my trench mates down.  Fortunately for me, the directors and supervisors were very helpful with not only teaching us newbies the proper techniques and procedures for digging, but also things like washing and dating pottery.  I was also nervous about being the only UE student working in my trench, but that too worked out to be great.  It provided an excellent opportunity to meet other people who are interested in archaeology, who in my case, were from around the world.  All in all, probably the most important thing I took away from the expedition is that archaeology is really what I want to do with my life. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Alumna Leah T. in London

This summer, I had the fabulous opportunity to work with the North Carolina Museum of Art (NCMA) in researching a group of late Tudor and early Jacobean portraits owned by the museum. Prior to the fall of 2012, these portraits had received little scholarly attention due to their fifty-year stint in storage. My part in researching these paintings began when I participated in a graduate seminar on Tudor and Jacobean portraiture taught by Tania String at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, during which students focused research on the NCMA portraits. The result was a fascinating assemblage of research on Tudor and Jacobean costume, identity, and style. When the NCMA asked me to continue this research in London under Tania’s direction, I was more than happy to oblige! 

To begin, I spent two weeks working at the NCMA to reconstruct the provenance of the portrait group using documents in the curatorial files and online resources such as the History of Parliament Online. (For more on this part of the research see my blog for the NCMA: http://ncartmuseum.org/untitled/2013/06/a-study-in-paint/) When I left for my three and a half week research trip to London, I had two guiding questions in mind: “Who are the subjects of these portraits?” and “Can an artist(s) be confidently associated with the paintings?”  In order to explore these issues, I spent the majority of the trip exhausting the resources of the sitter and artist boxes at the National Portrait Gallery’s Heinz Archive and the Courtauld Institute’s Witt Library. I was also able to meet with several members of Making Art in Tudor Britain [http://www.npg.org.uk/research/programmes/making-art-in-tudor-britain.php], a long-term research project sponsored by the National Portrait Gallery. Additionally, I visited the two country home collections of Knole House and Lullingstone Castle in Kent and utilized the National Archives to obtain scans of several 17th-19th century wills.   
My two guiding questions regarding sitter and artist identity took on a new depth during the course of my research in London. In speaking with the Making Art in Tudor Britain team, it became clear that Tudor portraiture as a genre has reached a critical point—attributions made during the mid-twentieth century are being problematized, oeuvres are being deconstructed, and scientific research such as dendrochronology and paint sample analysis is leading the way to new levels of understanding.  The NCMA portraits could not have come to light at a more exciting time in terms of Tudor scholarship.  In the coming months and years, this portrait group will play an important role in helping scholars and American museum audiences think critically about Tudor portraiture, as well as challenge the exclusive association of value with named paintings.   So, while assigning names to Tudor portraits may not be a realistic expectation for the near future, it is very exciting to participate in this significant, cutting-edge dialogue!      

Congratulations alumni entering graduate programs in the fall 2013 semester!

We are excited for UE archaeology and art history alumni who are entering graduate programs this fall semester: Ben Ollestad (Ball State University Anthropology), Hilary Waltz (Indiana University Art History), Kelly Goodner (University of Leicester, UK Museum Studies), Michael Koletsos (University of Arizona Classical Archaeology) and Kevin Kay (Cambridge University, UK Archaeology). Good luck to all!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Student Elizabeth L. at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art

Earlier this year I decided that I wanted to gain some experience in museum work.  Having come across an internship opportunity a year ago, I decided to search for it again.  Lo and behold it was there!  I applied and the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art (at the University of Oklahoma) in Norman, OK offered me a position in the Education Department, and I took the opportunity without hesitation. The museum has quite a few excellent programs that are free to the public.  They also have a fantastic permanent collection featuring Native American Art and French Impressionism, so I was really excited to get involved with as much as possible.

I have been working mostly with two different programs:  Art Adventures and Sooner Museum Quest.  Art Adventures is intended for preschool aged children.  This program consists of a weekly story and art project, and we also offer gallery guides that have pieces in the museum that relate to the week’s story.  My main job with this program is to make the gallery guides, so I get to wander around the museum until I find what I want, which I quite enjoy!  Sooner Museum Quest is a program aimed at underprivileged groups in the Oklahoma City and Norman areas.  The groups in this program spend the morning at the Fred Jones and the afternoon at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, also in Norman.  The program this summer is centered around Pablo Picasso’s Woman in Studio which is currently on loan to the museum.  The groups are taken on an Elements of Art Tour and they also get to make a monochromatic painting. 

When I have extra time, I have also been putting together a docent packet for a color tour starting in the fall called Over the Rainbow.  I’ve really enjoyed working on it because I get to do research, so it’s a nice change of pace.  I also do various miscellaneous tasks, such as making a catalog of all of the children’s books that the museum owns or stuffing envelopes.  Overall it has been a wonderful summer so far, and it’s going fast!  I’m learning quite a lot and I definitely know now that I am headed in the right direction.  I hope to have an opportunity in the future to do another internship here, perhaps in the Curatorial Department. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Summer 2013 Plans

The Department of Archaeology and Art History is very pleased to announce the summer plans of its Archaeology, Art History and Classical Studies majors:

Alexandra C., Children’s Museum of Indianapolis Internship, IN
Morgan D., Jezreel Expedition, Israel
Elizabeth F., Poggio Civitate (Murlo) Field School, Italy
Travis J., Binchester Project Excavations at Roman Vinovium, United Kingdom
Kayla K., Jezreel Expedition, Israel
Carissa K., Educational Programs Assistant, Angel Mounds State Historic Site, IN
Sam K., Jezreel Expedition, Israel
Elizabeth L., Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art Internship, Norman, OK
Katie M., Jezreel Expedition, Israel
Ashley M., Jezreel Expedition, Israel
Ben O., Jezreel Expedition, Israel
Korine P., the University of Southern Indiana’s Fort Ouiatenon Excavations, IN
Amy R., Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library Volunteer, TX
Marley R., Courson Archaeological Research Field School, TX
Dorothy S., Registrar, Newburgh Museum, IN
Mike S., Jezreel Expedition, Israel

Art History Internship Award Winner Announced

The Department of Archaeology and Art History is pleased to announce the winner of our first Art History Internship Award: Art History major Elizabeth Long. Elizabeth will receive $500 to support her summer internship experience at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art in Norman, OK. Congratulations, Elizabeth!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Congratulations May 2013 graduates!

Fourteen students graduated with degrees in Archaeology, Art History and Classical Studies on Saturday May 4, 2013.

Some of our 2013 graduates at the senior picnic last week.
They include Alexandra Cutler, Abigail Di Giorgi, Elizabeth Frost, Molly Hodgen, Kevin Kay, Samantha Kimsey, Lena McLaughlin, Samantha Miller, Benjamin Ollestad, Marley Rardin, Katy Schmidt, Dorothy Sibrel, Hilary Waltz, and Emily Williams. Congratulations to all!

Shirley Schwarz Prize Winners Announced

The Department is pleased to announce the winners of the 2013 Shirely Schwarz Prize for Research in Art History: May 2013 graduates Kevin Kay (archaeology) and Hilary Waltz (art history). Kevin's paper is entitled "Dissociative Cognition and Transcendental Sociality in Chauvet Cave" and Hilary's paper is "The Vanishing Savage? 19th Century American Attitudes Toward Natives and the Work of George Catlin." Both will attend graduate school in fall 2013: Kevin will begin the MPhil program in Archaeological Research at Cambridge University, UK and Hilary will enter the MA program in Art History at Indiana University in Bloomington, IN. Congratulations Kevin and Hilary!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Archaeology and Art History Majors Present at NCUR

Three of the twelve UE students who presented their research at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) held April 11-13 in LaCrosse, Wisconsin were archaeology and art history majors!

Alexandra Cutler: “Scams and Shams: The Importance of Forgeries in Archaeology.”

Samantha Miller: “Evolution of the Villanovans to the Etruscans Through a Transition in Societal Beauty.”

Hilary Waltz: “The Savage Indian? 19th Century American Attitudes Toward Natives and the Work of George Catlin.”

Congratulations to these May 2013 graduates!

Professor Alan Kaiser Wins Teaching Award

We are very pleased to announce that Associate Professor of Archaeology, Alan Kaiser, was awarded the Dean's Teaching Award from the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Evansville yesterday! This award recognizes Dr. Kaiser's commitment to student learning and mentoring during his twelve years at UE. Congratulations, Dr. Kaiser!

Dr. Kaiser at Hadrian's Wall.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Our Field Trip to Vincennes, IN

On April 13, a group of archaeology and art history students and beloved alum Mike K. toured a number of historical sites in Indiana's First City, Vincennes, with good friend of the department Ms. Alexandra Leich. After we watched an introductory video, an interpreter in period dress demonstrated the type of rifle used by George Rogers Clark and his men to capture Fort Sackville from the British in 1779.

We then visited the impressive George Rogers Clark Memorial, which was dedicated by President Roosevelt in 1936.

After a tour of Indiana's oldest church - the beautiful Old Cathedral - and its very interesting library and museum with Father Schipp, we visited the Old French House and Indian Museum. Built in 1809, the house is an excellent example of French Creole architecture. Historian Richard Day was our interpreter and we were really impressed by his knowledge of early Indiana history.

After a somewhat chilly picnic lunch featuring Alexandra's awesome brownies, we were given an excellent tour of Grouseland, the mansion owned by first governor of the Indiana Territory and 9th US President, William Henry Harrison.
We concluded our trip with a visit to historic buildings next to Grouseland, including a log cabin, a print shop, a building used by the Territorial Legislature, and the Jefferson Academy (precursor to the oldest university in Indiana, Vincennes University). A good time was had by all!

Monday, April 15, 2013

2012 Graduate Michael K. Talks about Recent Experiences and Future Plans

Graduation! It happened. Then, post graduate life quickly became a reality. Fortunately for me, I had a plan. I returned home for a short respite before venturing to Israel with the Jezreel Expedition. Participation in this program provided me invaluable archaeological experience as we surveyed the area surrounding Tel Jezreel to prepare for future fieldwork. We also had an opportunity to explore other sites, excavate at Megiddo, and spend time with friends — new and old. It was a truly rewarding experience.

Mike at the Amman Citadel in Jordan after finishing the 2012 season at Jezreel.
After returning home, I continued applying for jobs and was fortunate to be offered a Team Member position at Target. My time at Target has been a worthwhile experience, and I have learned a great deal about the retail industry through my duties on the Sales Floor and Presentation Team. Most of all, I have developed my abilities to communicate effectively with other members of the team and with guests.

In my spare time, I prepared for my ultimate goal: graduate school. I continued studying Greek, Latin, and French in order to hone my language abilities. A solid understanding of these languages will be beneficial in graduate school and future research. The faculty at UE has even continued to support me since graduating, and I have spoken with them on multiple occasions and sought their advice on my future endeavors. When it came time to apply to graduate school, I enacted my plan and attacked my applications with great results. I recently accepted an offer from the University of Arizona and will begin work on my M.A. in Classics with an emphasis in Classical Archaeology this fall. I am very excited to begin the next step in my academic career.

If I can offer any advice to current and future students it would be this: whatever you do or wherever you go, continue to work hard and make the most of every opportunity. People will recognize you for your efforts and it will make you a better person.

Heidi Strobel to present at Reitz Home Museum

Dr. Heidi Strobel will present her research on Evansville-area "Rosie the Riveters" at 7:00 pm tonight at the Reitz Home Museum. Hope you can attend!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Alumnus Alex T. ('10) at St. Andrews

Hello fellow archaeologists! I write to you from the cold, foggy beaches of St. Andrews on the west coast of Scotland. After graduating from UE in 2010, I started working on a Master of Divinity as a Pitts scholar at Candler School of Theology in Emory University. While seminary is a very different environment than the archaeology classes of UE, the skills I gained in critical thinking, historical research, and ancient languages have proved invaluable as I spend my time negotiating historical theology, biblical studies and their modern application to the life of faith. Besides my time spent in class, I was also chosen to take a trip to Israel with several students to discuss issues of peace and religion in Israel. Although the conference was exhausting, I made time to see several local sites including the excavation at Megiddo.

Alex visits Israel.
Two years into my theological education in Atlanta, Georgia, I was awarded the Bobby Jones fellowship for a year of funded study at the University of St. Andrews, where I am currently living and working on a Masters of Letters (similar to an M.A. in the States). While living in Scotland, I have had the opportunity to work with many noted biblical scholars including N.T. Wright, as I explore the connection between the Bible and its role in shaping theology. St. Andrews is a beautiful place with cathedral ruins along the rugged coast only a few yards from my room, not to mention the coffee shop where the now princess Kate and prince Will first met. Although I have been primarily focused on my school work and research on Acts, I plan on doing some travelling this summer once the weather gets nice. After finishing my time here, I will be returning to Candler to finish up my M.Div and applying to Ph.D. programs in New Testament and Early Christianity.

The cathedral ruins in St. Andrews.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Alumnus Jon-Paul M. ('07) in Sudan

This past winter, I went to Sudan to work with the Sudan Archaeological Research Society/British Museum survey of part of the 5th Cataract. This area is to be flooded by the construction of the Shereik Dam, which is likely to be built given Omar al-Basheer's specific reference to its eventuality. My specific interest was to pair my participation in the project with independent work to collect data toward a dissertation. I am working toward a PhD in Geography at the University of Cincinnati focusing on geoarchaeology. My intention was to determine how the environment of this cataract area changed with the southern shift of the rainbelt and how that related to settlement patterns in the area.

Jon-Paul at Meroe.
Unfortunately, despite promises that everything was in order from NCAM (the National Corporation for Antiquities and Museums of Sudan), after only a week's worth of work we were confronted in the field by a group of villagers from a settlement in the region (though not from the specific island we were working on at the time) and told to stop. Despite a week of negotiating, no arrangement could be made and the project leader, Derek Welsby made the decision to utilize the remaining time productively rather than sit and hope for a change in circumstances. We closed up shop at the 5th Cataract and moved farther north near Dongola in order to conduct excavations at Kawa, a site where Derek has been conducting excavations for a number of years. The remainder of the season (4 to 5 or so weeks) was spent doing excavations in the settlement's cemetery. I am currently reworking the material for my dissertation, but I do hope to focus on environmental change in relation to cataracts along the Nile.

Trip to the Dead Sea Scrolls Exhibit in Cincinnati

On April 6, 20 UE archaeology, art history, classical studies, history and Honors students traveled to Cincinnati to see the Dead Sea Scrolls Exhibit at the Cincinnati Museum Center. The exhibit is only on for another week, so please try to visit if you're in the area and haven't already!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

2012 Graduate Kaman Law at the Evansville Museum

For those of you who know me well, you know I like to keep myself busy. Graduation was on Saturday, May 5th and I was already back to work on Monday, May 7th. But no complaints…I am fortunate to be gainfully employed at the Evansville Museum.

Between May and August of 2012, I stepped in as the Acting Registrar while the Museum Registrar was on maternity leave. During those months, in addition to my duties as Staff Assistant, I also took on the Registrar’s responsibilities. I organized paperwork related to loans and gifts, monitored the museum’s collection storages, oversaw the museum’s re-housing project, managed the entries and advertisements of the museum’s Annual Mid-States Art Juried Exhibition, coordinated shipping arrangements for three art exhibitions, and installed five art exhibits and one history exhibit. The list goes on and on.

When the Registrar returned from maternity leave, I resumed my position as the Staff Assistant. My duties mainly lie within the Curatorial Department, but occasionally I get called to the Education Department and the Marketing and Development Department (hence my title). I enjoy my job immensely because every day is a little different - one day I will be traveling to a location to pick up art loans, another day I will be vacuuming textiles, and other days I will be installing exhibits. However, the re-housing project is my favorite task. Since the completion of our new collection storage facility, we have been meticulously going through every object, making sure that they are properly numbered and documented. In doing so, I get to research about the objects and custom made archival storage boxes.

Besides staying busy at the museum, I am also keeping up with my study of collection management. I am currently attending a series of online courses about the preservation of archival and historical collections called Caring for Yesterday’s Treasures – Today through the Heritage Preservation: The National Institute of Conservation.

I certainly enjoy life after graduation. It is great not having to go to class every day, do homework or study for exams. And it is even better that at the end of the day I can just kick back and be a couch potato. But all jokes aside, in October of last year, it suddenly dawned on me one day that this is all there is to life as an adult: you go to work, get home, eat, sleep, and you go to work again the next day. I was not impressed by that thought at all. So I decided to pick up a hobby. Right now I am working on crocheting scarves, throws, hats, doilies, etc. It keeps me occupied and I love it. I guess what I am trying to say is; don’t stop learning just because you are out of school. There are many things out there to learn and do. You might surprise yourself with what you can accomplish.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Lauren Weingart ('12) at the Evansville-Vanderburgh Public Library

After my May 2012 graduation, I was itching to explore a career interest in library science. I was extremely fortunate to be hired by the Evansville-Vanderburgh Public Library as a Digital Projects Processor, a grant-funded position in which I learned much of the digitization process. Working with local World War II-era materials, I did everything from scanning, to cataloging, to research, and many steps in between. The position has allowed me to learn valuable skills and given me an insider’s view of some of the daily operations at the center of Evansville’s Five-Star library system. It has been a wonderful learning experience, and I have enjoyed every step of this project. I gain a great deal of satisfaction from the knowledge that I have assisted the library in making its materials more accessible to the public and easier to use for researchers.

Lauren at the scanner.
During my time at the library, I have digitized thousands of World War II-era photographs, newsletters, and posters. I have also had the opportunity to research Evansville’s war industries, and in April I will be speaking about the experiences of Evansville’s African-American community during the World War II. Those interested in perusing the Evansville in World War II Digital Archive can find the collection here. History enthusiasts who will be in the Evansville area in March and April are invited to attend Central Library’s WWII Speaker Series, lectures organized to celebrate the Evansville in World War II Digital Archive going online. The line-up can be found here. I hope that the faculty, alumni, and students of the Department of Archaeology and Art History will consider attending these lectures. I will be presenting my research, “’This is Our War’: Evansville’s African-American Community and the Second World War” on April 23. Other upcoming speakers include local history author Harold Morgan and USI’s Archivist and Special Collections Librarian, Jennifer Greene. I hope to see some familiar faces in the crowd!

One of the images in the collection.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Dr. John Wineland to speak on archaeology in Jordan

I am pleased to annouce that Dr. John Wineland, Professor of History and Archaeology at Kentucky Christian University, will present The Archaeology of Ancient Jordan: Highlights and Treasures of an Ancient Crossroads tonight, March 25, at 7:00 in SOBA 173. Dr. Wineland has excavated in Jordan since 1984, primarily at the sites of Abila of the Decapolis and Khirbet Mudaybi in Central Jordan. All are invited to attend.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Sophomore Miranda A. wins Gumberts' Award

Congratulations to major Miranda Amey, who received the Gumberts' Award in the 51st Annual Student Art Exhibition at the Melvin Peterson Gallery on the UE campus. Stop by the gallery and cast your vote for the People's Choice Award, which will be annouced after the exhibit closes on April 5. Miranda has three pieces in the show!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Less than one year after graduation: Elizabeth Bostelman ('12) at the Indiana War Memorial

After graduation, I went straight to work at a pool and spa store, Bradbury’s Waterin’ Hole, in my hometown. Since then the girl who hates chemistry has been learning all about balancing pH and keeping the right chlorine levels in pools and spas. I work mostly on the retail floor, a new experience for me.

Elizabeth would like to sell you a spa.
After the insanity of the summer was over, I realized I needed something to feed my brain so I enrolled in Penn State’s World Campus program. I’m currently about three quarters of the way through a graduate certificate in GIS. It has been really interesting and I am learning lots of new skills! I’m also staying “in the field” by volunteering on my day off at the Indiana War Memorial. The current project I’m working on is researching 400 Army Special Forces flashes and ovals, which unit they belonged to, when they were worn, etc. It’s been a very interesting project. The next project I’m hopefully going to work on is creating a database of all the WWII Hoosier veterans. I researched UE veterans from the Civil War to Afghanistan and Iraq for my senior honors’ project, and I presented the results at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research last year.

The Indiana War Memorial
My long-term plan is to continue to work at Bradbury’s for another full year and enroll in a graduate program by fall 2014. I’m still trying to decide what kind of program I want – Classical Archaeology will always fascinate me, but I’ve really enjoyed all the work I’ve done with Military History – so I guess I’ll just have to wait and see what program accepts me!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

2012 Graduate Leah Thomas at UNC Chapel Hill

Since graduating from the University of Evansville in May 2012, I have moved to North Carolina, where I am completing my MA in Art History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. While graduate school is often lonely, always stressful, and full of panic moments, it is also an incredibly rewarding experience. I have already had the opportunity to significantly broaden my knowledge base through coursework ranging in topic from Tudor portraiture to Andalusi Umayyad art to the art of the Russian Revolution. I have also been active in the organization and implementation of the Art Department’s Rand Lecture Series as part of my graduate assistantship. This has given me practical experience in event planning and allowed me to interact with several Medieval and Early Modern studies scholars.

In particular, the seminar on Tudor portraiture allowed me to explore my two primary interests: the museum field and sixteenth-century art. The course was predicated on a collaboration between UNC Chapel Hill and the North Carolina Museum of Art (NCMA) in Raleigh, where a group of late Tudor and Jacobean portraits had recently been removed from storage for cleaning. Since the portraits had received little previous scholarly attention, each member of the seminar focused her research on a particular portrait for the duration of the semester. This research was supported by direct access to the portraits in the museum’s conservation lab and individual consultation with Dr. Tarnya Cooper, Chief Curator and Sixteenth-Century Curator at the National Portrait Gallery in London, during her visit to the NCMA. At the end of the semester, each of us presented an abbreviated version of our research to the museum staff and docents.

Leah (third from right) after giving a presentation at the North Carolina Museum of Art last fall.
This summer, I am very excited to have the opportunity to continue to explore this portrait group as research assistant to Dr. Tania String, the professor who taught the seminar. I will spend a short time at the Yale Center for British Art, and then continue to London for about a month to utilize the archives of the National Portrait Gallery to develop a more specific understanding of the portrait group’s provenance, contributing artists, and sitters. This research will contribute to a future NCMA exhibition of the portraits, as well as the accompanying catalog publication. The rest of my summer will be spent formalizing my research, studying for my MA exams, and visiting my parents in Texas.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Josephine Curtis ('12) at cMoe

Since one week before graduating from UE nearly a year ago, I have been working as a Play Guide at the Koch Family Children’s Museum of Evansville (cMoe). I held an internship at the museum during my senior year, and I was fortunate to be offered this position immediately after the internship ended. As a Play Guide, I interact with visitors, help keep the museum clean, and get to play as well. I was promoted to Birthday Host in January, and now I help plan and prepare hosted birthday parties at the museum. I’m also planning other special events, including scout workshops. When I started in May, I was not expecting to stay here for close to a year, but now I am glad that I have remained at cMoe. In addition to meeting many people, I have had the opportunity to visit the Magic House in St. Louis, dress up as several of Evansville’s mascots at special events, and experience my first Evansville Icemen (Evansville’s pro hockey team) game.

Josephine (center) works an Evansville Museum event last year as a representative of cMoe.
I encourage anyone who wants to volunteer or intern at cMoe to apply. I love working here, and my experiences have made me more excited about continuing my education in museum studies with a concentration in museum education. I am on track in paying back my loans within two years of graduating, and I’m able to keep my living costs low by not owning a car and taking the bus to and from work. In the next year I’ll take the GRE and continue my graduate school research; I’m looking into studying on the west coast or in Texas to experience other parts of the U.S.

Senior Ben O. wins research award

Benjamin Ollestad, senior Archaeology and Sociology- Anthropology specialization double major, was presented with the inaugural Hanns G. Pieper Sociology and Criminal Justice Senior Research Award. Ollestad's research, entitled "Infidelity among College Students" was selected from a competitive field of senior research projects from Sociology and Criminal Justice majors. This award is named in honor of Dr. Hanns G. Pieper, Emeritus Professor of Sociology, for his dedication to promoting independent student research in Sociology and Criminal Justice. Congratulations, Ben!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Melanie Miller ('12) at the First Division Museum

Life the year after graduation is filled with great expectations as well as disappointments, and several curveballs. My summer after graduation started out exactly as I wanted: excavating several ancient Maya sites in Belize and gallivanting across Central and North America. Then I returned from my post-graduation honeymoon and had a long-delayed appointment with reality. I was near broke, living at home, and frantically searching for an archaeology-related job to no avail. Practicality arising from a desperate need for cash flow forced me to widen my job-search net landing me in the world of retail. After being offered positions in everything from hardware to eye-care to electronics, I finally ended up as a sales consultant for cell phones at Best Buy Mobile. Many of you who know me will find great irony in this: the girl with the brick flip phone who just got texting this past summer and is one of the least tech-savvy people when it comes to smartphones now makes much of her living from selling phones.

I still wanted to do something that was archaeology or museum related so I decided that if no paid positions were open, then volunteering was the best avenue. I quickly discovered that unlike requests for paying jobs, people rarely turn down the offer of free labor and respond to your inquiries much faster. I chose to volunteer at a local war museum, the First Division Museum at Cantigny Park, where I helped in the digitization of hundreds of original documents and artifacts from WWI to the Iraq War. After volunteering over 50 hours in four months’ time, the museum encouraged me to apply for a paid internship position in the archives department. This was rather unexpected, but it proves that just getting your foot in the door can lead to greater opportunities. I have been working as an intern since February and am in charge of cataloguing and reorganizing thousands of documents and artifacts from a donation that fills 25 teetering banker’s boxes. The challenge I face now is balancing three jobs, as I still work at Best Buy and consistently babysit, which makes for a few twelve-hour work days and work weeks of nearly 60 hours. I am also studying for the GRE, which I am set to take next month. The best advice I can give on that is to take the GRE as early as possible so it is not looming over you!

Although my life mostly consists of work, study, and sleep when there is time, I can already see the benefits of my hard work. Clearly, the internship is one of them, but the money I saved from working three jobs is allowing me the opportunity to participate in another archaeological dig this summer, the Jezreel Expedition. This fall I will apply to grad schools for Mesoamerican archaeology while continuing to work. In short, while life after graduation may find you living back at home with a non-archaeology-related job, do not worry or give up. Instead, concentrate on preparing for grad school, save the money you earn for something to strengthen your archaeology resume such as field schools or conferences, and stay involved in something archaeology related, whether it is a class or volunteering, to help prevent you from losing focus or desire to go back to school for archaeology. And for those moments when you feel discouraged, sit back, drink a root beer, and watch the fourth Indiana Jones movie to reinvigorate your fervor to educate the public that aliens have nothing to do with archaeology and to put on your fedora once again.

Less than a year after graduation: Kelly Goodner at the Explorium

It’s hard to believe that I graduated college less than a year ago. I decided to take a year off between undergrad and grad school and I am really glad that I did. After graduation I was able to relax for a few weeks and prepare for my trip to Israel to participate in the Jezreel Expedition (I recommend this to all current and prospective UE students!). I also spent considerable time sending out resumes and cover letters in hopes of securing a job when I returned from Israel and my side trip to Jordan.

When I returned to the States, I was fortunate enough to get a job interview with a local children’s museum - the Explorium of Lexington - and was offered a position in visitor’s services. My job involves working with visitors of all ages as well as cleaning and maintaining the museum. During the fall of 2012, I also had the opportunity to complete an internship with the program director at the museum. This allowed me to help plan the museum’s weekly programs. It also gave me the opportunity to design an archaeology-themed scavenger hunt and alter the museum’s “Dino Dig” exhibit and turn it into an “Archo Dig” exhibit for National Archaeology Day.

As far as my future goes, I am returning to Israel this summer to again take part in the Jezreel Expedition, which I am really excited about. I also plan to travel to a few places in Europe after the field season is over. In the fall I will be attending graduate school to complete a master’s degree in museum studies. The education and experiences I received at the University of Evansville have prepared me for both the real world and graduate school.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Megan Anderson ('12) at Texas A&M

Megan works on her SCUBA skills.
Down at Texas A&M, I've spent almost a year climbing up the steep learning curve that the Nautical Archaeology Program (NAP) throws at its first-year students.  Having not taken time off between undergraduate and graduate studies, I am one of the young students in the department. However, with the solid preparation I received through the archaeology program at Evansville and my previous underwater excavation experience, I haven't felt unprepared for the challenge. So far I have learned how to draft ship lines and construction drawings (and in the course of doing so I learned that 68 hours without sleep is about the limit a person can go); how to prepare and give thirty-minute presentations on a weekly basis; and that a twenty-page paper is "a bit short." I've also spent quite a bit of time working at the Conservation Research Lab, helping to record barrel staves and other interesting bits recovered from shipwrecks. The NAP has a very strong emphasis on hands-on learning, and this semester I am enrolled in a scientific diving course in order to gain familiarity with all of the equipment and techniques used in underwater excavations and become a better diver in general. This summer I will be participating in the Burgaz Harbors Project in Turkey run by Dr. Elizabeth Greene in collaboration with the Institute of Nautical Archaeology (INA). Information on this and other INA projects can be found at inadiscover.com.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

2012 Graduate Rachel Lawrence at Dickson Mounds and beyond

I started working for a retail company in May almost immediately after graduating, and I have the majority of my loans paid back.  My goal when I graduated was to work long enough to pay those loans and get a financial cushion before I continued in graduate school, and I will hopefully be returning to academia next year.  I have tried to stay in the archaeological field by volunteering at Dickson Mounds in Lewiston, Illinois, and I have staffed big events and we are working on more in this upcoming spring and summer.  Even though it is not paid work, I still feel like I am part of the staff there, and I really enjoy working with visitors, young and old, on Native American craft projects and archaeology-related topics and activities.  For example, not long after I learned how to use it successfully, I taught some visitors how to throw a dart with an atlatl. 
Between work and Dickson Mounds, I continue to revise my research project on Vlad the Impaler.  In December 2012, a conference published the revised edition of the paper I presented, and I have continued to revise and expand not only that but also my undergraduate thesis.  I would like to make Vlad part of my career, as has been my goal for almost twelve years (I am not joking), so I have kept up with the research and I am planning a trip to Romania either this fall or next year.  In the meantime, I'll just keep working.

Less Than One Year After Graduation: Emily Mella at American University

Hello UE Archaeology!  I graduated in May 2012 and spent the month of June in Israel as part of the Jezreel Expedition, which was a great experience.  We surveyed for two weeks, excavated for a week, and then spent another 12 days traveling through Israel and Jordan.  It was exhausting, but a fabulous way to spend a summer.  After getting back to the US, I picked up and moved to Washington DC to start graduate school.  I am pursuing my MA in International Affairs from American University and with a focus in the Middle East.  The first few months were a weird transition for me – I was determined to find a job that wasn’t waiting tables or working at Starbucks, but couldn’t find one and settled for an unpaid internship instead.  I got a position archiving for an NGO called the Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy, which focuses on dialogue and conflict resolution.  My job was to go through their old program files, organize the documents, and write a project report reviewing each one.  The work was a bit boring, but I got to attend their staff meetings and interview the organization’s founder, a former US Ambassador, about the projects I was working on. 

This semester, I am doing another internship (also unpaid) for an organization called the Partnership for Global Security.  As their nuclear research intern, my job has been to gather and analyze data regarding civil nuclear programs all over the world.  My final product will be a report about the future of the civil nuclear industry for the organization.  In addition to my internships, I have been taking Arabic classes, which have been really interesting.  Living in DC is fun – I had a bit of culture shock being on the east coast (I’m from Texas originally), but the city is beautiful.  I never get less excited to see the national monuments and still haven’t explored all the city’s museums.  Plus, going to the presidential inauguration was really cool, even though it was freezing!   My plan for the summer is to try to get a job of some sort (even if it is waiting tables) and to volunteer somewhere, like the National Children’s Museum.  With a little more museum experience, I would really like to get a job designing educational programs at a museum after I graduate.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Dan M. ('10) to talk about CRM work

Join the Society for Archaeology and the History of Art (SAHA) at the University of Evansville Tuesday February 26 at 8:00 pm in Hyde 8 to hear Dan Mohorcic ('10) talk about his three years of experience working for Cultural Resource Analysts, Inc. CRA is an archaeological and historic preservation firm that specializes in cultural resources and related studies. Dan will present on some of the projects he's worked on as a staff member at CRA and talk about the life of a "shovel bum" more generally.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Students help publicize Jezreel 2013

On Friday January 18, UE archaeology and art history students and friends came out to Ridgway to publicize the 2013 Jezreel Expedition.

The 2013 season of excavations at Jezreel, Israel, is scheduled for May 19 - June 15. Undergraduate students can earn three 300-level credits from UE and graduate students can earn three credits from the University of Haifa for participating in this four-week field school. The first deadline for applications is January 25. Please contact je55@evansville.edu for more information!