Friday, November 30, 2012

Walking Statue of Easter Island

Very interesting new article in the Journal of Archaeological Science in the "article in press" section of the online journal.  Carl P. Lipo, Terry L. Hunt, Sergio Rapu Haoa, in press 2012, The 'walking' megalithic statues (moai) of Easter Island, Journal of Archaeological Science, (http:dx/doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2012.09.029)

You might have seen the Nova-National Geographic special recently...here is a teaser from YouTube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpNuh-J5IgE

This is a great study case for research implications that can use software modeling to produce archaeological replicas for experimentation. Use of photographs for 3D modeling allowed the researchers to evaluate the physics of the forces that result in motion of the statues.

The journal article is well illustrated and describes how they were using the 4.35 metric ton concrete replica from the 3d model to demonstrate how a small number of people could have moved the large statues across the island.  Combined with detailed attribute analysis of the various fallen and broken statues along the roads and paths, the authors make an interesting case that they were abandoned on route to a planned destination. 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Recent research in Archaeological Sciences: NSF University of Arizona IGERT


Dissertations from the NSF/University of Arizona IGERT Program in Archaeological Sciences

From 2003 to 2008 the National Science Foundation's Program for Integrated Graduate Education and Research Training (IGERT) funded a graduate training program in archaeological sciences at the university of Arizona. As of October 2012 this has produced 19 PhD dissertations; another 15 are on track for completion in 2013 and 2014. You can find the names of those who have finished, the titles of their dissertations, and where the authors are now, at:


The list will be updated as further dissertations are completed.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Announcing the 2012 R.E. Taylor Award Recipients

This year SAS has granted two presentations the R.E. Taylor Student Poster Award. This prestigious award is named in honor of Professor Emeritus R. Ervin Taylor of the University of California at Riverside for his outstanding contributions in the development and application of radiocarbon dating in archaeological research and dedication to the founding of the Society for Archaeological Sciences, for his leading role as President (1980) and General Secretary (1981-2002) and his committed service as editor of the SAS Bulletin. In 2004, the SAA recognized his invaluable contributions with the granting of the 2004 Fryxell Award for Interdisciplinary Research.
 
We are pleased to announce the following 2012 poster award recipients:

2012 R.E. Taylor Award at the 77th Annual Meetings of the Society for American Archaeology, Memphis, Tennessee : "On the formation and distribution of ochreous minerals in northern Malawi"
Andrew M. Zipkin (Hominid Paleobiology Doctoral Program;  Center for the Advanced Study of Hominid Paleobiology,Department of Anthropology, The George Washington University), Alison S. Brooks (Center for the Advanced Study of Hominid Paleobiology,Department of Anthropology, The George Washington University; Human Origins Program, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution), John M. Hanchar (Department of Earth Sciences, Memorial University of Newfoundland), Jessica C. Thompson (School of Social Science, University of Queensland), and Elizabeth Gomani- Chindebvu (Malawi Ministry of Tourism, Wildlife, and Culture).
 
2012 R.E. Taylor Award Recipient at the 39th International Symposium on Archaeometry, Leuven, Belgium: “Chemical Fingerprinting of Hungarian and Slovakian Obsidian using Three Complimentary Analytical Techniques”

Fabienne Eder (Vienna University of Technology) with co-authors Christian Neelmeijer, Nicholas J.G. Pearce, Johannes H. Sterba, Max Bichler, and Silke Merchel.

 For more details, go to the SAS website and and check out pdf versions of these award winning posters. 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

What's the Word from ISA 2012?  

Ruth Fillery-Travis offers the following blog.... sample activities from day 3 of ISA.

http://findsandfeatures.wordpress.com/2012/06/01/isa-2012-leuven-day-3-biomaterials-and-bioarchaeology/


We would love to hear from other attendees of ISA 2012.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Australian Archaeological Association- Call for Abstracts

The Australian Archaeological Association has recently announced a call for abstracts for its upcoming annual meeting from 9-13 December in Wollongong (New South Wales), hosted by the University of Wollongong Centre for Archaeological Science.  The theme of the meeting is Science and Archaeology, with a variety of sessions covering many aspects.

See the sessions and submission details here.  The deadline is July 6, 2012.


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory Archaeometric Archives

Many of you may not know this, but I've been working at the Archaeometry Laboratory at the University of Missouri Research Reactor to preserve the data and records of other laboratories as they begin closing their doors. Though our lab has always had an open-door policy for storing other labs' data, these efforts really took off in 2007 with the publication of a special issue of Archaeometry (v. 49, 2) commemorating fifty years of neutron activation analysis.

The first database posted on-line was generated at the University of Manchester in England. The Web page I created was intended to complement a table in G.W.A. Newton's discussion of the archaeometry program at Manchester, particularly since Dr. Newton died during preparation of this manuscript. While working on the Manchester Web page, the lab was contacted by Frank Asaro at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He was cleaning out his office and laboratory space, and asked if we would be interested in preserving the archives from that archaeometry program.

Since that time, I have been overseeing the slow digitization of the Berkeley data so that it may be viewed and manipulated on modern computers. The absolute amount of data in the Berkeley archive is overwhelming! Elemental abundance data for 10,000+ specimens, at least two photographs of each specimen, notebooks, loose-leaf papers, sample powders, XRF planchettes, surplus sherds, and lots of microfiche.

In 2009 I presented a status update for our work on the Manchester and Berkeley databases at the Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology. Since that time we have made significant progress with the Berkeley database, and so I recently submitted a second update for publication in the SAS Bulletin. With a small grant from Digital Antiquity, we have been able to make all of the data that has been digitized to this point, as well as complementary photographs and scanned images of all of the Berkeley lab's papers and notes publicly available through the Digital Archaeological Record (tDAR). You can connect directly to the Berkeley Project using this link.

I encourage all of the SAS membership to take a look at the Berkeley archives. I can imagine a host of reasons to use these data, including as comparative material for active research projects, data sources for teaching and evaluating statistical methods, and even for researching the history of archaeological sciences.

We aren't done yet, though! Data for about 3000 specimens remain to be digitized. I am hopeful that these will be completed at some point this summer, so keep an eye out here for future announcements concerning the Berkeley archives.


Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Dear colleagues,

May we invite you to the Society for Archaeological Sciences Business Meeting at the Society for American Archaeology Annual meeting in Memphis, TN, on Thursday 19 April, 5PM - 6:30PM (Oxford M).


Also, do not forget to register for the R.E. Taylor poster award! Students must submit an application via email to Destiny Crider (destiny.crider@asu.edu) by April 4, 2012 to be considered for this award. Applications in form of an email message must include the title and abstract of the poster, proof that you have registered for the SAA meetings in Memphis (email from the SAA), and proof of your status as an undergraduate or graduate student.

Warm regards,
Patrick Degryse
SAS President

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Ultrasensitive Radiocarbon Technique

A recent issue of Nature reported on a new analytical method that has ultrasensitive capabilities for the detection of C-14. Instead of using accelerator mass spectrometry techniques, the researchers use a novel optical approach called saturated-absorption cavity ring-down spectroscopy. The technique takes advantage of IR spectroscopy to analyze the gas down to a detection limit of 43 parts per quadrillon. In addition, the instrumentation is significantly smaller than a mass spectrometer, and non-destructive to the sample. More details can be found in the article here.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

R.E. Taylor Student Poster Award Competition at SAA 2012

Call for Applications - 2012 R.E. Taylor Student Poster Competition at the SAA, Memphis

As a result of a collaborative effort with the Society for American Archaeology, SAS will acknowledge an outstanding student poster for its innovative contribution in the use of scientific technologies to archaeological research by granting the R. E. Taylor Award, consisting of 100 US dollars and a one-year subscription to the SAS Bulletin. Financial support for the Taylor Award derives from the membership royalties of those who have joined us in our quest of making of archaeological sciences relevant to the study of humankind by using the tools of tomorrow.

This prestigious award is named in honor of Professor Emeritus R. Ervin Taylor of the University of California at Riverside for his outstanding contributions in the development and application of radiocarbon dating in archaeological research and dedication to the founding of the Society for Archaeological Sciences, for his leading role as President (1980) and General Secretary (1981-2002) and his committed service as editor of the SAS Bulletin. In 2004, the SAA recognized his invaluable contributions with the granting of the 2004 Fryxell Award for Interdisciplinary Research.

For more than a decade, receiving the Taylor R. E. award has enhanced the career of those who are now prominent young scholars and professionals. For 2012, SAS will offer the R. E. Taylor Award at the SAA 77th Annual Meeting in Memphis. TN. Entries will be judged on the significance of the archaeological problem, appropriateness of the methods used, soundness of conclusions, quality of the poster display, and oral presentation of the poster by the student, who should be the first author in order to compete.

Students must submit an application via email to Destiny Crider (destiny.crider@asu.edu) by March 21, 2012 to be considered for this award. Applications in form of an email message must include the title and abstract of the poster, proof that you have registered for the SAA meetings in Memphis (email from the SAA), and proof of your status as an undergraduate or graduate student (usually appears on your SAA registration). 

An email confirmation that your application has been received will be sent to you. Please keep this email confirmation. Students will also submit a .pdf version of their poster on or before April 6, 2012. This will give the judges adequate time to evaluate your posters. Judges will be present in person at the SAA meetings to judge posters and to ask students questions about their research. Prizes will be awarded at the SAA meetings following the end of the last poster session (final program is pending).

Good luck to everyone!

Deadline for submissions: March 21 to apply;  April 6th submit poster as a pdf.

To enter contact Destiny Crider (destiny.crider@asu.edu)

See past recipients of the R.E. Taylor Student Poster Competition

EXTENDED DEADLINE TO APPLY:  PLEASE SUBMIT APPLICATION BY APRIL 4TH!!!!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Survey on archaeological conservation - deadline Feb. 19

If you direct an archaeological field project, please assist us by taking this brief survey. The survey is designed to gather information about archaeologists’ engagement with conservation and identify areas in which the conservation community can improve. We would appreciate your participation whether or not you have used the services of a professional conservator, and we hope to have responses from a broad range of archaeologists working on different types of sites, both terrestrial and underwater.

· The survey is primarily multiple-choice and takes approximately 5 minutes to complete. Your response will be anonymous unless you choose to provide contact information. If you do give us your name, your contact information and survey responses will be kept confidential and only discussed without attribution.

· The survey results will be shared with both the archaeological and conservation communities.

· The survey will be active for three weeks, until the 19th February 2012. If you know other directors who are good candidates for this survey, please forward the link.

Survey link: http://umichlsa.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_5sWNz6StWlxY4FC

Thank you for your time,

Suzanne Davis and Claudia Chemello
Conservators
Kelsey Museum of Archaeology
University of Michigan
434 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Weizmann Institute and Max Planck Society Establish a Joint Center for Archaeology and Anthropology

From PhysORG:

"When did modern humans arrive in Europe and Asia? At what rate have cultural changes spread from one region to another throughout history? How did Neanderthal teeth and bones differ from ours? These are examples of topics to be investigated at the new Max Planck – Weizmann Institute of Science Center in the Field of Integrative Archaeology and Anthropology.

Serving as the Center's Directors will be Prof. Stephen Weiner of the Weizmann Institute and Prof. Jean-Jacques Hublin of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology.

The group at the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot will mainly follow the research track entitled 'The Timing of Cultural Change.' Its goal: to shed new light on such fascinating aspects of human history as the spread of ideas, the changes in lifestyles, the different rates of development in various parts of the world and the migration of people from one geographical area to another. Traditionally, these questions have been explored by relative dating – that is, comparing changes in tools or pottery in different regions. However, absolute dating – determining the actual age of objects and strata – is needed in order to establish when a particular change occurred and how fast it spread throughout the region. To document the distribution of cultural changes in the last 50,000 years, the scientists will conduct much of the work in the field, performing a scientific analysis of findings at the archaeological site itself, to be followed up by laboratory studies. They will use high-resolution radiocarbon dating, which makes it possible to date specimens with a precision of 20 to 40 years, taking advantage of such advanced techniques as accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS—see below) analysis of radiocarbon content.

The group at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig will mainly conduct research along the track entitled 'Physical Anthropology through Bone and Tooth Structure-Function Studies.' Scientists in this group will investigate issues in recent human evolution, particularly those relating to the co-occurrence of Neanderthal and early modern human populations in the Levantine region, at the crossroads between Africa and Eurasia. The study of fossil remains of these two populations has been traditionally based on the shapes of bones and teeth, examined more recently with the help of 3D computer reconstructions. Scientists in this track will make use of high-resolution computer tomography both at the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig and at the Weizmann Institute, a technology that makes it possible to perform such reconstructions down to the level of micron-sized details. The scientists will examine the relationship between structure and function in bones and teeth, which is essential for understanding evolutionary changes. Since this relationship is difficult to establish using fossils alone, the focus of the studies in the new Center will be on modern bones and teeth."


More in the press release here, including the details of the partnership, the main scientists involved and the new accelerator facility.