Emeryville Shell Mound, San Francisco, and sea level change. Source: Spatial History Project.
If you’re at all a map geek – and most archaeologists have that tendency – then you might enjoy flipping around Stanford’s Spatial History Mapping Project. This project is intended to further creative visual analysis and representation of historical events and phenomena. Luckily for us, they apply their skills to some archaeological problems, such as the relationship between sea level change and shell mound development illustrated above:
Did rising sea levels force native people to raise their shellmounds to stay above the tides? The visualization suggests that no, mound building was unrelated to sea level rise.
You can see that particular page here.
Part of a sunken fleet of recreational dories, Emerald Bay, California.
The US National Parks Service has a useful page summarizing policies and laws regarding “submerged resources” – which includes underwater archaeological sites. The sections most of interest to the six readers of this blog are probably the pages on Washington State, Alaska, Oregon and California — though the fact that Idaho has a page is, at least, surprising until you remember the importance of paddle-wheelers in the earlier interior historical period all over the west.
Posted in Archaeology, California, history, Northwest Interior, Northwest Coast, Uncategorized, underwater archaeology
Tagged alaska, Archaeology, California, CRM, Idaho, Northwest Coast, Oregon, underwater archaeology, Washington State
La Brea Woman forensic reconstruction.
I came across this interesting article chronicling an emerging controversy in Los Angeles. I never knew that human remains had been found in the La Brea tar pits, but a partial skeleton of a young female had been on display until recently in the George C. Page Museum there. At some point, a museum volunteer made forensic-style reconstructive drawings of this young woman. Now the museum is trying to prevent their publication, a move which some claim is designed to help prevent their repatriation.
Are illustrations of human remains tantamount to display of the human remains themselves? Is the display of a cast any different? The forensic reconstructionist apparently used the cast, not the actual skull. But consider the process of making a cast: is not that a greater insult to the dead than merely handling their bones would be? In any case, these forensic reconstructions contain a little too much interpretive latitude: consider the Kennewick man reconstruction whose resemblance to Patrick Stewart has done nothing to quell the notion Kennewick man was ‘Caucasian’. Further, the forensic reconstructions include disturbing “cutaways” revealing the reconstructive process and producing an otherworldly, inhuman appearance (see below).
Posted in anthropology, Archaeology, California, Miscellaneous
Tagged Archaeology, California, Chumash, forensics, La Brea, museums, reconstruction, visual archaeology