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Upcoming Archaeology Events at UC Berkeley

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Upcoming Events
Updated: 2 hours 15 min ago

Making Space for the Invisible, Feb 20

Wed, 02/06/2019 - 17:43
This talk will consider the role of the invisible in human engagement with artifacts. This discussion draws heavily on comparative psychology research on the capacity of chimpanzees for abstract though in both the social (sense of self) and physical realms, as well as on Tim Ingold’s critique of hylomorphy. The first context in which hominins drew on invisibles was in the use of fracture for stone tool manufacture. It is argued that fracture unlike crushing requires an understanding of an invisible force as opposed to an appreciation of cause and effect relations. Examination of the earliest evidence of stone tool manufacture suggests that by 2.5 million years ago hominins were adept at propagating fracture. The discussion then shifts to the challenge by Paul Bloom who argues that water can be an artifact. It appears that the extension of artifact status to a liquid is actually based on containment of the liquid in a vessel, suggesting a certain ‘stickiness’ to artifact status that can extend to materials a vessel contains. Containment is like fracture a mechanical force and consideration of containment leads to combustion and the prehistory of hominin engagement with fire. The archaeological record from sites including Wonderwerk Cave is discussed to bring out the evidence for a long development of hominin relation with fire.

The Weimar Joint Sanatorium: Institutional landscapes, identification, and disease, Mar 6

Wed, 02/06/2019 - 17:43
The Weimar Joint Sanatorium was opened in 1919 in Weimar, California, and was jointly operated by up to eleven counties in California for the care of tuberculosis patients who were unable to pay for treatment. Additionally, the Weimar Joint Sanatorium was located next to the town of Colfax which had at least six privately owned sanatoria, and the popularity of tuberculosis sanatoria during the early twentieth-century was closely linked to broader social movements such as changing understandings of disease and contagion, the health and hygiene movement, and a greater interest in exercise, the outdoors, and the natural environment. This project tracks the design and transformation of this institutional landscape using archaeological survey, ground penetrating radar (GPR), magnetometer survey, historical research, and oral histories. The built environment, daily practices, and the landscape are closely entangled with ideas about disease, contagion, stigma, processes of identification, and the social memory of epidemics, and this presentation will discuss the intersection between healthcare systems and racialized and gendered landscapes in California.

HearstCAVE: Immersive Visualization and Student Discovery Experiences, Feb 13

Wed, 02/06/2019 - 14:42
Archaeologists and museum professionals have often been at the forefront of immersive visualization technologies, unlocking their potential to aid in the documentation and representation of material culture. At the same time, the role that visualization walls, photogrammetry, and virtual reality can play in research, scholarship, and student engagement is a relatively new frontier. To explore these possibilities, Research IT and the Hearst Museum of Anthropology have led a series of projects with a growing set of partners on campus and beyond.

The Power of Plurality: Encounters, Emergence, and Boundary-Making in the Nineteenth-Century Industrial Far West, Apr 17

Wed, 02/06/2019 - 14:42
Archaeological studies of nineteenth-century industrial sites have historically focused on a narrow set of questions surrounding labor exploitation, management strategies, technological development, and laborer resistance. This relatively narrow scope of questions and top-down framing has served to reify the assumed power of historical capitalists and strip laborers of their agency, power, and creativity. The work presented here attempts to address these issues by situating industrial sites in the post-Gold Rush American West as dynamic, pluralistic spaces of encounter, negotiation, entanglement, and emergence- sites of creativity and community building (as much as control and exploitation) that re-configured boundaries of difference along multiple axes in important and lasting ways. As a case study, this work examines material culture and historic data from the nineteenth-century Samuel Adams lime kiln industrial complex on the northern Santa Cruz Coast of California. By examining materials associated with managerial, manual, and domestic labor, I explore the ways in which labor groups engaged with a range of materials to build novel and strategic connections, relations, and meanings within the strictures of industrial life. In doing this I hope to challenge simplistic resistance/compliance binaries and linear models of culture change and instead argue for a recognition of material ambiguity, multiplicity, fluidity, and emergence as tactics towards making a life in the early Industrial Far West.

Race, Place, and Other Things for the Taking: The Buffalo Soldiers and Allensworth, California, Apr 24

Wed, 02/06/2019 - 14:42
In 1908, Lieutenant Colonel Allen Allensworth (and chaplain to the 24th infantry regiment of the Buffalo Soldiers) founded the town of Allensworth, California. The town, situated in the heart of the Central Valley, was founded, funded, and governed by all blacks. Allensworth lies less than 150 miles outside of the transient military encampment for the Buffalo Soldier units who served at Yosemite National Park and were originally stationed at El Presidio de San Francisco. Fueled by the fear of emergent Jim Crow laws, economic and class disenfranchisement, and a certain romanticism of thriving in an all-black enclave that was “free of racial discrimination,” civilian and military families alike were drawn to the isolated, agricultural town. This talk will discuss the daily, lived experiences of both the civilian population and the enlisted military men who existed in these varying racialized landscapes and the archaeological material culture they have left behind.

GPR and Gradiometry in the Hyper-Arid Atacama: Assessing Features Among Fossil Channels, Paleosols, and Lithic Dispersions at Quebrada Mani 35, Chile, Feb 6

Mon, 01/28/2019 - 13:42
In the hyper-arid core of the Atacama Desert in northern Chile dozens of Terminal Pleistocene archaeological sites have been located in an area that previously held seasonal surface water channels and a riparian landscape. These sites shed light on the early peopling of western South America because the sites have had little disturbance with the ensuing extreme aridity for most of the Holocene. Here we present preliminary results from geophysical research in December of 2018 at the site of Quebrada Mani 35 employing GPR and gradiometer funded by the PCI Project PII20150081 and an institutional collaboration between Universidad de Tarapaca in Chile and University of California, Berkeley. At QM 35, archaeological features distributed along east-west fossil stream channels that transported Andean water west towards pluvial basins have been dated between 12.5 to 11.2k cal BP. In addition, horse, ground sloth, camelid and rodent remains are present along with extensive botanical remains and concentrations of lithics. GPR and gradiometer data show numerous geomorphic features that tell us about the site setting, and possible cultural features awaiting further testing.

The Etruscans Outside the Box: Ancient and Modern Tomb Biographies, Mar 20

Fri, 01/25/2019 - 12:19
Etruscan tombs have been studied for centuries as a marker for understanding Etruscan society, culture, ritual and art. But only recently have scholars begun to look at these tombs, their contents, and the impact they have had on the wider imagination in a different light. This presentation explores three different examples of Etruscan tomb biographies literally “outside the box” with new evidence of prestige items, new discoveries of Etruscan tomb groups, as well how the Etruscans were appropriated at the turn of the 20th century.

The Clothes on Their Backs: Sartorial Practices of Self-making within the African Diaspora, Jan 30

Mon, 01/07/2019 - 17:32
During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, periods marked by racialized subjection, sexual exploitation, and economic disenfranchisement, Black women were pinning their hair up with combs, lacing glass beads around their necks, dyeing coarse-cotton fabric with sumac berries and walnuts, and fastening buttons to adorn their bodies and dress their social lives. Through an analysis of material culture and documentary data, my work examines the complex interplay between structural forms of oppression and agency by focusing on the ways sharecropping, tenant and landowning farmers in Texas utilized dress to negotiate racism, sexual exploitation, and exploitive capitalism. I focus my research on the clothing, adornment, and grooming artifacts recovered from the Levi Jordan Plantation, where African American families lived and labored as tenants, wage laborers, and sharecroppers as well as artifacts recovered from the Ransom and Sarah Williams Farmstead, a site lived and labored on by a landowning African American family. Through a Black feminist intersectional lens, this talk will discuss my interpretations of ways practices of dress engaged in by African Americans at the two sites were shaped by race, gender, and class operations of power and oppression, within spheres of labor at home and beyond as well as through the threat of racialized and gendered violence, the desire for self-expression, and processes of social reproduction. Building on this research I will conclude this talk discussing about my current research interest at the enslaved village area at the Estate Little Princess, a former 18th-century Danish sugar plantation located on the island of St. Croix.

Race, Place, and Other Things for the Taking: The Buffalo Soldiers and Allensworth, California, Feb 27

Mon, 01/07/2019 - 17:32
In 1908, Lieutenant Colonel Allen Allensworth (and chaplain to the 24th infantry regiment of the Buffalo Soldiers) founded the town of Allensworth, California. The town, situated in the heart of the Central Valley, was founded, funded, and governed by all blacks. Allensworth lies less than 150 miles outside of the transient military encampment for the Buffalo Soldier units who served at Yosemite National Park and were originally stationed at El Presidio de San Francisco. Fueled by the fear of emergent Jim Crow laws, economic and class disenfranchisement, and a certain romanticism of thriving in an all-black enclave that was “free of racial discrimination,” civilian and military families alike were drawn to the isolated, agricultural town. This talk will discuss the daily, lived experiences of both the civilian population and the enlisted military men who existed in these varying racialized landscapes and the archaeological material culture they have left behind.