3D Modeling a Historic Type Collection- A SEAC Teaser


I hope everyone is as excited about SEAC 2015 as I am!  In anticipation for all of the papers, posters, panels, and presentations this week, I wanted to offer a preview of some of the work students and staff at the Research Labs of Archaeology (UNC-CH) have been doing lately.

Gearing up for a future virtual museum, Steve Davis and students at UNC have been experimenting with 3D modeling using a photogrammetry technique called structure-from-motion. Using AgiSoft’s Photoscan software, they are able to stitch together multiple overlapping digital photographs of either artifacts or archaeological exavations, to create highly accurate, scaled 3D models.

One of the first 3D projects the RLA is undertaking is to digitize the type specimens from the foundational work of North Carolina archaeology: “The Formative Cultures of the Carolina Piedmont” by Joffre Coe (1964). This publication was the first major culture historical synthesis of archaeology in the Carolinas.  Relying on the stratigraphic excavations from the well-known Hardaway and Doershuk sites, Coe literally wrote the book defining the Late Paleoindian to Woodland Periods.


Now the projectile point type specimens are viewable in 3D!!! (This is still an ongoing project and additional models are being added as they are completed). Check out the models here: http://sketchfab.com/rla-archaeology


Hardaway Side-Notched (690a293)
by RLA Archaeology
on Sketchfab


If you are interested learning more about this stuff, Steve’s paper is in the Friday afternoon session, “Archaeological Methods, Museums, and Specialized Studies”.

Hope to see everyone soon and travel safe!

Introducing our new members to their adoring public!

In honor of it being ONE WEEK from the best weekend of the year, I would like to introduce to you all the two newest members of SEAC Underground: Jake Lulewicz (University of Georgia) and Ashley Schubert (University of Michigan) who will be taking the place of me and Matt Sanger who have both moved on to jobs!  (Yayyyyy jobs!!!)

I cannot wait to see what they (along with Christina and Morgan who have already been rockin’ the SEACUG world) get into in the coming years!  To give you a little taste of what you might see coming down the pipeline in the coming years… let me tell you just a little bit of how awesome Jake and Ashley are!

In his words (with my commentary), Jake’s interests are rooted in the construction of social histories as a means to investigate the relational foundations of organizational complexity (a.k.a. really important stuff). His dissertation research focuses on Southern Appalachia (a.k.a. a really cool area) and seeks to develop a network theory of social change between A.D. 700 and 1300 (my very favorite time period). He draws from many methodological applications including social network analysis, Bayesian analysis of radiocarbon data, geophysical and geochemical prospection, settlement pattern analyses and spatial statistics, and archaeometric applications including ceramic petrography and bulk-chemical analyses (yeah, he’s a lot smarter than me!). 



In her words (again with my commentary), Ashley’s research focuses at the Cane River site—a prehistoric village in western North Carolina—to study domestic and public practices during early interaction with Mississippian groups. In addition to revisiting collections from Cane River and other previously excavated Pisgah sites, she is utilizing non-invasive geogphysical survey techniques to identify archaeological features (go you! wanna teach me?), and then targeting specific areas for excavation (check out the remarkably awesome photo below).  Ashley focuses on the role that cultural interaction plays in initiating and constraining social change. Ashley focuses in the Appalachian Summit (apparently, this is THE area to be right now), during the Pisgah phase of Cherokee prehistory (AD 1000–1500).



I cannot wait to see what these two bring to the table.  And perhaps even more importantly, I can’t wait to sit down and chat with them and the rest of the SEAC Underground community in Nashville.  See you all there!!!

SEAC Aboveground: Ethical Conduct Panel & Other SAC Events in Nashville

 At last year’s meetings, the SEAC Student Affairs Committee (SAC) hosted a panel discussion on issues related to gender bias. The group discussed sexual harassment in archaeology; publication rates for men and women; workplace expectations about women, pregnancy, and child care; and other topics.

I was impressed by the honesty and public nature of this event. I have loved SEAC meetings since I first joined, but this panel said a lot about the community and was one reason I wanted to get more involved by joining the Student Affairs Committee. The stories and data that people shared were often terrible and, as a whole, disappointing—but the existence of the panel and the participation of SEAC leadership and so many of its members was also encouraging. Between the panel and active audience participation, we heard from faculty who were permanent and temporary, junior and senior, male and female; students with varied experiences and concerns; government and private CRM archaeologists at different stages in their careers. This panel was a prominent event at last year’s conference, and the discussions it promoted are still ongoing.

In particular, SAC will host a follow-up panel at this year’s conference, on Friday, November 20 (1:45-4pm). The purpose will be to work towards specific policies regarding appropriate behavior in the various settings where archaeologists work and learn. What constitutes sexual harassment in the field, classroom, or laboratory? Should SEAC adopt a code of ethical conduct that makes specific reference to sexual harassment and gender disparities? What is the role of our organization in preventing harassment and discrimination? This year’s event will be a collaborative discussion of these questions and others, featuring presentations from speakers who are knowledgeable about different aspects of these issues.

On behalf of SAC I want to encourage you to attend this year’s event. I also want you to know that you can start participating in this discussion today. SAC has created an anonymous Google survey as one way that SEAC members can submit questions and topics for the panelists to consider. You can also post to the SAC Facebook page or via Twitter (@SEAC_SAC – use #SEACethics).

There will also be a few events in Nashville focused specifically on students. As always, SAC will host a student reception (4-6pm on Thursday, November 19), but this year we have also organized an event-within-the-event: a student meet-and-greet where undergraduates can meet up with graduate students to ask questions and receive some spontaneous mentoring. Sign up now if you’re interested! No sign-up is required for the reception itself; just show up at 4 for free snacks and beverages

The student luncheon (12-1:30 on Friday, November 20) will focus on how to craft and polish your CV and cover letter for the public and private sector and for different types of academic jobs. As of my writing this we are very close to our capacity for this event. You may still be able to sign up now, and for those of you who are already attending, I’ll see you there!

I just put together my own SEAC 2015 schedule to make sure I’d have time to fit everything in. Of course I’m planning to attend all of the SAC events, but I’m also excited for a lot of talks about shells, fish, and pottery!

What are you looking forward to at this year’s conference?