CALL FOR PAPERS: Alcohol in the Ancient World

This sounds like an amazing conference! Consider submitting if you can.

Alcohol in the Ancient World
Conference Date: February 24th and February 25th, 2017
Conference Location: Penn Museum, Philadelphia, PA, USA
Host: Center for Ancient Studies, University of Pennsylvania
Keynote Speaker: Dr. Patrick McGovern, Penn Museum
Abstracts Due: December 1, 2016

The Center for Ancient Studies (CAS) calls for papers from graduate students in any discipline who are engaged in the study of alcohol in the pre-modern world. Beer, wine, and other fermented beverages have played an important role in the social, political, economic, and religious lives of humans for thousands of years. The embedded nature of alcohol in human societies makes it a productive locus for research on a wide range of topics. Possible subjects include the role of alcohol in:

•    Production technologies and techniques
•    Consumption practices and contexts
•    Visual and literary culture
•    Law
•    Medicine
•    The construction and negotiation of identity and gender
•    Trade and political economy
•    Ritual

Research on the prohibition of alcohol in pre-modern societies is also encouraged. This can be approached from a number of angles. Who is prohibited and why? When and where do these prohibitions apply? What do they entail? How are they enforced and how are they circumvented?

Applications should include a title and an abstract of no more than 250 words that summarizes the work, identifies the methodology, and states the primary conclusions. CAS encourages interdisciplinary research that utilizes multiple sources of evidence, including material culture, texts, iconography, experimental and ethnographic studies, and archaeometry. Send all materials to with the subject heading CAS Abstract: APPLICANT NAME. Please include your affiliation in the body of the email. All applicants will be notified of the status of their paper by the middle of December.

You can also find the CFP online at the CAS website:


2016 Southeastern Archaeological Field Schools


Happy 2016! Even though the Spring semester just started, summer will be here before we know it and now is the time to start figuring out your summer excavation schedules. If you are running an archaeological field school this summer and are looking for students, staff or volunteers, SEACUnderground is here to help.  Send us a copy (via of your field school flyer and we will post it to our field school page here. Also, help us get the word out to students that this resource is available!



A Belated Congratulations to our SEAC Student Paper Competition Winners!

Student paper comp

Let me begin by extending a huge SEACUnderground “Thank you” to everyone involved with putting on an epic SEAC 2015 in Nashville, including the SEAC Executive Board, the Meeting Organizing Committee, and all the volunteers!  Thank you also to Ashley Schubert and the rest of the SEAC Student Affairs Committee for organizing the fantastic students events this year.  And lastly, thank you to the SEAC Student Paper Competition Committee for reading all of the submissions!

This year’s first place winner is Jacob Lulewicz (University of Georgia and brand new SEACU contributor!!!) for his paper- A Bayesian Radiocarbon Chronology for Northwestern Georgia, A.D. 700-1400. 

Second place went to Brandon T. Ritchison (University of  Georgia) for his submission- Evaluating Population Movement using State Site File Data: Understanding the Irene Phase Transition on the Georgia Coast.

Congratulations Jacob and Brandon!!



Proposed Legislation threatens Florida Archaeology: A Call to Action

A troubling new piece of proposed legislation (HB 803) puts Florida’s submerged (and likely all) cultural resources on public lands at risk by amending the state’s statutes relating to the discovery of “isolated” historic or archaeological artifacts.  The changes would compel the state to implement a program by which private individuals could apply for an annual permit (for $100) that allows them to “discover” and remove artifacts on State submerged lands and even officially transfers ownership of these artifacts to the permit holder. The only legal requirements: 1) individuals have to promise to report their finds and 2) no tools are allowed for excavation… ***EXCEPT*** trowels, shovels, or any other “hand-held implement” (jeez, I’m glad they narrowed that down).

While this bill ostensibly only applies to submerged and isolated artifacts, this change in the statutes would in effect endanger all archaeological and historical sites on public lands.  There are so many issues that could come out of this, but two huge problems I see with this legislation are these:

First, applying the term “isolated” to essentially all artifacts found in rivers or lake bottoms assumes a priori that they are not part of sites with potentially intact contexts.  Indiscriminate digging certainly does not facilitate determining if such contexts are present. As one of our own SEACU contributors can attest (ah-hem…Morgan Smith), important stratigraphic sites can be found in underwater contexts! And to rely on non-professional diggers to make such determinations (who potentially stand to make $$$ by selling said artifacts) is like putting the fox in the hen-house and saying it can eat only the “abandoned” eggs.

Second, even though this bill deals exclusively with submerged public lands (lake bottoms and rivers), I suspect that it would be incredibly difficult to prevent dry land digging once access was granted.  I suppose it is a matter of trust to hope that permit holders will restrict their activities to rivers and lakes, and that they will report honestly, but when there is a financial incentive to mine public lands for artifacts, that trust evaporates. The stated maximum penalty for violations of this program being only $1000 does not seem like it would be an effective deterrent when a quick search of eBay suggests “authentic” artifacts can bring in multiple thousands of dollars for a single piece.

I understand that looting and theft of natural and cultural resources already occur on public lands with disturbing regularity, but the solution should not be to simply open the doors to looters for $100 a pop.

If you live in Florida, or work in Florida, or if you know people in Florida, please contact the appropriate state representatives and encourage them to reject this attempt to legalize the destruction of archaeological and cultural heritage sites on public lands!

PS. What did I miss?  I know there are other important facets to this issue. Please feel free to add to this conversation in the comments!

PPS. Thanks to Tanya Peres Lemons for bringing this to our attention here at SEACU.

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:

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!

2013 SEAC Student Paper Competition Submissions

After seeing the incredible showing in the Student Paper Competition at SEAC this year, the idea was thrown around that we at seacunderground could start a new tradition by offering to host people’s paper submissions if they were willing to post them.  This would give everyone a chance to see the kinds of excellent scholarship our friends and colleagues are doing, especially when its next to impossible to see everyone’s presentations at SEAC itself. And as always, we encourage anybody to post constructive comments, questions, suggestions, and/or additional sources that might improve the research.

I have started a new section under the Working Papers tab.  If you would like to post your 2013 Paper submission, you can send it to me ( and I will be happy add it, or you can post a link to it in the comments section if its uploaded elsewhere (i.e.,


SEAC Paper/Poster Roll Call

Once again, a wonderfully engaging and productive SEAC has come and gone and hopefully that post-conference excitement and inspiration has not faded too quickly.  Let us know which papers/posters/sessions stood out to you and maybe how you plan to incorporate those ideas into your own work.  What were your thoughts on the Plenary Session “Taking Stock of Social Theory in Southeastern Archaeology”?

Also, congratulations to Dana Bardolph who won this years’ Student Paper Prize and to our very own Alice Wright who brought home the second place prize!