Connecting Students to Archaeology

Post by Jonathan Duelks, PSU undergraduate and Archaeology Lab Intern

Public outreach and education is an important part of what happens here in the anthropology department at PSU, as well as with the Port Clarence Project.  As a part of an assignment for the analysis of faunal remains class three of my classmates, Kelsi McDaniel, Steven Gandee, Jillian Fulton and I put together an presentation for a local anthropology class taught by Marc Sweeting at Reynolds High School in Troutdale, Oregon.

We put together a discussion based, informal lecture to introduce the students to Zooarchaeology. A small teaching collection of processed bone was created to give students an example of what they might see doing lab or field work, and to get them thinking about what they would see in a bone modified by a human. The collection was made from four pig femurs, one cut with a knife, one scraped and cut with a basalt flake, one burned and one fed to my roommates dog.  We also used bones from the teaching collection at PSU  and pictures of artifacts from the Port Clarence project.

Dog aiding in presentation prep (Photo by Jonathan Duelks)

Dog helping out with presentation prep (Photo by Jonathan Duelks)

The students enjoyed the hands on experience and were engaged and asking questions about what types of bones they were and what animals they came from. They really enjoyed getting to break fresh femurs open with a stone hand axe.

After our presentation students had questions about the types of classes offered at a college level and about the kinds of jobs that would be available with a degree in anthropology. This was a great opportunity to discuss our own experiences and to let them know that it is possible to be involved in archaeology right here in Portland, close to home. We talked about experience based classes like faunal analysis, field and lab methods courses and work we’ve done in the lab on the Port Clarence project as well as the field schools that we have attended, both through PSU and abroad.

It was a wonderful to have the opportunity to share our enthusiasm for archaeology with an audience of interested and engaged students.

2 thoughts on “Connecting Students to Archaeology

  1. I’m always amazed with what my dogs do to the bones in my yard. I hunt a lot and cut up the animals at home. The bones go out in the yard for the dogs. I’ve noticed that all the deer and mountain goat bones get totally munched while the Roosevelt Elk bones do not. If you excavated my yard you’d think i was hunting nothing but elk. Patrick

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