Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Sustainable Archaeology: McMaster's Telecentric Microscope

Lena Zepf (pictured below) is a Masters student in the Department of Anthropology at McMaster University. Using Sustainable Archaeology: McMaster's telecentric microscope, Lena is examining smoking pipes from sites in Ontario.

Investigating cultural transformation in south-central Ontario: 
an examination of smoking pipes

My MA thesis investigates how smoking pipes change through time, and if certain changes to style can provide insight into cultural transformation in the context of shifting settlement strategies. The purpose of this investigation is two-fold, and consists of a visual and an attribute analysis of a series of sites in the Credit River watershed in Mississauga, and surrounding area. What I am looking for is evidence of style preferences and/or local stylistic changes. Sites of interest include the Wallace and Antrex sites (located at the University of Toronto in Mississauga), as well as the River and Chappell Terrace sites (found at the Peel Art Gallery Museum and Archives).

Sustainable Archaeology at McMaster Innovation Park has provided me with access to materials from some of the southern Ontario site collections as well access to a telecentric microscope, which has allowed me to observe ceramic tempers. Preliminary results, at this time, point towards site specific preferences in style, and in increase in pipe prevalence.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Digital Tools for Archaeological Collections and Inventory Management

Collections and inventory management strategies at Sustainable Archaeology: Western were presented at the 2013 Society for American Archaeology (SAA) annual meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii by Dr. Rhonda Bathurst and Kira Westby. The poster and its abstract can be viewed below. For more information on Sustainable Archaeology's inventory management strategies, check out the April/May edition of our newsletter Notes from the SA.

Poster Abstract: Digital Tools for Archaeological Collections and Inventory Management
What does archaeology have in common with weapons manufacturers, NASA or the automotive industry? All require a means of effectively managing and tracking inventory. There is a lot that archaeologists can borrow from the standards of practice implemented by these industries. Advances in coding and labeling systems such as 2D data matrix (DM) and radio-frequency identification (RFID) can speed up the process of data input and retrieval, alleviate transcription issues related to human error, minimize damage to artifacts, and automate collection tracking. Using DM codes to label and track individual artifacts and RFID tags to manage and track storage containers, this paper demonstrates a field-to-shelf solution for archaeological collections management utilizing some of the digital tools currently employed by major manufacturing industries.