Where are they Now?: Gracie Riehm

Since taking the Singer-Moye field school in 2012, Gracie Reihm has completed an MA at the University of Alabama and has moved on to a PhD at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. She has also been the teaching assistant for another field school at Moundville. Read more about her academic trajectory in this week’s edition of “Where are they now?”

Gracie1

The 2012 UGA field school at Singer-Moye at the field house and lab in Lumpkin. Gracie is under the yellow arrow. It was a big crew that year!

Where are you now?

I did field school at Singer-Moye in the summer of 2012. Has it really already been five years? I spent the next two years working at the Georgia Archaeological Site File and graduated from UGA in May 2014. I went on to a master’s program at the University of Alabama with Dr. John Blitz, graduating in May 2016. And now I’m at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill working on my PhD with Dr. Vin Steponaitis! (A perennial student right here…)

What are you studying?

My master’s thesis was a seriation of Pensacola ceramics. It was a nice, straightforward project that really refined my ceramic analysis skills and has already found its way into gray literature (report writing) use! I plan to continue working with Pensacola ceramics on the side. For my PhD, I’m interested in the pre-Creek sociopolitical landscape. Zones of early coalescence consisted of heterogenous communities. I’m exploring the use of ceramic assemblages to assess identity and social transformation in ethnically diverse “protohistoric” villages.

 

How did field school help prepare you for this trajectory?

I remember that someone told me before that summer that field school makes or breaks an archaeologist. To whoever told me that, thank you. Sometimes I think sheer stubbornness got me through that summer, because it certainly wasn’t natural talent. The Singer-Moye field school gave me a strong foundation for a still-growing skill set. Stefan didn’t go easy on us and said that his whole goal was to prepare us to be able to work in CRM; he did that and so much more. I’ve been able to translate my field school skills into work as a CRM field tech, a teaching assistant at the Moundville field school, and a researcher in charge of my own projects. I wouldn’t be who I am without that summer in Lumpkin, Georgia. There’s nothing I love more than trying to convince my students that this is the best field school they could attend!

12308590_10153082378191901_852201470085142060_n (1)

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Where are they Now?: Derek Butler

This week’s post features Derek Butler. Derek was a field school student at Singer-Moye in 2012. That year, under the direction of Stefan Brannan, the field school shovel-tested the entire site core and all adjacent areas. This work allowed the reconstruction of the site’s occupational history as we know it. In the years since, Derek has utilized and expanded the skills he gained at field school in a successful career in cultural resource management.

Where are you now?

I am currently working in the field of cultural resource management (CRM) and have been for around 3 ½ years. I became involved in CRM by using sites such as acra-crm.org, archaeologyfieldwork.com, and shovelbums.org to find jobs all over the country.

Derek

Derek digging shovel tests on a CRM project in coastal Florida.

What projects are you currently working on?

I am currently working on the project 4985 D/E Eglin on the Florida coast. The project I’m on is mostly phase I survey, but does have a week or two of phase II excavation work. We’re digging 50×50 shovel tests at 25 meter intervals in areas of high probability and 50 meter intervals for medium probability. (Probability refers to the possibility of finding archaeological sites.) The phase II survey will involve excavating 1×1 meter units.

 

How did field school help prepare you for this trajectory?

The Singer-Moye field school was instrumental in me being prepared for the CRM world. One of the most important skills I was taught was how to use a sighting compass and how to dig a proper shovel test. It sounds like trivial and basic skills, but I have encountered far too many archaeologists that do not know how to use a sighting compass and were never taught. Those individuals are hardly hired by the same company again. Also, knowing my pacing for walking anywhere between 15 and 50 meters has been a huge relief to every crew chief I have ever had. Lastly, knowing the hypotenuse of a standard 1×1 meter unit and how to lay a unit in are invaluable skills that I gained from this field school. All in all, the Singer-Moye field school taught me every skill I needed to perform archaeology at the professional level.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Where are they Now?: Emily Lew

This week’s post features Emily Lew who completed the UGA Field School at Singer-Moye in 2015.

What have you done since field school and where are you now?

After field school finished, I had one more semester to finish off my other degree in Criminal Justice before graduating in the fall of 2015. In spring of 2016, I interned with the American Museum of Natural History in New York, then immediately followed that up with an internship in Virginia with The Germanna Foundation working in historic archaeology for the summer. And since last October I’ve been working with the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology and just wrapped up work with them at the end of February, and now I’m not entirely sure what will be next!

What kinds of projects are you been working on?

When I was working for SCIAA, I was mostly doing site surveys on Fort Jackson in Columbia, SC for the Army and National Guard. I will probably start applying for graduate schools for the fall of 2018, and I’m hoping to either focus my research on enslaved populations or Spanish colonization / Spanish contact in the southeast. In the meantime, I plan to enjoy having some time off staying in one place for a little bit and applying to some CRM jobs as they pop up.

How did field school help prepare you for this trajectory?

Field school really helped me decide for sure what I wanted to do with my degree. I think before I did field school, I was still on the fence about pursuing criminal justice or archaeology, and being in the field honestly made that decision really easy. I got to conduct my own research, experience my first professional conference, and hang out in nature for five weeks, every second of which was exhilarating. It was in part because I had experience working in Georgia from field school that I was able to get my internship with the AMNH, something I thought I was overwhelmingly underqualified to do. Through Dr. Birch, I was able to get my job with SCIAA and meet even more amazing archaeologists in the southeast and be involved with what they’re working on. On top of that, I run in to many of the same students I took field school with as professionals now, and I actually worked at SCIAA with another student I took field school with, Andrew Blank. Singer-Moye really showed me what to expect out of this profession, both in terms of what I needed to be able to give and what I would get in return, and helped put me on a journey into the professional world of archaeology and meet others who were on a similar path. I would recommend it to anyone!

Emily2

Emily working on St. Catherine’s Island with the American Museum of Natural History.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Where are they now?: Adam Coker

As we gear up for the 2017 field season, we have been reflecting on all of the awesome students we have been fortunate to work with at Singer-Moye. This is the first in a series of posts featuring former field school students, many of whom have gone on to careers in archaeology or are now furthering their archaeological education.

For this first installment of “Where are they now?” we are featuring Adam Coker.

Adam 2013

UGA field school students at Singer-Moye, 2013. Adam is standing in the upper left (or is it north?) of the unit.

What did you do after field school and where are you now?

Following the 2013 field season, I spent the next two years working for the Georgia Archaeological Site File. In the spring of 2016, I was accepted into the Ph.D. program at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

What projects are you working on? 

My current research is on the formation of Mississippian identities from the perspective of households and communities. I am specifically focused on the negotiation and enforcement of social identity through practice and the built environment. In that sense, I am treating households as the sum of individual agency and community as the nexus in which social identity is negotiated, reinforced, and changed.

How did field school help prepare you for this trajectory? 

It may be easier to say what the field school hasn’t helped with. As a student in 2013, the field school taught me what it means to be a field archaeologist as well as providing the foundation for what would eventually become the focus of my graduate research. When I returned as field supervisor in 2016 the field school provided even more. I participated in the planning and execution of the investigation of a potential structure identified in geophysical data. I also had the opportunity to present the results at the Southeastern Archaeological Conference (SEAC) and gain valuable experience with conducting myself as a professional in the field.

Adam will be re-joining the SMASH team at Singer-Moye in summer 2017, when he will be gathering data for his Masters research!

Adam 2016

Adam (right) directing the crew under his supervision in 2016.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

SMASH Posters at SEAC

Students from the 2016 field school in archaeology at Singer-Moye will be presenting at the Southeastern Archaeological Conference (SEAC) next week, October 26-29. SEAC is being held in UGA’s hometown of Athens this year! Check out the conference website and program for all the details.

The SMASH posters will be presented in a poster session from 8am-12pm on Thursday, Oct 27 (room Athena F).

An important part of our field school program is giving students the opportunity to see the entirety of the archaeological research process. This includes generating research questions, collecting and analyzing data, formulating interpretations, and presenting results to the wider scholarly community. We could not be more excited to share the results of our 2016 excavations at SEAC and we hope to see you there.

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

SMASH 2017: Now accepting applications

We are now accepting applications for the 2017 SMASH field school at Singer-Moye. Head to our field school page for more information and to fill out an application.slide1

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Structuring an Argument and Posting the Results: Investigating a possible Mississippian household

By Adam Coker

The goal of our team this field season was to investigate a possible structure identified in magnetometer data. This data presented itself as distinct anomalies that corresponded to what could be a central hearth and rectangular walls. We placed a 1 x 6 m trench, oriented east to west, over the central hearth and two sections of the walls. While we did not identify a wall in this trench, we did identify a large circular feature bounded by fired white clay and fire cracked rock.

9SW2_2016_232_XU1_Feature4_FCR_and_Daub_40-48cmbd_Plan_View

Hearth feature composed of fire-cracked rock and fired while clay (daub).

To the east of this feature we found a dense concentration of artifacts along the floor of the unit, and to the west we found a relatively clean area. In order to place this circular feature within the context of a structure, we expanded our survey coverage with a 1 x 1 m unit off of the east wall of our existing trench. We encountered the boundaries of a unit excavated in the 2013 field season early on and ceased excavation.

9SW2_2016_167_XU7_52-60cmbd_posthole_Closeup_Facing_N

Post molds in the base of the team’s excavation unit. 

The next step was to follow our anomaly north in order to capture a section of undisturbed wall. To accomplish this, we extended our excavation coverage with a 1 x 3 m unit oriented north-south. We countered another dense concentration of artifacts in the floor of the southern half of this new unit. Beneath this layer of artifacts, we encountered an interesting change in soil represented in the northern third of the unit. This change was represented by a more compact layer of red soil that was distinct from the softer dark brown soil in the southern half of the unit. Our excavations this season ended with the identification of three possible post-molds. As our field season draws to a close, the next step for our team is to return to the lab to analyze our data and to structure our interpretations.

9SW2_2016_239_Crew_Photos

The House team, clockwise from top: David, Jaimie, Adam (the author), and Shelby, with their unit at the end of this season’s excavations

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment