Friday Links: This week in Historical Archaeology

This week’s featured photo is from Tiffany Brunson, an anthropology graduate student at the University of Idaho. The photo is of a series of lead disks that she posted on the HistArch list serve last week, which were found at Fort Spokane : other archaeologists have suggested that they may be flattened bullets either waiting to be recast or, the most popular response, is that they are flattened bullets being used as gaming tokens. If you have any ideas, let us know in the comments!


A century old plantation and a possible African American cemetery are on land recently purchased in Danville, Virginia.

The Virginia Historical Society is featured on CNN for their recently launched database of enslaved Africans in historical records.

Archaeologists in York are developing an exhibit about their project on homelessness.

The Florida Public Archaeology Network has been working with communities to restore cemeteries.

Manuscript Calls

The African Diaspora Archaeology Newsletter is looking for submissions for its next release.


Winterthur Ceramics Conference is being held from April 26-27th.

The Visiting Scholar Conference is being held at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, with this year’s topic on: The Archaeology of Slavery: Toward a Comparative Global Framework. It is being held from March 30-31st.

To the Blogs!

Mount Vernon has a nice piece about the wine bottle glass assemblage discovered in their midden.

John R. Roby (@JohnRRoby) has launched a new historical archaeology blog called “Digs and Docs”. Add him to your RSS Feed!

Mick Morrison (@MickMorrison) returns from a blogging hiatus with a description of a 20th century site Presbyterian Mission Site in Weipa, Australia.

There are a couple sitings of papers being presented at this year’s SHA conference in Baltimore on various social media:

Mandy Raslow (@MrshlltwnMauler) and Heather Cowen Cruz have their paper “Excavating with Kids at the Farwell House, Storrs, CT” available on, and Terry P. Brock (@brockter…also author of this post) has made his presentation “Place, Space, and the Process of Emancipation” available on his blog.

Have you put your presentation up on the web? Please let us know, we’d love to share it!

Photo: Copyright All rights reserved by Tiffany.Brunson Used with permission from photographer.

Networking After the Conference: Suggestions for Students

For students, the Society for Historical Archaeology’s annual conference is a fantastic place to meet people – it is a “society” after all. You can explore interests and network with other archaeologists including academics, professionals and peers. However, from one year to the next these connections can be forgotten. Building lasting networks out of conference conversations requires one key activity – follow up. Turning a great conversation into something more can be tricky, however. Here are a few tips.

We all think we will remember the details of conversations had with archaeologists whose work truly interests us, but three days, a rolling sea of faces and names, and a drop of beer can taint even the most amazing memories. Take the time to write down details of your conversations at the conference. Include not only the things you would like to remember but also those things you would like the other person to remember about you. Read over your notes and make any additions that would clarify them. For example, it turns out that the person you met day one was a student of someone you met day three. That connection may help future conversations flow.

It is no surprise that many conference attendees arrive home with new work and some backlog, not to mention our personal lives. Follow-ups should occur soon but not too soon after the conference. Waiting a few weeks allows for everyone to recover while reducing the chance that your efforts are met with a quizzical response; “Who is this again?”

Maintaining the new lines of your network isn’t all timing. Your follow up should include some idea for a next step. Give some thought to a transition from the conference to some clear and reasonable goals. Otherwise, you are just reminding someone that you met. Perhaps you can use the time since you last spoke to chew over the next stage of your dialog. Set a few reasonable first step goals for the exchange. If these truly elude you, you may ask why are you contacting this person.

If you are asking your new connection for something, especially time, you should have some idea of what you have to offer in return. Often those attending conferences serve on one or several of the many committees that it takes to run the SHA. Volunteering to help can be a way to connect with a new contact, explore the workings and current issues of the society, and help keep the SHA going strong. Make sure offers you make are ones you can keep, as few things are worse than overextending yourself.

Social media is providing new tools that can help you foster connections from a distance whether you are following or participating in the creation of dialog. More and more archaeologists are joining sites like Facebook or Twitter and or LinkedIn. All can provide either streams or tidbits of current event information from your network or by you. Keep in mind that you are building professional relationships and think about the content you plan to jettison into the digital world.

Not all contacts have futures. Sometimes a great conversation is just that – savor it, think about it, and be open to another at next year’s conference. However, it never hurts to say thanks. Dropping a brief note with a detail or two to remind someone where you two met is a great means to demonstrate you were not raised in a cave by wolves. It also increases the chance they will remember you next year.

How do you maintain your connections with people you’ve met at conferences? What are some communities that are good places to network and meet people? What are some of your fears about networking? Non-students, do you have any tips for students?

This post was co-authored by Jennifer Coplin and Mary Petrich-Guy.

SHA 2013: Travelling to Leicester

Leicester Railway Station, 1908

For all those who are starting to plan for their attendance at SHA 2013, a guide to travelling to Leicester is now available to download from the conference webpage.

The travel guide contains information and links to many useful websites, including:

- The UK Border Agency, for those who might need to arrange a travel visa or other supporting documentation in order to travel to the UK (not usually needed by visitors from the US or EU, but please do check);

- Airports serving Leicester and the southern part of the UK (East Midlands and Birmingham Airports are closest, with a wider range of international flights serving London’s Heathrow, Luton, Gatwick and Stansted Airports);

- Train companies serving Leicester Railway Station, as well as the BritRail and Eurail passes, for delegates looking to extend their visit and plan a continental adventure;

- Long-distance travel from the airport by taxi.

Maps of the University of Leicester and surrounding area, as well as further information about travelling to the city by road, rail or air, can also be found on the University of Leicester website, here.

There is now a myriad of online travel agents, competing with each other to deliver the cheapest deal on your flight, and so you might find a comparison website such as Skyscanner of use. Students and younger delegates might find the services of STA Travel useful, especially as they have a branch in the centre of Leicester. Other travel providers are available!

Later in the year we will provide a guide to travelling within Leicester. If you have any questions about travelling to the SHA 2013 conference that the travel guide is unable to answer, please leave them in the comments box below. We will try our best to answer them, and update the travel guide accordingly.

Image: [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons