Workshops at Quebec City, Part 2

This year’s conference has a large slate of workshops; something to answer any interest. In preparation for the conference, and to inspire your interest in coming and participating, the Academic and Professional Training Committee offers three posts introducing these workshops. This is the second of those three postings.

We hope you find something here that piques your interest, and we hope to see you in Quebec City!

Workshop 5: Practical Aspects of Bioarchaeology and Human Skeletal Analysis
Hosted by
Thomas A. Crist and Kimberly A. Morrell
This workshop will introduce participants to the practical aspects of detecting, excavating, storing, and analyzing human remains from historic-period graves.  It also will address the appropriate role of the historical archaeologist in forensic investigations and mass fatality incidents.  Using historical coffins, hardware, and actual human remains, this interactive workshop is led by a forensic anthropologist and an archaeologist who collectively have excavated and analyzed more than 2,000 burials.  Among the topics that will be covered are the most effective methods for locating historical graves; correct field techniques and in situ documentation; the effects of taphonomic processes; appropriate health and safety planning; and fostering descendant community involvement and public outreach efforts.  Participants also will learn about the basic analytical techniques that forensic anthropologists use to determine demographic profiles and recognize pathologic lesions and evidence of trauma.  No previous experience with human skeletal remains is required to participate in, and benefit from, this workshop.

Workshop 6: Principles of Provenience Control and Underwater Hand Mapping in Underwater Archaeological Excavations
Hosted by Peter J.A. Waddell and R. James Ringer

In a world where technology plays an ever increasing role in the recording process of underwater excavation, it is sometimes easy to forget the importance to control fundamental techniques of provenience control and hand mapping and recording underwater. The objective of this work shop is to provide participants with a walk through the principles and techniques used to establish a provenience system for an excavation and to develop a grid system and a complementary recording method. During this very practical workshop, the participants will see the establishment of a real aluminum grid system in the classroom, learning step by step the details that make a difference. The system used will be based on the grid system developed during the Red Bay excavations and still used by Parks Canada today. The hosts both worked for Parks Canada throughout their careers and were part of the entire excavation of the Basque whaling ships in Red Bay, Labrador.

Workshop 7: Excavating the Image: The MUA Photoshop Workshop
Hosted by
T. Kurt Knoerl
This Photoshop workshop covers basic photo processing techniques useful to historians and archaeologists. We will cover correcting basic problems in photos taken underwater and on land, restoring detail to historic images, and preparation of images for publications. We will also cover the recovery of data from microfilm images such as hand written letters. No previous Photoshop experience is needed but you must bring your own laptop with Photoshop already installed on it (version 7 or newer). While images used for the workshop are provided by me, feel free to bring an image you’re interested in working on. Warning…restoring historic images can be addictive!

Workshop 8: Underwater Cultural Heritage Resources Awareness Workshop
Hosted by the Advisory Council for Underwater Archaeology

Cultural resource managers, land managers, and archaeologists are often tasked with managing and reviewing assessments for underwater cultural heritage (UCH) resources. This workshop is designed to introduce issues specific to underwater archaeology and assist non-specialists in recognizing the potential for UCH resources, budgeting for underwater investigations, reviewing UCH-related assessments, and making informed decisions regarding UCH resources. Participants will learn about different types of UCH resources and the techniques used in Phase I and II equivalent surveys. This workshop will introduce different investigative techniques, international Best Practices, and existing legislation. Full-day (interactive lectures, demonstrations); Presentation notes and other materials provided.

If you have an idea for a workshop to be held at a later conference, or if you would like to organize one yourself, please contact Carl Drexler at

Workshops in Quebec City, Part I

This year’s conference has a large slate of workshops; something to answer any interest. In preparation for the conference, and to inspire your interest in coming and participating, the Academic and Professional Training Committee offers three posts introducing these workshops. This is the first of those three postings.

We hope you find something here that piques your interest, and we hope to see you in Quebec City!

Workshop 1: Analyzing Glass Beads: When Archaeology and History Meet Archaeology
Hosted by Karlis Karklins, Jean-Francois Moreau, Adelphine Bonneau, and Ron Hancock
The aim of this workshop is to offer a large spectrum of key concepts on glass beads studies from different points of view and using multidisciplinary approaches. Markers of exchanges, glass beads are often abundant on archaeological sites. Their study provides both important information and underlines questions to be considered. In this workshop, we investigate the use of methods from archaeology, art history and Archaeometry. We will discuss both the limits and the complimentary aspects of these approaches.

Workshop 2: French Faience: Fabrication, Techniques, and History
Hosted by Laetitia Métreau
The raw materials used, as well as the shapes and decorations of tin-glazed earthenwares or faience, reflect the societies that produced used them. These productions are considered both a historical document and a socio‐economic marker. The aim of this workshop is to provide a comprehensive study of French faience, combining written sources, archaeological and archaeometric data. The theoretical part of the day will focus on technical, historical and stylistic aspects of these wares. It will be followed by a practicum consisting of case studies and identification exercises. The workshop will end with a guided tour of the Musée de la place Royale (Québec).

Workshop 3: Principles of Clay Pipe Analysis (Or, What to Do with a Pile of Clay Pipe Fragments)
Hosted by Barry C. Gaulton and Françoise Duguay
The proper identification and dating of clay tobacco pipes is essential for site interpretation; however many archaeologists still rely on outdated and problematic methods in their analyses. The goal of this workshop is to provide participants with the basic techniques used to identify, date and quantify clay pipes, with a focus on seventeenth- and eighteenth-century assemblages. It is designed for those without a strong background in clay pipe research. Topics include bowl typologies, pipe stem dating techniques, dating by makers’ mark and decoration, pipe provenance, quantifying assemblages, clay pipe reuse and modification, as well as approaches in trace element analysis.

Workshop 4: French Glass Tableware, from Production to Consumption
Hosted by Agnès Gelé
Glass tableware is an excellent example of the juxtaposition of different meanings conveyed by an artifact or objet. The purpose of this workshop is to provide participants with a synthesis of up to date research on French glass tableware. The theoretical section of the day examines the production of glass tableware, via a literature review and a discussion of the production processes and vocabulary in use. This will be followed by a discussion of the typological and stylistic evolution of glass tableware. Identification exercises will use the collections from the Maisons Estèbe and Perthuis, which were part of Place Royale in Quebec City. The workshop will conclude with a guided tour of the Musée de la place Royale (Québec).

If you have an idea for a workshop to be held at a later conference, or if you would like to organize one yourself, please contact Carl Drexler at

Webinars: A New Frontier in Archaeological Training

The SHA’s Academic and Professional Training Committee (APTC), working with the Conference Committee, offers a range of training and professional development opportunities at the annual conference. We have workshops, roundtables, and fora covering many topics, most developed in response to member interest and needs. To augment these, the APTC plans to try year-round training (not during the conference). You have the opportunity to be part of this on July 17.

This past winter, members of the APTC started kicking around the idea of putting together a set of webinars to offer training and instructional opportunities for the SHA during the year between the conferences. These would supplement the annual conference workshops, which will remain unchanged.

Image courtesy of David Roethler

Webinars (a portmanteau of “web” and “seminars”) are on-line sessions where attendees can interact (audio at least, also video if people have cameras in their computers) and, depending on the software involved, view the moderator’s desktop together. Webinars are increasingly common in business and other fields, and they allow  people scattered across the globe to meet to discuss business, undergo training, or just catch up, all at minimal cost.

The APTC would like to see members of the SHA interested in hosting or attending such web-based training sessions step forward with ideas for webinars. These could range from technical material like database management, curation techniques, or remote sensing applications to theoretical, topical, or regional topics. Professional development topics such as job hunting or transforming your dissertation into a book (thanks, Myriam Arcangeli [@Terrailles]) would also work. The field is very wide open.

Some Things to Consider

One of the benefits of this medium is the low cost. In its initial stages, we would run the webinars through systems such as Google Hangout (with up to 10 seats) or Blackboard Collaborate (for more). With no room to rent, no travel to subsidize, and only the host’s fees (if there are any) to defray, we envision these to be among the most cost-effective development tools available.

There are, of course, a few obstacles. Depending on your preferred method of content delivery (audio only, audio and video, chat), you place different data and computing demands on participants. If an attendee is on a dial-up connection, they may not be able to stream video. Also, some of the webinar delivery systems require downloaded content that, while not usually excessively resource-hungry, may require some lead time for users to get approved and installed (I’m looking at you, Department of Defense archaeologists).

Webinars and the Student Member

As webinars let people log in from wherever they can get internet coverage, they do not require the travel funding that can be a big impediment to attendance. This is particularly true for college students. We are particularly interested to get feedback from students about what kinds of webinars they would be interested in attending.

The scheduling flexibilities of webinars will allow us to focus on applying for graduate schools, preparing for conferences, and other topics that would be more useful earlier in the year than the conference allows. The APTC will be working with the Student Subcommittee of the APTC to develop student-oriented opportunities.

Getting the Ball Rolling

If you have an idea about a topic, you can e-mail me at, tweet me (@cgdrexler), or stick an idea in the comments section.

If you’d like to host a webinar at some point in the future, send me a note and I’ll get you an invite to our first webinar on July 17, from 2-3 pm (Eastern). This inaugural webinar will focus on… webinars! We’ll focus on topic ideas, get some background on content development, and discuss the use of the technology. Drop me a line if you want to participate!


Amber Graft-Weiss and Terry Brock contributed to a lively Twitter discussion on this topic that helped develop and refine where we would like the webinars to focus. Shelley Keith, of Southern Arkansas University, advised on materials related to webinar content development.