SHA 2015: Countdown to Seattle!

It’s hard to believe that the conference is only a few days away!

We hope you are all as excited as we are for the 2015 conference in Seattle. Throughout the conference we will be posting session times, updates on sessions, event information, and other fun posts on the SHA Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/SocietyforHistoricalArchaeology) and the SHA twitter account (SHA_Org). We will be using the hashtag #SHA2015 so follow the conference on Facebook and twitter!

Currently Projected Weather

As we all know weather is very unpredictable especially in the city, but current projections for the week of the conference are upper 40sF / 7C to low 50sF / 12C for highs and low 40sF / 4C for lows and since the conference is in Seattle there is a chance of rain every day, especially Thursday and Friday.

Let’s hope the winter storm system moving across the eastern half of the US ends this weekend, making for a smooth week of travel for the conference!

Getting to the Conference Hotel from the airport reminders

Preferred Airport Transportation Provider — Shuttle Express is the SHA’s preferred airport transportation provider. They will provide SHA Conference attendees a discounted rate of $25 per person round trip between Sea Tac Airport and the Sheraton Seattle Hotel (Retail rate for this service is $36 per person round trip).

The easiest and cheapest way to get to the hotel from the airport is to take the Central Link Light Rail. The service runs from 5am to 1am Monday through Saturday and 6am to Midnight on Sundays. The trip from the airport to downtown (below Westlake Mall at 4th and Pine; 2 blocks away from the hotel) will take approximately 37 minutes and cost $2.75 each way. The trains run every 7.5 to 15 minutes depending upon what time of day. http://www.soundtransit.org/schedules/central-link-light-rail

To make your reservation, call Shuttle Express at 425-981-7000 and tell them you are with the Society for Historical Archaeology to receive the discount or you can book online at: http://shuttleexpress.hudsonltd.net/res?USERIDENTRY=SHA&LOGON=GO

If you prefer a taxi service the trip can cost $40-$50, with some hotel to the airport services for $40 and may take 25-30 minutes without traffic.

For travel around the city, the “Metro” public bus system operates throughout Seattle and King County, and is one of the most extensive and highly-praised in the nation. To find a route, maps, and fare information visit Metro online at www.metro.kingcounty.gov

Seattle Neighborhoods

In case you find yourself with some time on your hands and wish to strike out on your own beyond downtown area and explore one or more of the city’s other great neighborhoods (Seattle is definitely a city of neighborhoods, each with
their own unique personality) we wanted to share this guide to help you choose your adventure. Each of these communities is only a short commute from the conference hotel. http://www.seattle.gov/TOUR/neighborhoods.htm

Historical Archaeology in a Changed Climate

The effects of a changed global climate are proving to be the largest and most daunting challenge facing the Earth’s inhabitants. Rapidly melting Arctic ice, the increased ferocity of ever more frequent storms, coastal flooding, vanishing islands, thousands of stranded walruses, and intensifying conflict over limited resources are all disruptive signs that we need to reconsider and even remake how we live on this planet. But our engagement, politics, and diplomacy are not producing the required outcomes as shown by a growing list of failed international climate agreements, foot dragging governments and industries, and less-than-effective pubic actions.

Nevertheless, there is a growing awareness of the scale of the crisis and broad scientific consensus that humans have been instrumental in bringing on these changes. Academic societies like Geological Society of America others have begun to use Paul J. Crutzen and Eugene F. Stoermer’s term, the Anthropocene, to describe this new age of Earth’s history in which human kind has become akin to a geological force in shaping the Earth’s climate. Whereas other climatological epochs were shaped by volcanic activity, tectonics, meteorites, and other non-human forces, the Anthropocene was brought on by the actions of people. Scholars like Paul Dukes and Dipesh Chakrabarty date the age as beginning sometime in the mid-eighteenth century, whereas William Ruddiman sets the start with the development of agriculture, but in any event,but in any event, we have left the Holocene whose conditions shaped life for nearly 12,000 years and are now somewhere new. The idea of the Anthropocene moves the discussion away from climate change as something in the future and makes it instead the epoch we now inhabit. Environmental damage can be slowed, but damage done cannot be undone—we now live in a climatological reality very different from what we as a species faced only a few short centuries ago. This means that we have to rethink much of how we live on our planet.

As the scale of our new reality slowly dawns on a denial-prone population more and more fields of endeavor are asking what they can do to address and manage changes as significant as the ones before us? A few academic societies have formed task forces designed to ask what a given discipline has to say about our changed climate, how must it practice differently in light of change and to be of use in a changed reality? Given historical archaeology’s natural interests in landscape, preservation, cultural resource management, and sustainability, and the unique challenges the field faces, the time is right for a historical-archaeology-specific discussion about what a changed climate means for archaeology and archaeologists.

Toward that end, SHA 2015 will have the first face-to-face meeting of an interest group dedicated to dealing with the many field-related issues emerging from a changed climate. The group will meet in the Madrona Room from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, January 10. Other similar interest groups and task forces have crafted white papers, outlined best practices, and sought out new avenues for scholarly inquiry—our meeting will help define how we best see our role and activity while hopefully starting a wider conversation about the role of archaeology in the Anthropocene. Please feel free to contact me or email me at plevy@usf.edu with your ideas and let me know if you are interested in participating in this discussion. See you in Seattle.

SHA 2015 Seattle: Food and Drink Blog

Besides plenty of stimulating intellectual discourse, what do archaeologists need to make their conference experience complete? Why good food and drink of course (perhaps not in that order)! Luckily there could hardly be a more convenient location than downtown
Seattle to put some of the best there is from coffee to cocktails and accompanying nosh right within walking distance. There are tens if not hundreds of options in the general vicinity and while there are many a solid chain, we thought we’d let you know about some unique-to-Seattle options for a more authentic experience of the city.

Breakfast/Coffee

The Sheraton is located just blocks from the famed and historic Pike Place Market, so head in that direction at breakfast or lunchtime and you’ll be sure to find something to suit your tastes. That said, it can be quite the busy spot for obvious reasons (like it’s nearly the top tourist attraction in the city) so don’t be surprised by crowds or lines. January being the off-season though, things should be calm enough to enjoy wandering about and you should actually be able to get food in a timely manner.

Ok, so Starbucks is ubiquitous pretty much everywhere, but nowhere more so than here in its hometown. If you want a “unique” Starbucks experience, Pike Place is home to the mega chain’s original location.

For a non-Starbucks coffee experience at Pike Place, try Seattle Coffee Works.

Monorail Espresso, closer to the Sheraton near the corner of Pike and 5th is a walk-up window serving up what’s raved about as some of the best in the city. Cash only.

Café ABoDegas on 6th between Union and University has freshly made breakfast sandwiches and pastries. Lunch too.

Lunch

Back at Pike Place, there is just about every type of cuisine to choose from come lunchtime.

To take advantage of the readily available fruits of the sea, try Pike Place Chowder. The lines is usually among the longest here, but join the other tourists, their offerings live up to the hype.

Beechers Handmade Cheese offers soups sandwiches and their famous mac and cheese along with a huge selection of, surprise, artisnal cheeses. You can even watch it being made right on site.

Back up near the Sheraton, Umma’s Lunchbox is a much raved about Korean buffet inside the Rainier Square shopping mall located below the iconic Rainier Tower.

Drinks/Dinner

For a pint at the end of the day, the Tap House Grill on 6th between Pike and Pine has 160 beers on tap, good place to sample some of the craft brew the Northwest is renowned for.

For really outstanding cocktails, venture to the other side of Pike Place. Tucked away facing onto the Harbor Steps leading down to the waterfront is the Zig Zag Café. Lots of ambiance and excellent food too.

For that special dinner made up of unabated views of Elliott Bay and the Olympic Mountains (on a clear day, fingers crossed) and all the kinds of Northwest seafood including more types of oysters than you perhaps knew existed, venture down to the waterfront to Elliott’s Oyster House.

Coming up, we’ll provide you with more info/recommendations if you’re interested in striking out further afield in the city during your stay.