Yesterday, I had a the great pleasure of sharing the radiocarbon dating activity that I developed last year as a Michigan Communication Fellow at the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History with several students from the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa from the Petoskey area. In this activity, I walk students through hypothesis formation, relative dating, and absolute dating via AMS. I try to bring examples of artifacts that students can easily identify and I always bring a slide show with some of my best field photos.
This week, I had the great pleasure of visiting Ohio State for the first time. (To all those Michigan fans, no, I am not speaking sarcastically.) I got to meet a very friendly community of researchers engaged in inspiring and dynamic projects at both the Byrd Center and the Anthropology department. I also shared my dissertation research at both venues and got great feedback from many generous attendees (and you can watch the video from the Byrd Center from the comfort of your own home!). The best part about sharing your research with new people is getting questions that you may never have considered. This was definitely the case for me this week, and the questions and ideas that were shared with me has led me to think about my next steps in research and service a little differently.
This summer, we recovered three copper artifacts from the Klein Site, including a beautiful copper awl recovered in situ by the meticulous Emma Creamer. Copper is associated with the Athabascan transition and I was very excited to have evidence of copper use at the Klein Site. When we returned to Fairbanks for supplies and showers every weekend, I would delight at letting locals know about our copper artifacts and show off photos. Almost all had the same response: people used to make and use copper tools here? Where did it come from? How old is it?
As an Alaskan myself, I can relate to these questions. When we learn about Alaska's history, it's often divided into the peopling of Beringia and the New World, and the history of European colonization and mining, with little attention given to the people in Alaska between these two periods.
Bree is an Alaskan Anthropologist pursuing her PhD at the University of Michigan.