well This past weekend, the annual meetings of the Society of American Archaeology provided an example of the #MeToo movement playing out in real time, in real space. Already, a session was set to share anonymous stories of #MeToo in archaeology (co-organized by one of my dear colleagues, Chelsea Fisher). In addition to that hot moment, several others unfolded over the course of the conference weekend that challenged many scholars, particularly those in my Alaskan circle, to reflect on ways they had fostered or ignored problematic behavior in their careers.
When many hear #MeToo, it triggers suspicion among many, particularly those in the sciences. Well, you might think, I have been in the field for dozens of years and everyone has always felt safe at my field sites. We've never had any problems, you say to yourself. And yet, the data suggest that over half of all women are sexually harassed at their field school, and not a small proportion of men too. So, is it only happening at the other guy's field site?
This week, the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History reopened inside the Biological Sciences Building across the way from the old Ruthven Museum and Alaska's history was on display! Senna Catenacci's hard work in the lab over the past year culminated in a poster she presented at the SAAs (see below) and a small exhibit focusing on finds from the Delta Creek Site associated with tool production.
The exhibit, entitled "Stone Cold Science" features formal tools and production debris from Delta Creek's early Holocene component. Senna walks the viewer through artifacts that I excavated along with a team of CEMML researchers last summer. It was so amazing to see the hard work of so many, especially Senna, on display in this beautiful new space!
You may have heard about the scuttlebutt at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, in which the archaeological community found itself embroiled in the #metoo movement in a very public way. The jury is still out on how the organization will move on from this incident. I hope that they set policies that will satisfy all participants and guide other similar organizations that still have yet to reform their membership and sexual harassment policies.
Aside from these incidents, which were decidedly too close to home for a young woman in Alaskan archaeology, I had a pretty great time catching up with old colleagues, meeting new ones, and eating a series of amazing burritos smothered in green chilis (see right). However, one thing that I had been looking forward to for months was certainly watching Senna Catenacci present her first conference poster.
Senna and I have been working together in lab for nearly two years. This year, Senna put together a poster not for the undergraduate research symposium, but for the big leagues: the national conference. Our co-authored poster compares two archaeological components from the Delta Creek Site that have been radiocarbon dated to the terminal Pleistocene and early Holocene. These components are significant because they show what Alaska's early residents did during a big cold snap: the Younger Dryas, a brief return to the ice age at the end of the Pleistocene.
Bree is an Alaskan Archaeologist and Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Wyoming.