Workshop Series

Workshop Series in Master of Arts in Public Archaeology (MAPA)

MAPA offers six different workshops every academic year – all of which are free for MAPA students. Workshops provide hands-on learning and the acquisition of critical skill sets that are rarely taught in the classroom.

  • Oral History for Archaeologists
    Oral history has become important method of data collection for archaeologists, as well as a tool for engaging and collaborating with communities during the archaeological process. Oral histories are important for us for several reasons: they provide local knowledge, perspectives, and insight into the past; they provide a mechanism for sharing knowledge production; and they push us to think critically about our own interpretations, to name a few. However, adequate training to conduct oral historical research is not often part of our archaeological toolkit. It can be easy to forget that oral history is actually a field of research unto itself, with rich methodologies, theories, and analysis. Further, when we conduct oral histories, there are important methodological and ethical considerations that we need to take into account as we plan and undertake our research with community members.
  • Archaeological Maps: From fieldwork to publication
    This workshop is designed to show participants how to map surface features with a sub-meter accuracy GPS unit, edit the data using a GIS program (ArcGIS or QGIS), and prepare the maps for publication using a graphics editing program (such as Adobe illustrator, or Graphic). In many parts of the country, contract archaeologists are expected to produce dozens of high-quality field maps like these during archaeological survey fieldwork and reporting. Producing accurate and easy to interpret plan maps is also an important skill for academic archaeologists who work with settlement patterns, site layouts, and architecture. Participants will gain an understanding of how to 1) set precision and accuracy with GPS units; 2) determine best practices for identifying, interpreting, and mapping features as points, lines, and polygons; 3) how to transfer GIS data between different hardware (GPS to either Apple or PC computers); 4) how to choose map symbology; and, 5) ensure that image quality remains high enough for publication.
  • Research Development within Archaeology

    Whether from governmental sources or private contracts, funding is crucial for conducting archaeological research. This is especially important in non-academic settings (i.e. contract archaeology and museums) where institutions are completely reliant on receiving funding. In a recent survey of public history employers, fundraising was listed as one of the essential skills sought in potential employees.

    This workshop will present strategies for identifying funding opportunities and developing proposals in Anthropology/Archaeology. We will discuss different types of funding as well as how to apply to different funding agencies, such as the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), or the National Park Service (NPS). We will also highlight specific programs, such as the NSF GRFP and Dissertation Improvement Grant.

    Grant or contract proposal writing follows a specific style. Proposal writing needs to be succinct and simple while also engaging. We will present tips on how to organize and write your proposal to highlight your research goals and engage reviewers. Based on reviewer's perspectives and science communication techniques, these strategies will help you make the best pitch for your research.

    We will also discuss the role of broader impacts or outreach programs in relation to funding. Agencies are requiring more evidence for societal impacts from funded research. NSF leads much of this discussion, but other agencies, such as the NPS also promote outreach. We will discuss what funding agencies are looking for in an outreach program and how to best design your outreach to help your research project.

  • Artifact Photography and Morphometrics
    The topic of this workshop will be the acquiring high-quality digital images of artifacts and using those photos to analyze object morphology using Digital Geometric Morphometric techniques. Archaeologists can use morphometrics to identify patterns in their collections of categorically similar artifacts. Similarity in shape has always been an aspect of artifact analysis and the use of morphometric software can help quickly, efficiently, and objectively analyze more minute details of artifacts. Attendees will learn how to use tpsDIG, PAST, and R Statistics to take digital pictures of archaeological samples, gather their two-dimensional outlines, and compare them with each other. Attendees will also learn how to use Microsoft Excel, or an alternative program that can read and edit .csv files, to curate and associate all appropriate information for each individual outline to use in later analysis. Attendees will be provided sample pictures to use during the demonstration, as well as links to download all of the appropriate software. In the workshop attendees will be taken through the steps of producing two-dimensional outlines of artifacts in tpsDIG, converting those outlines to x/y coordinates in a .csv file, and then processing the outlines as coordinates in R. As a result of this workshop attendees will be able to produce images of outlines stacked on top of one another as well as charts and graphs that will highlight the similarity/dissimilarity of the two-dimensional shapes. These techniques that attendees will learn will add another layer of detail to their archaeological collections that will help inform future directions of research.
  • Virtual Anthropology for Archaeologists

    As part of their research, virtual anthropologists create a computerized proxy of a specific object and derived accurate measurements from it. In virtual archaeology, researchers can use these methods to create virtual constructs capable of representing everything from entire site to individual artifacts. The benefit of this is measurements can be taken on specimens which are normally too fragile to be handled for prolonged periods of time. Researchers can instantaneously transport materials across the world without fear of artifacts disappearing or breaking in transit. Virtual constructs take up no actual space, so it is also possible to create and share entire databases of artifacts and measurements without risking harm to the physical objects themselves.

    Students in this workshop will learn how to apply concepts and technologies of virtual anthropology, specifically in how to create, edit, and accurately measure objects in virtual space. The methodology taught here will consist of methods in 3D laser scanning and photogrammetry. Students will learn how to use a NextEngine 3D laser scanner to create and edit virtual objects using scan studio software, and how to export these files to analytical software such as Mesh Lab, or as 3D printable files. Students will also learn how to create a photogrammetric model using a Foldio360 studio and associated software. Students will be taught the basics of virtual editing and analytical programs such as 3DF Zephyr. Both Mesh Lab and 3DF Zephyr, as well as the Foldio360 studio software are available as freeware, making these methods cost effective towards use in projects and future research.

  • Aerial Photography for Archaeologists using Drones
    Small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or "drones" offer archaeologists new tools for documenting landscapes, archaeological features and historic structures. Using integrated cameras to systematically take photos over an area of interest creates data that can be processed and turned into plan maps, topography, and 3D models. Relatively low-cost and able to cover hundreds acres in a single flight while also producing very high resolution images, UAVs are becoming standard tools for cultural resource management and archaeological research. In this 3- part workshop, we will introduce participants to the potential that UAVs have for routine archaeological documentation. We will introduce the basics of UAV and flight planning and will also provide information as to how one can get certified as drone pilots under FAA and state rules. (Anyone who flies as part of a business or job needs to be licensed.) The workshop will be taught in three parts, each 3-4 hours long. The first part will take place in a classroom, and the second will be "hands-on" and outdoors to give the participants actual experience in flying. The third part will consist of a data processing session where one will learn the steps required to turn imagery into maps and other kinds of useful products.