Thursday, April 24, 2014

Museum Studies Internships at UAB

In the fall of 2013, the Anthropology department at the University of Alabama Birmingham added a Museum Studies course to its curriculum. The Museum Studies course introduced graduate and undergraduate students to Museum history, philosophy, and function. Students gained practical experience with the UAB Josselyn Archaeological Collection. In working with the collection, students were instructed in the proper techniques for object handling, storage, object processing, and record keeping and maintenance. The class afforded students experience for their resumes while fulfilling departmental goals of curating the UAB Josselyn Collection. 

The success of the class and the need to continue the inventory of the collection opened up internship opportunities for two students during the Spring 2014 semester. Based on their outstanding work in the Museum Studies course, undergraduate students Jessica Brodt and Anna Lathem were chosen for the internship.
During the Spring 2014 internship Anna and Jessica completed a total of 25 drawers full of artifacts including stone tools, pottery, historic glass, soil samples and botanical remains. The internship afforded them opportunities to work with a wider range of artifacts, to discover and solve several curation problems, and to develop long-term procedures for working with the collection. Anna, for example, developed and implemented records curation procedures as part of her Honor's Thesis. Her research highlights the necessity for records curation in the collection and provides procedures outlining how records should be processed in the future. Her thesis addressed records management issues, including inconsistencies between records and site names, linking UAB records to the Alabama State Site Files, and development of an inventory of Site Records.

Both students gained an appreciation for the size of the collection and the amount of work it will take to complete the inventory. Jessica stated “I was shocked at how many artifacts and sites the Josselyn Collection contains", and Anna explained that, "During the internship I gained a better understanding of just how much work is needed to accession and complete the inventory of the Josselyn collection."
The Josselyn interns gained crucial hands-on experience that museums and institutions with collections value in potential employees. As work continues with the collection through the Museum Studies class and internships, opportunities to learn and gain hands on experience with other Museum aspects, such as exhibit design and community involvement will become available.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Kiksuya First Nations Student Organization at NKU

 The Kiksuya First Nations Student Organization at NKU has a google+ page. You can follow their activities here or if you are an NKU student, at Orgsync. The Kiksuya Student Organization/First Nations serves the Pine Ridge and Cheyenne River Indian Reservations in South Dakota. Members work to raise awareness in our local communities about issues facing Native American people. They raise funds to support self-help projects on the reservations, providing building supplies, propane, books, bedding, and other items, as needed. The organization also trains selected representatives who will periodically travel to do volunteer work on the reservations, including housing repair and construction, organic gardening, and/or work with children and youth. KSO is committed to support the health and well-being of its members, stressing healthy choices in the way we eat, live, work, play and interact with each other and with the communities Kiksuya serves. Kiksuya respects core Lakota values including humility, compassion, generosity, and perseverance, and we strive to practice these values in our lives and work.

Kiksuya is looking for volunteers for their summer 2014 work. Contact Dr. Nicole Grant ( if you have questions. 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Fiji NSF REU 2013!

Dr. Jones returned to Fiji for the Research Experiences for Undergraduates fieldschool with a new group of students earlier this summer. Students, Catrina Callahan, Lauren Bridgeman, Kelly Ledford, Shelby Mullins, Kaitlyn Reed, Alea Rouse, Yoonhee Ryder, Phil Pearson, and Jerred Schafer learned and applied archaeological skills in during this six week field school.

Dr. Jones along with field assistant Christel Carlisle, instructed students in archaeological methodology allowing them first hand experience in archaeological research.

Through this experience the students were allowed first hand knowledge of the many facets of field work. They were taught archaeological techniques such as, excavation, surveying, mapping in the field.There were also lessons in professional ethics in archaeology. Following the close of the excavation site, students learned about artifact maintenance at the Fiji Museum and in the laboratory.

                             Alea Rouse digging.


 Jerred Schafer screening.

Kelly Ledford mapping.

A major feature of the field school was that the students had to live and work together in a rustic environment.

At the end of the field school all of the students had experienced the many aspects of archaeological field work and returned to the U.S. to apply the lab skills to cataloging the Fijian artifacts. For more information about the Fiji NSF REU Fieldschool contact Sharyn Jones.

Friday, April 5, 2013

UAB Attends the SAS

This past March, members of the UAB Department of Anthropology travelled to Johnson City, Tennessee, attended the Southern Anthropological Society (SAS) annual conference.

The department was well represented with six graduate students presenting papers, including Brian Nichols, Sherrie Alexander, Ashley Wilson, Christel Carlisle, Brandon Grisaffi, and Daniel Lowery. Dr. Sharyn Jones (Chair) and Mallory Messersmith (Adjunct Instructor) also presented. Undergraduate Miriam Hood attended the conference as well. Miriam is a math major, but working on her minor in anthropology.

From left to right: Jonathan Daniel Lowery, Miriam Hood, Christel Carlisle, Brandon Grisaffi, Mallery Messersmith, Sherrie Alexander, Brian Nichols, and Ashley Wilson.

The topics presented were broad and ranged from biological to cultural anthropology, and certainly reflected the diversity of interests within our department, not to mention the field of anthropology!
  • Dr. Sharyn Jones: “Feasting and Ritual in Fiji.”
  • Christel Carlisle: “Archaeology after the field: Assessment of the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Collection.”
  • Brian Nichols: “The Potential for Functional Analysis of the Josselyn and Analogous Collections.”
  • Ashley Wilson: “Afflictions of Tradition: Perspectives on traditional African American foodways in relation to health problems in contemporary African American communities."
  • Sherrie Alexander: “Ethnoprimatology of the Barbary Macaque: Cultural Perceptions of Endangered Macaca sylvanus in the Rif Mountains of Morocco."
  • Jonathan Daniel Lowrey: “Priests and Players: A Cross-Cultural Survey of Astragalus Dice Utilization."
  • Brandon Grisaffi: “Experimental Production of Nothing: Understanding the Lack of Bone Modifications in the Archaeological Record.”
  • Mallory Messersmith: "Beyond Idealism: Teaching Anthropological Peace Studies."
The following students were awarded ANTHRO-TEACH scholarships to cover the costs of travel and attendance: Brian Nichols, Sherrie Alexander, Ashley Wilson, Christel Carlisle, Brandon Grisaffi, and Daniel Lowery.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

March 26, 7 PM 


The House I Live In

The UAB Department of Anthropology and the Jemison Visiting Professorship in the Humanities invite you to attend a screening and presentation of The House I Live In by director Eugene Jarecki.

Screenshot from The House I Live In

Directed by Eugene Jarecki, this film is a sobering look at America's war on drugs and its effects on our culture. It examines America's longest war as it is driven by political and economic corruption, and affects our country's minority and poorer populations.

Follow the LINK to read award winning filmmaker Eugene Jarecki's bio.

Location: The Hulsey Recital Hall @ 950 13th Street S Birmingham, AL 35233.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Michael Franti

Presented and Sponsored the the UAB Anthropology Department and the Jemison Visiting Professorship in the Humanities-

Join us at 7:30 PM at the Alys Stephens Center, Jemison Concert Hall for a performance and lecture by MICHAEL FRANTI. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Alridge Gardens Whispers from the Past 2012

Some of the many artifacts on display at the event

Aldrige Botanical Gardens hosted the third annual Native American festival, Whispers from the Past, on October 6th this year. Students and faculty from UAB ANTHRO-TEACH were excited to participate and help educate about our Native American Culture.

The festival includes a variety of activites such as flintknapping demonstrations, dance preformances by the The Sylestine Legacy, and many activities for childen such as leaf pounding and loom beading.

The Sylestine Legacy is a family of Alabama Coushatta Native Americans 


Hoop Dancing preformed by Lyndon Alec

The Three Sisters Garden was filled with squash, maize, and beans. These vegetables were a staple in many Native American gardens. You can learn more about the folklore behind the three sisters here!

Children learning Cherokee leaf pounding

UAB is home to one of the most diverse collections of Native American artifacts. The Josselyn Archaeological Collection contains artifacts, such as pottery, arrowheads, stone tools, and many other unique treasures, all of which were found in Alabama! UAB students and staff are currently working to create a digital catalog of the collection, helping to promote education and assure preservation. 

  UAB graduate students, Mallory and Brandon, explaining the difference between projectile points

    Collection of traditional Native American musical instruments

In addition to having artifacts from Alabama, UAB also houses some from South America and Louisiana. 

Above are artifacts that were found at Poverty Point. This site, located in Northern Louisiana, is home to some of the most ancient earthworks in the United States. Due to the extremely unique artifacts found there some are simply given the name "Poverty Point Objects". 

Whispers from the Past allows us to get in touch with our Native American culture in fun and interesting ways. ANTHRO-TEACH looks forward to helping again next year!