Wednesday, April 13, 2011

UAB Fiji 2009 videos at APT Plus

What do you get when you combine archaeological research with public television treatment?

You get a wonderful educational resource that brings cultures from around the world right into the classroom. Alabama Public Television has teamed up with the researchers from the 2009-2010 UAB-NSF field school to provide online video reports about Fijian Culture and Archaeology. So far eight short videos, produced by Craig Highburger, have been released, covering the research from the 2009 field school. These films are located on the APT Plus website, an online multimedia resource for teachers and students that offers videos and images, as well as other teaching aids. The APT Plus digital library affords teachers with videos of local historical and cultural subjects as well as scientific, environmental and global studies. The work that the UAB-NSF researchers and APT Plus has produces introduces students to Fijian culture as well as the methods and purpose of archaeology.

The first video titled, What Do Fijians Eat, was scripted by Anna McCowan. This video discusses the diverse diet of the Fijians and the various ways Fijians have for accessing food from their environment. The video explains the division of labor between men and women in association with food. The order in which Fijians eat, how they eat and other cultural practices are also addressed in the film. Lastly, the film explains how archaeology can be used to examine historical remains that provide clues about past the past food ways of Fijians.

The second film, Fijian Song & Dance, is presented by Dr. Sharyn Jones. She discusses the reasons for certain Fijian dances or Mekes as well as who performs what dance. The video shows the difference between the dances done by women and those done by men or boys. Sharyn explains that music and dance are important ways of communication and celebration for Fijians.

Films three and four explore the archaeological excavations at Na Masi Masi and Wai Turu Turu. In the film Na Masi Masi, Mallory Messersmith explains many of the methods of archaeological excavation, revealing how proper field techniques can provide archaeologists with artifacts from the past. She describes some of the artifacts found at the Na Masi Masi site and what those artifacts indicate about the past. The video Wai Turu Turu, features Anna McCowan as she discusses the archaeological dig at the Wai Turu Turu cave site. Sharyn Jones relates the oral history of the caves use as a fort by early Fijians. Both films are excellent sources for how archaeology can be used to understand past cultures.

Megan Sunderman Noojin introduces the subject of shells in the Fijian Seashells film. Megan explains the importance of identifying different types of shells to understand biodiversity. She also explains that seashells from the past can help show how climate has changed over time. The shells can also provide evidence for how Fijians used them for perhaps eating, tool use and jewelry.

The next three videos are presented by Dr. Sharyn Jones. Sharyn discusses the gender division and roles in the Fijian Gender Roles film. She explains the interest and humor that Fijians had about how the female UAB students were willing to work hard and get dirty digging up objects of the past. In the Liku Tour film Sharyn describes the tiny village of Liku on the far side of the island Nayau. She describes life in the village. The final video, Masi Fabric, Sharyn describe the masi making process and its importance to Fijian women. Fijian women work very hard making and decorating the masi. In the past it was traditionally used for clothing. The making of masi is a way to keep traditional way alive as well as strengthen the bonds between the women as they work side by side.

Please visit the website and view these videos, they do not take long to watch and are extremely entertaining. Makes one wish they were in Fiji!

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