Monday, February 27, 2012

TV Shows Encouraging Destruction of Cultural Heritage

Dear friends,
I wanted to bring to your attention two television shows that are very disturbing to those of us who care about preserving our cultural heritage.  The first, set to air on Spike TV, is called American Diggers, and the second, on (of all places) National Geographic.  American Diggers, in particular, promotes digging up artifacts without regard for context and selling them for a profit.  The show may also mislead people - although the artifacts on the show were removed from private property, remember that removing any artifact from federal land is a crime.

A good summary of the problem from my friend Holly:
"This show promotes mining the past for personal monetary gain. The artifacts only tell part of the story- where they are found, soil staining, soil chemistry, associated artifacts, pollen, seeds, etc etc can give us an entire picture of what exactly was happening at that place in that time that led to that item being there. That knowledge is gone once the site is destroyed. Even for historic items- the poor, the children, the young, they are not in the texts from the time. Their stories are preserved in the sites left by them. Archaeologists are trained to "hear" those stories by exavating properly, knowing what samples to take, and what to look for in the dirt itself. This show promotes destruction of all of that"

Please consider signing the following petitions:

If you want to find out what archaeologists actually do, check out this article!

All the best,

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Bison Procurement - Monday March 5th

The next OAS talk will be Monday March 5, at 7PM at Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History

Bison Procurement: The Bison Jump Systems of the Northwestern Plains by K.C. Carlson, M.A.

People of the Northwestern Plains pioneered a set of communal bison hunting strategies that required inter-band cooperation, topographic understanding, and a sophisticated knowledge of animal behavior. A bison jump is a communal hunting method employed by prehistoric hunters that involves running the lead animals in a stampeding bison herd off a cliff. Through the use of GIS analysis the complex system of bison jumps and cairn marked drive lanes can be seen from a new perspective giving us insight into the realm of prehistoric bison hunters on the Northwestern Plains.