Unessay Project Overview

For my Unessay project, my goal was to expose the meaning of the Rising Sun flag while comparing it to the Nazi Swastika flag. I was interested in this topic because as South Korean, I grew up learning about the remnants of Japanese colonial period that still remains in South Korea. Also, as one of handful of Asian students who went to a private Jewish High School, comparing Nazi flag and the Rising sun flag was something that naturally provoked me a lot. The dichotomy of the two flags, how one flag is considered as a taboo and other one is merely as a ‘cool’ design, always made me feel frustrated. One thing that I wanted to gain a clear perspective on was about how German and Japan is remembering and repenting their war victims and war crimes.

Throughout my research, I learned that how each country reacted to their past is polar opposite of each other. Compared to Japan, Germany’s sincere action of penance and apology was able to show what a leader of nation can do to make up for the past mistakes their predecessors have made. For Japan, even though the action of penance and apology was all that the victims have asked for, but they have never delivered that long-overdue apology. Instead, Prime ministers of Japan have been attending the memorial service at the Yasukuni shrine on the 15th of August every year to pay respect to their war criminals and war veterans, whose remains are buried with the victims they have killed themselves during the colonial period.  

As I chose the PowerPoint presentation format as a mean to deliver my Unessay project, I mainly used the photos from the WW II era and post-war era to depict the similarities that the Germany and Japan shared and how the ideas behind the flags are almost synonym for one another. For example, I thought that this photo clearly depicts the connection between the Imperialism and Nazism during the war

One main thing that I am taking away from this project is about how Japanese government is reacting to the international criticism of their denial of war crime and history. As I mentioned in my presentation, Japanese government is still trying to erase significant portions of World War history and their exploitation of colonial victims from their textbook, while denying their crimson history. I think that we learn history to learn from our own mistakes. We learn history to not repeat the nightmares that many have gone through without a reason. If no one is willing to learn from their mistakes, what future do they have?

Bibliography

Looking Back: Unessay Project Overview

The goal of my Unessay Project: Surveying Among the Stars: Account of an emerging technology, under review, was to examine current literature with a critical lens whilst learning about current developments in the world of Archaeology. The basis of my research was rooted in the book, Archaeology from Space: How the Future Shapes our Past by Sarah Parcak. Parcak’s publication stands as a testimony to the incredible possibilities of the field of space Archaeology.
The culmination of this venture I undertook was a book review blog post.

ARCHAEOLOGY FROM SPACE: HOW THE FUTURE SHAPES OUR PAST, by Sarah Parcak, 2019, Henry Holt and Co., New York, NY, 283 pages, $14.99 (Hardcover), $14.99 (Kindle).

To explain why this for my Unessay project, I will start by saying: I love reading. Through inquiry for book recommendations, one of my awesome professors, a renowned contemporary archaeologist, answered my plea. Parcak’s book was indeed on her list. After searching the title, reading the summary, and conducting preliminary research in the field (findings, its history), I came across mention of  its employment in “espionage”. I was, to say the least: VERY intrigued. For those that did not know me as a child, I was at one point, along with wanting to be a baker and ballerina, wanted to be a Spy (thank you, Mr. Robert Rodriguez). As I am now pursuing nursing – and further understanding the realness of danger that surrounds the field (and my inability to really keep a secret, or to lie), one can safely assume that this occupational prospect is behind me. But, indeed Parcak made me pause and reminisce this time of my life (see Declassified Satellite Imagery-1). Beyond this particular fascination: having always been dazzled by the stars, interested in learning about technological advancements, the concept of mapping, and lastly, research, I was pretty much sold. This book is relevant as it covers contemporary methods that in which not only uncover ancient sites, but also redefine current understandings/assumptions. In doing this project and related research I hoped to gain a better understanding of the current and emerging technological ventures.

In my research I learned about numerous methods employed through the usage of space archaeology. Furthermore, I learned of instances of their application as well as the fruit of those labors. Every piece of the harvest, whether it being the uncovering of walls (Parcak 2019: 54), unearthing of carnelian (59), or new iteration of a past history (60), was poignant. These pieces, resulting from either preliminary Google Earth “traverses”, processing, then reprocessing of satellite data, or from examining satellite databases for local imagery after poring over numerous regional excavation and survey reports (54-55), although intensive, was able to cut down time, energy and resource expenditure, and overall “guesswork”. That being said, it must be noted that these are just a few findings across only a tiny fraction of this work.
In the closing sentence of her introduction she says:

“Perhaps it is a start to understanding what makes us human: our ability to ask how, where, when, why, and who, and creating the tools we need to bring the answers to life, on Earth, looking down from outer space”

(Sarah Parcak 2019:9)

When first reading, I found this statement quite “hopeful”. But from the trove of testaments that in which I was able to read for myself (and hope you would consider reading for yourself), this proposition seems less like idealized speculation, and more like a claim rooted in reason. 

As my Final Unessay Project’s final form was a book review blog post, I approached it through a critical lens, engaging in strategies to develop my critical reading and evaluating skills. As I read this book and came across methods, locations, histories, or peoples that I knew very little to zilch about, I found myself digging deeper than usual into sources. Where I would once stop at a dictionary or a webpage, I looked into textbooks, government-based articles, databases and news sources. I linked a number of them in my blog post along with accompanying images. If your knowledge base was “premature” as mine was, hopefully they will prove useful, and/or interesting to you.

In the end, I took away a deeper, greater, more-informed interest in the emerging field that is space archaeology. I came away with a stronger skill/tool set of critical reading and evaluation strategies, and greater familiarity with archaeological research and writing. Furthermore, in learning of all of the long-employed as well as novel-innovated archaeological methods of archaeologists, I came away with a greater understanding and appreciation of the work, the players, and the implications of the field.

Bibliography

Cherrington, Emil and et al.
Use of public Earth observation data for tracking progress in sustainable management of coastal forest ecosystems in Belize, Central America. Remote Sensing of Environment Elsevier 245(111798) https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rse.2020.111798

Declassified Data – Declassified Satellite Imagery – 1 1960-1972. EROS Archive. USGS, United States.

DiBiase, David
2009 11. Multispectral Imaging from Space. Courseware Module, https://www.e-education.psu.edu/natureofgeoinfo/node/1899

Fitoka, Eleni and et al.
2020 Water-related ecosystems mapping and assessment based on remote sensing  techniques and geospatial analysis: The SWOS national service case of the Greek Ramsar sites and their catchments. Remote Sensing of Environment. Elsevier 245(111795) https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rse.2020.111795

Handwerk, Brian
 2009-2015 “Lost City” of Tanis. National Geographic. Web Page. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/history/archaeology/tanis-egypt/#close

Estrin, James
2011 The Classified Photos, The Art of Surveillance. New York Times. Web Page. https://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/18/in-classified-photos-the-art-of-surveillance/?mtrref=www.google.com&register=facebook

Lem, Pola
2017 Peering through the Sands of Time: Searching for the Origins of Space Archaeology. NASA: Earth Observatory.

Parcak, Sarah
2019 Archaeology from Space: How the Future Shapes Our Past. New York. Henry Holt and Co.

Surveying among the stars: Account of an emerging technology, under review

BOOK REVIEW by Victoria Ann Toribio Tirado

Image of Sarah Parcak's book - Archaeology From Space: How the Future Shapes Our Past.
ARCHAEOLOGY FROM SPACE: HOW THE FUTURE SHAPES OUR PAST, by Sarah Parcak, 2019, Henry Holt and Co., New York, NY, 283 pages, $14.99 (Hardcover), $14.99 (Kindle).

The topic of satellite/space archaeology is – reportedly – a revolutionary, emerging technology and field of study in Contemporary Archaeology. It is of seemingly great relevance today for its potential and recorded uses in the study of earth’s landscape. It is said to have major implications on the study of those that have, are, and will reside upon it.

Sketch of the Landsat 1 satellite – the first ever Earth-observing satellite meant to monitor our planet’s landmasses. (1972)


LAUNCHPAD

According to the author,

“Perhaps it is a start to understanding what makes us human: our ability to ask how, where, when, why, and who, and creating the tools we need to bring the answers to life, on Earth, looking down from outer space.”

(Sarah Parcak 2019:9)

Evaluating this book with a critical lens resting upon the author’s accounts of personal experiences, the field’s methods and the proposed discoveries, Tirado guides the reader through a review of the book’s structural elements: author credibility, literary methods, perspectives and supporting evidence presented, and book organization and elements. This lens takes the form of crosscheck analysis.

THE SOLAR CELL

Sarah Parcak, an Egyptologist by specialty, and professor of archaeology by occupation, works within the realms of what the public may render as being reminiscent of science fiction or spy novel-plots. She is known as a trailblazer in her field and has greatly contributed to the course of its impact thus far. Her reality is comparative to that of Gandalf (see also Gandalf the Gray) in search of answers in the archives of Minas Tirith – intensive and extensive. “Between cutting-edge satellite data and classic fieldwork” she works on her “minimalist lab” (her heavy-duty, “ancient” laptop) to examine findings taken by satellite imagery and other remote sensing tools. Via sometimes satellite and hyper-spectral camera data, she looks for subtle differentiation in landscape, that is – “topography, geology and plant life.” Her work has virtually transported her from her “lab” in Birmingham, Alabama to places such as: Egypt, Romania, Kenya and Newfoundland to name only several. Upon these landscapes, she renders city grids, incredible maps that are astoundingly revealing. Perhaps her most famous uncovering was the city grid of the City of Tanis (see: “Lost City” of Tanis). Uncovering sites other professional excavators have missed, she has shaken the dust, now being called upon to begin and embark upon projects  where she is satellite-mapping entire countries (e.g., a crowd-sourcing project known as GlobalXplorer, Peru). In academia, she has published numerous peer-reviewed scientific papers and has been featured in a number of documentaries and talks across renowned networks such as BBC, PBS and TED.com. She is also a TED Senior Fellow, National Geographic Explorer (2012-present) and founder of the Laboratory of Global Observation at the University of Alabama: Birmingham.

Parcak, Sarah H. . Archaeology from Space (p. 88, 89, 97). Henry Holt and Co.. Kindle Edition

Another book she has published includes Satellite Remote Sensing for Archaeology (2009).

SENSING

Using a Descriptive literary method/style, she brings forth scenes and events that which appeal to our imaginations. She recalls immersive anecdotes of her experiences, such as flying over Egypt the first time, the sometimes groan-provoking experience of computer program crashes whilst conducting remote sensing work; the rush of making new archaeological finds through satellite imaging and remote sensing technologies. In these stories, she relates to the reader (Senatori 2017) and engages the readers’ senses as well as emotions. She situates the field within its past, across the globe, and in its interdisciplinary span of persons and procedures.

ANALYZING

From Chapter 1 to the concluding paragraph of Chapter 12, the author’s pursuit/thesis stands as a success with no small amount of awe and excitement from one of its readers (me). Through a first-person perspective, she touches upon different sides of the “Space Archaeology” debate, addressing it with experiences, procedural breakdowns, an interspersing of visual aids, and no shortage of historical and contemporary references – from Howard Carter (discoverer of King Tut’s Tomb) to Doug Bolender (archaeologist in search of Viking settlements in the landscapes of Iceland). Also notable is that supporting evidence used has been used to explain even her mistakes in discernment. One such case was of Papa Stour where upon analyzing dashed lines on a spectral image, that there was probably nothing more than a modern pipeline. But what came to be was an elite’s Viking structure! This book brings attention the great possibility in further research with potentially increased efficiency and even accuracy (Parcak 2019: 6), presented through cases where technologies of this young field were employed (e.g., Infrared and Color Technology — CORONA Data sets (35-36); NASA — TIROS satellites (36); multispectral scanners — ERTS-1/Landsat-1(37), WorldView-2(92-94), Landsat 7 (236), Quickbird (273)).

SPANNING OUT: Looking at the “Back Matter”

Acknowledgments: Parcak thanks every person, agency and organization that which worked with her and/or contributed to her work. Some of the agencies and she references includes Abrams Artists Agency, Holt, the Ministry of Antiquities in Egypt, the Tuesday Agency, DigitalGlobe, and funding Agencies. For organizations, she address GlobalXplorer, National Geographic, Young Global Leaders, Ministry of Culture, and Sustainable Preservation Initiative. As for people – editors, families, coworkers, her chairmen, her TED Fellow family and team, friends and supporters at home and abroad as well (from Birmingham to India, Peru, United Kingdom, Canada and Newfoundland).
Parcak also includes an area for Photos, a thorough Index, an About the Author section, a Newsletter Sign-Up page and a Copyright notice.
Beyond this, looking at her Notes, there is nothing short of 28 pages of references (hyperlinks also available if you access the Kindle version).

BACK TO HOME BASE

Looking critically at her work from a literary standpoint, her descriptive style and narrative cadence made it easy for a range of readers to access and relate to her work. I did not happen to come across any grammatical errors and would say the editors did a grand job with making sure they didn’t go to print (if any were made in the first place). The organization was also very helpful and reasonably executed – as archaeologists indeed aim to embody in their work.
Bringing this altogether, with its storytelling cadence and fortification of numerous references, this book packs quite the awesome punch. Her presentation of findings and supporting evidence, covering personal and verifiable experiences of challenge and practical problem solving, rounds out to a very cool read – a tour de force and showcase that there is so much to see, to learn and understand on the horizon – that which could perhaps begin with looking down from outer space. In a perhaps poignant way, in her book she speaks of a takeaway after attending the first international conference on satellite archaeology in Beijing, China:

My extraordinary colleagues at the conference had opened my eyes to a broader archaeological world – one of collaboration, encouragement, and cheering on, and they showed me that there’s a big planet to map and plenty of discoveries to go around.

Sarah Parcak, 2019: 41

For more of Sarah Parcak’s work:
GlobalXplorer | Satellite Remote Sensing for Archaeology (2009)
PBS NOVA Special: Vikings Unearthed
BBC Documentary: Rome’s Lost Empire
TED 2012, 2016, 2017

REFERENCES AND RELATED READING

BIOS N.d. “Howard Carter.” History website. Accessed [June 11, 2020]. https://bit.ly/37pog6W

Cherrington, Emil and et al.
Use of public Earth observation data for tracking progress in sustainable management of coastal forest ecosystems in Belize, Central America. Remote Sensing of Environment Elsevier 245(111798) https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rse.2020.111798

Crawford, Barbara and Ballin-Smith, Beverley
1978 A Progress Report of the First Season’s Excavation at “Da Biggins,” Papa Stour, Shetland Edinburgh, Scottish Society for Northern Studies. Google Book.

Declassified Data – Declassified Satellite Imagery – 1 1960-1972. EROS Archive. USGS, United States. Web Page. https://on.doi.gov/3hpEfqf

DiBiase, David
2009 11. Multispectral Imaging from Space. Courseware Module, https://bit.ly/30zhwCe

Fitoka, Eleni and et al.
2020 Water-related ecosystems mapping and assessment based on remote sensing techniques and geospatial analysis: The SWOS national service case of the Greek Ramsar sites and their catchments. Remote Sensing of Environment. Elsevier 245(111795) https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rse.2020.111795

Handwerk, Brian
 2009-2015 “Lost City” of Tanis. National Geographic. Web Article. https://on.natgeo.com/2AAzbij

Estrin, James
2011 The Classified Photos, The Art of Surveillance. New York Times. Web Article. https://nyti.ms/2Yvylvc

Masek, Jeffrey and Taylor, Michael.
N.d. Landsat 1, Landsat Science. NASA. Web Page. https://go.nasa.gov/2YxlKHN

Lem, Pola
2017 Peering through the Sands of Time: Searching for the Origins of Space Archaeology. NASA: Earth Observatory. https://go.nasa.gov/3dZfkYz

Parcak, Sarah
2019 Archaeology from Space: How the Future Shapes Our Past. New York. Henry Holt and Co. Kindle Edition.

Senatori, Bella
2017 The Importance of Anecdotes in Writing. Oregon, The Franklin Post. Web Article. https://bit.ly/3hjyJFL

Tucker, Abigail
2016 Space Archaeologist Sarah Parcak Uses Satellites to Uncover Ancient Egyptian Ruins. Smithsonian Magazine. Web Page. https://bit.ly/2UG6W8I

Weisberger, Mindy
2019 Code-Name ‘Corona’ : Earliest Spy-Satellite Images Reveal Secrets of Ancient Middle East. LiveScience. Web page. https://bit.ly/2C7wUM5

Unessay Project Overview

The goal for my groups’ unessay project was to analyze the changes on mural and wall art such as graffiti before the COVID-19 pandemic and comparing it to now in regards to political and social movements that have arisen through this pandemic. Our project was about discovering how the use of the art on Murals related to events that were occurring around the world. We as a group were interested in the change of the political messages that the murals were sending out to their communities comparing the messages from before and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research is relevant because with studying contemporary archaeology we are looking at old things to see how we can improve the future or be better for the future. With looking at the murals from before and after the COVID-19 pandemic we see the differences from the political talks, even when the political topics change it is always in a way in which the community is evolving to become better in society or get through difficult times together. By doing this project and related research we hoped to gain more knowledge in what the meaning behind the murals was and how those meanings compared to the meanings of murals before the pandemic.

Through our research I found that several of the murals from before COVID-19 were representations that spoke out on political, social and economic issues but there were more that were associated with the community. For example, murals of the puget sound to represent many of the events of Seattle culture were painted on one of the walls downtown. During COVID-19 we see more murals that represent the events that are occurring during this time period. For example, the murals of healthcare workers with face masks on to represent the frontline workers that are risking their lives to save many other lives and the face masks to show people to be cautious and stay safe. With comparing murals from before and after the COVID-19 pandemic I learned that murals are a great example of contemporary archaeology because they are constantly changing to represent events that are happening or to teach history of a place mostly of the place where the mural is located. Archaeologists can use murals to identify what a community is like or to figure out past/current events in the community.

To create our final unessay we as a group decided to create an instagram account with pictures of several different murals that we found while doing our research. We included pictures of murals from before and after the COVID-19 pandemic to show the difference in the messages that the murals represented. Comparing the murals from before and after helped us in our research by analyzing the  differences of murals and we can visibly see how times certainly change. On our instagram page you can see how contemporary archeology of murals and graffiti art is used to express situations of the time we are living in or the past times. The biggest take away from this project is that analyzing the murals with contemporary archaeology and the use of art through murals and graffiti we can discover the political events of the past and current time that we are living through, while also identifying what a community is like. These murals can pass on very important messages to the communities or even sometimes to the world when something like COVID-19 happens.

Murals and Graffiti: The Impact of a Pandemic.

The goals of our project was to tie the dynamic field that is archaeology to the murals and graffiti of a pandemic. Further into the project we wanted to tie the “political” statements that were hidden within the beautiful “street art” pieces that you yourself may have passed by while taking a stroll outside. The project was about how the murals and graffiti before the Covid-19 pandemic hint were different from the pieces that were painted after the pandemic, or during the pandemic being as we are currently still in the pandemic. How and what the Contemporary Archaeology of the art would indicate, and what was happening in the world at a time such as the one we are in now.

I was really interested in this project because I found the work of Contemporary Archaeologists really intriguing and what they can find and understand about a time through smaller pieces of information. I have always admired art in any form and I like how people use murals and graffiti to express what they feel or what people as a community feel. The pieces that I’ve seen throughout the streets of Seattle and even the smaller pieces I see throughout my own small community, I thought were always so moving in some way and if I’m being honest I’m almost always in awe of the people’s skills.

 I think this is relevant now more than ever because with the ever growing issues in today’s society clearly the people have had enough of a lot of the “political” issues that are prevalent in communities. One form of communication that people take to because they don’t think they have a fair say in anything is the form of graffiti or murals depicted on the sides of walls and on billboards. Messages within the art form are meant for the “higher” ups and for the community to see. Sang Bae sums it up pretty clearly when they say “mural painting was adopted as a channel of social expression for those who felt that they did not possess the agency to establish their own cultural representation and identity.” What I hope to gain as an individual from this project was the greater understanding of the importance of such an art form and what it truly represented. Tying that understanding to Contemporary Archaeology and what both topics could do with and for each other. It was a fascinating journey into the understanding of such an underrated art form.

What I learned from the articles and peer reviewed research papers that covered topics similar to the one that I have been talking about is that almost all of the time each mural or graffiti piece is saying something, and most of the time it’s because the people performing such an art form are misheard and treated with disregard. “These people, usually from ethnic enclaves and disenfranchised urban areas, painted on walls combining imageries adopted from their cultural roots with contemporary styles and inspiration to visually communicate their concerns, hopes, and culture as a collective community” (Bae, 2016) Through the COVID-19 pandemic a lot of things have changed drastically but somethings are still continuing such as street art. “One notable exception is street artists and graffiti artists, who have been busy incorporating COVID-19 into their work.” (Mitman, 2020) These reasons have shaped our ending project in many ways, we first thought of presenting an online presentation of our findings but then we thought that that wasn’t good enough for the information we are trying to have people connect with. We thought that since the age we live in is heavily based on an online presence we took to the instagram platform to present our work. The page of our instagram is linked down at the bottom. The research we did for this project really refined the work for me personally. I needed to really understand what aspects I was trying to connect to Contemporary Archaeology and how they connect to the political climate of today. The article by Sang Bae really helped me understand the significance of murals and graffiti and once I had an understanding of that It was easily understandable to tie the two topics together.

I think our project turned out better than we imagined. We successfully contributed a lot of “post” to our page and each provided a caption depicting what is being said or what we got from the art work. Although none of the posts are lengthy I think it’s actually okay, because it leaves the art piece up for interpretation for the viewers. One thing I’ll take away from this project is a different look on events that are happening around me and what impact I can have. Looking deeper and getting “educated” on events and finding out what really is being said in any situation. I’m definitely going to be mindful of what’s around me and what I leave behind.

The Instagram page for our project is linked here: https://www.instagram.com/muralsandgraffiti/

References

Bae, S. (2016). Balancing Past and Present: Reevaluating Community Murals and Existing Practices. Retrieved June 13, 2020, from https://repository.upenn.edu/hp_theses/600/

Mitman, T. (2020, May 19). Coronavirus murals: inside the world of pandemic-inspired street art. Retrieved June 13, 2020, from https://theconversation.com/coronavirus-murals-inside-the-world-of-pandemic-inspired-street-art-138487

“Unessay” Project

In “Better to be hot than caught” a Vendor in Mexico that specializes in migrant goods,

My unessay project surrounds the topic of migrant material culture. It looks further deep into what specific items people choose to bring or leave behind when leaving their home countries. Also, it looks into how and in what ways do certain items create a sense of home within a space. I was inspired to do my project on this topic because I am a daughter of refugees and I wanted to understand more about the realities of those leaving their home countries in hopes of building and creating something new elsewhere. This is relevant because researching this subtopic allows archaeologists to understand migrant values and their needs in relation to the global and political climate. Furthermore, by studying material culture, it allows archaeologists to understand the harsh realities migrants face and what their needs and desires are as a whole.

Through my research, I learned that the items people decide to bring with them upon leaving their home countries are all situation dependent. For the most part, people decide to bring with them things that are necessary to their survival like food and water. They also decide to bring with them sentimental items that hold no monetary value like pictures, keys, phone numbers, or protective amulets. These items along with some of the functional items that migrants bring help to evoke a sense of emotion and nostalgia. This is a term called memory objects. In relation to creating a sense of home, memory objects help to create feelings of nostalgia and memory but these items are not necessary to create these feelings. Things like music, art, and even flags can help create a sense of home. Over time, as culture changes and shifts, a sense of home changes as well due to a shift in values. Feelings that evoke “a sense of home” are dependent on many factors such as resettlement plans, presence of a diaspora, presence of cultural goods.

With my research findings, I decided to create a podcast that highlights all that I gathered from my sources. Creating a podcast helped me understand how the puzzles fit together by forcing me to highlight important details that I wanted to talk about and include. It also made me realize how much hard work goes into the podcasts that I love to listen to. I had to create a script to follow, record my audio, and then learn how to edit all within a span of a week. With my podcast, I decided to incorporate my research by asking questions that surround my topic and use the research material I gathered to answer the questions. It worked for me because it was simple and other methods I tried were overwhelming.

From the project, I took away a greater understanding and appreciation for the work archaeologists put into researching migrant material culture. Furthermore, it illuminated how much work still needs to be done to explore this topic. Finding academic sources was very difficult and surprising considering the global refugee crisis.

Sources:

De Leon, J. (2012). “Better to be hot than caught”: Excavating the conflicting roles of migrant material culture. American Anthropologist, 114(3), 477.

Digby, S. (2006). The Casket of Magic: Home and Identity from Salvaged Objects. Home Cultures, 3(2), 169-190.

Marschall, S. (2019). ‘Memory objects’: Material objects and memories of home in the context of intra-African mobility. Journal of Material Culture, 24(3), 253–269. https://doi.org/10.1177/1359183519832630

Parkin, D. (1999). Mementoes as Transitional Objects in Human Displacement. Journal of Material Culture, 4(3), 303–320. https://doi.org/10.1177/135918359900400304

Savaş, Ö. (2014). Taste diaspora: The aesthetic and material practice of belonging. Journal of Material Culture, 19(2), 185–208. https://doi.org/10.1177/1359183514521922

Shanaathanan, T. (2015). Commemorating home: Art as place making, an artist’s narration. Journal of Material Culture, 20(4), 415–428. https://doi.org/10.1177/1359183515605858

Lab 4: Unessay Project Overview

The goal of my Unessay Project is to comparatively distinguish if and how contemporary archaeology serves the people rather than serving itself to its own benefits. My project theme is to help diminish common assumptions of this particular study and show how the discoveries can be used to provide useful resources in ways where the dead and families of those that are no longer living can be given the  opportunity to access evidence that reveals buried truths like, what or who was actually responsible for their deaths. In addition, revealing the hidden past through contemporary archaeology of excavation sites involving buried human remains of unidentified victims that experienced violent deaths can act as a reminder and reassure people that these tragic events did occur in the past and that the families and communities that are related to these victims never initially healed from their losses.

      I was interested in this topic because personally speaking, I work with deceased individuals every week and have grown a deeper connection with the individual as well as their family and community overtime. Thus, discovering how there are individuals, families and communities that experience this intentionally wrongful coverup really captured my interest is understanding more about this field of study. Furthermore, what was interesting was to see how contemporary archaeology can unfold these truths to bring back dignity to these individuals including their family and community and be finally put to rest. I hope by revealing different archeological excavation burial sites will help capture the importance of the true aspects of contemporary archaeology in order to \to shed light on these existing communities to help people truly understand how we can effectively better serve these communities.

I learned about many different aspects to how we can better help these forgotten communities and how cotemporary archaeology acts as an assisting force to those victims of violent deaths and for the families and community involved. This research taught me that this field of study requires more support and the acknowledgement.

I integrated my final research findings into my final Unessay by incorporating images of excavation burial sites such as the one depicted below as well as potential excavation burial sites to provide some context on the history of these spaces as well as a visual connection so people can have a glimpse of what these places mean to these communities. Moreover, I inserted a few images of actual sites being excavated to illustrate the importance of respectful community involvement.  I also included a brief description of how contemporary archaeology was utilized within these spaces and how they served these communities in order to give people an opportunity to glance into the transparency of contemporary archaeology.

My take way from this project is how contemporary archaeology allows us to justify what happened in the past using respectful measures to bring peace and end the suffering of the families of the victims of violent deaths. The study also is a way that helps bring remembrance to these specific events in order to respectfully acknowledge the discovered victims as well as then events that lead to their death that have been wrongfully hidden overtime. More importantly, contemporary Archaeology is used to carefully examine the dead in order to understand more about what is existing and how we came to be where we are at today with respect to the communities associated with the victims including the victims. Thus, archaeologist must be able to properly identify themselves as supporting members that are capable of respectfully providing support, acknowledgment and help to these communities.

References

*Ambrose, Kevin. 2018. “The forgotten graves of soldiers killed 157 years ago, during the oppressively hot Battle of Blackburn’s Ford” The Washington Post website, Jul 18. Accessed [June 1, 2020].

*Baggaley, Kate. 2019. “New evidence points to mass graves of people killed in Tulsa’s 1921 race massacre” Popular Science website, Dec 18. Accessed [June 6, 2020].

*Brown, L. DeNeen. 2020. “‘Tulsa plans to dig for suspected mass graves from a 1921 race massacre’” The Washington Post website, Feb 4. Accessed [June 1, 2020].

*Brown, L. DeNeen. 2018. “‘They was killing black people’” The Washington Post website, Sept 28. Accessed [June 1, 2020].

*Gannon, Megan. 2020. “Unearthing the True Toll of the Tulsa Race Massacre” Sapiens website, May 22. Accessed [May 24, 2020].

Goldstein, Lynne and Keith Kintigh. 1990. “Ethics and the Reburial Controversy.” American Antiquity 55(3): 585-591.

Haglund, D. William. 2001. “Archaeologists as Forensic Investigators: Defining the Role” Historical Archaeology 53(1): 26-34.

*Jarus, Owen. 2018. “Photos: 1,500-Year-Old Massacre Site Unearth” Live Science website, Apr 25. [June 6, 2020].

Jones, D. Gareth and Robyn J. Harris. 1998. “Archeological Human Remains. Scientific, Cultural, and Ethical Considerations” Current Anthropology 39(2): 253-264

*Kennedy, Maev. 2018. “Swedish archaeologist uncover brutal 5th century massacre” The Guardian website, Apr 25. Accessed [June 1, 2020].

Medina, Juan., Lupton, Emily and White, Sarah. 2017. “Spanish archaeologists dig up more civil war dead from mass graves” Reuters website, Aug 30. Accessed [June 1, 2020].

*Mitchell, William. 2020. “Holocaust Archaeology Proves Deniers Wrong” Sapiens website, Apr 15. Accessed [June 1, 2020].

*Pappas, Stephanie. 2014. “First-Ever Excavation of Nazi Death Camp Treblinka Reveals Horrors” Live Science website, Mar 28. Accessed [June 6, 2020].

*Pearce, Joanna. 2019. “Digging up the Dead” Sapiens website, Nov 1. Accessed [May 24, 2020].

Scarre, Geoffrey. 2003. “Archaeology and Respect for the Dead” The Journal of Applied Philosophy 20(3): 237-249

Shelbourn, Carolyn. 2013. “Burial archaeology: reflections on the law, policy and ethics of research on human remains and ‘digging the dead’” Art Antiquity & Law 18(1): 59-75

*Strauss, Mark. 2016. “When Is It Okay To Dig Up The Dead?” National Geographic website, Apr 7. Accessed [June 1, 2020].

*Svoboda, Elizabeth. 2016. “Unearthing the Atrocities of Nazi Death Camps” Scientific American website, Apr 30. Accessed [June 6, 2020].

Ethics of Acknowledging the Unknown

The Oaklawn Cemetery

The Oaklawn Cemetery is a potential excavation site that is suspected to contain mass graves connected to the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. (Brown, 2018) The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre is considered one of the worst episodes of racial violent in U.S history. (Brown, 2018) The massacre all began when a black man was accused of assaulting a white woman which led to hundreds of black-owned businesses and homes being set on fire in Greenwood. (Brown, 2018) In addition, more than 300 black people were killed, more than 10,000 black people were left homeless, and 40 blocks were left smoldering. (Brown, 2018)   Most importantly, there are still victims that still left hidden and unidentified.

Recent archaeologist was able to discover several signs of possible mass graves at various sites which also includes the Oaklawn Cemetery.  In order to reveal whether if people were buried there, forensic archeologist will have to excavate the site and examine the remains to be identified. More than that, forensic archaeologist can reveal whether the skeletal remains exhibit characteristics that relates to the massacre. (Baggaley, 2019)

As for the victims and families that were greatly impacted by the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, forensic archaeology provides a common ground for the families and communities to rewrite history.  As Forensic anthropologist Sean Tallman shares, “one great feature about forensic archaeology is that it can help to provide information about things that aren’t necessarily recorded in history, that are sort of clandestine or hidden,” and adds “It can augment the historical record by showing what actually happened to potentially a large group of people.”

Sandby Borg

The Sandy Borg is a 5th century ringfort on the south-east coast of Oland island, Sweden. Archaeologist performed an excavation within the oval area surrounded by stone ramparts. (Current World Archaeology, 2019) Beneath the ground, archaeologist was able to reveal an occurrence of a brutal massacre in the late 5th century AD. (Current World Archaeology, 2019) There was massive amounts of people that were slaughtered and left to rot. (Current World Archaeology, 2019) Consequentially, the human remains, and valuables left buried beneath centuries ago can now have an opportunity the re-tell a part of history that has never been revealed.

Archaeologists were able to discover multiple evidence of a massacre that occurred more than 1500 years ago (Kennedy, 2018) They found out that the site was abandoned after an attack, leaving the dead unburied. (Jarus, 2018) A fortress was under attack and inhabitants were slaughtered. (Jarus, 2018) In one of the sections, archaeologists revealed evidence of an old man’s skull being smashed. In another section, they also unraveled how even children were not spared during the attack. (Kennedy, 2018) Overtime, archaeologist was able to unveil more about the village and its “catastrophic end”. (Kennedy, 2018)

              Overall, contemporary archaeology gives communities a chance to revisits untold truths of the past that have been buried away, just like the 5th century massacre.  Moreover, the hidden memories allow us to take some time to acknowledge the victims of these violent deaths, respectfully. Whether or not the victims can be identified, a proper burial site for the victims of this massacre is required, that way the victims are not left to rot with their last memories of the attack.

Treblinka Extermination Camp

The 1943 Treblinka extermination camp in Poland was where more than 900,000 Jewish deportees had been killed during World War II. (Svoboda, 2016) (Mithcell, 2020) (Pappas, 2014) The killings went on for 16 months, leaving mass graves behind. (Pappas, 2014) Witnesses stated seeing men were beaten and hacked to death while still alive. The site also includes gas chambers that were used as a trap to poison large amounts of deportees with carbon monoxide within 20 minutes. (Pappas, 2014) Most of all, this particular space requires caution and attention in a way that allows victims of this mass murder to be heard throughout time.

Archaeologists carried out an excavation at the Nazi death camp and found massive amounts of skeletal remains, brick walls and foundations of the gas chamber. (Pappas, 2014) More specifically, forensic archaeologist was able to indicate multiple knife marks existing on the bones which reveals the victims were also stabbed or assaulted. (Pappas, 2014) Beneath the surface they also discovered how the Nazis dumped sand from a quarry close by to help disguise or cover up the death camp. (Pappas, 2014)

Ultimately, contemporary archaeology can help localize buried truths without causing too much disturbance to the soil and the hidden remains. In addition, archaeologist’s approach of excavating devastating sites similar to Treblinka must be considered and requires the community’s respect, trust, and approval.  Furthermore, contemporary archaeologist can act as a fine-tooth comb that teases out the unknown details that were purposely covered and left in the past.

The image above illustrates a ground penetrating radar survey revealing a mass grave in Vinnytsia region of Ukraine. (Mitchell, 2020)

The image above depicts a volunteer helping with the excavation of the grave of Saturnino Til and Ramon Navarro, who were shot in 1936 by forces of dictator Francisco Franco in Gurrea de Gallego, Spain. (Reuters, 2017)

The image above is shows the 1997 Centreville excavation site that involves the graves of six Civil War soldiers being carefully revealed. (Ambrose, 2018)

References

*Ambrose, Kevin. 2018. “The forgotten graves of soldiers killed 157 years ago, during the oppressively hot Battle of Blackburn’s Ford” The Washington Post website, Jul 18. Accessed [June 1, 2020].

*Baggaley, Kate. 2019. “New evidence points to mass graves of people killed in Tulsa’s 1921 race massacre” Popular Science website, Dec 18. Accessed [June 6, 2020].

*Brown, L. DeNeen. 2020. “‘Tulsa plans to dig for suspected mass graves from a 1921 race massacre’” The Washington Post website, Feb 4. Accessed [June 1, 2020].

*Brown, L. DeNeen. 2018. “‘They was killing black people’” The Washington Post website, Sept 28. Accessed [June 1, 2020].

*Gannon, Megan. 2020. “Unearthing the True Toll of the Tulsa Race Massacre” Sapiens website, May 22. Accessed [May 24, 2020].

Goldstein, Lynne and Keith Kintigh. 1990. “Ethics and the Reburial Controversy.” American Antiquity 55(3): 585-591.

Haglund, D. William. 2001. “ Archaeologists as Forensic Investigators: Defining the Role” Historical Archaeology 53(1): 26-34.

*Jarus, Owen. 2018. “Photos: 1,500-Year-Old Massacre Site Unearth” Live Science website, Apr 25. [June 6, 2020].

Jones, D. Gareth and Robyn J. Harris. 1998. “Archeological Human Remains. Scientific, Cultural, and Ethical Considerations” Current Anthropology 39(2): 253-264

*Kennedy, Maev. 2018. “Swedish archaeologist uncover brutal 5th century massacre”  The Guardian website, Apr 25. Accessed [June 1, 2020].

Medina, Juan., Lupton, Emily and White, Sarah. 2017. “Spanish archaeologists dig up more civil war dead from mass graves” Reuters website, Aug 30. Accessed [June 1, 2020].

*Mitchell, William. 2020. “ Holocaust Archaeology Proves Deniers Wrong” Sapiens website, Apr 15. Accessed [June 1, 2020].

*Pappas, Stephanie. 2014. “First-Ever Excavation of Nazi Death Camp Treblinka Reveals Horrors” Live Science website, Mar 28. Accessed [June 6, 2020].

*Pearce, Joanna. 2019. “Digging up the Dead” Sapiens website, Nov 1. Accessed [May 24, 2020].

Scarre, Geoffrey. 2003. “Archaeology and Respect for the Dead” The Journal of Applied Philosophy 20(3): 237-249

Shelbourn, Carolyn. 2013. “Burial archaeology: reflections on the law, policy and ethics of research on human remains and ‘digging the dead’” Art Antiquity & Law 18(1): 59-75

*Strauss, Mark. 2016. “When Is It Okay To Dig Up The Dead?” National Geographic website, Apr 7. Accessed [June 1, 2020].

*Svoboda, Elizabeth. 2016. “Unearthing the Atrocities of Nazi Death Camps” Scientific American website, Apr 30. Accessed [June 6, 2020].

ArchyPOP presents: Pop Culture for Dummies

How has the ‘90s influenced our culture today? How do pop culture artifacts from the 90s represent that time? How has that inspired pop-culture movements today? How has people’s relationship with artifacts from the 90s changed since then?

Project Goals

My overall goals for this project were to gain contemporary archaeology skills while expanding my knowledge on archaeology’s relationship with pop culture. We dedicated an entire unit of our class on the study of pop culture and the valuable insight it has on culture—including showcasing unexplored narratives from the past. We wanted to focus specifically on the ‘90s because of the particular relevance it has for my generation and my culture. We are obsessed with the ‘90s—‘90s fashion, ‘90s shows, ‘90s stars and more importantly ‘90s material culture. This obsession with the past isn’t a new concept, and can be seen across every generation. We thought exploring this ‘nostalgia’ phenomenon would provide valuable insight on the human condition! Finally, we also thought it would be a useful exercise to choose a topic that hadn’t been covered in our pop culture unit! We thought exploring this territory might exercise are archaeology thinking much more than revisiting a topic covered in class. I couldn’t have been more excited to dedicate my project to the important evaluation of the ‘90s!

Findings

People attach significant emotional and even monetary value to material culture from the ‘90s. One case study we did explored both sides of this with the discovery of Nintendo 64. The person who found it displayed intense emotional attachment to it and even personified the old gaming system. Then, we were able to analyze the response of the community which immediately focused on the monetary value of the controllers—they estimated the found artifact could be worth from $1,500 to $3,000 dollars (almost worth one quarter at UW)! The original price of this item was $200. It’s obvious certain objects from the ‘90s are considered rare and are coveted by the general public. However, this begged the question: why.

Tumblr is a fantastic tool to gauge pop culture interest (we will talk more about it later) through the use of their tag system. When someone makes or reblogs a post, they can add identifiers to help organize their post and even explain their interest in it. The most common tag that came along with ‘90s artifacts was #nostalgia, the sentimental love for the past. Usually that was it! #nostalgia, #90s, #nineties were usually the only identifier. There was usually no expression of interest specific to the object, or any commentary along with it! It seems that for the most part, tumblr bloggers are just chasing that feeling of nostalgia. That’s also one of the key differences between archaeology of pop culture and nostalgia culture. Archaeology involves an analysis or critique of the object or it’s place in society where nostalgia just has appreciation for it. We actually gained a lot of insight on contemporary archaeology for this project.

Our project also showed us the shortcomings of doing “online archaeology”. A large part of archaeology is viewing objects themselves and actively testing a hypothesis. By looking only at material culture through the internet, we could be missing a lot of key context clues that could change the direction of our investigation! Not only that, but it is hard to test hypothesis when we don’t have a site to examine. The scientific method is a crucial part of Archaeology, and COVID has severely limited our ability to get a realistic contemporary archaeology experience. However, are project did a fantastic job showing us how important that step is, and I would still count it as a valuable experience. We still gained a lot of valuable insight even if we weren’t able to use the contemporary archaeologist field techniques we learned about in class.

Methodology

As touched upon earlier, the Tumblr format gave us a really unique experience to delve into the relationship between the general populace and 90s artifacts. We could search through other people’s blogs and examine the commentary they attached to material culture from the ‘90s

As touched upon earlier, the Tumblr format gave us a really unique experience to delve into the relationship between the general populace and 90s artifacts. We could search through other people’s blogs and examine the commentary they attached to material culture from the ‘90s

We were able to pull on many different lines of evidence because of this. We used quotes from readings and articles, did detailed case-studies of specific objects and their reception, and tracked the overall popularity of ‘90s objects by looking at their “reblogs” and posting it to our blog!

Big Picture

This was a challenging and fun final project to end the school year on. I’m really proud of our Tumblr blog, and I feel it really taught me a lot. I’m ending this quarter with an expanded knowledge on pop culture and excitement for contemporary archaeology! This project also gave me respect for the difference between the work I did on the blog and real archaeology field experiences. Truly this unessay gifted me with a thirst for real world archaeology experience. In other words, I’ve found this project to be very inspiring. c:

Find the blog: https://archypop.tumblr.com/

See next page for Bibliography.

Lab 4: Unessay Project Overview, Archypop Tumblr Blog

The goal of my team and I’s unessay project was to create a tumblr blog inspired by the pop culture of the 90’s. We sought out to investigate overall the main trends and themes that were popular in the 90’s and how these themes are now translated in this decade. Our group as a whole was interested in the idea of pop culture being an archeological topic in general. We were curious on how this topic fit into out class, which gave us fuel to research more deeply into it. Going off of that, we then decided we should hone into a certain period of time, for the sake of being specific and not too broad. We landed upon the 90’s decade, out of our mere fascination and a specific interest in the punk rock culture and the pop divas. We found this research relevant because it showcases a key element of contemporary archeology which is that archeology doesn’t have to be about the ancient past, but can be about the events of last year or even last week. The focus of contemporary archeology is about the lost stories left behind in the dust of our now fast paced world and society. 

Header from the blog! https://archypop.tumblr.com/

Our initial research allowed us to understand more deeply how pop culture fits into archeology as a concept. We found that many artifacts associated with pop culture highlights emotions of nostalgia and the amazement of how fast and slow time feels. How things have changed and how we look back on events and what they used to be. Going off of this we found several postings and discussions on social media of people posting about them rediscovering movies, sounds, or toys that made them feel nostalgic. A couple of things we sought to showcase is how this has become a trend in the present, to romanticize and glorify trends from the past. Along with this, we see visual media on apps like TikToks trying to recreate their own “90’s aesthetic” or posting videos of their parents and family members in the past. I think this shows how a 60 second video can tell us about our current society’s perspective about our past just like an artifact would. And secondly how these perceptions differ from those in the past living in the 90’s. This difference in perception can lead us to a better understanding of how our world and people have changed.

This was out group when researching a different decade and also a cool meme that shows the value some people hold this decade to !

This also can be a signifier of how fast technology has pushed us to change and develop making pop culture trends accelerate faster. This causes these 90’s trends to seem a lot older than they relatively are. We also found some old trends that had now been misinterpreted or now used for a different modern idea or meme. As time and media pop culture trends continue, more and more themes of the 90’s will be remembered by the new jokes we made about them, then their actual origin. This connects to our findings in regards to the punk rock area of the 90’s. We discovered that there was a whole subsection of contemporary research known as punk archeology. Led by Andrew Reinhard, this series of blog posts, a book, and a documentary covers how the punk rock lifestyle and music reformed archeology. Finally, working on this unessay has now led me to change the way I look at social media forever, now when I see a post I think about how it’s adding to a global archive of a larger narrative about our present time.

@karsenrigby

Quarantine in the 90’s…again cuz I forgot to pick a good cover photo😂#quarantine #millennial #supernintendo #90skids #fyp #ithinkimlosingmymymind

♬ Myself – Bazzi
https://almostarchaeology.com/post/84509623583/exhuming-atari-or-punk-archaeology-levels-up

If you wanna learn more about Punk Archeology!
https://almostarchaeology.com/post/148684937103/popculture

If you wanna learn more about Pop Culture in Archeology!

Bibliography

✨🌼90s🌸✨

2020

✨🌼90s🌸✨ On TikTok. TikTok. https://www.tiktok.com/@_.moonjuice/video/6806042125587844358, accessed June 7, 2020

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🥳, Jailyne

2020

Jailyne 🥳 on TikTok. TikTok. https://www.tiktok.com/@_.jayyyyy1/video/6817533764948774150, accessed June 7, 2020

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Donaldson, Kayleigh

2018

How Nostalgia Became Our Pop Culture Salve during These Dark Times. SYFY WIRE. SYFY WIRE. https://www.syfy.com/syfywire/how-nostalgia-became-our-pop-culture-salve-during-these-dark-times, accessed June 5, 2020

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Lynch, Jason
2013
Why Disney Keeps Buying All Your Favorite Childhood Icons. Quartz. Quartz.
https://qz.com/155390/why-disney-keeps-buying-all-your-favorite-childhood-icons/, accessed June 9, 2020

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Maldonado, Adrián

2016

The Materiality of Pop Culture and the Meaning of Almost Archaeology. Web log. Almost Archaeology. https://almostarchaeology.com/post/148684937103/popculture, accessed May 25, 2020

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Mousenonokins

2020

Mousenonokins on TikTok. TikTok. https://www.tiktok.com/@mousenonokins/video/6814997918961978629?lang=en, accessed May 26, 2020

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Plan, Simple

2020

Simple Plan on TikTok. TikTok. https://www.tiktok.com/@simpleplan/video/6831315898977029382, accessed June 7, 2020

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r/Gaming – Comment by u/Johnnysbigday on “Found This Little Guy Abandoned in the Trash. Some People Have No Heart.” Reddit. https://www.reddit.com/r/gaming/comments/2j5zyj/found_this_little_guy_abandoned_in_the_trash_some/cl8vkff/, accessed May 26, 2020
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Reinhard, Andrew.

2014

Exhuming Atari, or Punk Archaeology Levels Up. Almost Archaeology. https://almostarchaeology.com/post/84509623583/exhuming-atari-or-punk-archaeology-levels-up, accessed May 26, 2020

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Rigby, Karsen

2020

Karsen Rigby on TikTok. TikTok. https://www.tiktok.com/@karsenrigby/video/6823801741629328645, accessed June 7, 2020

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Zimmerman, Larry J., Courtney Singleton, and Jessica Welch

2010

Activism and Creating a Translational Archaeology of Homelessness. World Archaeology 42(3):  443–454

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