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Archaeology Roadshow!
Science Fair meets Archaeology Day

How we organized the RoadShow (28 kb PDF) | Roadshow flyer (200 kb PDF) | Schedule of events

Roadshow in ProgressIn January of 2006, archaeologists from all over the world traveled to Sacramento, California to attend the annual conference of the Society for Historical Archaeology. Historical archaeologists investigate sites around the world (including shipwrecks) to tell the story of colonization, its effects on native societies, as well the subsequent settlement of frontiers, urbanization, and industrialization.  Sonoma State University’s Anthropological Studies Center (ASC) developed and hosted what turned out to be one of the highlights of the conference:  a free, day-long public event, dubbed "The Archaeology Roadshow.”

Over 50 archaeologists participated in the event, demonstrating their techniques and research findings through exhibits appealing to all age and interest groups. A range of international archaeological projects were displayed, including the early heritage of San Francisco’s Presidio, late 19th century Chinese sites in San Jose and Folsom, Boston’s first African American Meeting House, shipwrecks from the Bahamas, homestead sites in Ireland and Wales, recent Donner Party revelations, and the First Peoples of California.

Presentations ranged from poster sessions to artifact displays, and included speeches by costumed interpreters such as Josiah Gallop, an early Sacramento merchant (played by Adrian Praetzellis, ASC), Sebastian Viscaino, early Spanish explorer (played by Marco Meniketti, Institute for Advanced Interdisciplinary Caribbean Archaeology), and a costumed 19th century Civil War-era commander and lady from historical Fort Garland, Colorado (played by Richard Goddard and Raechelle Phillips, Adams State College, Colorado).

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The most popular hands-on activities included a costumed Juana Briones, (played by Fatima Colindres, NPS park ranger), who demonstrated tortilla making and traditional cooking enjoyed by the first settlers at the San Francisco Presidio; seed-grinding using replica Native American grinding tools provided by the Sacramento City College Anthropology Club and Far Western Research, “Identifying Food Bone” by Michael Stoyka, ASC, and old-fashioned Victorian-period games hosted by Sunshine Psota, (ASC). All of these activities leave behind material remains that are regularly analyzed by archaeologists to help tell the story of the past. Several of the displays also encouraged the visitors to become temporary archaeologists by sifting through prepared archaeological deposits in search of artifacts. One exhibit, “Site Hunter,” developed by the ASC, used GIS programs to allow the visitors to ‘fly’ over a video-game like 3-D landscape model to discover sites.

Nearly 2000 visitors attended the event, which the ASC had heavily advertised in the local news outlets and to all local elementary, middle, and high schools, junior colleges, as well as the local California State University, Sacramento and the University of California, Davis.

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