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Living Room Lecture: Community Engagement at the Nathan Harrison Site

The Nathan Harrison Historical Archaeology Project has been a twenty-year undertaking that seeks to understand and communicate the life and legacies of San Diego County’s first African American homesteader. It employs orthogonal thought and archaeological, anthropological, and historical tools of analysis to bring marginalized voices to diverse publics. The remote mountain-top site was home during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to Nathan Harrison. He was born into slavery, endured horrors of the Antebellum South, the mania of the Gold Rush, and racial injustices of the Old West. Harrison gained mythical status during his life and after his passing. While alive, he was embraced by multiple communities, and his story has since been used by different groups over time for a variety of causes. This talk examines how our archaeology has inspired a new generation of muralists, historians, playwrights, and others to create innovative works and continued relevance for Nathan Harrison’s evolving narratives. It offers a brief Harrison biography, an overview of the project, an explanation of Harrison’s dual identity, code-switching, and historical minstrelsy, and a discussion of the project’s case for significance beyond the dig, including public exhibits, educational curricula, and creative arts. This lecture will be held on Zoom.

Date: Thursday, February 22, 2024
Time: 6:30 PM
Location: Online on Zoom
Cost: Pay what you wish

Register for Lecture

Note: Registration closes at 2 PM on Thursday, February 22.


About the Presenter

Seth Mallios is Professor of Anthropology, University History Curator, and Director of the South Coastal Information Center at San Diego State University. He received his BA from the University of California, Berkeley, and his PhD from the University of Virginia. An archaeologist, anthropologist, and historian, Dr. Mallios engages in scientific and humanistic community-based research that offers insights into past and present issues of identity, memory, and myth making. Before moving to San Diego, he served as Site Supervisor at the 1607 James Fort archaeological site in Jamestown, Virginia. Professor Mallios currently directs multiple field projects in Southern California (including The Nathan Harrison Historical Archaeology Project, The Whaley House Historical Archaeology Project, and The San Diego County Gravestone Project); has published thirteen books and dozens of articles; has garnered over $2 million in more than one hundred external grants, contracts, and awards; and has curated many public anthropological, archaeological, and historical exhibits.

Collections Research

With the assistance of Center staff, the intern will identify, design, and conduct an original research project that uses the Center’s archaeological collections. The intern will formulate a plan for public dissemination of the project results as a journal publication, a museum exhibit, or a public class or lecture. During the course of the research and dissemination planning, the intern will receive training in research design, collections management, artifact analysis, and exhibit design and production as appropriate to the selected project.

Archaeology Lab Positions

Volunteers will prepare one or more archaeological collections for curation. Center staff will instruct the volunteer on archaeological laboratory procedures such as basic artifact analysis, manual and computer cataloging, storage requirements, and preventative conservation.

Volunteers work in the Center’s Research Library, cataloguing materials and organizing on a computer-based system.

Marketing and Administrative Volunteers assist the Development Office or Administration Office with data entry, updating marketing materials and clerical tasks. Computer experience is a plus.

Docents welcome visitors and answer general questions regarding the Center and exhibits. Docents staff the gift shop and help out with administrative and curatorial tasks.

Volunteers support event activities at the Center, such as the Annual BBQ, lectures, workshops, and fundraising events. Be a part of the party!

Volunteer provide support for K-12 programs offered at the Center. These are fun, hands-on programs that kids really enjoy. Teaching experience is a plus, but not required. Background checks are required.

Photogrammetry

With the assistance of Center staff, the intern will use photogrammetry to prepare one or more archaeological collections for digital preservation, as well as create a virtual museum exhibit for our Public Archaeology department. Per approval, special projects of the intern’s choosing are also available. During the research and planning, the intern will receive guidance as appropriate to their selected project. Prospective interns should already be familiar with photogrammetric procedures, and Agisoft Metashape.

Development and Marketing

Under the direction of Center staff, the intern will support the department in various activities, including, but not limited to, fundraising and grant research; e-newsletter development; social media marketing; and website maintenance. This internship will give the intern valuable, real-world experience in non-profit fundraising and marketing.

Geographical Information Systems in Archaeology

Prospective Interns must have completed three courses: Introduction to GIS, GIS Database Management, and Intermediate/Advanced Methods in GIS. The intern will be assigned a project where they will create shapefiles and maps for curated archaeological collections, museum exhibits, and/or public outreach using ArcGIS 10.6. Center staff will instruct the intern on archaeological GIS laboratory procedures such as computer cataloguing, storage requirements, and database management.

Library Science

With the assistance of Center staff, the intern will arrange and catalog materials in the Center’s library. During the course of the internship, the intern will take a leading role in the cataloging, sorting and storing of research files and creating user guides for these collections. Center staff will instruct the intern on archival procedures, computer cataloging, storage requirements, and preventative conservation.

Public Archaeology

Harness your passion for Public Archaeology and gain hands-on experience with K-12 museum field trips, lectures, and public outreach. Additional projects may include creating virtual museum exhibits and activities, assisting in the development and implementation of K-12 curricula programs, planning and presenting public facing content, or educational field trip content of your own design. Must be able to pass a Live Scan.

Collections Management

With the assistance of Center staff, the intern will prepare one or more archaeological collections for curation. During the course of the internship, the intern will learn to identify artifacts and ecofacts common to the San Diego region, including lithics, ceramics, historical objects, and faunal, botanical, and mineral specimens. Center staff will instruct the intern on archaeological laboratory procedures such as basic artifact analysis, manual and computer cataloguing, storage requirements, and preventative conservation. In addition, the intern will become familiar with historical trends in archaeological practice in the San Diego area and will be introduced to current legal and ethical issues in archaeological curation as well as the concerns and rights of culturally affiliated groups with regard to archaeological materials.