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Living Room Lecture: A Field Guide to Archaeological Oddities, Frauds, and Mysteries

Is there archaeological evidence that giant human-like creatures once walked the Earth? Did a contingent of the Lost Tribes of Israel visit New Mexico, marking their presence by etching the Ten Commandments in Hebrew into a boulder southwest of Albuquerque? Did ancient Druids establish a colony in southern New Hampshire where they carved a table designed to collect the blood of sacrificial victims? Was an earth mound in Ohio inspired by a precociously sophisticated lost civilization that was utterly destroyed 12,500 years ago? Did Native Americans encounter visitors from other planets, recording that experience by painting images of space-suited aliens on canyon walls in Utah? Finally, have archaeologists discovered the far western outpost of an ancient Egyptian pharaoh, not in Egypt or even Africa, but in, of all places, California? Dr. Ken Feder will here reveal the hidden truth underlying these ancient mysteries. Spoiler alert: The answer to each of them is a resolute “no!” Nevertheless, the stories behind these and other false claims about the ancient past are fascinating and, it must be admitted, occasionally even a little hilarious. Oh, and bonus – Dr. Feder will tell you how you can personally visit these places and see them for yourselves.

Date: Thursday, May 16, 2024
Time: 6 PM
Location: Online on Zoom
Cost: Pay what you wish

Register for Lecture

About the Presenter

Ken Feder, PhD, is professor emeritus (Anthropology) at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, Connecticut. His primary research interests include the archaeology of the native peoples of New England and the analysis of public perceptions about the human past. He is the author of several books including Frauds, Myths, and Mysteries: Science and Pseudoscience in Archaeology (Oxford University Press, 2020, 10th edition); The Past in Perspective: An Introduction to Human Prehistory (Oxford University Press, 2020, 8th edition); Ancient America: Fifty Archaeological Sites to See for Yourself (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017); and Archaeological Oddities: A Field Guide to Forty Claims of Lost Civilizations, Ancient Visitors, and Other Strange Sites in North America (Rowman & Littlefield, 2019). He has served as a talking head on numerous television documentaries about humans. On the topic of human antiquity, one producer described him as being “a beacon of sanity in a sea of madness,” which actually is a very scary thought.

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.