As a creative writing and archeology double major with a passion for art, Petra Elfström ’18 was able to combine her interests and put them into practice over a summer through research funded by the Digital Humanities Initiative
Elfström made an educational film focusing on the archaeological practices of the Slocan Narrows Archaeological Project (SNAP). Elfström was advised by Associate Professor of Anthropology Nathan Goodale and Janet Simons, co-director of the DHi.
Every other year, archaeology Hamilton students have the opportunity to receive field training at the Slocan Narrows Pithouse Village in British Columbia. The village is a settlement that the Sinixt people occupied for thousands of years. In the past the archaeology team has uncovered several hundred pieces of faunal remains and lithic artifacts.
Elfström received field training at the site from Goodale and Visiting Instructor of Anthropology Alissa Nauman. When it was suggested Elfström combine her majors and passions for archaeology and make a film, she was thrilled.
Elfström organized and gathered materials and data that the team already had on SNAP. She presented radiocarbon dating, geological sourcing, geochemical and lithic findings, among other studies done of the site. Among other work, she read through many papers published on the SNAP site and reworded passages so they are more accessible to non-archaeologist audience.
“I am still in the beginning phases of this film-making project, but it has already been incredibly interesting and is bringing me closer to the site and helping increase my archaeological knowledge as well as show me the challenges of script writing and public education,” she remarked when she started the project.
Elfström hoped the film would be a comprehensive and accurate summary of what SNAP does. She also wants the film to enlighten the public and keep people involved in the project, so that they will be more likely to support it and see the value of the work.
Elfström plans to pursue archaeology after graduation. She thinks this project is a great way to learn more about many areas she has been studying. In addition to her interest in archaeology, she added: “I have also always been interested in film making, so this is a perfect opportunity to learn a whole new set of skills that can aid me in the future in terms of public education and outreach.”