“Going to a big conference like the SAAs (the Society for American Archaeology) and presenting your research isn’t an opportunity many undergrads receive,” said Emily Hull ’18. “I've been looking forward to the chance to present at the SAAs since freshman year and being able to go there is an incredible opportunity for an undergraduate. I will not only be able to present my own research but I'll also be able to see what professional archaeologists across the country and beyond are working on right now,” added Petra Elfström ’18.
Both students have been awarded Class of 1979 Travel grants to attend the meeting in Washington, D.C. in April, 2018. They will present posters about their research conducted at Slocan Narrows Pithouse Village in British Columbia, Canada, during past summers in Associate Professor of Anthropology Nathan Goodale’s six-week archaeology field school course. Students in the course learn field methods as they excavate the dwellings in a village where the Sinixt indigenous people lived for some 3,100 years.
Majors: Archaeology and Creative Writing
Hometown: East Haddam, Conn.
High School: The Williams School
Elfström will present her senior research on the activity areas of excavated pithouses at Slocan Narrows. “My research examines household archaeology and kinship structure at Slocan Narrows. I'm using geochemical analyses to identify and classify activity areas across the floors of excavated pithouses of different sizes and from different time periods,” she said. “This will tell us about the social organization and kinship structure of each house and then allow us to make conclusions about how the village changed over time.”
Hull’s senior thesis will expand her analysis of an assemblage of quartzite scrapers procured from Slocan Narrows. “Last year I was primarily focused on learning more about what the function of the tools were,” she said. “This year I'm looking more holistically at what the significance of the quartzite tools were to the people who lived in the pithouse village in addition to doing some more experimental stuff to infer their function.”
Hull reiterated her appreciation for receiving the Class of '79 Travel award. “I learned a lot at last year's conference, and it really opened my eyes to just how much is going on in the field of archaeology.”
Majors: Archaeology and Psychology
Hometown: New Hartford, N.Y.
High School: New Hartford High School
Nathan Goodale, who is advisor to the students, said their research “is contributing significantly to our understanding of the Indigenous occupation of this important archaeological site in the Pacific Northwest. Their efforts help continue the research program at Slocan Narrows but also help prepare them to be successful archaeologists after they graduate,” he said. “Part of developing their future success is being able conduct team based and individual research and then present their work to other professionals at conferences. By Hamilton providing opportunities for undergraduate students to attend and present at conferences we give students invaluable opportunities for their future success,” Goodale added.
SAA has more than 7,000 members and is dedicated to the research, understanding, and protection of the archaeological heritage of the Americas.