Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Dwarfed by the beauty of the natural world


After 10 days in the field, we had our first day off from digging and had an opportunity to venture to a different part of Ohio. We packed up some hiking gear, plenty of trail mix and piled into the vans to see Ash Cave and Old Man’s Cave in Hocking Hills State Park.

It was refreshing to see the forests and waterfalls, a stark contrast to the open fields and hot sun that we’d grown accustom to. At Ash Cave, there were audible gasps of amazement as we wandered into the immense rock shelter. It was shocking to see something so large and beautiful. For eons, water and wind carved the soft rock and left this 700-foot-long cave.

The human influence, little trails and names carved into the stone walls, were dwarfed by the beauty of the natural world. It was strangely freeing to feel so small in the shadow of that cave. I realized that if I’m so tiny in the grand scheme, my worries are even smaller and it felt like a burden was lifted.

That carefree feeling set the tone for the rest of the day as we explored more of the park land. We ventured to Old Man’s Cave, which proved to be an excellent hiking and climbing spot. We spent the day clambering over rocks and wading through streams.

As the entire field school group stood knee-deep in a plunge pool and skipped rocks into a waterfall, I forgot that we had just met each other a mere two weeks ago. Laughter and jokes rang out across the water, and we all agreed that the hiking trip was exactly what we needed to recharge. We snapped plenty of pictures and were pleasantly exhausted by the end of the afternoon.

I returned to camp ready to dig again the following day, hoping that some cool artifacts would surface from the new units we had opened.
    — Keelan McDonald, is a junior mass communications major and anthropology minor.
#CollaborativeLearning #HuskyUnleashed

DeeAnne Wymer, professor of anthropology, and a group of Bloomsburg University students hit the road each spring in mid-May to spend four weeks in southern Ohio digging at a Hopewell habitation site. The archeological field school experience enables student teams to rely on new imaging technologies to uncover another living site of the Mound Builders from 2,000 years ago.


Monday, June 1, 2015

What lies beneath!



When we first arrived at the Balthaser Home site in Ohio, it looked like any other farm field, the remains of soybean stubble covering the rolling hills. Now, the field is covered with tripods and sifters and tarps and shovels.

From the road, it’s nearly impossible to tell what is occurring in the southwest corner of Balthaser. What are we doing here? Spearheaded by Dr. DeeAnne Wymer and Dr. Paul Pacheco of SUNY-Geneseo, students from Bloomsburg and SUNY Geneseo are collaborating to dig up the remains of a domestic Hopewell site. The Hopewell are an indigenous American people known for their earthworks and ritual sites, but little is known about their daily lives.

Out in the hot sun, we dig and sift. Occasionally, someone will yell out “bladelet” when they find a small, thin flint blade, still sharp enough to cut your fingers 2,000 years later, and Doc Wymer does her famous bladelet dance.

The best part of field school is the shared enthusiasm among the students, professors and the occasional amateur archaeologist visitor. You’ve never seen a group of people so excited about different colors of dirt. Students are broken into different teams composed of Geneseo and Bloomsburg students to excavate specific unit. Because of the generosity of Dr. Jarrod Burks, we are able to have a sense of where to dig based on the magnetic readings at the site.

My team is in the process of excavating a pit feature, which is very exciting because we have no idea what we may find.

(DeeAnne Wymer) - I am pleased to note that Keelan's team recovered a large number of very large fragments of pottery from their fire pit/earth oven! All their hard work paid off and they have every right to be very excited.

Some groups are meticulously excavating post molds, which may indicate the location of a Hopewell house, while others find projectile points, ceramics and paper-thin sheets of glittering mica. Centimeter by centimeter, we begin to get a clearer picture of the ancient lifeways of the fascinating Hopewell.
    — Keelan McDonald, is a junior mass communications major and anthropology minor.
#CollaborativeLearning #HuskyUnleashed

DeeAnne Wymer, professor of anthropology, and a group of Bloomsburg University students hit the road each spring in mid-May to spend four weeks in southern Ohio digging at a Hopewell habitation site. The archeological field school experience enables student teams to rely on new imaging technologies to uncover another living site of the Mound Builders from 2,000 years ago.


Fear and Loathing ... over summer


In the realm of weird and wacky books, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson is definitely out there. The novel virtually has no real plot, bumbling back and forth between reality and surreal, drug-induced delusions, which sometimes makes things hard to follow.

However, that doesn’t make this any less than one of my favorite novels.

In a quest for the American Dream among other things, Raoul Duke and his attorney Dr. Gonzo, charge down to Las Vegas and spend several days causing mayhem and contemplating what all of it means, all the while taking enough drugs to make Woodstock look tame.

With such a loose plot and rambling prose writing style, one would think that Thompson’s tale would fall flat, but it keeps your attention, almost for that very reason. The lack of plot and zany antics of Duke and Gonzo keep you wanting more and Duke’s first-person descriptions of the madness going on around him never seems to get old.

More than 100 suggested books to read

The novel also has thought invoking points, commentary almost, on the counter-culture movement of the 1960’s and how the different ideologies and drugs used by the hippies left a generation of burnt-out drug addicts. Thompson uses Duke’s flashbacks and moments between acid trips, to show how ideas of the 1960’s American dream differ from what Duke is surrounded by in the novel.

The novel is also rather short, only around 250 pages, which makes it a perfect read to pick up on a hot summer day by a pool or on the beach.

— Anthony Ferrentino, senior communication studies major  #HuskySummer