Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Summer 2014 Field Research on Vanua Levu, Fiji

This summer I returned to Vanua Levu with 8 students from Northern Kentucky University, a graduate student from the University of Georgia, and one returning graduate student, Jerred Schafer, from SUNY Albany.  We set up camp in the same site as the students from last year, continued our excavations of Yavu 1 and Yavu 2 and opened up four more sites this year to dig for artifacts (Yavu 3-6).

Students digging out the backfill from last year.
Photo by Garns
2014 NSF-REU Fiji Team
Making friends!!
Rosa Christophel, Stephanie Zach, and Kendra Hein with Dr. Bill Landon's daughter, Florence.
Photo by Garns

The 2014 Fiji Team also had the opportunity to interact daily with a couple of local Fijians working with us, as well as, visiting a neighboring village.

Local Fijian woman performing a sitting dance ceremony.

Dressed for Success!
Jerred Schafer (SUNY Albany), Justin Wynne, Scott Solomon, and Dr. Bill Landon wearing traditional men's pocket sulus. 

Traditional Fijian welcoming ceremony.

Sepeti Matararaba (Mata of the Fijian Museum) partaking in a very common Fijian tradition: the drinking of kava!

Mata and Joe working on the lovo (Fijian earth oven)

This field season proved to be much less challenging in terms of the environment.  I was so thankful that the incessant rain from last year gave way to beautiful, sunny blue skies this year which made for a much more pleasant situation.

Yes, it really is this beautiful!

Sunset on "our" beach.
Photo by Garbs
Even WE needed a break every now and then!  

Although we had perfect snorkeling and sunbathing weather the first day we were there the students took charge and began to "setup" camp by building shelters, changing stations, and a latrine.

Scott Solomon, Justin Clamb, Mata, and myself digging holes for bamboo poles topped with tarps for overhead shelter.
Photo by Garns
The outside latrine (built by Rosa Christophel and Kendra Hein)
Yes, we actually used it too!
Photo by Garns
Jozie Banas building a changing station attached to our "indoor" latrine.
Photo by Garns

This year my fellow colleague Dr. Alison Weisskopf, a paleo-botanist from the University of College London, joined us to take samples of organics, charcoal, and phytoliths and teach some of the students the process.
Dr. Alison Weisskopf instructing students how to "float" sediment samples.
Photo by Garns

Ellie Kremer scraping sediment off of a lithic found during excavation.
Photo by Garns
The floating process.
Photo by Garns

Part of archaeological field work includes learning how to properly excavate, screen for artifacts found in the sediment removed from the excavated sites, and analyze and record data.

Ellie Kremer, Mata, and myself screening for artifacts.
Photo by Garns
Jerred Schafer excavating Yavu 5.

Stephanie Zach taking field notes and profiling a finished Yavu.
Photo by Garns

Scott Solomon, Jozie Banas, and Ian Takaoka analyzing pottery collected in the field.

Monday, June 23, 2014

NKU Alumna Dr. Lindsay K. Hixon ('97) an Expert on U.S. Racial Composition Honored as 2014 Outstanding Alumna in College of Arts & Sciences



When The Washington Post, The New York Times, national policy makers, business consultants, or scholars from Harvard and beyond need up-to-date information on the ever-changing racial composition of the United States, to whom do they turn?
More than likely, it's 1997 NKU graduate Dr. Lindsay Hixson. Hixson is senior analyst in the racial statistics branch at the U.S. Census Bureau. Hixson analyzes race and ethnicity data, advises stakeholders, and researches strategies to improve how the Census Bureau collects and tabulates race and ethnic data to reflect the self-identities of the U.S. population.
Hixson earned her Ph.D. in sociology from