Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Developments in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Philosophy at NKU

The Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Philosophy at Northern Kentucky University now has a blog!  Check it out to find events and updates: http://nkusap.blogspot.com/  We also have a newsletter that captures some of what is going on in the Department.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Summer 2013 Field Research on Vanua Levu

Photo by Helena Gaar.

This summer I worked with a team of students and researchers on the Fijian island of Vanau Levu as part of my ongoing NSF supported field program. Helena and Justin Gaar accompanied the group and documented our experiences through video and film. Helena has created the new NSF REU Fiji website at: http://reu-fiji.org/.  Justin's videos will be posted there soon.

The shore at Nukubalavu, Natewa Bay, Vanua Levu, Fiji. Photo by S. Jones.
We camped on the peninsula of Nukubalavu and investigated the early occupation of the area via survey, mapping, excavation, and ethnoarchaeology. It was a challenging yet productive field season. I will post more information on the project findings here in the future.
Our camp at Nukubalavu. Photo by H. Gaar.

Mata from the Fiji Museum and Sharyn review a map as we made our way to Vanua Levu on a ship. Photo by H. Gaar.

A unit under excavation at Nukubalavu 1. Mata made this ladder so we could get in and out of the unit. Photo by H. Gaar.

Excavations on a rainy day at Yavu 1 and 2. Photo by H. Gaar.

After a hard day of work some of our group posed for a photo. Left to right: Serrin, Kelly, Katelyn, Yoonhee, Alea, Christel, Sharyn, Lauren, and Cat. Photo by H. Gaar.

Alea Rouse and Yoonhee Ryder excavation at J18, Nukubalavu 1.  Photo by S. Jones.

Jerred Schafer excavating at Yavu 1. Photo by H. Gaar.
Many people assume that doing archaeology in the Pacific Islands is some kind of beach vacation. While the pictures I have posted on the NSF REU Fiji Project website are beautiful, you can see that we are both filthy and wet the entire time. Living in a field camp with conditions that include no running water and lack of electricity is not necessarily a vacation. We worked long hours each day, excavating with trowels and sometime shovels in thick volcanic clay sediments. We screened the excavated dirt in a creek near the site and in the ocean.
Sharyn, Shelby, and Katelyn are screening in the creek at Nukubalavu 1. Photo by H. Gaar.

Jerred, Serrin, and Heather are filling buckets to backfill our excavations at the end of the field season. Photo by H. Gaar.

In camp we collected food and fire wood, cooked meals (including bread we baked in an earth oven), filtered rain water for drinking, and washed our dishes in the sea. We also watched our tents flood and then rot from the moisture in the air and from rain that came down in powerful sheets.

Justin cooking. Photo by H. Gaar.

Flesh. Photo by H. Gaar.
Sharyn and Phil analyzing archaeological invertebrates.

Katelyn holds a plate of shellfish that has been cleaned for identification and analysis.

We set up a small field lab in our camp and worked to analyze some of the archaeological material from our excavations. We identified shell fish and examined Lapita and Navatu period pottery.
The 2013 NSF REU Fiji Team.

Fire at night behind our camp. Photo by H. Gaar.

Stars through the coconut trees at Nukubalavu. Photo by H. Gaar.
To find more information about the NSF REU Fiji program check out the project website, come back to this blog for more updates, or contact Sharyn Jones at:
Highland Heights, KY 41099
email: joness33@nku.edu