Friday, August 27, 2010

A Closer Look at this Summer's Section of Archaeology Intern

My name is Amanda Phatdouang. I am an Anthropology major and Near Eastern Studies Minor and 4th year, senior at University of California, Berkeley. I started my 12-week Diversity Internship at the State Museum of Pennsylvania’s Section of Archaeology in mid May. On my first day, I described my computer experience to Janet Johnson, my mentor. Little did I know that my technology skills and my “California” laid back style would be key to making the most out this challenging internship.

A few hours into my internship, I was producing maps to assist in the National Register nomination for the Shoop Site. I later spent the first two weeks of my internship on Adobe Photoshop working on maps, cataloguing books for the Archaeology Section library, helping Janet do a museum loan inventory at the Fort Augusta Museum and joining Dr. Kurt Carr on a trip to the Nesquehoning archaeological site.

At the beginning of June, I spent two weeks with Janet and Andrea Johnson working with a team of volunteers and employees from the Atwater Kent Museum in Philadelphia. It was a labor intensive collection rehousing project, in which we reboxed and rebagged over 1300 boxes. The collection contained artifacts from predominately historical archaeology sites all over the Philadelphia area. As the boxes shipped to the State Museum, I spent the next few weeks reading and searching for reports and publications about the collection’s corresponding archaeology projects. I also wrote a blog entry about the status of the collection. At the end of June, I went on another museum loan inventory with Janet to Waterford, Pa to the Fort Le Boeuf Museum. An exhibit project involved my producing a map of “The Journey Home” for the Tuscarora Indian exhibit at The State Museum.

During the final part of my internship, from the end of July until my last day in August, I worked on an Archaic period study, a projectile point typology project with Kurt Carr and Barry Kent. My task laid down preliminary work for compiling a reference collection for researchers to analyze point types from about 8,000-1,800 B.C I pulled points from 7 stratified sites including: 36Pe16, 36Pe61, 36Nm142. 36Cn164, 36Cn175, 36Nb58, and 36Ju104. I also attempted to identify depth and other provenience information for each projectile point by weaving through catalog databases, field records and excavation reports. . I had very little experience with archaeological sites and analyzing field records and reports and even Pennsylvania pre-history. However through the problems and difficulty, I learned more than I ever anticipated. During my final week, I also participated in floating soil from an archaeological site in Columbia containing Shenks Ferry Indian artifacts with Jim Herbstritt, Steve Warfel and a team of volunteers.

By the end of my 12 week internship, I traveled all over Pennsylvania. I traveled to Sunbury, Nesquehoning, Columbia, Philadelphia, Waterford/Erie and thanks to the many road trip “detours,” I’ve gone all over the Pennsylvania countryside and seen everything else in between. I worked on 2 archaeological sites, met 3 generations of State Museum Archaeology Senior Curators including Barry Kent, Steve Warfel and Kurt Carr, went to 2 forts (Augusta and Le Boeuf), handled countless artifacts, met many kind people from the museum like Sue Hanna and of course every Thursday I tasted what Harrisburg had to offer with Dr. Walter Meshaka. Kurt, Liz, Dave and especially Janet, thank you for the wonderful learning experience.
And as Janet might say, “Not bad for a California girl!”

For more information, visit or the Hall of Anthropology and Archaeology at The State Museum of Pennsylvania .

No comments:

Post a Comment