Arboreal Quadruped Lab

This is a lab I use in ANT 2511 – Human Species here at UCF. Briefly, the lab centers on student groups following an arboreal quadruped around campus for one hour. As they do so, they also record it’s movements and activities in 10-minute increments. Since UCF has not been overrun by primates (other than humans, of course), we use a proxy animal – the friendly neighborhood squirrel (eastern gray squirrel). It’s a fun exercise designed to give students a taste of primatology fieldwork. See below for more information and a sample lab worksheet.

A friendly UCF squirrel awaits eager students.

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Modeling & Simulating Storm Surge in Cedar Key

I first visited Cedar Key in 2005, during early research on Rosewood. A lot has changed since then. Some of this is the normal ebb and flow of a coastal town, some of it from increasing tourism, and some from the growing threat of sea level rise and storm surge. Much of my earlier research uses digital technologies to interpret archaeological materials. These same technologies support different forms of analysis. This post explores (very) preliminary work on the formal modeling and simulation of geophysical processes associated with storm surge, and specifically how this threatens Cedar Key’s archaeological and historical resources.

[Updated November 9, 2019 to include DualSPHysics work – see below]


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Interdisciplinary Research of Rosewood and Sumner (2019)

The second and final season of the Interdisciplinary Research of Rosewood and Sumner (IRRS) project took place during the summer months of 2019. This included four weeks of fieldwork during May and June which included excavation, ground penetrating radar (GRP) surveys, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) flights, an photogrammetry work. This work resulted in the recording of 6 new Florida Master Site File (FMSF) records and updates to 4 previously recorded ones. In addition, we completed filming for a 50-minute documentary on 15 years of fieldwork in Levy County. All work took place on privately-owned properties, made possible by the kind nature of many Levy County residents.

Summer 2019 work took place at 10 separate locations across several square miles.

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Interdisciplinary Research of Rosewood and Sumner (2018)

The first season of the Interdisciplinary Research of Rosewood and Sumner (IRRS) project began in August, 2018. This project is funded by Florida Historic Preservation Grant 19.h.sm.200.085. These grants are funded by Florida Division of Historical Resources. The goal of this project is to expand previous archaeological and historical research in Rosewood, Florida to include the neighboring community of Sumner. This first portion of fieldwork took place August 6 – 10, 2019. It focused on the site of Rosewood’s African American cemetery, currently located on private property.

Image of standing gravestones in Rosewood’s Black cemetery.

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3D Hominin Lab

This lab provides a ‘hands-on’ opportunity to explore hominin evolution using 3D models. I’ve been using a version of this lab since the fall semester of 2017 at the University of Central Florida. The lab is divided into two parts. The first portion requires students to explore 3D models of hominin fossils created and uploaded to Sketchfab. The second portion requires them to use their notes from these comparisons and complete a quiz (which can be offered in-class or online). The lab is designed specifically for introductory courses with high enrollments. My sections typically have between 150-300 students.


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Disaster Anthropology & HSOHP

Disaster Anthropology is a rapidly growing aspect of anthropology’s applied/engaged focus. This approach directs our attention to the ways risk and vulnerability are disproportionately experienced by cultures and societies during disaster events. It also offers ethnographically-based solutions to reconnecting local victims with non-local agencies before, during, and following such events (e.g., hurricanes, firestorms, earthquakes, reactor meltdowns). This post includes a web map and links to oral histories collected as part of my 2013 Disaster Anthropology course offered at Monmouth University, in preparation for me offering this course at the University of Central Florida in fall 2018. (more…)

Social Complexity: The Game!

I’m a long-time fan of games – card games, board games, and video games. I suppose this is an increasingly common thing as we live in a golden age for indie games. This is as true for board and card games as it is for video games. Recently, I began working on a game concept and design to simulate the ways human groups of differing social complexity might interact in time and space. Thus, Social Complexity: The Game was born. (more…)

IQ-GIS and Historical Archaeology

This post relates some thoughts on the combination of GIS and game engines for historical archaeology. This approach examines virtual world environments as a type of 3D GIS allowing users to move through space while simultaneously interacting with various data. This immersive, qualitative GIS (IQ-GIS) supports the display and interpretation of both qualitative and quantitative data. While a complete prototype is still some months away, here’s a sneak peak! This post also forces me to cogently express my thoughts for a few upcoming grant proposals.

3D Reconstruction of Fort Charles, Nevis
3D Reconstruction of Fort Charles, Nevis

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Using Virtual Archaeology to Teach Historical Archaeology

The use of digital technologies for visualizing past environments is experiencing something of a renaissance. This is due to dropping costs of hardware and an increase in the intuitive usability of 3D/virtual environments. The ability to deliver interactive content via the internet (a.k.a. Web 2.0) provides new ways of sharing research wider audiences. These developments also provide exciting pedagogical potentials. This post discusses how my teaching of historical archaeology benefits from these emerging technologies. Specifically, the use of a virtual world environment to explore historical architecture as described in James Deetz’s In Small Things Forgotten: An Archaeology of Early American Life.

The New England Saltbox House
The New England Saltbox House

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Pedagogy, Engaged Anthropology, and Zombies

I love zombies! Not only are zombies popular, but in the immortal words of Levi-Strauss, zombies “are good to think with.” Zombies stand (stagger?) as powerful metaphors supporting everything from emergency preparedness to invasive species education. Scholars draw on zombies as part of an engaged pedagogy to spark student interest. This includes Drezner’s Theories of International Politics and Zombies and Harman’s Zombie Capitalism: Global Crisis and the Relevance of Marx. I have also joined the horde by using the zombie apocalypse to teach geospatial analysis. Anthropologists have studied zombies for decades and I draw on this rich tradition as part of my freshman seminar to introduce students to anthropology with an exploration of zombies past, present, and future.

Zora Neale Hurston’s immortal photo of Felicia Felix-Mentor, a zombie from Haiti.

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