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The Archive for The New Archaeology of the Mediterranean World Volume 2 (2011)

William R. Caraher University of North Dakota

New Archaeology of the Mediterranean World by William R. Caraher is licensed under a Creative Commons

New Archaeology of the Mediterranean World by William R. Caraher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License .

Table of Contents





Why the New Blog?




Googled Book Data and Byzantium




Old School Vacation in an Old School Motel




Christianization and Churches in the Peloponnese




A Good New Blog for the New Year




The Roots of Student Resistance




Digital Humanities and Digital Archaeology




Archaeology and Man -camps in Western North Dakota




Two quick thoughts on Paperless Archaeology




Teaching Graduate Historiography: A Final Syllabus




Digital Humanities and Craft




Archaeology, Method, and Inequality




Digitizing Theses on North Dakota




Denim, Gibson, and Archaeology




Retrieval, Content Mapping, and Student Study Practices




More Ambivalent Landscapes of Early Christian Corinth




More Ambivalent Landscapes of Corinth




A Proposal for a Low -cost Teaching Fellows Program




Some Thoughts on Unlocking the Gates




Teaching Historiography




Pots to People in Late Roman Cyprus




Some thoughts on Academically Adrift




More on Pots and People




Teaching Thursday Trifecta




Modern Abandonment, Squatters, and Late Antiquity




Simplicity, Minimalism, and the Ancient Ascetic





More than four reasons to teach more than four classes (sometimes)


  • 0.236065574 74


St. Ambrose and Milan


  • 0.079734219 76


Grado and Aquileia


  • 0.120401338 79


Visiting Justinian in Verona


  • 0.175675676 80


The Centrally Planned Buildings of Ravenna


  • 0.292517007 81


The Basilicas of Ravenna


  • 0.081911263 83


The Future of the Computer Lab


  • 0.701030928 86


Blogging and Archaeology: A Few Contributions


  • 0.097560976 89


Blogging and the Public Face of Archaeology


  • 0.132867133 91


Posters and the Scholarly Forum


  • 0.091549296 94


The Grammar of Excavation


  • 0.107142857 96


Blogging Archaeology and Comments


  • 0.125448029 98


Blogging for Publication in Archaeology


  • 0.107913669 100


Theory and Medieval Archaeology


  • 0.263537906 102


Producing Peasants from Pottery


  • 0.146520147 106


Three Observations about Publishing and the Blog


  • 0.225092251 109


A Catalogue of Cypriot Churches


  • 0.166666667 111


The Site of Pyla-Vigla on Cyprus


  • 0.097744361 114


The Bullarium Cyprium and the History of Medieval Cyprus


  • 0.222641509 116


Bruno Latour, Aramis, and Excavation


  • 0.166666667 118


Postcolonialism and Cricket on ESPN


  • 0.088122605 124


More on Academic Publishing and Blogs


  • 0.177606178 125


Bronze Age Redistribution


  • 0.135658915 127


More on the Bullarium Cyprium


  • 0.093385214 129


Practicing Prepared Procrastination




Five Things About Online Teaching




Convergence in a House Burial in Early Byzantine Sicily




Grand Forks Architecture for Graduate Students





Pompeii in the 21st Century Talk May 4




Blogging and Peer Review




The Architecture of Learning




Some Events and an Awards




The Great Strawman Massacre




Friday Varia and Quick Hits




The Fortifications of Athens




More on Polis Notebooks




In the Classical Tradition




The Archival Turn




Digital Pompeii and the Future of Archaeology




Periods and Peasants




Pompeii in the 21st Century Replay




Reflections on Teaching More than Four Classes




More on Peasants




Lists and Ranking of Archaeology Journals




Friday Quick Hits and Varia




Postcolonial Archaeology




Old and New Technologies




Twitter, Curation, and the UnMuseum




Summer Cyprus Reading List




Basket Handles like a Longaberger Party




The Poor Little Sherd




Job in Classics at University of North Dakota




Harmless, and very effective.




The Sling Pellets of Vigla




Five things that I learned in Cyprus this summer




The Church at E.F2





Anchorites in Grand Forks




The Angels of Miletus




Final Church Sketch of the E.F2 Basilica




Thesis Defense: Neoplantonism and Monotheism in Late Antique Rome




The Rough Roads of Corinth




A Neighborhood Church




Rough Draft: Liminal Time and Liminal Space in the Middle Byzantine Hagiography of Greece and the Aegean




Where I work




House for Sale




A Byzantine Roof




Three Things about Blackboard




Hybridity in Byzantine Archaeology




Methods, Questions, and Digital Archaeology




Friday Varia and Quick Hits




Archaeology as Remix




The Peirene Fountain




Teaching Thursday: Five Teaching Strategies




More on a Grand Forks Church




Five Easy Tools to Digitize Your Workflow




Friday Varia and Quick Hits








The Diolkos of David Pettegrew




Other Byzantine Bodies




Corinth’s Byzantine Countryside




Cyprus Research Fund Lecture 2011: Kostis Kourelis' Byzantium and the Avant Garde




Friday Quick Hits and Varia




Sampling the Byzantine Landscape





Thinking about Collaboration and Digital Hi story in Practice




Friday Varia and Quick Hits




Some Comments on Writing History in the Digital Age




Byzantium in Transition at the University of Cyprus




More on Byzantine Settlement




The Substance of the Syllabus




Friday Varia and Quick Hits




Byzantium and the Avant Garde Streamed LIVE on the Web




The Process of Christianization in the Greek Islands




Some Punk Archaeology




Trade and Exchange in the Eastern Mediterranean




More Archaeology of Man Camps: Some methodological and historical perspectives




Teaching Thursday: Teaching Writing




Guest Post: Using GIS to Document Archaeological Looting




Digital Humanities and Professional Advancement





<title>Why the New Blog?</title>



<pubDate>Sun, 19 Dec 2010 17:36:23 +0000</pubDate> <dc:creator>billcaraher</dc:creator> <guid isPermaLink="false"></guid>

This is the first post on the new blog!

For those of you interested in what will happen to the old blog (or Volume 1 as I think of it), go and check out <a href="">The Archive of the Archaeology of the Mediterranean World here</a>.

For those of you who are always looking to the future, I am sure some of you are wondering why in the world I would decide to inconvenience my daily readers, fragment my audience, and go through the trouble of creating a new blog.

Here are my initial thoughts:

  • 1. The weight of the past. The more I looked at the "first volume" of the Archaeology of the

Mediterranean World, the more I decided that I need to bring on iteration of the blog to a close and start again with a clean slate. After all, print publications regularly define separate volumes annually in a rather arbitrary format to define content. Blogs, of course, are the opposite. They tend to be massive, rambling, and undefined. I was satisfied with that for a while, but with each passing post, I felt greater and greater pressure to lend some continuity and coherence to my blog. I spent more and more time searching for earlier posts and linking to them or creating indexes around particular themes. The more that I did this, the more nervous I became about maintaining links within the blog to ensure a cohesive user experience. I imagined a future where the need to link to literally hundreds of earlier posts and ideas would exceed my ability to manage, so I decided just to start over. I am sure that I will continue to link back to posts on the earlier blog (now housed in "The Archive"), but I want to use the new blog to look ahead.

  • 2. My Tenure Application. As loyal readers know, I submitted my application for tenure and

promotion this fall. I mentioned the blog in passing in a space on my curriculum vitae for "non academic projects" (video, blogs, popular writing, et c.), but I think that I can say that it did not factor at all in the decision to award me tenure (or not as my proposal is still coursing through system). This was both gratifying and disappointing. After all, the blog represented a significant body of work associated closely with my professional life. Moreover, it did detract from time that I could have spent preparing material for teaching, research, or even service. I had hoped in some perverse way that the blog would inspire conversation or pique interest. It seems to have done neither. People know about the blog, and it even gets mentioned in the dry-as-dust introductions before academic talks, but no one cared. At all. So the second volume of this blog will proceed with that in mind. I will formally abandon my hope that a blog could at least generate some conversation about how we imagine ourselves as members of the academy and members of society. I can be more self-serving in the blog and write it without any "political" or professional goals.

  • 3. The need for fixity. I think part of the anxiety I came to feel about maintaining my blog and making

sure that it mattered was because I had come to think of it as a fixed thing (despite knowing and

sometimes saying otherwise). I saw its reassuring appearance on the screen, the networks of links, the connection between different media as girded about by an expectation of permanence. Maintaining these permanent places and connection (in an environment where such relationships are largely impossible!) was stressful and pointless. So wrenching the blog from this false expectation of permanence, doing violence to the various links (while still acknowledging that such connections did


exist), and disrupting the connection between various forms of media was a relief in that it reminded my that electronic transmedia texts like blogs are not ossified, but dynamic.

  • 4. Typepad. When I first started blogging, I really liked Typepad. It was different from the growing

legion of Blogger and Wordpress blogs. It featured nice design quirks and allowed me to edit (to the extent of my abilities) my CSS. I still like the statistics page (although I think it is fairly optimistic) and the way that it lets you manage comments and posts. On the other hand, the company was recently sold. I have increasingly found the prospects of migrating from my custom CSS (that feeds into my Google Analytics site) to a new theme or layout be daunting. I have found the detailed and sophisticated back end of the site to be increasingly onerous to navigate. For example, I couldn't figure out how to add my Twitter feed to the blog. And I already have a few other blogs in Since I was looking at some significant changes to my blog anyway, I decided to move to Wordpress to consolidate my blog empire.

  • 5. Who are my readers? The great thing about a blog with a substantial archive is that it become

increasingly visible to search engines. So each week more and more people (or bots of various kinds) visit my blog. While I like that my blog is visible and to some extent popular, I'd also like to get a true

metric of my daily readership.

  • 6. Boredom. Over the last few months, I've been a bit bored. So I decided to do something different

and shutting down and archiving the old blog provided me with a new challenge for my early morning

work hours.

Over the next few weeks, I'll be working to get this blog up and running. The holidays, travel, and the start of the new semester will both provide some content, but also some distractions for my blogging routine, but rest assured that I will continue to w rite just as regularly as with the old blog. It's the only way I know how to work.


<title>Googled Book Data and Byzantium </title>


and-byzantium/</link> <pubDate>Tue, 21 Dec 2010 13:50:52 +0000</pubDate> <dc:creator>billcaraher</dc:creator> <guid isPermaLink="false"></guid>

There is a good bit of buzz lately about the new <a href="">Google Ngram application</a> which allows anyone to do some basic data mining on the huge collection of Google books. I love simple to use applications, but like any scholar I am always suspicious that most applications that appear simple are, in fact, hiding deep-seated interpretive complexity. In other words, I am sure that this Google Ngram thing is problematic, but I haven't really figured out how and why. That being said, here are a couple of interesting Ngrams. The first looks at the frequency of the terms Late Roman (blue), Late Antiquity (red), Late Antique (green), Early Byzantine (yellow) in Google's collection of scanned books between 1900 and 2000.

Nothing makes you feel less special as a scholar than seeing your career as a the product of a 30 year trend in your particular area of specialty. I can also imagine the influence of two important books. A.H.M. Jones' <a href=" economic-and-administration-survey/oclc/503447597">Later Roman Empire</a> (1964) almost certainly produced the blip in the blue colored line in the late 1960s. P. Brown's <a href=" -of-late-antiquity-ad-150-750/oclc/19976956"> The World of Late Antiquity </a> (1972) correlates closely with the steep rise in the use of the term Late Antiquity in the first part of the 1970s. The University of California's monograph series, the <a href="">Transformation of the Classical Heritage</a> , would have further propelled the popularity of the terms Late Antiquity after its inception in 1981. <img style="display:block;margin-left:auto;margin-right:auto;" title="LateAntiquity.jpg" src="" border="0" alt="LateAntiquity.jpg" width="450" height="278" /> Another Ngram of interest is the comparison of Byzantine History (blue), Byzantine Architecture (red), and Byzantine Archaeology (green). I ran the analysis based on both words being capitalized. It is worth noting that the same analysis with only Byzantine being capitalized produced different results as the second graph shows. <img style="display:block;margin-left:auto;margin-right:auto;" title="Byzantium.jpg" src="" border="0" alt="Byzantium.jpg" width="450" height="279" /> <img style="display:block;margin-left:auto;margin-right:auto;" title="ByzantineLowerCase.jpg" src="" border="0" alt="ByzantineLowerCase.jpg" width="450" height="263" /> Isolating Byzantine Archaeology shows that it more or less follows the trends in the top graph. <img style="display:block;margin-left:auto;margin-right:auto;" title="ByzantineArchaeology.jpg" src="" border="0" alt="ByzantineArchaeology.jpg" width="450" height="279" /> The significant spike in the late 1920s and throughout the1930s finds parallels in the tie between the Avant Garde and Byzantium recently explored by <a href="http://www.atypon-">Kostis Kourelis in his 2007 </a> <a

href="http://www.atypon-">Hesperia</a> <a


article</a> (76, 391-442). The popularity of the term Byzantine Architecture from the mid-1960s may well represent the influence of Richard Krautheimer's contribution to the Pelican History of Art, <a href=" -christian-and-byzantine-architecture/oclc/523677">Early Christian and Byzantine Architecture</a> (1965) and the influence of his students. The spike in blue


line of Byzantine History most like reflects the influence of<span class="gl" style="white-space:normal;"> </span>G. Ostrogorski's <a href=" state/oclc/404147">History of the Byzantine State</a> (1957). These graphs, of course, only represent one aspect of the ebb and flow of popularity of these topics. Ngrams do not capture, from what I understand, data from Google Scholar, nor is it easy to com pare trends across languages. For example, to understand the boom in scholarship on Late Antiquity it would be instructive to compare the graph for the words "Late Antique" with the graph for the "Antiquité Tardive". <img style="display:block;margin-left:auto;margin-right:auto;" title="Antiquité Tardive.jpg" src="" border="0" alt="Antiquité Tardive.jpg" width="450" height="272" /> At the same time, the ability to query this data through time is really remarkable and the relative transparency of the application will invariably help scholars to link general trends to specific works. The potential for using this application in historiography classes, for example, is remarkable.


<title>The New Website at UND </title>



<pubDate>Wed, 22 Dec 2010 13:45:17 +0000</pubDate> <dc:creator>billcaraher</dc:creator> <guid isPermaLink="false"></guid>

Yesterday slightly after noon, the University of North Dakota rolled out its new website. I was on the "Web Oversight Committee" which played a role in the site's overall design and organization. Over the past 8 months, a team on campus took on the challenge of taking a design and making it a functional website. They have also worked to mate the site with a new approach to developing content for the web and to bring to the site a new comm itment to social media. The site clearly shows signs of haste with dead links, proofreading issues, and questionable functionality throughout. On the other other hand, the new site now has a content management system operating behind the scenes which will make it much easier to iron out cosmetic and functional issues on the fly. While I would have probably cleaned up some of the more glaring issues prior to

launch, it is difficult to stop progress (as they say). The hope is that by the end of the academic year the entire university will follow the same basic set of design cues with a much clearer set of global navigation menus. There is thought that this will promote a sense of shared identity. This re-design has marked probably the 15th major redesign to the university home page since it was introduced in 1996. The Internet Archive began collecting examples of the web page beginning in


<img style="display:block;margin-left:auto;margin-right:auto;" title="UND1998.jpg" src="" border="0" alt="UND1998.jpg" width="450" height="600" /> The clean appearance and good use of negative space in the first archived site carried onto the next few iterations where the most significant design adjustments tended to be in the header. <img style="display:block;margin-left:auto;margin-right:auto;" title="UND1999.jpg" src="" border="0" alt="UND1999.jpg" width="450" height="823" /> There were at least three different headers in 1999 alone:

<img style="display:block;margin-left:auto;margin-right:auto;" title="UND1999_2.jpg" src="" border="0" alt="UND1999_2.jpg" width="450" height="779" /> 2000 marked the first significant redesign to the page with less of an emphasis on negative space and design and more of an emphasis on functionality. I love the Geocities-esque UND-branded wall paper. The prominent menus hardly seem appropriate for any homepage, so at first I wondered whether the archived copy of the site was corrupt. <img style="display:block;margin-left:auto;margin-right:auto;" title="UND2000.jpg" src="" border="0" alt="UND2000.jpg" width="450" height="447" /> But the same basic design appears in 2001:

<img style="display:block;margin-left:auto;margin-right:auto;" title="UND2001.jpg" src="" border="0" alt="UND2001.jpg" width="450" height="589" /> By 2002, however, better design sense prevails. Even without the menu bars in the archived copy of the page, the basic design present a content in a far more accessible and aesthetically pleasing way:

<img style="display:block;margin-left:auto;margin-right:auto;" title="UND2002_1.jpg" src="" border="0" alt="UND2002_1.jpg" width="450" height="676" /> This version seems to have only been a stepping stone to a major redesign in late 2002. I am partial to the bold fonts, the simple header, and the nice use of negative white space, but perhaps the page lacked visual impact. It is possible to see the beginning of the three column layout that UND will continue to


adapt even until today. <img style="display:block;margin-left:auto;margin-right:auto;" title="UND2002_2.jpg" src="" border="0" alt="UND2002_2.jpg" width="450" height="426" /> The 2003 redesign was to be one of the most enduring. The white background is gone and replaced with a matte-grey. Images feature prominently on the page and a basic three column layout emerges from the more chaotic earlier designs. The link box to the left of the picture shows a continued interest in sacrificing some visual impact to functionality by using prime space for images as space for menus.

Also note that the bold and stark colors of the header have given way to subtle shading adding a bit of depth to the page. The logo is huge. <img style="display:block;margin-left:auto;margin-right:auto;" title="UND2003.jpg" src="" border="0" alt="UND2003.jpg" width="450" height="500" />

  • 2004 continued the basic design of 2003 but refined the space below the main picture to include links

to a wide range of content. The right column has become a bit cluttered compared to earlier versions of

the page suggesting that the main site was increasingly used as the basic point of access to daily information and web based applications like email and Blackboard. This was the home page when I started at UND so I have some sentimental attachment to it. <img style="display:block;margin-left:auto;margin-right:auto;" title="UND2004.jpg" src="" border="0" alt="UND2004.jpg" width="450" height="565" /> By 2005, perhaps people reconsidered the huge UND in the header of the page and improved bandwidth and server software made it easier to include snazzy images across the entire page and include a smaller image in the central column. Otherwise the basic design remained the same. <img style="display:block;margin-left:auto;margin-right:auto;" title="UND2005.jpg" src="" border="0" alt="UND2005.jpg" width="450" height="487" />

  • 2006 marked a major redesign in the page. The return menu items to the upper part of the page but

also return the image to the size that it was in 2004. The same three column design exists for the section "under the fold", but with a better use of negative space and less abrupt horizontal divisions. The menu on the left shows a slight change in priorities for the webpage. <img style="display:block;margin-left:auto;margin-right:auto;" title="UND2006.jpg" src="" border="0" alt="UND2006.jpg" width="450" height="389" /> The last major redesign prior to 2010 came in late 2008 or early 2009. The page has a slightly greater emphasis on content. It continues the basic three column design, but features content below a basic menu area which now divides the screen between image space and content space (the menu isn't visible in this screen shot). Note also the appearance of social media icons in the right column. <img style="display:block;margin-left:auto;margin-right:auto;" title="UNDHomePage.jpg" src="" border="0" alt="UNDHomePage.jpg" width="450" height="520" /> The new page uses the main image space more completely and keeps the menu bar as the division between the image and the rest of the page. Below the menu bar the long-standing, 3-column organization continues. Below that, however, is yet another set of column designed to bring social media to the home page. The struggle with UND branding on the page appears to continue. In the newest page the logo and name are smaller and appear on a transparent band the gives the site some depth and contrast (and saves our eyeballs from the onslaught of kelly green). <img style="display:block;margin-left:auto;margin-right:auto;" title="UND2010.jpg" src="" border="0" alt="UND2010.jpg" width="450" height="751" />


<title>Teaching Thursday: Writing Reflexive History </title>


writing-reflexive-history/</link> <pubDate>Thu, 23 Dec 2010 10:50:29 +0000</pubDate> <dc:creator>billcaraher</dc:creator> <guid isPermaLink="false"></guid>

Here is a brief description of my grading criteria for my Graduate Historiography Seminar. The main assignment is an experiment in reflexive historical analysis. The rather draconian requirements largely serve to prevent graduate student require course malaise. 10% Weekly Journals Each week you should write a reflective journal entry on the readings from that week. There is no fixed format for these journal entries. They should be between 1000-1500 words in length (although longer is certainly acceptable). They should be typed. Each journal should represent a series of book notes. Typically, these include the topic and thesis of the book, the major elements of the author’s argument, and some reflection on the book’s significance. My book notes tend to include some discussion of how the book could fit into my own research interests. I generally cite the book throughout my notes including page numbers in parentheses. These ensure that your notes are clearly tied to book. I will expect book notes to be submitted each week after class. Failure to have book notes completed will result in a 5 point deduction from your final grade. This means that you have to take preparation for class seriously. 60% Synthetic Analysis This analysis will draw upon your weekly journals as the “primary source” for a synthetic analysis of your own interpretations over the course of the semester. If, as Collingwood argued, “all history is the history of thought,” your goal is produce a history of your thought over the course of the semester. The weekly journals must stand as a foundation for your analysis. Invariably, your understanding of difficult texts, the relationship of these texts to your own research interests, and the relationship of these texts to other texts discussed over the course of the semester will inform your synthetic analysis to a considerable extent. Moreover, you may find the additional readings from the supplemental bibliographies provided for many of the weeks will help you produce a more effective synthetic understanding. The best papers with draw upon your archive of weekly journals as a source for exploring the texts and concepts. This means attempting to address these texts as both historical sources (with a logic of their own) and as texts with a relationship to other texts (classroom discussion, the books under discussion, and any other readings). As all historical writing, your analysis must have a thesis and a method for engaging the material from your archive of weekly journals. The best synthetic analysis will show a willingness to stretch outside of any narrow intellectual comfort zone. Since the class has an explicitly conceptual (or theoretical) foundation, you must address and critique the theoretical foundations for the discipline of history in your paper while at the same time demonstrate some ability to consider your own study of historiography in a historical way. This is a creative project, and I will reward in equal measure creativity and hard work. The final product must include both your archive of weekly journals (approximately 15,000 words) and a complementary synthetic analysis of around 10,000 words. 30% Class Participation For some reason, it has become popular to sit silent and stone-faced during the discussion of difficult texts. Many of the texts in this class will pose significant challenges and push us out of our comfort zone. Every graduate student in the class is expected to participate in the analysis, interpretation, and critique of the texts. Students who do not contribute to the work of the seminar will be penalized. While I will not grade individual performance in each class, I will maintain a running assessment of each student’s participation.


<title>Christmas Reading List</title>



<pubDate>Fri, 24 Dec 2010 11:55:35 +0000</pubDate> <dc:creator>billcaraher</dc:creator> <guid isPermaLink="false"></guid>

So instead of a quick hits and varia, I thought I'd share my admittedly random reading

list for this Christmas break. (And those of you who read my blog regularly, will see that many of these books were started weeks ago, but never finished!) W. Gibson, <a href="">Zero History</a> . New York 2010.<br />S. Freud, <a href=" -and-taboo-some- points-of-agreement-between-the-mental-lives-of-savages-and-neurotics/oclc/223102">Totem and Taboo</a> . New York 1952.<br />C. Li and J. Bernoff, <a


technologies/oclc/172980082">Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies</a> . Cambridge, MA 2008. <br />G. Blix, <a href=" -paris-to-pompeii-french-romanticism-and-the-cultural- politics-of-archaeology/oclc/475362530">From Paris to Pompeii : French romanticism and the cultural politics of archaeology</a> . Philadelphia 2009. Happy Christmas Eve and Merry Christmas!!!!!


<title>Polis Notebooks</title>


<pubDate>Mon, 27 Dec 2010 14:05:28 +0000</pubDate> <dc:creator>billcaraher</dc:creator> <guid isPermaLink="false"></guid>

Happy Holidays to all my readers. Over the last few days, I've spent some quality time with the field notebooks that describe the excavation of site <a href="">E.F2 at the site of Polis on Cyprus</a>. The project's directors at Princeton graciously scanned all the notebooks making it easy to do basic research on the site from a laptop computer. By the time we get to Polis in the summer, our plan is to have parts of the notebooks transcribed into a database so that we can focus our relatively limited time on site on documenting more thoroughly the finds, architecture, and stratigraphic relationships visible in Cyprus. <img title="0001.jpg" src="" border="0" alt="0001.jpg" width="100" height="137" /><img title="0001.jpg" src="" border="0" alt="0001.jpg" width="100" height="125" /><img title="0001.jpg" src="" border="0" alt="0001.jpg" width="100" height="119" /> <img title="0001.jpg" src="" border="0" alt="0001.jpg" width="100" height="125" /><img title="0001.jpg" src="" border="0" alt="0001.jpg" width="100" height="126" /><img title="0001.jpg" src="" border="0" alt="0001.jpg" width="100" height="127" /><img title="0001.jpg" src="" border="0" alt="0001.jpg" width="100" height="126" /> <img title="0001.jpg" src="" border="0" alt="0001.jpg" width="100" height="123" /><img title="0001.jpg" src="" border="0" alt="0001.jpg" width="100" height="125" /><img title="0001.jpg" src="" border="0" alt="0001.jpg" width="100" height="126" /><img title="0001.jpg" src="" border="0" alt="0001.jpg" width="100" height="128" />


<title>Old School Vacation in an Old School Motel</title>


an-old-school-motel/</link> <pubDate>Thu, 30 Dec 2010 16:27:14 +0000</pubDate> <dc:creator>billcaraher</dc:creator> <guid isPermaLink="false"></guid>

My lovely wife and I have spent the last few days at the Postcard Inn in St. Pete Beach, Florida. The motel is a vintage 1950s era hotel with rooms arranged around a central courtyard and swimming pool. Since I am officially on vacation, I will make only a few little observations. The rooms are small! So I can only assume people in the 1950s must have been much smaller or taken up less space. I've been fortunate enough to stay in quite a few nice hotels over the last few years and almost without exception the rooms were far larger than I needed to do what it was that I was doing at the hotel (mostly sleeping and showering). The pink tiles in the bathroom are just a bonus! <img style="display:block;margin-left:auto;margin-right:auto;" title="Room.jpg" src="" border="0" alt="Room.jpg" width="450" height="337" /> The arrangement around the courtyard assumes that people want to interact with one another. The rooms lack private balconies. Instead the focal point of the motel is public, communal space. <img style="display:block;margin-left:auto;margin-right:auto;" title="Courtyard2.jpg" src="" border="0" alt="Courtyard2.jpg" width="450" height="337" /> <img style="display:block;margin-left:auto;margin-right:auto;" title="Lobby.jpg" src="" border="0" alt="Lobby.jpg" width="450" height="337" /> Finally, the hotel lobby has a polished concrete floor. These are great archaeological objects because no matter how hard you polish them, they preserve some evidence for the past organization of the space. The floors shows at least two tile patterns, the line of a now destroyed wall, and the general organization of the various organizations of the lobby. So the nostalgic theme is carried from the organization of the motel space (and its social implications) to the very physical fabric of the architecture. The photos are by my wife.


<title>A Teaching Sabbatical</title>



<pubDate>Mon, 03 Jan 2011 13:29:09 +0000</pubDate> <dc:creator>billcaraher</dc:creator> <guid isPermaLink="false"></guid>

This semester I am going to do something that I haven't done for 6 years: I am going to teach 4 classes. I did this one semester when was at the University of North Dakota on a one year contract. Unlike that year, however, this semester I will teach 4 different preps and possibly run some kind of digital/public history practicum. Traditionally, sabbatical give faculty a time to focus on research and writing. I feel like I write a good bit and have a strong research focus most semesters, so I am turning the traditional idea of a sabbatical on its head (in a playful way) and using to justify spending a semester focusing on teaching. To do this, I shifted the emphasis in my contract heavily to teaching. Next, I am going to teaching a range of courses involving different classroom environments, subject matter, and pedagogical strategies. The plan is for the different course types to provide a kind of total- teaching work out where I am made to switch from one kind of environment to the next, sometimes on the same day. I imagine that this will help me develop "flexible habits of mind" the same way the circuit training develops different muscle groups. History 101: Western Civilization - 60-80 students, asynchronous online course with podcast lectures and a range of primary source and secondary source reading assignments. The course is relatively writing intensive for a 100 level course with various assignments totaling 6000-8000 words. This course focuses on both basic content and a generic introduction to the methods used in the humanities and social sciences. History 240: Historians Craft - 20-30 students, small classroom environment with a blend of lecture, discussion, and primary source reading assignments. The course will have a midterm exam and require a handful (5000 words) of short and highly polished writing assignments. The course will focus on the history of the discipline of history and its methodology. The first 7 weeks are a lectures with discussions of primary sources and the second seven weeks are a practical seminar in writing a formal, professional research proposal. History 502: Graduate Historiography. 10-15 students in a seminar environment. The course will require weekly writing an longer, synthetic paper for a total of 20,000 - 25,000 words. The focus of the course will be on contemporary approaches to the study of the past. Classics 202: Second Year Latin II. 10-15 students in a language readings course. This course will focus on weekly reading assignments first in Livy and then in Virgil as well as lectures and readings about Augustan culture and society. The focus of the course will be on daily preparation, but it will also include at least 2 exams and a short (2000 word) paper. Digital/Public History Practicum. 1-3 students. This course will focus on the creation of a digital archive of M.A. thesis written by graduate students in the department of history over the past 100 years. The goal of the course is a proof-of-concept level digital archive with the interpretative texts, a post on the project at a local forum focusing on graduate research, and a formal proposal outlining the requirements for creating a comprehensive digital archive of all M.A. theses. I fortify my emphasis on teaching I also want to incorporate a number of reflexive activities in my courses. Over the past few days, I've blasted through <a href=" -dont-


it-means-for-the-classroom/oclc/255894389">Daniel Willingham's </a> <a href=" -dont-students-like-school-a-cognitive-scientist-answers-


Don't Students Like School</a> <a href=" -dont-students-like-


the-classroom/oclc/255894389"> (Jossey Bass 2009)</a> and was pleased to see that he endorsed several

of my own efforts to improve my teaching.


First, I was to get back to keeping my teaching diary. I did this rather religiously for the first few years teaching. In fact, it became the basis for my first Teaching Thursday blog posts. Over the last few years, however, I've stopped maintaining it regularly and have, as a result, lost a bit of resolution on the effectiveness of my classroom activities, assignments, and discussion prompts. So with my teaching sabbatical, I plan to make time each week (if not each day) to be reflective on what works and what doesn't work in my classroom. Second, I need to be more active seeking peer critique of my classroom performance. I am lucky enough to have some outstanding colleagues who are willing to take the time to visit my classes and provide some important critiques on my performance. Finally, I want to set some goals for the semester in terms of student performance, retention, assessment, and my own teaching reviews. I have to go through my reviews from last semester and crunch the numbers from the last few semesters to determine where I can realistically improve my performance over the course of a single semester. The hope is that a teaching sabbatical can, like a research sabbatical, set my teaching on a sound foundation for the future.


<title>Christianization and Churches in the Peloponnese </title>


churches-in-the-peloponnese/</link> <pubDate>Tue, 04 Jan 2011 13:50:37 +0000</pubDate> <dc:creator>billcaraher</dc:creator> <guid isPermaLink="false"></guid>

I was pretty excited to see Rebecca Sweetman's new article, <a


Christianization of the Peloponnese: The Topography and Function of Late Antique Churches" in the </a> <a


al of Late Antiquity</a> <a href=""> 3 (2010), 203-261</a> yesterday afternoon. The article is a sweeping and careful consideration of the 130-odd Early Christian churches in the Peloponnesus. This is a topic near and dear to my heart as these churches made up the majority of buildings that I studied in my dissertation. In fact, I think Sweetman's article represents the most significant contribution to our study of these buildings as participants in the Christianization process since my dissertation appeared in 2003. In almost every way (as one might suspect), Sweetman's article is a more refined, if more conservative perspective, on the role of churches in the spread of Christianity throughout southern Greece. She begins with the observation that scholars have tended to approach churches from the perspective of architectural development rather than with an eye toward their socio-political significance. When scholars have turned to social or political considerations, they have tended to see churches as evidence for the large scale contraction of Late Antique society in the 6th and 7th century usually as a result of the Slavic invasions documented in the Chronicle of Monemvasia. Sweetman argues that we need to free our interpretations from the constraints of "hindsight bias" or "creeping determinism" to reveal the interpretative potential for these buildings. This was a reassuring paragraph to read in part because I have offered similar (but by no means identical) arguments in <a href="">a recent publication in the</a> <a href="http://www.springe"> International Journal of Historical Archaeology</a> . With her arguments grounded in something of a theoretical foundation, Sweetman goes on to offer observations on the relationship between the spread of Christian architecture and the spread of Christianity. She argued, plausibly, that the dates of Christian churches show that Christianity spread from north to south in the Peloponnese and from coastal areas to more remote inland areas. While we should always be cautious in accepting the published dates of these Early Christian buildings (if we've learned anything from folks like the Director of Corinth Excavations, Guy Sander, who has relentless questioned of established chronologies), the general pattern of gradual expansion from the more densely populated and "important" coastal centers in along the northern coast of the Peloponnese (Corinth, Patras, Argos, et c.) to the less densely populated and less well-connected regions of the southern coast of Greece seems almost intuitive. In fact, we know that Byzantines made the same assumptions about the spread of Christianity; in the Life of St. Nikon , we learn that the Mani in the far southwestern corner of the Peloponnese, was still un-Christianized in the 10th century. It is difficult to know whether this is true or not, but it conforms to a long-standing trope that more remote areas remained pagan longer. Of course, remote areas tend to have less monumental architecture almost be definition. So, if there is a rough equivalence between monumental architecture and the spread of Christianity, remote areas will always present less evidence for religious change. Finally, scholars have spent less time looking for monuments in remote areas of Greece so there might be another kind of bias present in Sweetman's work related to the priorities of archaeological investigation. Despite these potentially problematic issues in her analysis, her general point stands as plausible. Urban areas and their territories likely manifest Christianity earlier than rural areas. (Her arguments for the relationship between pagan monuments and Early Christian monuments


likewise represents a plausible and well-considered interpretations. There is little evidence for the large scale conversion of temples to churches across all of Greece. It is likely that the relationship between the two religious perspectives was, as Sweetman argues, "inconsistent" and highly localized.) Sweetman's arguments for how churches actually spread Christianity were somehow less satisfying. On the one hand, her work shows a strong command over the architectural and archaeological evidence for churches in the Peloponnese. The greatest weakness of my dissertation is that I let theory (at best, and imagination, at worst) dictate my interpretation to a significant extent. Sweetman's work remains firmly grounded in the archaeological evidence and takes few speculative leaps. Her discussion of baptisteries, for example, emphasizes how the baptistery buildings tend to have structured relationships with the main sacramental areas of the churches allowing the newly baptized to move, probably in a highly-ritualized way, from baptism to the more sacred space of the church itself. (She also makes the interesting observation that baptisteries are less common in the southern Peloponnese and suggests that this may reflect a different ritual or type of baptismal architecture there. As an alternative consistent with Sweetman's general arguments, it may be that by the later date of conversion in the southern Peloponnesus, baptism had come to occupy a somewhat less ritually-central place to the life of the community). The interior arrangement of space within the churches was likewise treated with the same careful, if conservative, approach. Sweetman argued that the diversity of interior arrangement may well reflect the different ritual needs and tastes of local communities responsible for constructing the church buildings. The variations between churches ensured that these buildings could represent the unique character of each community and stand out as distinct markers of identity. A catalogue of Peloponnesian churches dating to between the late-4th and late-7th centuries takes up the final twelve pages of her article. This catalogue will be a boon to anyone interested in these buildings. The catalogue is necessarily brief, but nevertheless presents a nice summary of the features and setting of each church and provides some basic references. Yiannis Varalis catalogue remains the gold standard for basic descriptions of churches in Illyricum Orientalis (although it is a dissertation at the University of Thessaloniki rather than the University of Athens as in footnote 40) and, in a pinch, <a href=" greece/oclc/59019454">my dissertation catalogue </a>provides an English language alternative

(although, it has too many little mistakes to be used without a critical eye). I do have a few little issues with the article. One is not the author's fault at all. For some reason some of the footnotes "appeared" behind some of the images. I'll admit to being vain. I discovered this as I was searching for any reference to my dissertation only to find it behind figure 5!! I also was disappointed to see so relatively little Greek scholarship in the footnotes. For example, <a href=" -palaiochristianike-basilike-tes-mesogeiakes-lekanes-



ioustinianou/oclc/38085384">Orlandos' massive contribution</a> to the study of Early Christian architecture did not appear (from what I could tell) in the footnotes. Very little of Demetrios Pallas' later work appeared. These sometimes obscure articles make a significant contribution to how we understand the relationship between liturgy and space within Early Christian churches. I do not always accept his arguments, but these articles are the point of departure for any study of ritual in the context of Early Christian Greece. <a href=" ellados/oclc/78472842">Volanakis nice, if now slightly outdated catalogue of Early Christian baptisteries in Greece </a>was also omitted. Some of these oversights probably relate to the nature of the publication - after all, it was an article - but I would have liked to see more of my familiar Greek "friends" in the footnotes and the texts. When so many western archaeologists were digging through Byzantine and Late Roman layers looking for the Classical foundations of Western culture, Greek scholars were doing the tough work of excavating, documenting, and curating Early Christian and Byzantine monuments.


<title>A Good New Blog for the New Year</title>


the-new-year/</link> <pubDate>Wed, 05 Jan 2011 13:22:47 +0000</pubDate> <dc:creator>billcaraher</dc:creator> <guid isPermaLink="false"></guid>

I think that there are some important things afoot in the Late Antique and Byzantine blogging community. Not only is the Byzantine Studies Association of North America looking to enhance its web presence, but the venerable David Pettegrew appears to have made a serious commitment to blogging his ongoing research on all things Corinthian. <a href="">Check out his blog here</a>. Most recently, his blog has featured translations of Niketas Ooryphas dragging his fleet over the Isthmus in the 9th century. Apparently he was an admiral in the Byzantine navy who was tasked with the suppressing the Arab navy that had held Crete since the 820s. David took the time to translate <a href=" -portages-the-isthmus-and-exacts-fierce- vengeance/">the text from Theophanes Continuatus </a>that describes the dragging of Niketas' navy over the Isthmus and, few days later, supplemented this translation with<a href=" -ooryphas-transfers-his-fleets-skylitzes- kedrenos-editions/"> translations of related texts from Kedrenos and Skylitzes</a>. I'll offer three random observations on these texts:

  • 1. Baptism and the Flesh. At the conclusion of all three texts Niketas tortures apostate Christians

captured from the Cretan fleet by flaying them alive or by dipping them in kettles of boiling pitch.

Niketas explained the former punished by "saying that this skin that was separated from them was not their own." The latter had obvious parallels with Christian practices of immersion. In both cases the spiritual rite of baptism was completely inverted and positioned as a physical ritual.

  • 2. Nostaligia in 9th century in Greece. Niketas actions fit into a larger pattern of nostalgic behavior in

9th century Greece. By dragging his fleet across the Isthmus, Niketas re-enacted the heroic deeds of earlier admirals. In this way, they remind me, broadly, of the work of Paul of Monemvasia which

looked back to traditions of the desert fathers to edify residents of his Peloponnesian city. They also remind me of the deeds of another Niketas who wrote the <a


n%2Ftalbch4.pdf&amp;rct=j&amp;q=Theoktiste%20Lesbos&amp;ei=s20kTaeeM o6tngef6Jy-


1uROszornlQ&amp;cad=rja">Life of Theoktiste of Lesbos</a> blending the Early Christian story of

Mary of Egypt with references to Homer, Thucydides, as well as the Early Christian Church Fathers.

  • 3. Blogged Translations. David and I have talked a bunch about blogging lately, and our conversations

have focused on the idea that our jobs as academic is to create and disseminating knowledge. Blogs (as short hand for any online, self-published, environment) make it easy to distribute texts that fall awkwardly at the margins of traditional academic correspondence. Translations are a perfect example of these kinds of texts that are not substantial or analytical enough to fit into a peer review publication, but nevertheless play a key role in the study of Ancient and Medieval society. David's blog is a great example of how a scholar can disseminate knowledge that might otherwise be lost in a peer-reviewed, final publication.


<title>The Roots of Student Resistance</title>



<pubDate>Thu, 06 Jan 2011 14:14:35 +0000</pubDate> <dc:creator>billcaraher</dc:creator> <guid isPermaLink="false"></guid>

As readers of this blog know, I am fascinated by the roots of student resistance. In general, I have argued that student resistance to the industrialized model of higher education derives from political and economic foundations of the university. In short, students don't want to be good citizens or cogs in the capitalist, industrial machine and it's our job as faculty to force students into taking up their places in the community. Pretty bleak, isn't it? (For some archival posts see <a href=" -thursday-more-on- student-resistance/">here</a>, <a href=" -detroit-and-student- resistence/">here</a>, <a href=" thursday-grading-and-resistance/">here</a>, and <a href=" -culture-and-history-as- craft/">here</a>. I was pretty happy, then, to read over Christmas break <a href="


what-it-means-for-the-classroom/oclc/255894389">Daniel Willingham's </a> <a

href=" -dont-students-like-school-a-cognitive-scientist-answers-


Don't Students Like School: A cognitive scientist answers questions about how the mind works and what it means for the classroom</a> <a href="


the-classroom/oclc/255894389">. (Jossey-Bass 2009)</a>. My brother who works in the North Carolina public school system got a copy of the book for Christmas and it seemed like something that I should read, so I Kindled it. Willingham's basic argument is that students don't like school because the brain is designed to avoid thinking. He proposed a simple model for thought with two main parts: a working memory where awareness and thinking take place and a long -term memory where factual and procedural knowledge reside. To simplify it further, our working memory is where we think and our long-term memory is where we store the information and operations upon which thinking depends. When human action is optimized, it draws almost entirely on stored procedures and facts in long-term memory. This is why such basic acts as driving or playing a sport or even just walking require relatively little thought. These activities depend very little on working memory. School work, in contrast, tends to draw heavily on working memory and the more that we use our working memory, the more frustrating tasks become. The goal then of a good classroom exercise is the balance the use of the working memory with the use of the long-term memory and thereby balance the frustrating and sub-optimal thinking part of the brain with the optimized, memory functions that allow most of us to navigate successfully through everyday life. Willingham argues that many of the typical assignments in schools push the working memory too hard and this leads to unsuccessful results in problem solving activities and frustration. Working memory work is hard work! This is not to say that working memory work can't be rewarding. In fact, Willingham suggests that the move from working memory to long-term memory is crucial to make learning effective. Moreover, successfully solving problems with working memory does generate a feeling of pleasure. So there are incentives for students and teachers alike to manage effectively the use of working memory. At the same time, Willingham suggests that the capacity of our working memory to manipulate new ideas, facts, procedures, and objects and combine them for thought is rather fixed. Our long-term memory may well be more flexible. Thus the goal of teaching is to push as much as possible into long-


term memory in order to free up space in working memory for the manipulation of new ideas. Willingham's use of spatial metaphors (e.g. working memory has a maximum amount of "space") makes these arguments quite clear. Having established his basic model for cognition, Willingham spends a good bit of time talking about how to move knowledge from working memory to long term memory without boring students. When students lose interest in material, the teaching process stops. At the same time, creating a rich and powerful long-term memory requires constant and, to some extent, repetitive practice. Students who have better background information on a topic (which Willingham places in long -term memory), for example, have improved reading comprehension skills. Expertise and the ability to improvise and problem solve come from the ability to lean on long-term memory factual information and models to test hypothesis and to free up working memory for the manipulation of new ideas, facts, and experiences. Willingham's model for learning paralleled my experiences working with students in Latin over the past few years in Latin Friday Morning. Many of the students who join me for coffee and Latin on Fridays have less the thorough knowledge of the word endings, forms, and paradigms central for understanding the Latin language. As a result, they spend most of our time struggling to identify parts of speech (at worst) or cases, tenses, and potential functions of words (at best). They do not seem to be able both to identify the words and to process the relationships between the words and other words in the sentence. And understanding the relationship between words in a sentence is essential to reading. The reason for this, according to Willingham's model of cognition, is that students overload their working memory with the almost innumerable variables present in a single sentence because they have not pushed any of the basic factual knowledge (and here we really mean basic word paradigms) into their long-term memory. The goal of improving their ability to read Latin, then, is to expand the content of their long-term memory freeing up working memory space for the difficult process of reading a foreign language. To return, then, to the idea of student resistance, Willingham's model of cognition places student dislike for school at the intersection of biology and pedagogy. The relentless pressure exerted on the working memory by the sometime ham -fisted tendency to expose students to problem solving exercises which go far beyond the resources available to them in their long-term memory. At the same time, the brain's desire to work at the lowest level possible offers biological push back against both teaching and learning. Willingham notes that emotionally positive experiences with content and processes contribute to the development of the long-term memory and these positive experiences tend to derive from measure use of working memory and incremental improvements in long-term memory resources.


<title>Varia and Quick Hits</title>

<link> -and-quick-



<pubDate>Fri, 07 Jan 2011 12:38:29 +0000</pubDate> <dc:creator>billcaraher</dc:creator> <guid isPermaLink="false"></guid>

It's a cold and dark Friday morning, but some quick hits and varia will make it seem

like spring.

John Wallrodt's Paperless Archaeology promises to be a must read blog for folks interested in digital workflow in archaeology. Wallrodt is one of the leaders in the digital archaeological movement among Mediterranean archaeology and designed many of the processes that powered Steven Ellis's famous use of iPads at Pompeii. (Here is <a href="">a link to the Apple story</a>, <a href=" and-microhistory/">my response</a>, and <a href=" latest/142-ipads2010.html">something from Ellis's Pompeii project site</a>.) <a href="">Here's something short on using the iPad in the management classroom</a>. This is <a href=" greeks-ancient-language-survives-2174669.html">a neat little story about the dialect used by some Greek speakers in Turkey</a>. Apparently, Greek speakers near Trabzon still use the infinitive! Here is <a href=" gap/">an interesting blog post</a> that considers <a href=" -Online.aspx">a (somewhat, but not very) recent report from the Pew Research Center</a> about how the proliferation of relatively inexpensive mobile internet devices promises to make access to government information (and data) accessible to more people. This, in turn, holds the potential for breaking down the "digital divide" that still follows along social and economic divisions within society. The short blog post suggests that breaking through this digital divide may have important implications for teaching. <a href="">Here's an article from Dissent that asks the question: are English departments killing the humanities?</a> <a href="">Bleak times are getting less bleaker for historians according to the American Historical Association</a>. If you are going to the Archaeological Institute of America's annual meeting and really interested in Corinthian things, David Pettegrew provides <a href=" -at-the-archaeological-institute-of-america- january-2011/">a quick guide to papers on Corinthian topics</a>. <a href="">Kostis Kourelis is blogging again</a>! And (via Kostis) here is<a href=""> a link to a YouTube versions of Penn Museum's "famous" What in the World? television show</a>. (Let's try to will Kostis to blog on it!) <a href="">Here's a digital copy of Mark Poster's </a> <a href="">Marx, Foucault, and History</a> . (Cambridge


I am still fascinated by ruins, abandonment, and urban decay (even though these themes are getting a bit tired). <a href=" detroit#/?picture=370173054&amp;index=0">Here is another gallery on abandoned buildings in Detroit</a>. And here is <a href="">a story on abandoned stretches of the Paris M etro</a>. <a href="">I don't want to talk about this at all</a>, but <a href="


11/content/current/story/495801.html">I'm really happy to hear that Cricket Australia in not in crisis</a>. What I am listening to: <a href="">Louis Mackey and Dr. Quandry, </a> <a href=" - dioscuri">Dioscuri</a><span style="font-style:normal;">, and Charles Mingus, </span>The Black Saint and Lady Sinner<span style="font-style:normal;">.</span> <span style="font-style:normal;">What I am reading (and how did I never read this book earlier?): D. Hayden, </span><a href=" history/oclc/31077172">The Power of Place: Urban Landscapes as Public History</a><span style="font - style:normal;">. (MIT 1995).</span> </ul> Some good football this weekend. Go Eagles!


<title>Digital Humanities and Digital Archaeology</title>


digital-archaeology/</link> <pubDate>Mon, 10 Jan 2011 13:07:56 +0000</pubDate> <dc:creator>billcaraher</dc:creator> <guid isPermaLink="false"></guid>

It's been pretty interesting to watch (from a safe distance) the little storm that has

come out of a recent MLA session on the history and future of digital humanities. The eye of the storm seems to have been <a href=" humanities-triumphant/30915">a post on the </a> <a


triumphant/30915">Chronicle</a> <a href=" mla-digital-humanities-triumphant/30915">'s Brainstorm blog by William Pannapacker</a>. Pannapacker argued that the scholars who identify themselves as digital humanists have become an even more exclusive and sometimes cliquish group over the past few years with the senior figures in the

group venerated as gods. He is not entirely clear how this has occurred but he seems to suggest that this trend marks the end of the grass roots days and usher in a new, more exclusive and structured field of digital humanities. As one can imagine, Pannapacker's reaction to the panel has stirred up some conversation in the <a href="">blogosphere</a> and across <a href="">Twitter</a>. On some level, his argument simply places digital humanities in the specific institutional context of the modern, industrial university. As disciplines and sub-disciplines develop, they become more specialized as a means of justifying their position within the university structure which continues to privilege areas of study that produce distinct and discrete types of knowledge. In short, some of the perceived exclusivity of the digital humanities "movement" is almost certainly a produce of practitioners drinking their own kool-aid; to get recognized in the academy an area of student needs boundaries. Digital archaeology provides an interesting contrast. While digital humanities has become a vibrant sub-field, digital archaeology remains a bit of a orphan in the discipline of archaeology. Many archaeologists use digital tools in their research, there is <a href="">a conference</a> and <a href="">a journal</a> dedicated (to some extent) to projects that make innovative use of digital tools, and there are vibrant and ongoing conversations among scholars who use digital tools, but these practices have never crystalized into the call for expanded numbers of academic positions dedicated to the approach (in fact, I can't specifically recall ever seeing a job description for a tenure track position in digital archaeology). It also seems like the digital archaeology community is far less exclusive than Pannapacker describes the digital humanities crowd. There are certainly some individuals who stand apart in the expertise, experience,

and theoretical sensitivities (you know who you are



but as a rule, the community <a

href="">seems distinctly low -grid</a>. It may be valuable to contrast Pannapacker's observation with <a href=" -is-cultural-criticism -in-the-digital-humanities/">the paper given by Alan Lui at the same panel</a>. Lui argues that digital humanities has not quite made the leap from vibrant subfield to a leading field in the humanities. He seems to suggest that the commitment to technically demanding projects that involve massive quantities of data or specialized tools has perhaps cut digital humanities off from the pressing, cultural questions central to almost every discipline within the humanities. By embracing technical issues at the expense of the larger project of cultural criticism digital humanities runs the risk of isolating itself further from other areas of study in the humanities. While this would certainly contribute to maintaining digital humanities in a exclusive position in the academy (as people how know how to do things), it also runs the risk of isolating digital humanists in

an area where unlimited growth is not necessarily guaranteed. Digital archaeology, in contrast, seems to include a significant number of scholars who are approaching archaeological, historical, and methodological problems in fundamentally similar ways to non-digital


archaeologists (if such people exist). Digital archaeologists might have different methodological commitments and almost certainly have more robust technical knowledge, but ultimately they seem to be working on the same project as the rest of us dirt and boot archaeologists. At least this is how things seem in my sub-field of Mediterranean archaeology.


<title>Archaeology and Man-camps in Western North Dakota</title>


camps-in-western-north-dakota/</link> <pubDate>Tue, 11 Jan 2011 13:15:16 +0000</pubDate> <dc:creator>billcaraher</dc:creator> <guid isPermaLink="false"></guid>

North Dakota recorded a 4.7% increase in population in the 2010 census. Most of these new residents appeared in the western counties of North Dakota and particularly Williams, Montrail, and McKenzie counties. You can check out <a href="">the basic statistics here</a> or check out the map below. Note that for North Dakota "below average" is really quite exceptional. The two "high growth" counties are Burleigh and Cass where Fargo and Bismarck are located. <img style="display:block;margin-left:auto;margin-right:auto;" title="NewImage.jpg" src="" border="0" alt="NewImage.jpg" width="422" height="199" /> The growth in population in the western counties is primarily tied to the North Dakota oil boom and particularly the recent efforts to extract oil from the Brakken and Three Forks oil fields. For some basic information on these fields check out <a href="">the Bakken Blog </a>or <a href="">the wikipedia page</a>. For <a href="">a live GIS map, check out the North Dakota Oil and Gas Division</a>, or check out the more basic map below:

<img style="display:block;margin-left:auto;margin-right:auto;" title="shaleoil1.jpg" src="" border="0" alt="shaleoil1.jpg" width="450" height="582" /> The boom in oil production in western North Dakota (and presumably Eastern Montana and southern Saskatchewan) has led to significant problems with housing. The community of Williston and outlying area, for example, has found it impossible to accommodate wide range of people who have come to work in the oil fields or as engineers or other support. As a result, these areas have experienced a building boom. Note in the map below that North Dakota is one of the few states with a positive number of housing starts in the last year:

<img style="display:block;margin-left:auto;margin-right:auto;" title="2009usmapbystatepercentages.jpg"


border="0" alt="2009usmapbystatepercentages.jpg" width="450" height="347" /> This map does not capture the significant number of people living in temporary accommodations. Across the western counties of the state a whole series of so-called "man camps" have sprung up to serve temporary residents in the area. These camps typically consist of prefabricated trailers purchased or leased by one of the companies involved in prospecting or extracting oil. They are then grouped in accordance with local regulations. The most dramatic group of trailers to enter the area came from the support area of the Vancouver Olympics. The construction of temporary "company towns" has a long tradition in the western United States dating back to the mining and logging camps of the 19th century. <a href="">Recent archaeological work on the site of Ludlow Massacre</a> sought to document the mining camp organized, in part, by the Rockefeller owned Colorado Fuel and Mining Company. This work has contributed to the site being designated as a National Historic Monument In the spirit of this work, the material culture of life in these boom counties has attracted my attention. It is almost impossible in Ancient or Medieval contexts to identify the impact of short-term and rapid settlement change in settlement patterns on the local social, economic, and natural landscape. For example, the work crews who labored to build or repair the <a href=" -in-inequality-in-justinians- corinth/">Hexamilion wall in the Corinthia</a> have left almost no trace of their living and working conditions. In western North Dakota, however, rapid settlement change is producing a new archaeological landscape even as we speak. Temporary or sub-standard living conditions, gender


imbalance (man camps, are, apparently overwhelmingly male), transient labor, limited engagement with

the social or cultural life of the more permanent, local communities, difficult working conditions, and,

by all accounts, significant wealth, all should leave a distinct imprint on site formation in the local

archaeological record.

I've begun to think about collaborating with some colleagues here at the University of North Dakota

to document the material and social conditions of the North Dakota man-camps. Ideally this project

would be a combination of voluntary collaboration with the various companies that operate these

camps (including Halliburton) and some guerrilla archaeology (inspired, for example, by <a

href=" 2010



_Camp_Delta Google_Earth_and_the_ethics_of_remote_sensing_in_archaeology.pdf">Adrian __

Meyer's recent article in </a> <a





_Camp_Delta Google_Earth_and_the_ethics_of_remote_sensing_in_archaeology.pdf">World __

Archaeology</a> <a









42 (2010),

455-467</a> where he used Good Earth images to document changes at Camp Delta at Guantanamo

Bay). Working with social workers, environmental policy folks, geographers, public historians,

photographers, geologists, and environmental scientist types could produce a holistic approach to

documenting rapid, localized, settlement change.

The possibilities for this kind of project are pretty exciting so I've created an entry and put it in my

idea box .


<title>Two quick thoughts on Paperless Archaeology</title>



<pubDate>Wed, 12 Jan 2011 13:25:03 +0000</pubDate>


<guid isPermaLink="false"></guid>

I am absolutely loving John Wallrodt's exploration of digital workflow over at <a

href="">Paperless Archaeology</a>. In fact, I liked some of

his observations enough to offer a comment and<a

href=" -on-new-math/"> I was pleased

to read his response</a>. Wallrodt's blog is exploring the implementation of technology at the <a

href="">PARP:PS (Pompeii Archaeological Research Project: Porta

Stabia) project</a>. This project received significant attention this past fall for using iPads as one of their

primary data collection devices, but they have also used technology in other innovative ways.

Wallrodt's discussion of "Paperless" archaeology stirred me to think about two crucial and interrelated

issues facing any project considering the use of digital technology to replace paper. These are very

tentative observations that are still barely formulated, but they do capture some of my instincts

regarding paperless archaeology.

1. What are the specific advantages to a specific digital approach?

In my rush to implement digital "solutions", I have often overlooked this particularly basic question.

For example, collecting survey data on paper and keying it later is not a particular problem for most of

the projects on which I have worked. First, manpower for data entry tends to be relatively abundant

(student volunteers, graduate students, various project directors at loose ends). The process of data

entry familiarizes an individual with the data collected over the course of the season. And the paper

copies of data collection forms can easily become digital artifacts while preserving their integrity as

physical artifacts. We scan all of our paper collection forms. In short, using paper data collection forms

in the field do take longer to manage, but this is not a major liability for most of the projects with which

I have been associated. They also have the added bonus of data duplication and they represent a more

flexible medium than most basic forms of primary digital collection.

That being said, paper forms do not make it as easy to normalize data coming out of the field. A trench

supervisor or survey team leader can record data in any way he or she wants. So, for example, in a box

for "Percent Visible" a survey team reader can write "kalamboki". This obviously creates problems. A

digital form could easily prevent this kind of error or tomfoolery. At the same time, there are obvious

limits to even how digital forms can prevent data issues. There would be no way for a form to correct a

the entry of an incorrect number, for example, as long as it fell within the plausible range of responses.

Proofreading of field data collection sheets is a time-consuming, boring, and frustrating project, but it

will always be necessary whether the sheets are paper or digital. The kinds of normalization errors that I

have seen most frequently occur at the stage of in-field data collection are often the most easily caught

either by the human eye or digital means. Of course, economies of scale become significant here as

data sets become larger and more complex. I am fairly certain that the quantity of data coming out of a

project like PARP:PS is larger than the quantity of data that we produced at PKAP, for example. So,

normalization at the point of data collection may have significant advantages.

Issues of curation of paper and digital artifacts are, of course, always a concern and there are real

benefits to collecting data in digital form, implementing some kind of version control, and instantly

saving it in many places. There remain serious issues, however, with the infrastructure necessary for the

long-term and responsible curation of digital data. Of course, digital data can be saved down in paper

form, but again, there isn't a massive savings of time or energies here.

To be clear, I am not advocating against the use of digital analysis in archaeology or even the systematic

collection of data in digital form. I think that an increasingly digital workflow is the way forward in

archaeology. On the other hand, I am still struggling to position our digital workflow in way to reap

the maximum benefits. As I imagine future projects, I imagine that I will remain committed to primary

data collection in the field in paper, but I am open to being convinced otherwise.


2. How is digital data different?

I have thought about the second issue in greater length <a

href=" -Archaeology-Technology-in-the-

Trenches">here</a>. One thing I am constantly wondering about is how does our increasingly

digitized present change the kind of data that we collect (in our every day lives). Our interaction with

technology changes our patterns of thought, conditions our every day rituals, and transforms the

creative and interpretative potential of our research. Digital data collection produces different data.

My Point 1 considers the specific benefits of digital data collection in terms of real digital workflow;

this point makes both a more simple and more complex observation. Notebooks and paper forms

represent a particular relationship between the individual collecting information and the archaeological

context. Digital data collection changes this relationship and, as an extension, the kind of data

produced and preserved. Of course, there is nothing universal about digital data collection and

production (any more than there are simple and universal features associated with notebook style data

collection and production), but I am convinced that certain features of digital data capture are

consistent enough to allow us to generalize about them as an approach.

What are they, you might ask? Well, I am still trying to get that sorted and I hope the John Wallrodt's

detailed discussion of his own implementation of a robust digital practice with PARP:PS will help!


<title>Teaching Graduate Historiography: A Final Syllabus</title>



<pubDate>Thu, 13 Jan 2011 13:13:12 +0000</pubDate>


<guid isPermaLink="false"></guid>

This is probably my last semester teaching our Graduate Historiography course. The

course is probably the most demanding that I have ever taught. It is a rollicking ride through major

issues in contemporary historical theory. On any given week, I am completely out of my depth

teaching or even leading discussion on any of these books.

This is the basic syllabus at its final development. There are obvious holes in it. For example, I make

the significant concession to a class full of modernists, public historians, and Americanists when I left

out most pre-modern historiography (Ancient, Medieval, and even Early Modern). While I obviously

think that this work is important, I just could not justify cutting more contemporary authors from this

syllabus as these works not only have so shaded my reading of ancient authors, but are likely to have a

more immediate impact on the work of the students in the class.

The class is a combination of the wonderful and the frustrating. I look forward to teaching it this

semester because it will probably be my last chance to teach it (and graduate students!) for a while, but

I'll also be glad to see it passed on to someone else.

Part 1: An Introduction to Historiography

Introduction to Historiography 1 <br />R. G. Collingwood, <a

href=" -of-history/oclc/392272">The Idea of History</a> . Oxford


Introduction to Historiography 2 <br />Robert M. Burns and H. Rayment-Pickard, <a

href=" -of-history-from-enlightenment-to-

postmodernity/oclc/246995585">Philosophies of History: From Enlightenment to Postmodernity</a> .


Blackwell 2000. 1-217.

Introduction to Historiography 3 <br />Robert M. Burns and H. Rayment-Pickard, <a

href=" -of-history-from-enlightenment-to-

postmodernity/oclc/246995585">Philosophies of History: From Enlightenment to Postmodernity</a> .

Blackwell 2000. 218 -327.

Part 2: Critical Issues in 20th Century Historiography

History and Memory<br /> J. Le Goff, <a href="

memory/oclc/26014680">History and Memory</a> . Trans. S. Rendall and E. Claman. New York


1-98.<br />M. Carruthers, <a href="

memory-in-medieval-culture/oclc/20633586">The Book of Memory</a> . Cambridge 1990. 1-

45.<br />P. Geary, <a href="

oblivion-at-the-end-of-the-first-millennium/oclc/30358155">Phantoms of Remembrance</a> .


Princeton 1994. 1-22.

History and Marx<br /> E. P. Thompson, <a href="

english-working-class/oclc/178185">The Making of the English Working Class</a> . New York


<br />A. Gramsci, The Prison Notebooks , short excerpts.

History and the Nation <br /> B. Anderson,<a href="

communities-reflections-on-the-origin-and-spread-of-nationalism/oclc/23356022"> Imagined

Communities </a>. London 1991

Freud and History <br />S. Freud, <a href=" -and-taboo-some-

points-of-agreement-between-the-mental-lives-of-savages-and-neurotics/oclc/223102">Totem and

Taboo</a> . New York 1950.<br />P. Gay, <a href=" -for-

historians/oclc/12051187">Freud for Historians</a> . New York 1985.

The Annales School <br />F. Braudel, T<a href="

everyday-life-the-limits-of-the-possible/oclc/8620584">he Structures of Everyday Life: The Limits of

the Possible</a> . Trans. by S. Reynolds Philadelphia 1979.<br />E. LeRoy Ladurie, “Motionless


History,” Social Science History 1 (1977), 115-136.

History and Foucault <br />M. Foucault, <a href="

knowledge-and-the-discourse-on-language/oclc/23347591">Archaeology of Knowledge and the

Discourse on Language</a> . Trans. A.M.S. Smith. New York 1972.

Microhistory, Anthropology, and Cultural History <br />B. Latour, <a

href="">Aramis or

The Love of Technology</a> . Cambridge, Mass. 1996.<br />C. Geertz, “Thick Description” Toward

an Interpretive Theory of Culture,” in <a href="

cultures-selected-essays/oclc/737285">The Interpretation of Cultures: Selected Essays</a> . (New

York 2000), 3-32.

History and Literature <br />H. White, <a href="

historical-imagination-in-nineteenth-century-europe/oclc/569790049">Metahistory: The Historical

Imagination of Nineteenth Century Europe</a> . Baltimore 1973.

Women and Gender <br />J. Scott, <a href="

of-history/oclc/41231445">Gender and the Politics of History</a> . Revised Edition. New York

1999.<br /><br /><strong>History Space and Place <br />D. Hayden, <a

href=" -of-place-urban-landscapes-as-public-

history/oclc/31077172">The Power of Place: Urban Landscapes as Public History</a>. Cambridge


History and Postcolonialism <br />D. Chakrabarty, <a

href=" -europe-postcolonial-thought-and-historical-

difference/oclc/43076852">Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical

Difference</a> . Princeton 2000.<br />E. Said, <a

href="">Orientalism</a> . New York 1979.


Digital History <br />Various Authors, <a


Interchange</a> <a

href="">, “The Promise of

Digital History,” </a>95 (2008) <br />D. J. Cohen and R. Rosenzweig, <a

href="">Digital History: A Guide to Gathering, Preserving, and

Presenting the Past on the Web</a> . Philadelphia 2005.


<title>Firday Varia and Quick Hits</title>

<link> -varia-and-quick-


<pubDate>Fri, 14 Jan 2011 15:24:04 +0000</pubDate>


<guid isPermaLink="false"></guid>

Some varia and quick hits on a snowy Friday morning.

<a href="">Some

interesting thoughts on literacy in the digital realm</a>.

Lots of digital humanities buzz this week, and <a

href="">here is one of the best things I've read</a>. I'm am not a


<a href="

cultural-heritage">Som e questions and answers for people interested in digital humanities</a>.

<a href="">The incomparable Matthew

Milliner continues his conquest of the blogosphere</a>.

If you have issues with academia, then <a

href="">these 10 blogs

are for you</a>.

<a href="

cultural-heritage">A toolbox for the digital Oral Historian</a>.

<a href="">I love the old school look of this tape deck application</a>.

<a href="">Punk Archaeology awoke from its long


<a href="">Teaching Thursday awoke from its short winter (break)


I know it's just a Twenty20 match, but <a href="

11/engine/current/match/446961.html">this is still a nice thing to see</a>.

What I'm reading: R. G. Collingwood, <a href="

history/oclc/392272"> The Idea of History </a>. Oxford 1946. (What I'd prefer to be reading: A. Liu,

<a href=" -and-

the-database/oclc/192048211">Local Transcendence</a> . Chicago 2008)

What I'm listening to: Sufjan Stevens, The Age of Adz. (via Kostis Kourelis).


Have a great weekend!


<title>Metadata Monday</title>



<pubDate>Mon, 17 Jan 2011 13:25:27 +0000</pubDate>


<guid isPermaLink="false"></guid>

I haven't put up any metadata for a while, so I thought that a snowy Monday morning

would be as good a time as any. One of the downsides of moving to a blog hosted by is

that they do not provide as robust a set of statistical data and so far have not provided a way to integrate

with Google Analytics.

Also it seems like they record fewer page views and visits than Typepad did. In fact, Typepad

consistently recorded more visits than Google Analytics for the same blog so their algorithm for

determining visits must be exceptionally sensitive.

For fun, I decided to compare the page views over a 28 day stretch from December 20th to January

16th. I picked this span because my new blog saw its first 1000 (1030 to be exact) page views. It is also

a time when people tend not to visit blogs very often choosing (I imagine) to spend time with families

and away from the office and work. I also tend to blog less regularly at the holidays. So this period of

time is least likely to be distorted by a sensational blog post (cough, cough) and is most likely to reflect

he baseline visibility of the blog.

Here is a pretty dense chart showing the trends over this period from 2007-2008 to 2010-2011.

<img style="display:block;margin-left:auto;margin-right:auto;" title="NewImage.jpg"

src="" border="0"

alt="NewImage.jpg" width="500" height="296" />

Here are the figures:

2007-2008: Total Views: 1081. Average: 38.6. <br />2008-2009: Total Views: 2317. Average:

82.8. <br />2009-2010: Total Views: 2369. Average: 84.6. <br />2010-2011 (Old Blog): Total Views:

1668. Average: 59.6. <br />2010-2011 (New Blog): Total Views: 1030. Average: 36.8.

As you can see, the new blog (despite the less generous stats provided by has some

catching up to do. Of course, it does not have hundreds of blog posts providing content visible to

search engines behind it either, so my guess is that over this same span of time next year, there is likely

to be some improvement.


<title>Why the Northern Plains Produces Archaeologists</title>



<pubDate>Mon, 17 Jan 2011 13:32:29 +0000</pubDate>


<guid isPermaLink="false"></guid>

I have often wondered why the Northern Plains produced so many elite

archaeologists - Carl Blegen being the best known.

Perhaps it has something to do with our every day encounters with an excavated, stratified landscape.

The great trench, this morning:

<img style="display:block;margin-left:auto;margin-right:auto;" title="GreatTrench.jpg"

src="" border="0"

alt="GreatTrench.jpg" width="400" height="668" />

The scarps need work, but most people don't excavate in the dark.

This is mostly tongue in cheek.


<title>Digital Humanities and Craft</title>



<pubDate>Tue, 18 Jan 2011 12:52:01 +0000</pubDate>


<guid isPermaLink="false"></guid>

I've been fascinated by the recent debates centering on the nature of digital

humanities. While the debate has gone on for years, the most recent round of posts (<a

href="">some of whic h

are summarized by Geoffrey Rockwell here</a>) were spurred by an MLA panel on the history and

future of digital humanities.

One of the most interesting (although unsurprising) developments from this discussion is that several

scholars have argued that digital humanities has a strong connection with craft. In some ways, this

attitude is a response to <a href=" -is-cultural-criticism -in-the-digital-

humanities/">the critique that Digital Humanities lacks theoretical developm ent </a>and, by implicit

extension, the sophistication associated with other areas of the "pure humanities". In a recent response

to this attitude Geoffrey <a

href="">Rockwell has

gone so far to suggest that digital humanities is "under theorized the way carpentry and computer

science are"</a>. It is unfair to reduce his entire critique to this simple observation, but others (like

Alan Liu) have developed this observation in a more critical direction.

Part of the impulse behind the association of digital humanities with craft derives from the long-

standing perspective that associated being <a href="">a digital

humanist with coding or, more broadly, building things</a>. This is consistent with larger directions

in the digital discourse which emphasize the making of things, and has overlap with the larger DIY

movement through such projects as the <a href="">DIY book

scanner</a> and other more intentionally subversive gestures toward industrialized, manufactured,

commodified reality.

The notion of craft and DIY has a strange relationship with the institutional expectations of the

modern university. Universities developed to accommodate the needs of an industrializing world and

disciplinary boundaries and academic professionalism emerged hand-in-hand with an interest in

creating a specialized educational process that paralleled industrialized production. In short, the

modern, western university as an institution stood in contrast to older models of learning rooted in

apprenticeship and craft production. On the one hand, this availed the modern university to the mantle

of progress which held the industry represented a far more democratic approach to society. Goods

would be more freely available, and the dignity of work accessible to even the least skilled in the labor

pool. Craft production in contrast was understood to be more socially constrained and, in general, to

represent a less efficient, fair means of organizing labor. Of course, all parties did not agree on this


So arguments that have focused on the craft nature of digital humanities not only share something with

more radical conceptions of higher education that emphasize craft, but also, ironically, allude to more

conservative traditions of knowledge production. While craft can claim for itself an anti-modern

mantle of authenticity, it is also a form of productive organization that depends heavily up on access to

informal social networks. These networks tend to have less institutional structure and rely less heavily

on expertise and and more on personal relationships. So, ironically, the rhetoric of craft alludes to

exactly the kind of exclusivity that <a href="

Digital/19468/">William Pannapacker decried in his recent Chronicle of Higher Education blog


There is another angle to the rhetoric of craft, however. <a

href="">Archaeology has interestingly enough occasionally seen craft

</a>as a way to articulate its peculiar approach to knowledge production; <a

href=" -culture-and-history-as-


craft/">anthropology has also made use of this metaphor</a>. Movements like<a

href=" -a-definition-of-punk-archaeology/">

Punk Archaeology</a> embrace the DIY movement's efforts to resist the commodification of both

knowledge itself and experience or process of knowledge production. In contrast to claims that these

perspectives are "under theorized" DIY, punk, craft, and other subversive anti-industrial, anti-

institutional, and anti-establishment perspectives tend to derive from the most highly theorized corners

of the discipline. There is, of course, an element of dissimulation here. By embracing craft, punk,

"doing" and "making" scholars intentionally create a dichotomy between those who produce things and

those who, for lack of a better word, "think". The former becomes the mantle for active resistance to

institutional expectations; the latter, passive, quiet acquiescence.

The willingness to structure the debate in this way, demonstrates a certain sophistication in how a

certain group of digital humanists (or at least their caricatures) are willing to articulate their craft

theoretically. Moreover, it provides a useful case study for how our efforts to articulate assumptions

about knowledge production implies attitudes toward social organization, access to expertise, and

ultimately the structure of the academy, the classroom, and the lab.


<title>Archaeology, Method, and Inequality</title>



<pubDate>Wed, 19 Jan 2011 13:15:49 +0000</pubDate>


<guid isPermaLink="false"></guid>

Most archaeologists know that there is a clear link between our the material remains

of the past, the methods that we use as a discipline to document them, and our view of past social

organization. I've been thinking about this a good bit over the past two month as I work to revise for

publication a paper that I gave at the <a

href="">Contrast in Contrast</a> conference this

past fall. (For more on that paper see <a

href=" -in-inequality-in-justinians-

corinth/">here</a>, <a href=" -

in-roman-space/">here</a>, <a

href=" -in-contrast-some-

reflective-notes/">here</a>, <a

href=" -landscapes-of-the-6th-

century-at-corinth-in-contrast/">here</a>, <a

href=" -more-contrasting-

corinth/">here</a>, <a href=" -

contrasting-corinth/">here</a>, and <a

href=" -contrasting-

corinth/">here</a>). The subtitle for the conference was "Studies in Inequality", and this got me

thinking about how we understand inequality in the archaeological record of Late Roman Corinth. In

general, scholars have tended to emphasize discrete groups within Late Roman society (the church, the

local elites, pagans, or even laboring classes), but with the exception of the relationship between pagans

and Christians said little about the relationship between these groups. As a result, it has been pretty

difficult to understand social relationships and potential in equality in a Corinthian context. In fact, the

massive quantity of archaeological evidence produced by elite interests in the area of Corinth in Late

Antiquity, has tended to dominate the archaeological discourse. The tendency for elite landscapes to

dominate the archaeological discourse is not, of course, unique to Corinth.

The most cynical view of this tendency understands the relationship between social standing and

archaeological evidence as rooted in the historical development of archaeology (or ev en the humanities,

more broadly). In this view, elite white men studied archaeology to understand what their counterparts

were doing in antiquity. To do this, they studied monuments, elite art, elite texts, and the places

named in these texts.

A less cynical (and maybe more naive) view holds that archaeologists are prisoners of their evidence. In

other words, elite monuments, texts, and objects tended to survive better in the archaeological record.

Since our discipline is predicated on the study of material objects from the past, we are by necessity a

discipline biased to the production of elite narratives, particularly for the ancient Mediterranean world

where elite material seem so much prevalent.

As I revise my Corinth in Contrast paper, I am really struggling to extract from the archaeological

evidence present in the Corinthia, a narrative of the 6th century that both accommodates the expansion

of imperial power in the region and local resistance to this expansion. My goal is less to argue that

resistance occurred and more to find space for resistance among the archaeological remains of the

region. There are few texts that describe what people were doing in the Corinthia during this time so

the traditional routes to understanding how people responded to the 6th century building boom are


The relationship between various contemporary buildings holds forth some promise, as does various

graffiti pressed into the wet mortar of an imperially funded building. We may be able to argue that the

productive landscape changed in some ways too, but subtle shifts in settlement do not speak directly to


shifts in attitudes. The more pressing question, however, remains whether these traces in the

landscape, architecture, and epigraphy are sufficient basis for stimulating new kinds of questions from

ancient evidence. These new questions would seek to examine inequality by challenging the

epistemological basis for archaeological knowledge. This may mean that arguments for inequality are

less convincing by contemporary archaeological standards (and our standard of evidence is lower or

different), but it could produce greater space for groups who traditionally excluded from narratives

about the past. And this could challenge methods and perspectives on the pa st that tend to reproduce

the privileges of the dominant class.


<title>Digitizing Theses on North Dakota</title>



<pubDate>Thu, 20 Jan 2011 12:55:00 +0000</pubDate>


<guid isPermaLink="false"></guid>

This semester I am once again directing a public/digital history practicum. The goal

of this little course, <a href=" -

my-toe-in-the-public-history-pool/">like the one before it</a>, is to develop a digital history collection

that might be of interest to some kind of public. The course is designed for a small group of students

with almost no background in digital history.

The focus of the practicum will be on a collection of Master's Theses (for list, see below) produced at

the University of North Dakota between 1909 and 1955. These theses are currently housed in the

Department of Special Collections at the Chester Fritz Library. These theses present a significant body

of more or less original scholarship produced over the course of 100 years of graduate education in the

field of history at the University of North Dakota. Our first emphasis will be on theses that contribute

to the history of the state or the region. Most of these theses were written under the direction of Orin

G. Libby or <a href="">Elwyn B.

Robinson</a> (and a number of these works contributed to his <a

href=" -of-north-dakota/oclc/190890">History of North

Dakota</a> ).

The specific objectives of this practicum involve creating a proof of concept. This will specifically

involve the following steps:

  • 1. A basic collection of digital objects with appropriate metadata.

  • 2. Interpretative material in association with the digital objects that makes the collection accessible and

understandable to the general public.

  • 3. An academic presentation that details the creation of the digital collection, its historical context, and

its significance.

  • 4. A program for publicizing the collection over the course of the semester. This includes developing a

media strategy and setting goals to assess its success.

  • 5. A grant proposal for future funding for the project based on methods and results of the proof-of-

concept level work.

This practicum I think should proceed along four overlapping phases:

Phase 1. Familiarize ourselves with other comparable projects and the tools of the trade (in terms of

equipment and software). Identify and scan a group of theses to determine time and procedure and

document this work. Produce a prioritized list of theses to be scanned this semester and establish a

schedule for scanning.

Phase 2. Scan the theses on the prioritized list. Adjust procedure document as necessary. Discuss search

and mark-up strategies for these texts. Determine how to “brand” these theses.

Phase 3. Publication and publicity. Release scanned theses to public in a systematic way and leverage

digital, new media, old media (press release?) and social media tools to make these theses visible and


Phase 4. Prepare a formal report and proposal for completing the job of scanning M.A. theses and

presenting them to the public.


More to come as this work continues!

Here's a list of theses produced by the students in the practicum:

(Theses marked with an asterisk appeared in Robinson's History of North Dakota .)

  • 1. Myrtle Bemis 1909, History of the Settlement of Swedes in North Dakota

  • 2. Charles Denoyer 1909, History of Fort Totten

  • 3. Evelyn Leigh Mudge 1914, The Development of Western Protestant Churches

  • 4. William Charles Whitford 1915, The Establishment of Overland Connections Between the Region

East of the Mississippi and Red River

  • 5. Bertha M Kuhn* 1917, History of Traill County, North Dakota

  • 6. Axel Martin Tollefson 1917, History of Norwegian Settlement in Grand Forks County

  • 7. Alexander Aas 1920, History of the City of Grand Forks to 1889

  • 8. Waldemar E. Lillo 1923, History of the Whig Party to 1840

  • 9. Elmer Ellis 1925, Minor Parties from the Civil War to 1900


Ethel Mautz 1929, The Factory Reform Act of 1833 in England: A Survey of Events Immediately

Preceding and Accompaning


Eva Grace Syre 1930, The London Housing Problem, 1840-1875


Isabel Johnston 1930, Geographic factors in the history of Grand Forks, North Dakota


Frances H. Owen 1932, Social influences in Colonial Days


Lillian Viola Bangs 1932, The Effect of Parliamentary Legislation Upon the Development of

Railroads in England from 1825-18


Leal R. Edmunds 1932, Congressional Reconstruction and the Radical Program


Clarence Chester Shively 1933, History of the Policy of the United States Toward Arbitration from

1789 to 1933


Anna Swenson 1933, Cleveland and the Hawaiian Question 1893


Flossie Burson 1934, The Transition of Agriculture in the Great Plains from 1920 to 1929


John C. McKinnon 1934, The Star Route Frauds


Clara Mae Kjos 1934, Origin of the Irish Free State, 1800-1922


John Almon Page 1934, History of North Dakota Public High Schools


Albert Freeman Arnason 1935, The Foreign Policy of Sir Edward Grey During the Moroccan

Crises, 1906-1911


Arnold Olaf Goplen 1935, Congressional Opposition to Lincoln in the Early Years of the Civil



Raymond Joseph Gwewrth 1936, Some Political and Diplomatic Aspects of the Treaty of



Ella S. Quam 1936, History of Homestead Legislation


Edwin O. Tilton 1936, American Expansion Toward the Canadian Northwest, 1865-1870


John Louis Rezatto 1937, Albania, The Adriatic’s Problem Child


Clayton L. Baskin 1938, Political and Constitutional Development in India Since 1920


James Price Scroeder 1939, A History of Organized labor in Fargo, North Dakota


Alfred Jerome Cole 1939, History of Health Legislation Affecting the Public Schools of Minnesota


Ingeborg Fjalstad 1939, Constitutional and Political Problems of the Irish Free State Until 1932


Henry Nelson Symons 1939, Bismarck’s Relation with England, 1870-1878


Joseph B. Voeller* 1940, The Origin of the German-Russian people and their role in North



Albert George Selke 1940, A History of the Initiative in North Dakota


James Nelson Kent 1941, A History of Education in Grand Forks County


Bertil Maynard Johnson 1941, The Ethiopian Crisis of 1935-1936 and its European Repercussions


Clarence Victor Johnson 1942, The European Diplomatic Crisis of 1935


Clifford Arnold Solom 1944, History of the North Dakota Congress of Parents and Teachers


William M. Grindeland 1944, History of public school system of Ransom County: 1881-1944



John Hove 1946, History of Public School Financial Legislation in North Dakota

  • 41. Norman H. Hanson* 1946, History of consolidated schools in North Dakota

  • 42. Otto C. Schultz 1947, A History of the State normal and Industrial School at Ellendale, North


  • 43. Edward Archibald Milligan* 1948, The Standing Rock Sioux: 1874-1890

  • 44. Thamar Emelia Dufwa 1948, Lincoln and Secession, 1858-1861

  • 45. Agnes McCorkell Stee*1948, History of the Minot State Teachers College

  • 46. Lawrence Blood 1948, A History of South Dakota Boy’s State

  • 47. Lucy Kidder Leobrick 1948, History of School District Number One

  • 48. Julian John Rolczynski 1949, The History of the State Educational Institution at Mayville, North


  • 49. Asbjorn B. Isaacson 1949, Farm Mechanization in the Red River Valley: 1870-1915

  • 50. Vernon Alfred Johnson 1950, History of Public School System of Kittson County, 1881-1950

  • 51. Robert Samuel Anderson* 1951, A Social History of Grand Forks, North Dakota

  • 52. Glenn Alden Hanna 1951, History of the Valley City State Teachers College

  • 53. Adrian Ritchey Dunn 1951, A History of old Fort Berthold

  • 54. Steven Hoekman 1951, The History of Fort Sully

  • 55. Robert J. Murray 1951, History of Education in the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation in North


  • 56. Ralph Arthur Larson 1951, History of Education in Clearwater County

  • 57. James D. Johnson 1952, A History of the Midland Continental Ralroad, 1906-1950

  • 58. James E. Palm 1952, A History of Dilworth school System at Dilworth, Minnesota

  • 59. Lenora Isaacson Johnson 1952, The History of Ada, Minnesota: The Friendly City in the Heart of

the Red River Valley, 1876-195

  • 60. Lambert J. Mehl 1953, Missouri Grows to Maturity in North Dakota: A Regional History of the

Lutheran Church--Missouri

  • 61. Gerald C. Caskey 1953: A History of Northern Montana College to 1951

  • 62. Rovert J. Murray 1953: History of Education in the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation in North


  • 63. Embert J. Hendrickson 1954, The City Where the Two Rivers Meet: The Background and Early

History of Thief River Falls, Minn

  • 64. Marian Elizabeth McKechnie 1955, Spiritual Pioneering: A History of the Synodof North Dakota,

Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., 1885

  • 65. E. Bruce Hagen*1955, The North Dakota State Mill and Elevator Association: History,

Organization, Administration

  • 66. Sinclair Snow 1955, American Reaction to the Mexican Church-State Conflict of 1926-1929


<title>Friday Varia and Quick Hits</title>

<link> -varia-and-quick-


<pubDate>Fri, 21 Jan 2011 13:28:14 +0000</pubDate>


<guid isPermaLink="false"></guid>

It has been a cold week (-25 F when I went to bed last night), but here are some

warm quick hits and varia on a warming Friday morning:

We have arranged to have<a href=""> Geoffrey Rockwell</a> to

campus in March. Rockwell is a professor of philosophy and humanities computing at University of

Alberta, one of the leading Digital Humanists in North America, and the project leader of <a

href="">TAPoR</a> (Text Analysis Portal for Research). The

Working Group in Digital and New Media will coordinate his visit in collaboration with EPSCOR,

the departments of English, History, and the Communications program. He'll be on campus on March

1st and 2nd.

On a more mundane note, <a href="">these visualizations of the

distribution and circulation of digital media published by Springer</a> are really really cool. <a

href="">Check out the icons</a>.

<a href="">A new Teaching Thursday on concept mapping</a>.

Two bizarre stories involving religious artifacts from Cyprus this week. First, a monk from Kykkos and

several accomplices were stopped at the Athens airport when they attempted to smuggle the skeleton of

a relatively recently deceased nun back to Cyprus (<a href="

robbery/church-condemns-theft-woman-s-remains/20110119">for more here</a>). Next Boy George

returned a stole 18th century icon to Cyprus that he had purchases in 1985 (<a


more here</a>). I guess it's been a week for Furta Sacra!

<a href="

with-omeka/">This is a great article on using Omeka in a classroom environment</a>. I particular like

the idea that it's acceptable for students to feel some discomfort in the digital environment.

For folks interested in baptistery, this would be a great exhibit: <a

href=" -me-to-the-water">Take me to the Water</a>.

The idea that there existed postcards showing river baptisms has a nice parallel with the public

monuments that marked out the baptismal ritual in antiquity.

Someone linked to this on Facebook, but I don't remember who. <a

href="">It's a great poster by The Oatmea l on how to use the


This is <a href="">a fun blog

post suggesting that people who own the iPad read at different</a> times of day based on data from

Read it Later.

Some thoughts on <a href=" -report-part-3-digital-

history/">Digital History at the American Historical Association annual meeting</a>.

This is a cool group of essays from the Edge World Question Center on <a

href="">what scientific concept would improve everybody's

cognitive toolkit</a>.

David Pettegrew continues to produce <a href="">some great translations

and discussions on Corinth</a>. And <a href="">Paperless

Archaeology should be on all digital archaeologist's reading list</a>.

It's great to see <a href="

11/engine/current/match/446963.html">Australia's one-day cricket side going up 2-0 against

England</a> while lacking an (out of form) Ricky Ponting and (an emphatically in-form) Michael

Hussey. Maybe the handwringing over the state of Australia Cricket is misplaced a bit. After all, it's


good for world cricket for the Australian test side to stumble. If we've learned anything from <a

href="">Pete Rozelle and the NFL</a>, parity in sport

attracts interest.

What I am reading: R. M. Burns and H. Rayment-Pickard, <a


postmodernity/oclc/246995585">Philosophies of History</a> . (Blackwell 200).

What I am listening to: The National, Boxer.



<title>Denim, Gibson, and Archaeology</title>

<link> -gibson-and-


<pubDate>Mon, 24 Jan 2011 13:22:42 +0000</pubDate>


<guid isPermaLink="false"></guid>

Over the holidays I read William Gibson's newest book, <a

href=" -history/oclc/505419399">Zero History</a> . One of <a

href="">the main plot elements</a> w as a search for the

creator of a secret brand of denim called Gabriel Hounds. Without going into too much detail and

giving the story away, the search for clues as to who produced Gabriel Hounds leads the main character

of the book - the former punk rocker Hollis Henry - to the edges of the underground fashion world

and allows the Gibson to indulge in a few of his famously detail -laden discussions of global

merchandise. Denim represented a global product and even the secret Gabriel Hounds brand left traces

of its secret existence in Australia, Japan, France, Italy, Canada, and the US. Denim was a global

phenomenon. At the same time, the brand itself was hyper-individualized and almost custom made.

Just to purchase it, you had to know people who knew people, so every example of a Gabriel Hounds

product marked you as someone with a place in a very small circle of people in the know.

This past weekend, I read over <a

href="">D. Miller and S. Woodward,

"Manifesto for a study of denim," </a> <a


Anthropology/Anthropologie Sociale</a> <a

href=""> 15 (2007), 335 -351</a>. This

article calls for a approach to denim as an globalized social artifact that, nevertheless, functioned in very

distinct, even individualized ways, on the local or personal level. To collect data for a project that both

affirmed the global reach of a particular comm odity and affirmed its unique place in highly localized

social practices, the authors called for a network of scholars to investigate local practices around the

world. Some of the facets of this <a href="">Global Denim

Project appear on the project's website</a>. Like denim itself, this network of related projects are at

once a manifestation of the spread of modern anthropology (and modern, western ways of describing

our society) and intensely local practices. The individual practices of the collaborating scholars fit local

conditions, individualized scholarly predilections, and

To say that work on material culture finds neat parallels with archaeology is to point out the similarities

between a puma and a house cat. That being said, this manifesto does offer some nice observations on

the relationship between the personal, local, and global. Archaeologists confront the tension between

the local and global every time they contemplate methods to document, produce, and study such highly

localized phenomena as settlement patterns, <a

href=" -method-and-

inequality/">resistance</a>, or economic integration. They confront this issue again when they try to

compare their results with results gathered from elsewhere in the world. As I have documented in this

blog (<a href="

ethnography-part-2/">here</a>), archaeology is a global brand brought together by only the slimmest of

professional and disciplinary affinities.

To bring this back to Gibson, I've blogged on <a

href="">Gibson before in the context of

Punk Archaeology</a>. He was one of the founding fathers of the cyberpunk genre and has a brilliant

eye for landscapes and objects in his work. Punk rock with its fetishized anti-comercialism and radical

individuality presents an ideal - if ironic - complement to the tension between local and global in

denim, social anthropology, and archaeology. In some ways, we're all doing the same thing as we

wrestle with the age-old tensions between the unique and universal. Most of Gibson's work, seem to

include characters who constantly push against the undifferentiated void which he variously identifies as


"the sprawl", the net, or even our globalized, commodified existence.

By projecting the tension between the local and global into popular culture, we take a long standing

philosophical distinction and consider it against the backdrop of the lived space. In effect, we take the

abstract notion of the "universal" and make it real by adhering it to the limits of our world. These

physical limits allow us to apply the universal to objects and bring archaeology and the study of material

culture into a venerable conversation.


<title>Retrieval, Content Mapping, and Student Study Practices </title>



<pubDate>Tue, 25 Jan 2011 12:55:09 +0000</pubDate>


<guid isPermaLink="false"></guid>


href=" 11/01/19/science.1199327.abstract">This past

weekend an article appeared in </a> <a

href="">Science</a> <a

href=" bstract"> </a>indicating

that "retrieval practice" produced better responses that more elaborative learning activities such as

concept mapping. Those of you who read <a href="

mapping-a-tool-for-promoting-deep-learning/">Teaching Thursday know that "concept mapping" and

"deep learning"</a> are important buzz-words in the present teaching and learning discourse. Informed

by cognitive psychology and class room practices, these concepts have become watchwords among

faculty engaged in more sophisticated conversations on teaching and learning and form an easy parallel

with terms like "active learning" or "learning centered" which marked out engaged faculty ten or twelve

years ago.

J. Karpicke and J. Blunt's article, however, argues that using more elaborate techniques like concept

mapping to stimulate deep learning does not actually produce better results than the more tried -and-

true retrieval practices. Retrieval practices in the experiments run by Karpicke and Blunt involve

reading passages and then recalling information from these passages in what the author's call a "free recall

test". The students then repeated this practice over a controlled period of time while another group of

students built more complex content maps. Without going into great detail about either of the two

experiments, the results showed that students engaged in the more simple and olde skool retrieval

practice produced better results than students trained in content mapping. The authors suggest that this

is because retrieval practices requires students to organize information in a more context specific way

than content mapping which relies upon a set of flexible, yet abstract models for understanding the

relationship between ideas. In other words, the retrieval method encouraged students to understand

the intrinsic organization of ideas in a text whereas content mapping allows students to re-order these

ideas and, in the processes, translates them to a different, and perhaps less useful context.

This study made me think a bit about student study environments and the place of elaborative learning

activities in student practices. At the same time, I've been looking at some of the videos produced by

Michael Wesch's Kansas State students in his Visions of Students Today project (check out the project

<a href="">here</a> and <a

href="">here</a>). I wondered how the life styles

documented in these short YouTube videos (you can find them under the hashtag <a

href=";aq=f">VOST2011</a>) would

accommodate practices like content mapping. It seems that retrieval practices may be better suited to

accommodate the unstructured environments where most students spend their times.

I know as a students that I used very simple retrieval exercises to learn basic data in history and foreign

languages. For example, I made flash cards and sorted them constantly into piles of words that I knew

and words that I didn't know. I would then go through the pile of words that I didn't know and resort

them again. This very easy and basic retrieval exercise allowed me to make use of unstructured

moments. I also tended to rewrite my class notes into more and more condensed form. Typically the

first time through my notes, I relied heavily on the notes that I took in class. When I condensed these

notes for studying for a test, I tended to rely less and less on earlier versions of these notes and more and

more on my memory. I assumed that I learned by compressing the course content into a more

manageable and structured unit; in fact, I probably learned by making the notes which was a very

simple retrieval exercise. Again, this practice was simple and seemed directed toward a goal: managing

and compressing the quantity of information that I needed to learn for the exam. Content mapping


would have struck me as a mediating exercise that made studying content take more time. At the time,

I saw my life as too busy to indulge in activities that did not result in my immediate goal: doing well on

the exam.

At the same time, concept mapping appears to assume that there is a disjunction of some kind between

the context for the content presented in class and some kind of deeper foundational meaning. Retrieval

practices would tend to assume that the foundational meaning intended by the instructor is somehow

inherent in the material presented in class. In other words, the foundational meaning is already mapped

onto the content of the class and any additional remapping of this content runs the risk of obscuring

important relationships between idea. Concept mapping, then, becomes an unnecessary step between

the deep (or shallow!) learning goals of the class and the retention practices.


<title>More Ambivalent Landscapes of Corinth</title>

<link> -ambivalent-


<pubDate>Wed, 26 Jan 2011 12:54:57 +0000</pubDate>


<guid isPermaLink="false"></guid>

I have finally completed (well, almost) a pre-publication draft of an article based on

my conference paper in October at the Corinth in Contrast conference in Austin. For more on this

paper and my struggle to understand the ambivalence in the 6th century AD Corinthian landscape

check out the posts <a href="

method-and-inequality/">here</a>, <a

href=" -in-inequality-in-justinians-

corinth/">here</a>, <a href=" -

in-roman-space/">here</a>, <a

href=" -in-contrast-some-

reflective-notes/">here</a>, <a

href=" -landscapes-of-the-6th-

century-at-corinth-in-contrast/">here</a>, <a

href=" -more-contrasting-

corinth/">here</a>, <a href=" -

contrasting-corinth/">here</a>, and <a


corinth/">here</a>; you may also want to read <a

href=" -Liturgy-Justinianic-Isthmus-Caraher">this

pre-publication article</a>.)

The paper is about 50% longer than the conference paper (<a

href=" -Ambivalent-Landscape-2010">which you can

read here, if you want</a>). I have expanded my introduction and clarified how I used the term

resistance in the paper. Much of this content came after some good conversations and conscientious

editing by one our Ph.D. students Elizabeth Mjelde who passed on some of James Scott's work on

peasant resistance and the fantastic E.P. Thompson article from <a


england/oclc/1532024">Albion's Fatal Tree</a> . Thanks, Elizabeth!

  • I have also expanded, albeit in a rather speculative way, my discussion of the rise in monumental

Christian architecture in the Corinthia. My approach owes a good bit to Kim Bowes' recent book

(which <a href="

kim-bowes-private-worship-public-values-and-religious-change-in-late-antiquity/">I discuss in more

detail here</a>) and can perhaps be compared to the recent article by <a


cca Sweetman (</a> <a


/a> <a


2010) </a><a href="

churches-in-the-peloponnese/">which I discuss here</a>.

  • I know that there are still a few small issues with citations and the paper must contain some of my

trademark typographical errors. I hope to clean most of that up over the next day or so and upload a

revised version by Friday or so.

Since I know some students from Tim Gregory's Late Antiquity and Byzantium seminar are checking

my blog from time to time, I encourage any comments that they might have to add to my paper. As

the links in my post today show, this was not an easy paper for me to write and I ended up thinking at

the ragged edges of my evidence.


[scribd id=47591826 key=key-1ev3j122ay69f8paw86q mode=list]


<title>A Proposal for a Low -cost Teaching Fellows Program</title>



<pubDate>Thu, 27 Jan 2011 13:13:33 +0000</pubDate>


<guid isPermaLink="false"></guid>

Over the past few years I have slowly come to feel more and more alienated from the

actual levers of power on my university campus. In some ways, this is good. It means that I am less

distracted by temptations to "change my world" and more inclined to focus on the things that I can

control (scholarship, research, teaching, advising). Any romance associated with service work or

innovation here on campus gets dashed on the growing mass of administrative procedures and rules.

On the other hand, I am a meddler by nature and despite my promises to myself to remain detached

and aloof from my immediate environment, I find that I can't fight the urge to "do something". As a

result, I have helped create a Working Group in Digital and New Media with a lab (<a

href=" -humanities-white-paper-

at-the-university-of-north-dakota/">by co-authoring this White Paper</a>). I have served on my share

of committees and contributed to the development of our new web presence (in such a way as to

remain out of the line of fire and not responsible for any of its shortcomings).

Finally, I find that I can easy burn off any frustrations or surplus ideas and energy by simply proposing

things. I have created on this blog an "idea box" where I stuff ideas for <a

href=" -proposal/">programs and

projects that I know will never go anywhere</a> (<a

href=" -for-the-Development-of-Open-Learning-

Courses">or see here</a>) for so many, complex, administrative and procedural (and practical and

ideological reasons) that it would be utterly pointless to push the idea personally beyond the proposal

stage. At the same time, writing the proposal and circulating it here gives me a sense of accomplishing

something. I'll send this proposal along through proper channels over the next few weeks (so feel free to

provide me with feedback), but the goal is frankly the proposal itself and articulating and circulating

ideas that appeals to me.

So, here's my newest contribution to my idea box:

[scribd id=47657269 key=key-11ro3794gtyy29vlq5yz mode=list]


<title>Friday Varia and Quick Hits</title>



<pubDate>Fri, 28 Jan 2011 13:31:40 +0000</pubDate>


<guid isPermaLink="false"></guid>

It's already moving toward 30 F here (and, yes, that's 30 above zero), so I can offer

you these varia and quick hits from balmy comfort.

<a href="">This is pretty cool way to rock your Mac</a>.

But if you swing the PC way, you should certainly check out <a

href="">this 30 minute, public history -esque,

movie about the history of IBM on their Centennial</a>. The film is by Errol Morris and the music by

Philip Glass.

<a href="

universities">The University of North Dakota is apparently the 9th most "popular" university in the

U.S.</a> based on the percentage of admitted students who attend.

<a href="">Some interesting thoughts on

the recent upsurge in our interest in "ruin porn" </a>based on the city of Detroit.

<a href="

s-collection">The MoMA explains why they purchased 23 fonts</a>.

The <a href="">Axis of Access</a> has sprung back to life with <a

href=" -studio.html">a really nice image of Ryan Stander's

studio</a> (<a href="

professional-office/">our former dean would certainly not approve</a>!) and <a

href=" -architecture-flatiron.html">his pictures of New

York and the Flatiron building at night are brilliant</a>.

<a href="">The History Blogging Project</a> in the U.K. is

sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. It's a pretty cool initiative designed to - get

this - encourage Ph.D. students in history to blog.

I was sort of underwhelmed by the Rome Reborn project when I first saw it and so I didn't pay much

attention to it, but <a href="">the most re cent rendering of the city is pretty


It seems like the <a href="">Lumina

Foundations's "Degree Qualification Profile" </a>has generated remarkably little buzz. It's hard to know

exactly how important a document like this is.

If you haven't read yesterday's post over at <a href="">Teaching

Thursday</a>, you should because lots of other people are reading it.

What I'm reading: T. Walsh, <a href="">Unlocking the Gates: How and

why leading universities are opening up access to their courses</a> . (Princeton 2011)

What I'm listening to: No Age, Everything in Between .



<title>Practical Thoughts on a New Archaeological Data Project</title>



<pubDate>Mon, 31 Jan 2011 13:19:14 +0000</pubDate>


<guid isPermaLink="false"></guid>

This weekend, I began to think seriously about my summer fieldwork with the <a

href="">Princeton Polis

Expedition</a>. This summer our plan is to clarify the chronology of one of the two basilicas at the site

initially built during the Early Christian period and, then, modified over time. Our goal is to use

stratigraphic information, a careful examination of existing architecture, and an analysis of ceramic finds

from the site to date more clearly the various architectural modifications <a

href="">to one particular basilica

known as EF2</a>. We hope that our work this summer will help us to develop an approach to

documenting the relationship between archaeological material and architecture that we can then apply

to the more complex basilica at the nearby site of EG0.

As part of this work, I began to consider how to translate information recorded <a

href="">in excavation notebooks</a> into a

more formal and consistent structure.

I reasoned that the notebook information could form the basic

framework for the other archaeological data that we will ultimately collect from the study of the

ceramics, wall plaster, architecture, glass, coins et c. The notebooks are actually in pretty good shape

(although it will still be a challenge to extract the stratigraphic relationships from every context), but the

basic data structure developed for Polis is rather underdeveloped. At present the context database is a

single, flat table without any primary key or other tools in place to control how data is entered.

Moreover, the various fields were not defined in an easily understood way and it wasn't clear at all what

the most basic record would be. For example, should we record information only for each "level"

(which coincide to gross stratigraphic or spatial divisions in the trenches) or do we record information

for each "pass" which represents a single context of material removed from a level.

The reason for this ambiguity is that this database was not designed for my research project. In other

words, the data base isn't the problem (although it is inelegant and doesn't necessarily follow best

practice); the problems rests with how I need to use the existing data structure. So I am left with the

prospect of re-designing the existing database to suit my needs (and to make sure that it is backwards

compatible to suit the needs of the designer of the original database).

I have been diligently reading John Walrodt's <a

href="">Paperless Archaeology</a> over the past few weeks.

This blog documents in detail how a project implemented their digital workflow. From what I have

seen so far, the tools that they developed and deployed served to facilitate their ongoing, in the field,

research (although I am sure that there are provisions for archiving the data in a responsible way). I

could approach the Polis notebooks in a similar way. I could develop a data structure best suited to

answer our immediate research questions. (As an aside, very few of the other people involved in

documenting the basilica use Microsoft Access which is my preferred database. I have used Access

extensively for other projects (making it easy for me to borrow structure from other databases),

integrates well with ArcGIS (our GIS software), and is the database that our ceramicist uses. So, it is

possible that I could create a database that few of my colleagues can actually use! This tempts me to be

even more practical (read: idiosyncratic) in how I organize data.)

On the other hand, I could imagine a data structure (undoubtedly more complex) best suited to

preparing the Polis data for some form of digital publication (or at least archival storage). Few projects

in the Eastern Mediterranean with a Byzantine focus have made their data publicly available. In this

regard, the Polis data could be an important step toward making stratigraphic, typological, and

chronological data from the Byzantine period available in digital form. At the same time,the two Early

Christian churches represent just one part of a much larger and more complex site. Taking the time to

produce a thorough and well-structured dataset could be a fool's errand if it ends up being incompatible


with other work ongoing at the site or finds very few comparable datasets elsewhere in the region.

So as with so much of archaeology, the key is to find the best balance between immediate utility and

long term value.


<title>Some Thoughts on Unlocking the Gates</title>



<pubDate>Tue, 01 Feb 2011 13:32:28 +0000</pubDate>


<guid isPermaLink="false"></guid>

Over the weekend, I finished reading Taylor Walsh's <a

href=" -the-gates-how-and-why-leading-universities-are-

opening-up-access-to-their-courses/oclc/649418945">Unlocking the Gates: How and Why Leading

Universities are Opening up Access to Their Courses</a> <a

href=" -the-gates-how-and-why-leading-universities-are-

opening-up-access-to-their-courses/oclc/649418945">.</a> (Princeton 2011). The book examines the

efforts by several elite universities - Yale, MIT, Carnegie Mellon, Cal-Berkeley, and ITT in India - to

develop open content courses for the public. Walsh sets the programs of these schools against the early

efforts by collaborative ventures like Fathom and AllLearn to produce online content using a paid-

access model. While the latter failed by any measure, Walsh argues that the jury remains out regarding

the impact of even the most ambitious open projects (namely OCW at MIT) which are expensive to

maintain and continue to lack clear measures for their impact and success. In short, it seems like these

programs preserve a moment in the engagement of universities with the internet rather than the

blueprint for future projects or a foundation for long term development.

As someone who has thought about open course initiative on campus here at the University of North

Dakota I was struck my three things in book:

1. Massive Expense. The least expensive project in the book, Berkeley's home-brewed

webcast.berkeley cost $700,000 in 2008-2009. The most expensive range easily into the millions of

dollars (with continuing costs). The Hewlett Foundation provided most of the start up costs for projects

like MIT's OCW, Yale's OYC program, and Carnegie Mellon's innovative OLI project and these

grants all exceeded one million dollars. With such substantial costs involved few of the programs have

models to ensure that these projects can be sustained into the future even on a limited scale or with

transformed goals. While Walsh did not go into specific budgets, it appears that many of these

programs invested heavily in creating high-quality user interfaces, polished and well-edited content (in

the case of CMU's OLI, the interactive, incremental self-testing required a significant invest in

technology, pedagogy, and content development), and a support staff to assist in the production of

material. Most of these projects, even the relatively "grass roots" webcast.berkeley have full time staff

who help faculty manage the technical aspects of the distributing content online.

2. Wine in Wine Skins. Most of the content produced for these open course initiatives originated in

the bricks-and-mortar classroom. In other words, part of the expense and technical aspect of the

program was the conversion of classroom style teaching to an online experience. In fact, the basis for

these programs seems to be that they provide the world with a glimpse into the classroom based

experiences at an elite university. For a growing number of people, however, the classroom is not a

bricks-and-mortar place, but is already an online experience. This is not to suggest that these initiatives

are anachronistic, but simply to point out that converting content from the physical classroom to an

online space has occurred thousands of times in universities across the US. Moreover, many teachers

are now on the third or fourth (or 10th or 20th) revisions of their material for online teaching and have

tailored and refined their approaches to online teaching to reflect the potential of the new medium.

And this content already exists meaning that the expense and effort required to bring a bricks-and-

mortar class to an online environment has already occurred.

Of course, some of these courses are effectively locked into various online learning platforms (like

Blackboard or Desire2Learn). On the other hand, I would predict that I could port all of my online,

content-rich Western Civilization class onto a blog in less than 8 hours with the

possible exception of automated content focused quizzes. My point with this observation is that the

expense going into the creation of various open course initiatives represented a moment in higher

education where the prestige and authority of schools like MIT, Yale, and CMU, remained tied to an


expectation of classroom instruction. Bringing this product to an online space required the schools to

develop a unique approaches to gathering content, managing it, and presenting it to an audience. Less

than a decade after most of these initiatives received funding, online content distribution has become

the norm for many students across the country. These new and increasingly discerning consumers of

online course materials realize that while MIT and Yale are, indeed, prestigious places with great faculty

and storied traditions, there is a difference between a good and a bad online course. I expect to see a

shift in open course initiatives that come to privilege the best quality online learning environments

rather than the vested prestige of the bricks-and-mortar classroom.

Moreover the proliferation of easy to use, hosted sites like, YouTube, Flickr, various

Wikis, et c. has made the need to create distinct spaces for online courses an exercise in vanity (at worst)

or clever online branding and marketing (at best?). Not to get all <a

href="">DIY/EduPunk</a> on you, but one could create

a robust interface for online learning through a combination of easily accessible, free, open, and hosted

online services.

3. Top Down and Bottom Up. With the exception of webcast.berkeley (and perhaps Yale's OYC) all

of the approaches documented in this book began as top-down initiatives managed and developed by

administrators. As a result, these programs took on university wide priorities and significance.

Certainly, the abilities to leverage economies of scale, marshal enthusiasm and manage diverse

stakeholders, and provide official imprimatur helped to ensure that these programs were successful. On

the other hand, in most cases the success or failure of a course is typically bound up in the willingness of

an individual faculty member to find a way to reach his or her students. The physical space and

institutional prestige offers little to the educational experience.

It struck me as odd, then, that this book did so little to capture the faculty perspective on these

programs or to consider how a faculty led initiative could manage to accomplish similar goals with less

overhead and complexity. Using off-the-shelf parts, a co-op of faculty could easily offer a wide range of

content online for free. The university could be an important stakeholder in this initiative and offer

technical assistance, branding, and marketing support, but the ultimate control over the content and its

presentation would remain the responsibility of individual faculty members. This de-centered approach

to open course ware captures the radically de-centered nature of the internet and the removes

expensive (and limiting) mediators from the process.


<title>What to wear ...</title>


<pubDate>Wed, 02 Feb 2011 12:50:36 +0000</pubDate>


<guid isPermaLink="false"></guid>


when walking home in -10 F temperatures (with wind chills around -20). My

walk home is about a 2 mile walk and takes me 30-40 minutes. (<a

href=""> The cold can be

dangerous as a UND hockey player recently discovered</a>! (via <a

href="!/DMSkjelver/">Danielle Skjelver</a>))

I try to<a href="

phenomenology-of-landscape/"> walk home every day </a>and consider it part of my vocation as a

landscape archaeologist. Walks in the winter are always the most peaceful. It's amazing how few people

are out-and-about when the temperature slips below 0 F. These walks are also a great way to

decompress after a long day in the office and provide me with an opportunity to solve the worlds

problems while reconnecting with a landscape that feels strangely three-dimensional after a long day

staring at a computer screen.

The trick is staying warm. There are two schools of thought on this. New school goes with state of the

art materials designed for maximum comfort and warmth. Old School goes with layers. I try to

combine the two.

Blundstone 550 boots

Bamboo socks from an Australian country store (from my mother-in-law)

Good cotton boxer briefs

Eddy Bauer -30 tested thermal tights

Eddy Bauer lined cargo pants

cotton t-shirt

Katmandu nylon long-sleeve t-shirt

cotton sweater

Old Navy Hoodie

L.L. Bean Polyester Fleece Pullover

Carhartt Jacket (designed for 30 degree F)

Knit wool balaklava

Knit wool hat

EMS mitten/gloves


<title>Teaching Historiography</title>



<pubDate>Thu, 03 Feb 2011 13:02:37 +0000</pubDate>


<guid isPermaLink="false"></guid>

This semester I will teach our graduate historiography seminar for perhaps the last

time. The course is one of the most difficult to teach in our department not only because it is required

for all graduate students (so there is no self-selection process), but also because the course has an

explicitly theoretical goal. For most of our Master's level students, this is their first class that touches on

topics like historical epistemology, critical and social theory, and methodology (as in the study of

method rather than method itself). The course generally evokes two reactions. Some like the

opportunity to explore more abstract approaches to history; others resent the technical language,

difficult texts, and disconnect from history as a discipline rooted in practice.

Readers of this blog know that I am interested in the idea of craft in academia. I've blogged on

archaeology and craft, graduate education and craft, and most recently followed with interest the debate

among <a href="">digital humanists</a>

regarding <a href="">the role

of practical skills in the formation of this vital sub-discipline</a>. For some reason, I have not discussed

history and craft much even though I teach a class every semester for undergraduates called "<a

href=" -tuesday-readings-for-

history-240-the-historians-craft/">The Historians' Craft</a>".

Nowhere does the desire for history to articulate itself as craft come through more clearly. One of the

standard critiques of the class is that it has too little to do with the practical practice of history. The

emphasis on the clear link between education and practice clearly echos the practical emphasis of craft

training (see <a href="

history-as-craft/">my comments on Herzfeld, for example</a>) and suggests models of apprenticeship.

The goal of graduate training in history, for these students, is master of a set of technical skills rather

than a self-conscious understanding of the philosophical, epistemological, and theoretical foundations

for the field. In fact, for some drinking too deeply of the abstract, theoretical discourse risks alienating

history from its true social power as a field that DOES things, produces actual knowledge, and endows

society with clear sense of place in time. Time spent dissecting the epistemological grounds for

historical knowledge not only detracts from the training needed actually TO DO history, but

undermines the validity of the final product of historical work: new knowledge.

The call for craft, so to speak, captures a kind of impatient anti-intellectualism that has long existed

around the fringes of fields like history that h ave struggled with sophisticated amateur practitioners and

the limits to its own status as a profession. Much of undergraduate education in history is geared

toward doing. Students take classes where faculty model historical thinking, write research papers

where they the practical lessons of historical thought, and are assessed based on their ability to mimic

key characteristics of the craft whether they are rooted in practice (style, use of evidence, proper

citations) or so-called foundational knowledge (names, dates, places, events, causal links, et c.). Any

engagement with larger intellectual concerns is typically focused clearly on the production of history by

means of methodology or relegated to the fringes of the curriculum (perhaps in a historiography class or

as part of a larger "required" course). In short, historians learn history through DOING history.

So, it is hardly a surprise that students struggle when confronted with a class that seems to care less

about DOING history and more about und erstanding or even contemplating what it is that the

historians does. In taking this approach, I try to place the work of the historian in an intellectual

framework following the lead of 18th and 19th century thinkers and taking as a point of departure R.

G. Collingwood's wonderful, if flawed, efforts in his Idea of History . (Oxford 1946). I am clear,

however, that the philosophy of history or an emphasis on the intellectual underpinning of disciplinary

practice need not always stand in direct opposition to the actual practice of historical knowledge

production. Unfortunately, this argument only convinces the choir; most students committed to


historical work as craft production see my efforts as a kind of pedagogical sophistry (at best) or Socratic

corruption at worse.

So teaching graduate historiography places me in the belly of the beast. The conflict between historical

practice as common sensical, almost certainly universal, and subject to refinement through practice, and

historical practice as a baffling contradiction requiring us to mediate between a intellectually elusive past

and a problematic present.


<title>Friday Varia and Quick Hits</title>

<link> -varia-and-quick-


<pubDate>Fri, 04 Feb 2011 13:19:45 +0000</pubDate>


<guid isPermaLink="false"></guid>

Freezing rain today and then some snow for good measure. I thought N orth Dakota

was too good for freezing rain, so I am disappointed.

<a href="">P. Nick Kardulias (et al.) on

world-systems analysis and archaeology in the </a> <a

href="">Journal of Archaeological

Research</a> .

<a href="

delusion/">Some good thoughts on social media and the events in Egypt</a>.

<a href="">Everything is Remix Part 2</a> (<a

href="">and Part 1</a>). (via <a

href="">Daring Fireball</a>)

<a href="">A five part documentary

on Cricket in the U.S.A. produced by the ICC</a>. <a

href="">A major cricket stadium in

Ft. Lauderdale, Florida</a>! <a

href=" .html">First, ever, international cricket


Read <a href="">Teaching Thursday</a>. And follow the <a

href="!/oidatund">Office of Instructional Development on Twitter</a>.

Check out the <a href="">Exotica Project</a> and its sister blog <a

href="">Office Naps</a>. (via <a href="">Boing Boing</a>)

<a href="">A 24 hour sky

view over Cape Sounion</a>. (via<a href=""></a>)

What I'm listening to: <a href="">The Exotica Project</a>.

What I'm reading: <a href=" -pots-to-people-a-ceramic-approach-


cyprus/oclc/670473800">Kristina Winther-Jacobsen, </a> <a href="


in-late-roman-cyprus/oclc/670473800">From Pots to People: A ceramic approach to the archaeological

interpretion of ploughzone assemblages in Late Roman Cyprus</a> . (Peeters 2010).



<title>Pots to People in Late Roman Cyprus</title>



<pubDate>Mon, 07 Feb 2011 13:27:45 +0000</pubDate>


<guid isPermaLink="false"></guid>

I spent the last week contemplating Kristina Winther-Jacobsen's new monograph: <a

href=" -pots-to-people-a-ceramic-approach-to-the-archaeological-

interpretation-of-ploughsoil-assemblages-in-late-roman-cyprus/oclc/670473800">From Pots to

People: A Ceramic Approach to the Archaeological Interpretation of Ploughsoil Assemblages in Late

Roman Cyprus</a> . (Peeters 2010). This slim volume is an important contribution to not only the

archaeology of Late Roman Cyprus, but also intensive pedestrian survey archaeology in the Eastern

Mediterranean. Her analysis rests on the analysis of pottery from the <a

href="">Troodos Archaeological

and Environmental Survey Project (TAESP)</a> which is a descendant of the Sydney Cyprus Survey

Project (SCSP). My project <a href="">PKAP</a>, is an ugly cousin of SCSP as

well, and we both PKAP and TAESP approached intensive survey in similar ways. Both projects

recognized that intensive data collection was an essential first step in interpreting ploughsoil

assemblages, both projects used version of the chonotype system to document the ceramic material

from the field, and both projects placed significant emphasis on a transparent approach to our

procedures, methods, and conclusions. The biggest difference, is that TAESP was conducted on a

regional scale, whereas PKAP sought to document a large coastal site and its immediate hinterland.

The central argument in her book is that Late Roman sites on Cyprus produce ceramic material in

certain predictable ways. The consistency in the relationship between light and heavy utility wares,

table wares, cooking wares, and transport vessels allowed the author to draw conclusions regarding the

function of the various sites and their relationship to wider productive landscape. From the TAESP

survey area, Winther-Jacobsen identified farmsteads, mining settlements, an agro-church (a church that

played a role in agricultural production), a seasonal settlement, and a market village. She reinforces her

arguments for the utility of these settlement types through comparison with other projects on the island

and in Greece.

As has become my practice, I am not going to offer a full review (although I think that I'll probably

divide my remarks on this important little book into two posts), but instead offer some observations on

her methods and conclusions.


Formation Processes. The author paid particular attention to the way that formation processes

contributed to the production of surface and ploughsoil assemblages and summarizes a good bit of

relevant scholarship on these matters. Here her work parallels some of the important <a

href="">contributions of David Pettegrew

</a>who argued that the full-range of discard behaviors, curation techniques, and natural and cultural

activities contribute to the assemblage of material in the plough zone. Framing the discussion of

ploughsoil assemblages in the context of formation processes is vital to understanding the meaning and

distribution of artifacts in the landscape. Winther-Jacobsen makes some good observations regarding

breakage rates, use, and discard practices of particular types of pottery suggesting that cooking wares,

which are particularly common in her various assemblages, endured particularly difficult life-cycles with

many opportunities for breakage and discard. Heavier vessels (with the possible exception of transport

amphora) tended to be handled less frequently in the household, in contrast, would have had longer

life-cycles and lower breakage rates making them appear less frequently in the ploughsoil assemblages.

Method and Procedure. Winther-Jacobsen makes clear that the ceramicist and other field

archaeologists participates in archaeological formation processes when the define and document an

assemblage for analysis and interpretation. To this end, she includ es a detailed meditation on her own

sorting and analysis practices. While it is commendable that she recognize the archaeologist as another

participant in the life-cycle of an object, I would have been keen to understand in a more specifc way


how her practices - from sorting, to measuring, to documenting - had an impact on the kinds of

analysis and interpretations found in her larger study. Like many projects that recognize the importance

of reflective practices, Winther-Jacobsen seems to stop just short of demonstrating the fundamentally

arbitrary nature of "archaeological material". In other words, a cooking pot does not exist outside of the

unique interaction between the ancient potter, the Late Roman cook, and 21st century archaeologist.

Typologies. Observing the arbitrary nature of archaeological knowledge, does not in any way detract

from its meaning (except among scholars committed to increasingly tenuous views that privilege the

rhetoric of objective). The author understand that typologies are utilitarian things that facilitate the

answering of particular questions. As a result, the team from TAESP modified the typology introduced

by SCSP called the chronotype system. I have blogged on the strengths and weaknesses of this method

for documenting pottery endlessly over the past several years (<a

href="">just run a search over at the

archive</a>). Whatever its weaknesses, its strength for our project has rested in two areas: 1. we are

forced to identify each sherd that comes from the field and place it in some kind of chronological and

roughly functional category; and 2. our dataset is in some way comparable to data collected by SCSP

and the Eastern Korinthia Archaeological Survey where the chronotype system was developed.

Winther-Jacobsen is clear that her efforts to refine the chronotype system eroded its comparability

between projects. In particular, her creation of three categories Transport Amphora, Heavy Utility

Ware and Light Utility Ware created two types of pottery that incompatible with the implementation

of the chronotype system on other projects where we tended to use Medium Coarse Ware and Coarse

Ware to identify utility ware sherds. While Winter-Jacobsen was obviously free sort her pottery

however she wanted, it was odd that she didn't make a greater effort to make her new chronotype

categories "backward compatible" with similar categories from earlier chronotype projects. This was

particularly problematic because her argument rested, in part, on comparing her assemblage to projects

elsewhere. For this to be meaningful, some allowance must be made to compensate for the different

typologies. The inherent flexibility of the chronotype system, which tends to parse assemblages into

very fine categories, would seem to be ideal for this, but the author did not necessarily maximize this

comparative potential in the book.

On-Site and Off-Site. While TAESP was a "siteless" survey project, Winther-Jacobsen's dataset derived

almost entirely from dense concentrations of material identified as sites. On the one hand, this makes

sense: she was interested in documenting and interpreting assemblages and sites produce sufficiently

robust assemblages for interpretation. On the other hand, the interpretation of sites has never really

been a massive problem for survey archaeology projects. Over the past 20 years, the more substantial

issue has focused on how we understand off-site material. In fact, David Pettegrew's efforts to link

formation processes to ploughsoil assemblages had less to do with the interpretation of distinct sites in

the landscape and more to do with how we understand the activities that produced off-site scatters. In

short, the "continuous carpet" of low to moderate density artifact scatters in the countryside represent a

far more challenging set of formation processes and require a more sophisticated set of interpretative

practices than the robust assemblages produced by high-density concentrations of material.

Scalability. This difference between on-site and off-site scatters and their interpretation shines light on

issues of scalability in the methods that the author advocates. Winther-Jacobsen advocates for near total

collection of material in order to produce assemblages susceptible to the kind of proportional analyses

that she advocates in this book. Various forms of total collection are common practice for most survey

projects when documenting a site. For off-site scatters or massively extensive, high-density scatters like

those encountered by PKAP on Cyprus, such time-consuming, storage-straining, analysis-intensive

practices are simply not viable. Taking nothing away from the author's careful typologies of sites, large-

scale, "large site" scatters and the ubiquitous and monotonous extensive low and medium density

scatters require some form of sampling technique if they are to be documented at all. Any form of

sampling will make problematic the proportional analysis of ceramic types that Winther-Jacobsen

demonstrated because sampling will almost necessarily reduce the level of complexity present in the

assemblage and create ambiguity in the relationship between the sample and the putative total

assemblage present on the ground.


None of these issues should take away from the significance of Winther-Jacobsen's book. It represents


on of the most thorough and systematic treatments of the analysis of Late Roman material from the

Eastern Mediterranean and establishes some valuable comparative standards that other projects will

want to consider as they make the move from pots to people in their analysis.


<title>Some thoughts on Academically Adrift</title>

<link> -thoughts-on-


<pubDate>Tue, 08 Feb 2011 13:14:37 +0000</pubDate>


<guid isPermaLink="false"></guid>

Over the past week or so, I've read over R. Arum an J. Roska's <a


campuses/oclc/587209637">Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses</a> <a

href=" -adrift-limited-learning-on-college-

campuses/oclc/587209637"> (Chicago 2011)</a>. The book and accompanying report, generated some

buzz a few weeks ago with the claim that based on their study 45% of college sophomores showed no

improvement in critical thinking skill from the start of their freshman year. They backed up this claim

with a study based on the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA) test administered to over 2,362

college students at 24 schools.

They take significant efforts to control for variables ranging from race to levels of preparation and to

the level of school. Despite the complexity of their analysis and the myriad variables that influence the

learning process, the authors were able to conclude that the academic rigor of the college experience

was the single most significant variable in the whether a student will develop critical thinking skills. In

fact, the authors suggested that 40 pages of reading a week and a 20 page paper mark a level of rigor

sufficient to promote critical thinking skills. They also observe that the humanities and social sciences

are one of the best areas in the university to have classes with these kinds of requirements. In fact, social

sciences and humanities courses ranked second only to science and math for predicting the best CLA

scores and, by extension for this book, the best critical thinking outcomes. Business, education and

social work, health, communications, and even computer science and engineering fall short. While this

is an interesting ranking, it is a bit difficult to understand how many students would be engaged in

major level coursework in their freshman and sophomore years. In fact, I might suggest that courses in

the humanities tend to have fewer prerequisites (and require less remediation) than upper level courses

in other disciplines meaning that freshmen and sophomores could more easily enroll in upper level

classes. The same might hold for math and science courses where students can become engaged in their

major at an earlier point in their careers. Business schools and specialized programs in education, health

sciences, social work, and even engineering often require substantial amounts of introductory level

coursework before one can be admitted to a program. These courses, by dint of being "required", tend

to be held in a certain amount of contempt and could well breed a particular kind of social pressure as

most of the students in these classes are at the same academic rank. In contrast, upper level courses in

the major (particularly in the humanities) tend to attract students from the full range of ranks exposing

underclassmen to the more developed approaches to learning (on can hope) among more advanced


Despite the relatively small sample of colleges, there was little attention to the actual curriculum that

students pursued. Instead, the authors focused many of their most poignant observations on the culture

of university life and student and faculty expectations. While the authors were careful not to make

causal connection between the specific facets of university life and student learning outcomes, they

point to scholarship that shows a pattern of changing academic values both among students and among

faculty members. Students have progressively spent less and less time studying, and, at the same time,

many universities have incentivized activities other than teaching among faculty. They tied these

trends together suggesting that students come to college with the expectation that social activities

would provide as much of their education as actual course work, and university faculty are loath to

challenge this percept out of concern for student backlash and poor performance reviews on

standardized teaching evaluations. The lack of formal education training among faculty, a tendency to

evaluate performance using standardized assessment tools, and a general disengagement from the

teaching and learning process has eroded the will to push back against student expectations. The

authors show how a willingness to meet with students outside of class, a rigorous curriculum , and well-


conceived student exercises can improve student performance on critical thinking exercises. For

students, they showed that studying more hours actually does improve performance. In particular, they

suggest that students who study more alone tend to do better than students who study in groups.

The idea that more work produces better results is hearteningly simple. (And more or less consistent

with arguments based on cognitive psychology and summarized in D. Willingham's recent <a



Don't Students Like School</a> <a href=" -dont-students-like-