From Venezuela to Taiwan: an interview with Dr. Pei-Lin Yu

Pei-Lin Yu, Anthropology, studio portrait
In one of her favorite shirts! Photo courtesy of Dr. Yu.

Last fall, I read for the first time the book Hungry Lightening by Dr. Pei-Lin Yu. It was recommended to me by my as I was trying to think of content for this blog. I picked it up and was immediately captured by Dr. Yu’s writing. I never dreamed that I would be at a breakfast diner in Boise, Idaho interviewing her in person and hearing her retell the story of her delivering a set of twins in the savanna’s of Venezuela. Continue reading “From Venezuela to Taiwan: an interview with Dr. Pei-Lin Yu”

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Please excuse the lack of blog posts, we were studying and making a music video.

Our fall semester is finally coming to an end…

After our amazing trip to Boise State (which we can’t wait to tell you about!) things have been a whirlwind of wonderful but we are so ready for the winter break. Devan and I have been working diligently in our archaeology courses. Especially that of lithics, with the late night lab hours ultimately culminating into this special video.

It is obvious Devan has talent. I on the other hand have questionable skills in dancing and air instruments but these were the only artistic contributions I had and I really wanted to be in the video. So thank you to Devan for letting me intrude on her performance.

We will be posting exciting interviews and some new content come the spring semester so stay tuned!

Hungry Lightning

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One of my favorite Anthropology professor often says, that “Anthropology is all about the stories. I initially picked up the book, Hungry Lightning (Yu 1997) because I was in desperate need for a good story. As a student, I often find myself lost in the technicalities of field work and research and can forget about the actual people we are studying and trying to learn of. Though technical methods are, of course, extremely important in order to make inferences from artifacts, I think it is crucial to begin with ethnographic works. Hungry Lightning is a personal account of Dr. Pei-Lin Yu’s field-work in the savanna plains of Venezuela. Her experience and writing has a unique feminine touch that so beautifully illustrates the Pumé way of life. What I loved most about this book is that it reminded me of the real reason of why I continue to pursue the field of archaeology, it’s all about the stories.

Dr. Yu lived with the Pumé for eighteen months. Her time in the village of Doro Ańa is spent fully immersed in the community. She learns the Pumé language, eats, forages, hunts and cooks the traditional food and develops intimate relationships with the local people. Continue reading “Hungry Lightning”

It’s time for a menstruation chat

I’ll begin this post with a warning. If you are squeamish, uncomfortable or just don’t like talking about menstruation, this post isn’t for you. If you also know me personally and don’t really want to know the ins and outs of how I survived field school on my period, this post isn’t for you…

Just kidding, this post is especially for those who don’t want to stay and chat. So glad to have you!

Continue reading “It’s time for a menstruation chat”

Passion and perseverance: an interview with Dr. Brenda Todd

As we discussed in our first introductory post, we will be interviewing and highlighting the many wonderful female archaeologists of today. We have some great interviews lined up and can’t wait to share them with you! To kick off our interview series, we had the pleasure of meeting with Dr. Brenda Todd from the Public Lands History Center at Colorado State University.

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Chimney Rock site near Pagosa Springs, Colorado. Photo courtesy of Dr. Brenda Todd

Dr. Brenda Todd received her master’s degree and PhD from the University of Colorado, Boulder in archaeology with her research focusing on the American Southwest. She has since worked in many capacities including implementing the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), planning for the stewardship of cultural resources with the National Park Service, private consulting, and presently as program manager with the Public Lands History Center. We talked to her about her awesome job experiences at NPS, what first sparked her interest in archaeology and the importance of being able to effectively communicate with the public. Continue reading “Passion and perseverance: an interview with Dr. Brenda Todd”

You can’t be what you can’t see

I recently read a book called The Archaeology of Colorado and I enjoyed every moment of it. After what seems like thousands of academic articles this semester alone, it was nice to read a book on archaeology that was less jargon and numbers and more a beautiful synthesis of the local prehistory. At the end of the book, E. Steve Cassells highlights prominent figures in Colorado’s archaeology, many of which I had heard of from readings prior but the organized collection of them revealed a very prominent gender discrepancy. Out of the 42 archaeologists that were highlighted only 4 of them were women. This may be a regional compilation of early archaeologists, but the gender theme is the same throughout the discipline. One may also point to the fact that these are historical figures from the time span of the late 1800’s to 1950, but let us not forget the importance of understanding how the field of archaeology came to be. If we are to understand the current gender discrepancy we must first understand the story behind what made archaeology. For isn’t this one of the reasons to study archaeology? Is it not to find insight to the present by the stories of the peoples of the past? Continue reading “You can’t be what you can’t see”

High in the alpine

We just returned from a 4 day long, CSU Ice Patch Survey in Rocky Mountain National Park! The goals of Ice Patch research in regards to archaeology are to monitor the decreasing glaciers and ice, and collect any artifacts that may be exposed due to the melting. Ice can preserve materials that would otherwise disintegrate in natural weathering processes and give us valuable information regarding the usage of the alpine in the prehistoric. This type of High Altitude or Alpine archaeology research is fairly up and coming especially in the contiguous United States. High altitude archaeology is a unique field of study that is particularly challenging with tumultuous weather, remoteness, accessibility and the sheer physical demands. But the rewards for this far outweigh the costs due to the rarity of sites and contemporary research. These sites provide the missing pieces to the ever complex puzzle of early peoples in the Alpine. Continue reading “High in the alpine”

Gear review: Backpacking edition

IMG_20170827_100343I’ve been testing my gear pretty intensely this past year, from field school to backpacking to hikes. The adage, “You live and you learn”, is particularly true when you are soaking wet because you don’t have appropriate weather gear or when things are falling apart on the trails. There is a lot of trial and error when it comes to knowing exactly what you need and don’t need in the back country. I have always loved the outdoors and have (what I thought to be) pretty good outdoor experience but this summer has been by far my most active season, so with a little bit more skill and understanding under my belt here are some of my top 5 gear recommendations: Continue reading “Gear review: Backpacking edition”