September 27, 2015

Archaeology @ Work

Dr. Meghan Buchanan is a research scientist at Indiana University’s Glenn A Black Laboratory of Archaeology and has curated the exhibit “Archaeology @ Work” on display at the Glenn A Black Laboratory of Archaeology.

Talking with Dr. Buchanan she was very passionate about her exhibit when we met up at the opening of “Archaeology  @ Work”.

  What were the methods behind the creation of this exhibit?

Originally I wanted the exhibit to be based solely on the work of WPA, the Works Programs Administration part of the New Deal, programs at Angel Mounds in Evansville, and the tools utilized. The goal was to have it show the WPA workers excavating the various sites. This turned out to be a lot more challenging than I had originally expected. The records and data were very easy to come by since it was a federal project, but there were not many photos of the workers actually doing the work. One of the best resources that was available were Glenn A Black’s notebooks that he kept while excavating the site. The system utilized was also very complicated because the workers dug in 10x10 plots so it was complicated to decipher where anything was specifically. Also there was not a lot of equipment that had survived to today.
It then became more about archaeology in general, encompassing all past Indiana University field schools along with other WPA excavation sites. Indiana University has a very impressive history with field schools such as during the 1940s to early 1950s they held field schools entirely for women. The exhibit itself is very relatable to students because the exhibit encompasses many of the basics in archaeology. Angel Mounds has a sister site in Illinois, Kincaid mounds. This was actually the site that I started my career researching and now it has come full circle with the installation of this exhibit.
In the future we are planning to reestablish field schools at Angel Mounds and are currently working on a site management plan. In the meantime we are digitizing old films and film clips about Angel Mounds that go all the way back to the 1930s.
Southern Indiana has actually had quite a few excavations which are depicted in the digital picture frame included in the exhibit. This will actually continue after the exhibit is taken down and be displayed at the desk of the Glenn A Black Archaeology Lab. 

The exhibit “Archaeology @ Work” depicts the WPA at Angel Mounds in Southern Indiana and the history of IU field schools at Angel Mounds as well but also all around Indiana.

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