Monday, August 5, 2013

AN Adventures on the Horizon

Greeting Nerds! Three weeks until the start of the new semester, and with it comes even more opportunities to dive into great AN courses to feed your need for disciplinary knowledge. If you are still looking for a course, you can check out Dr. Stock's Human Origins class, where you'll explore the evolutionary history of our species and learn how our splendid diversity came to be. It will build on much of the great stuff you learned in AN 102, Bones, Genes, and Everything in Between with Dr. Ullinger. We've also got space left in Latin American Societies and Cultures. Next spring Dr. Giblin is offering a new course, Archaeology of Food, so keep that in mind as you plan for the next semester (it'll be a TTh course).
To get you pumped for school and to energize your AN-loving soul, I've provided a link to my all time favorite AN video--The Anthropology Song: A little bit Anthropologist. Enjoy!

Friday, August 2, 2013

So cute - had to share!

Just a quick post - today was the last day of my fellowship at the library. As a parting gift, the staff gave me a very cute picture book called "Skeleton Hiccups." I'll bring it by the lab - it's awesome!


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Vale Dr. Stocking

Dr. George W. Stocking Jr. passed away on July 13, 2013.  Dr. Stocking's work informed an entire generation of scholars in anthropology about their own discipline, though he was not an anthropologist himself.  He published numerous books on the history of the discipline, and profiled many of the early scholars who contributed to the discipline's foundation in the U.S. and in Great Britain. His passing makes me regret we do not yet have a History of Anthropology class at Quinnipiac. If we had such a class, all our AN students would leave QU with a deep appreciation for the work this man did for our discipline. You can be sure of one thing: much of what you read in any of your AN courses has been touched, in some way, by the work of Dr. Stocking.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Greetings once again from the Hamden Public Library! This week I did a program for teens about forensic anthropology. Thank you to Professors Ullinger and Giblin for their assistance - I borrowed bones from the lab and also borrowed some ideas from the program we did with 7th graders last year.

First we did quiz-show about the myths vs. realities of forensic anthropology. Then the fun with bones began!
I scrambled up the bones and had the students work together to put him in anatomical position

The awesome teens - they got really into it!
The teens filled in a worksheet to learn some of the names of the bones.
I found some great books in the library.
So I displayed them at the program in case the students wanted to continue their studies at home.

I had 10 students in total - they were all very smart & sweet. After assembling the skeleton, we talked about how to determine the sex of a skeleton. I brought in pictures and drawings of various skeletons and had the students figure out the sex. We talked a little bit about aging, although I didn't go into too much detail because I didn't feel as confident about my grasp of the material. To conclude, I showed them some casts of pathology specimens, including a broken tibia, osteoarthritis, and the syphilis skull.

The students seemed to have a great time, and so did I! Hopefully I inspired some future anthropologists.

Yesterday, the whole fellowship went to Hartford to visit the Capitol building. To clarify, I am working at the library through a Presidential Public Service Fellowship. There are 11 students in the fellowship and we are each placed in different town offices, so my assignment is the library. Anyway, we went to Hartford and got to meet several government leaders. You can read more about it here (and admire my sullen face in the picture - I was exhausted at this point).

My favorite room was the Senate Chamber, which was beautiful. The Senate isn't in session right now, but the senators' names are in front of each of their places. There are 36 senators and, looking around the room, only a few of them are women. After a full day of meeting almost exclusively with old white men, this was discouraging to see. However, we did meet with the Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman. I asked her about her experiences working as a woman in the government. She described just one unfortunate incident, but other than that she luckily has not had too many unpleasant experiences. I wanted to further discuss women's issues, but she is very busy and had to get to another appointment.

Day to day, the library is a nice place to work. Right now we have three caterpillars in cocoons, so hopefully soon we'll have butterflies!
To conclude this post, here's a picture of my cat.

Until next time, anthro nerds.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Anthropology Literally Unlocks Doors

You know those "staff only" doors in museums, and how you're always dying to know what's hidden behind them? Today we found out. And it was awesome.

The British Museum. Ancient Egypt and Sudan Department. Backstage.

Professor Ullinger's friend, Daniel, is a curator at the museum and gave us a tour of some really amazing stuff that's not currently on view to the public. How cool is that?

We got to see one of the only 12 pre-dynastic Egyptian mummies in the world, ancient Egyptian jewellery (Tiffany & Co. have nothing on the Egyptians!), papyrus pages of Book of the Dead (spells to help the deceased in the afterlife), and mummies with tattoos! They're so well preserved the tattoos are still visible to the naked eye.

Seriously it was incredible how many locked doors we went through. The anthropology community has got some serious pull in museums, and that meant seeing all those truly incredible objects. Unfortunately, we still weren't allowed to touch. All in due time, right?

Before the museum, Paige and I climbed all 628 steps of St. Paul's Cathedral, straight to the top of the dome, after having climbed the 311 steps of the Monument yesterday. I could not have imagined more incredible views of the city. We also had time to visit Millennium Bridge.

Top of St. Paul's Cathedral
Millennium Bridge

We arrived to the museum a few hours early so we could look around, went on the amazing tour, had the most delicious afternoon tea, and then stayed for another couple of hours to keep exploring.

Tea Party!
Professor Haldane, I was thinking of you when I saw that Africa was grouped into one gallery relegated to the basement, when other galleries were broken up by country. No other continent is going to be considered 1 homogenous amalgam that can be summed up in a single room. Silent rage.

Now what was contained in that room was breathtaking. There was one piece, called The Tree of Life, which was made from recovered guns in Mozambique. An organization was set up that allowed people to trade in their guns in exchange for ploughs and tractors. It was so inspiring that I actually got a little emotional.

Tree of Life
Quick shoutout to my friend, Sybelle! She's in London for the summer as an au pair and we met up for a bite to eat a few nights ago.

Sybelle and Paige Playing in the Park
The three of us walked around Bishop's Park right on the Thames, which was beautiful at night. Incredible stroke of fortune that we were both in the city at the same time!


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Harrod's: Where if it Glitters, It's Probably Gold

For a midweek adventure Paige and I went to the Victoria & Albert Museum and then took a trip down the street to Harrod's. I think the only word that appropriately sums those two buildings up is "glitz."

For example: a sword found in the fashion exhibit at the V&A:

Bedazzled sword officially on my Christmas list
Now I was aware that the V&A was a fashion museum, but I had no idea how awesome it would be. Ladies fashion throughout the years? Bizzare, not that it's gotten any better. Paige possesses the crazy notion that wearing a hoop skirt and corset would be fun!

We moved on to the jewellery (British spelling) exhibit and our jaws literally dropped. There were crowns, tiaras, rings, bracelets, and more swords and each one was diamond encrusted or plated in gold or both. The guards were pretty lenient with the no photos policy, so I managed to snap a few before having to put my camera away.  

Our last stop was the Theatre department which houses such famous things as the costumes from the Broadway Lion King and a life-size rhinoceros that I'm actually not sure what play it came from. But above all else... it has a dress-up section.

We practically got run over by some young school girls shoving each other for the one princess dress, while Paige and I contented ourselves with a jester's costume and cloaks.


After gaping at the sculpture gallery (not even the big one, just the little teaser they keep by an exit) we made our way out and up the street to Harrod's.

I n case you don't know, Harrod's is a high end department store but not in the way that Macy's is "high end." Harrod's houses designers from all around the world, has 7 floors, runs tours throughout the building, and something labelled on the store map as "penthouse personal shopping." Oh yes, you need a map to get around. Simply put, look but don't touch.

A few things we saw while browsing:

Cruella DeVille's Dream Outfit
80,000 pounds (roughly $120k)

Raspberry Doughnuts that literally sparkled - probably with diamonds
There were no photos allowed in the jewellery or watch departments, a policy that was strictly enforced. 

But we did make a purchase! The food hall had pastries so we each bought a snack that came with its very own Harrod's bag. 

That concludes our day of extravagance, a day neither of us are soon to forget. It was great getting to see all of those beautiful things but when it comes down to it, I can't imagine spending 180,000 pounds ($270k) on a pearl and diamond necklace when there are so many other things (charity) that the money could go towards. So while I appreciated the chance to see how the 1% lives, I'm pretty content with my lot in life!


Crypts and Castles

Holly and I have been in London for almost two weeks and its been absolutely amazing! Pretty much everyday we have been working in the rotunda in the Museum of London which has amazing working conditions compared to the crypt at St Brides. It's a little cramped but we find a way to make it work by creating our own tables.

 One of the skulls we used at St Brides still had hair on its head!! It kind of grossed us all out a little, and according to Holly "it made it seem a little less dead than the others."

 On Saturday, Holly and I made the day trip to Windsor Castle. We even figured out how the train station works and managed to get there on time, which I think is pretty amazing! When we got there the castle was visible in the distance and our jaws dropped. Holly had to keep reminding herself to close her mouth from all of the jaw dropping while at the castle. When we were there we took a tour and our tour guide told us that when this specific flag is flying over the tower then it means the Queen is there, so lucky us we were touring the Queen's summer castle while she was there! No, we were not able to see her but it was still pretty awesome. I definitely advise everyone to go see Windsor castle, it was outstanding and each room we went into was more amazing than the last. We only got to see a small section of the castle but I was completely satisfied with what we saw. On our way back to the train station we passed a mini-tower that came right up to the sidewalk so of course I had to try and storm the castle, I mean who wouldn't?!