Echoing my previous article posted in November 2017,
Before I begin: there is a range of deafness, from mild hearing loss to profoundly deaf. I am in the “medium” range. I wear hearing aids, have worn them since I was around two or three years old, and attended speech therapy classes throughout my youth. Basically, I am a (what a hearing person would say) “functioning” deaf person: I am able to hear, lip-read well, and use my voice to communicate. However, I do not practice the particular “skill” frequently, which means that my “skill” can be ineffective in a group setting when everyone is talking over each other and I would be unable to read anyone’s lips. I chose to not practice my “skill” “often” because I consider myself deaf. I grew up going to an all-deaf school and graduated from a university that mainly serves the deaf. I am very comfortable using my first language, American Sign Language, to communicate with people. Using an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter to convey my messages to hearing people is the best way for me to communicate because I am able to accurately represent my “voice” by signing and there would not be any misunderstanding from both sides of the conversation between me and a hearing person (or hearing people).
Five years ago, I typed an article for Archaeology In The Community discussing my deafness and the challenges of being in the archaeology profession with my disability. I admitted a mistake of not having an ASL interpreter present while doing a field school in Belize, I provided information regarding accessibility in archaeology, and noted the lack of archaeology outreach opportunities for Deaf participants.
Time has gone by quickly, and the issues have improved a bit. In creating my Amelia the Archaeologist social media accounts in April 2018 (on instagram, facebook, youtube, and tiktok), I am slowly seeing a change in ensuring accessibility within the archaeology profession.
Here are a few examples of improvement in the profession I’ve noticed; the Archaeological Institute of America started providing ASL interpreters for their Archaeology Abridged lecture programs this year, and had provided ASL interpreters for their annual event, ArchaeoCon 2022 as well. The Bureau of Land Management recently secured a contract with Birnbaum Interpreting Services (a deaf-owned and operated interpreting company) for deaf and hard-of-hearing employees to easily reserve interpreting services. Some archaeology-related social media accounts such as SEARCH, Inc. are adding alt-texts, image/video descriptions, and captions/transcriptions to their posts. Teachers at deaf schools are recognizing the need for broadening students’ employment opportunities by having guest lectures from deaf professionals. Museums, for example the Museum of Natural History at University of Colorado Boulder, including ASL-translated videos to their permanent exhibits. Archaeology organizations reaching out for accessibility suggestions and referrals, asking disabled archaeologists to be on panel discussions, and so on.
In my experience thus far within the profession, I held seven archaeology positions and five museum-related positions and I have only encountered one difficult supervisor. All of the co-workers and employers I worked for and/or with have been very understanding and willing to ensure my accessibility needs. It may be sheer luck, or simply because the archaeology profession is shifting in their usual mindset. I sincerely do think it is the latter, however, I also know we still have a long way to go in terms of improving the profession as a whole.
Through my social media accounts, I was able to connect with other deaf archaeologists working professionally, and those who are also current students in the profession. Never would I have thought I’d have the chance to get to know them, and to be friends, especially being able to work alongside one at one of my previous employment positions. I met deaf youths who are interested in becoming archaeologists. I was also written in a student book project about my endeavors, which to me signifies the desire of learning more about archaeology and of what archaeology can do for the deaf communities.
Unfortunately, there is still a lack of archaeology outreach opportunities or programs for the deaf, youth and/or adults. Programs such as archaeology site tours, volunteer-focused digs, archaeology lectures are not widely available to the deaf communities due to accessibility. Organizations seem to think we should wait for the interest of the deaf communities in order to develop programs but I think otherwise. Despite the possibility of having low participant numbers, we should be rolling up our sleeves and providing opportunities regardless. Over time, I believe there will be an increase in participant numbers from the deaf communities.
Accessibility is a tedious process because not every disabled person has the same needs and this is something to always keep in mind. We must continue to educate each other and we shouldn’t have to ask for accessibility.
The story of the Parker family and their revolutionary academy is one that could have been completely lost over time. After a devastating flood in New Richmond in 1937, the academy school house and men’s dormitory were destroyed beyond repair and subsequently demolished a few years later. Now, the trees and vegetation have taken over the land where these buildings once stood. The Parker’s academy has become a forgotten symbol of a place and time that once struggled with ideas of unity, equality, and freedom for all.
Through the work of historical archaeology and public history, the story of the Parkers and the Clermont Academy is being brought back to life. Faculty and students from Northern Kentucky University (NKU) have taken on the responsibility of telling the story through their current and ongoing research project. This work is being conducted through the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Parker Academy project, sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF). This multidisciplinary collaboration among historians, geographers, and anthropologists engages diverse student participants in research exploring important problems of race, gender equality, and social justice in American History through archaeological excavations and archival research at the Parker Academy site in southern Ohio. The Parker Academy NSF REU is directed by Dr. William J. Landon and Dr. Sharyn Jones. The program provides an exciting and unique educational experience for undergraduates through hands-on research with an opportunity to earn academic credit. By participating in this project students learn about archival research, US History, GIS, and archaeology as they gain practical skill-based knowledge that transcends disciplinary boundaries.
The magic of the words of the Parker family and their students comes alive through historical documents and the photographs that are part of a rich archive. These documents provide stunning vivid images of the people and when combined with the scattered remains of material culture excavated on the former academy’s grounds, the remarkable Parker family story lives on. The story is still unfolding as our work continues and the daily lives of the students and the Parkers is explored in through both the archaeology and the archival documents.
Sharing the Parker Academy story with the community is an important part of the Parker Academy NSF REU project. A variety of public outreach endeavors are underway. As a research team we are working to create an open space for the public to learn about the Parker’s story through programs, school visits, volunteer excavation days, library exhibits, and other events. In the tri-state area, including the village of New Richmond and beyond, discussion panels and exhibits have been created to provide an opportunity for the local community to hear and see the history that is in their own backyard. Narratives about life at the Academy were gathered to create lesson plans for local schools to help teach about equality through education in the Civil War ear. This past spring, NSF REU Fellows from NKU presented these lessons to Hughes STEM High School of Cincinnati. Multiple social media sites have been created to reach a wider audience as well. These sites provide access to historical documents and their transcriptions, photographs from the archives, an extensive GIS story map, and pictures of artifacts recovered from archaeological excavations.
Community archaeology has also played a major role in sharing the story of the Parker Academy. By engaging with the public, the Parker Academy NSF REU faculty and students are able to share archaeological findings and continue to promote the stewardship that the Parker family began over 150 years ago. Through community archaeology, the public has the opportunity to reconstruct their own perspective on the past. Previous excavations have included undergraduates, graduates, professors, historians, NKU’s president, the president of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, and a wide range of volunteers. By conducting such work and providing an open platform, the NSF REU project team has shared the discoveries from both the archaeological field and historical archives. The message of equality is as imperative today as it was when the school was established. Only through community engagement can the story of the Parker Academy and the Parker family be told properly.
Written by Andrea Shiverdecker, Liza Vance, William Landon, and Sharyn Jones
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Additionally, Dr. Landon has also written and presented a series titled: “Books that Matter: ‘The Prince'” for The Great Courses. A new series titled “24 Works of Historical Genius is forthcoming.
Dr. Landon has delivered popular lectures and conference presentations on Renaissance Italy to audiences on three continents.
communities surrounding the Orange Walk District in Belize which can be seen at www.blue2orange.com or on Instagram @blue_2_orange. Personal longtime research delves into the art and origins of body modifications and personal adornment of humankind across the world and its transitions throughout time. She will graduate in December of 2018 with hopes to attend graduate school in the future.
Would you believe me if I told you that Islam was present in America before the U.S. constitution was written? What about two Muslim brothers from Morocco helped Columbus navigate to the New World? Or, that between 600,000 to 1.2 million enslaved Africans were Muslim?
Three years ago I would not have believed myself. These are three tiny facts that allude to the legacy of African Islam in America. Different from Orthodox Islam, African Islam was brought over by the hundreds of thousands of enslaved persons who were ripped from their homes, their families, their lives. Present in North Africa since the 8th century and firmly established by the rise of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, African Islam is a unique blend of traditional religions and customs with Islamic beliefs and practices. Originally, Islam in West Africa was seen as an elite faith of traders and rulers before it was adopted by agrarian people.
SUMMER IN NEW YORK’S SOUTHERN TIER: CELEBRATING TWO DECADES OF PUBLIC ARCHAEOLOGY WITH THE COMMUNITY ARCHAEOLOGY PROGRAM
It’s always the hottest time of the year and the site has no shade, but that doesn’t stop our participants from spending a week in July excavating at an important local site in New York’s Southern Tier. Every so often you hear someone call out from a screen, “Hey, I found a flake.” That unit’s team gathers round to see and share. Their excitement is why we do public outreach.
Binghamton University’s Public Archaeology Facility (PAF) has been committed to public outreach since it was established in 1972. After all, “public” is in our name! Since then, the Community Archaeology Program, or CAP, has educated the public about historic preservation, and shared information about local archaeology projects with the communities where we conduct archaeology. Throughout the year, PAF staff respond to community requests and present lectures on archaeology and local prehistory to school groups, historical societies, and social groups. We also invite school groups to our lab facility. After being repeatedly asked by audience members if they could participate in archaeology projects, rather than just observe, in 1996 we designed and implemented an integrated summer outreach program aimed at multiple audiences. It is our summer program that we will focus on for this post.
Before I begin: there is a range of deafness, from mild hearing loss to profoundly deaf. I am on the “medium” range. I wear hearing aids, wore them since I was around two or three years old, and attended speech therapy classes throughout my youth. Basically, I am a (what a hearing person would call) “functioning” deaf person: I am able to hear, lip-read well, and use my voice to communicate. However, I do not practice the particular “skill” frequently, which means that my “skill” can be ineffective in a group setting when everyone is talking over each other and I would be unable to read anyone’s lips. I chose to not practice my “skill” “often” because I consider myself deaf. I grew up going to an all-deaf school and an university that mainly serve the deaf. I am very comfortable using my first language, American Sign Language, to communicate with people. Using an interpreter to convey my messages to hearing people is the best way for me to communicate because I am able to accurately represent my “voice” by signing and there would not be any misunderstanding from both sides of the conversation between me and a hearing person (or hearing people).
Growing up, I knew I was one of those Deaf people who were fortunate enough to attend an all deaf school and an all deaf university. Also, growing up, I was cultured. I was aware of the world. I was addicted to the field of museum studies and archaeology, practically from my mother’s womb. I did not know any difference nor was I barricaded from pursuing my goal: to get a degree within the field.
One of the many highlights of my year abroad in England was the time I spent at Auckland Castle, in the northeast town of Bishop Auckland. As an intern, student, and volunteer, I was witness to the early stages of a truly remarkable regeneration project that focuses on cultural heritage to revitalize the economically-deprived, surrounding town. Whether I was assisting with a school visit in the Throne Room or excavating in the Walled Garden, I relished the chance to be part of such an ambitious project that preserves the heritage and archaeology of the Castle, using them as a catalyst for social change.
With over 900 years of history, Auckland Castle is the country home of the Prince Bishops of Durham. A title that, from its inception in 995 to when it was dissolved in 1832, carried with it the religious powers of a bishop and the secular powers of an earl. This combination of secular and religious power can be seen in the crest of the Bishop of Durham, which features a bishop’s mitre and a ducal coronet.
The details of the stories and histories of the first American colonies may or may not be familiar depending on how much American history you have consumed since high school. It is well known that the Pilgrims settled Plymouth Colony after arriving on the Mayflower and that the Puritans came to Massachusetts for religious freedom. The real intrigue of Colonial America lies in the mysterious fate of the settlers of Roanoke Colony who disappeared in 1590. How much do we know from historical accounts? In history and in archaeology, how do you begin to search for something that is lost? What evidence do we need to determine the fate of those that disappeared over 400 years ago?