news

#178 Alabama City Destroying Mound for Sam’s Club (88 mph Marty!)

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Here is the article: http://bit.ly/18cFFe5

Ready for time travel? Read on.

A friend posted this on my Facebook page last weekend. I saw the headline and immediately posted it on my blog’s Facebook page which sent the article to Twitter. I had not actually read the entire article yet. After a few retweets on Sunday I decided to read the entire article so I could write this angry and scathing blog post today. 

Reading the article certainly got my blood boiling. I’ve hated Walmart for a long time and Sam’s Club is just a bloated version of Walmart. Why would I want cases of crap as opposed to individual items of crap? I’ve never been in a Sam’s Club and I haven’t been in a Walmart since 2004. So, I was primed to be pissed off and angry. And boy was I. 

The article’s author explained how the CRM report said that the mound was not eligible for listing on the NRHP but that it should be avoided by construction activities. They also mentioned how the city was basically ignoring the recommendations because the mayor thought the mound was natural. There seemed to be fighting on all sides of the debate.

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So, screw Walmart, right? Yes. That will never change. However, if you look at the end of the article the date says…2009. That’s right! This article is four years old! According to the Sam’s Club website there is currently no store in Oxford, AL. Apparently the construction was stopped, but, not before the site was already damaged.

I’d love to see a current picture of the site and if I come across one that I can verify I’ll post it here in an update. 

This article is a lesson in checking out the details. I usually look at news on Google where the date is prominently displayed. I just assumed that this article was recent because it was moving around the internet so suddenly and so fast. This just show’s that while Twitter and Facebook have their uses, us users still need to practice caution and check the sources. Nothing ever goes away on the internet so make sure that you know when something was published or posted, myself included.

Consider yourself (and me) humbled.

Thanks for reading (and verifying this on your own!) and I’ll see you in the field!

#164 Podcast Episode 4: Interview with Tom King

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The next episode, Episode 004, of the CRM Archaeology Podcast is up! On this episode we discuss our plans for recording during the SAAs in Hawaii, talk about an industrial expansion about to take place on the ancient site of Star Carr in Scotland, and we have a fun interview with noted regulatory expert, archaeologist, and writer Tom King.

Thanks for listening and we'll see you in the field!

#162 Chumash Cemetery Unearthed in Los Osos

Los Osos is at the "A" pin.

Los Osos is at the "A" pin.

Read the article here.

The Chumash community in Los Osos, California, located northwest of Los Angeles, is having a sewer collection system constructed. Far Western Anthropological Research Group was given $898,105 to complete the cultural resources phase of the project.

Ground was broken on the sewer project on October 8 of last year and the first two burials were found on March 11. Another was found on March 12 and another on March 13. Back in 2004 an intact burial was discovered and reburied only 10 ft from the current burials.

The Chumash community wants the excavation halted until the size of the cemetery can be determined and options can be presented.

As is usual for this sort of project an archaeologist and “most likely descendants” are always on site. However, according to Cavanaugh, a Chumash on the site, the “most likely descendants" are Far Western employees and the archaeologist is married to one of the principals. Sounds like a conflict of interest to me.

Chumash Rock Art

Chumash Rock Art

Cavanaugh claims “they were shoveling dirt with human remains on the street and then picking up skull fragments and grave items off the street”. Pat Nicolson, a project manager at Far Western declined to comment.

Far Western decided to do a rapid reburial of the remains after the discovery. According to the article, Far Western plans to dig below the level of the sewage piplines and rebury the remains. The Chumash community voiced strong opposition at this plan.

Members of the Chumash community said they don’t want decisions made about their ancestors by several descendants with a financial stake in the decision.

What do you think is the proper course of action? Does Far Western have a conflict of interest on this project? Should they have agreed to do it? Should they have found other “likely descendants” other than ones that work for the company? Let me know what you think in the comments.

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you in the field!

#158 The End of Google Reader

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Google announced today that it will be retiring Google Reader on July 1, 2013. They listed Google Reader among other changes on their blog today:

We launched Google Reader in 2005 in an effort to make it easy for people to discover and keep tabs on their favorite websites. While the product has a loyal following, over the years usage has declined. So, on July 1, 2013, we will retire Google Reader. Users and developers interested in RSS alternatives can export their data, including their subscriptions, with Google Takeout over the course of the next four months.

For such a significant announcement it was fifth down on the list of eight things mentioned in the post. Google says the use of the service has declined, however, among the crowd I associate with, Google Reader is used every single day to keep up on blog posts. I have over 30 subscriptions in my GReader account and I always have plenty to read.

The end of Google Reader was reported just about everywhere. You can read about it on Wired, App Advice, Geek Beat, and CNET.

So, we have about three and a half months to figure out what to do with our RSS subscriptions. Personally, I’m going to wait until June to worry about it. My ideal RSS reader will be available on my phone, iPad, and on the Web and will sync across all those devices. It will also be able to send posts to Evernote, Dropbox, Twitter, and Facebook. The ability to email posts would be nice as well.

There are probably hundreds of RSS readers on the market right now. I use Feeddler Pro on my iPhone and iPad and it does all the things, and more, that I mentioned above. It has one flaw - it is linked with Google Reader. Most RSS readers are linked to Google Reader and on July 1st they will all stop working. That’s why I’m waiting. I need these app developers to come up with options. If you jump ship right now you might not get the best options for your situation.

I was considering providing you with current options at the end of this post but decided against it. Like I said above, best to wait a few months while the developers sort it out.

UPDATE: 

There is a petition on Change.org to keep Google Reader running. As of 10:05 AM PST on March 14, 2013, there were almost 60,000 signatures! Sign the petition here.

Thanks for reading and I’ll see you in the field!

#153 Book Review: Small Archaeology Project Management

A few months ago Bill had me, and others, read an advance copy of his new eBook, “Small Archaeology Project Management: How to Run Cultural Resource Management Projects Without Busting Your Budget”. Bill is a long-time CRM Archaeologist and the founder and Research Director of Succinct Research. His company conducts research for publications for cultural resource management, historic preservation, and heritage conservation service providers. They also help people land professional jobs by providing information on resume and CV writing and job hunting.

#146: Big Changes on the Horizon for the Podcast!

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I just wanted to let everyone know that the podcast will return in the next few weeks. I'm trying to put something together that will make it way more interesting. I've taken the last couple months off from doing the show because, well, it's winter and there just wasn't that much in the news.

This new format should not be so dependent on news and will include other topics and segments. I'm hoping that this will be the definitive CRM podcast! That shouldn't be too difficult since I'm pretty sure it's the only one right now.

If you'd like to help out with interviews at the 2013 SAAs in Hawaii, let me know. Also let me know if you'd like to guest blog about presentations you see at the SAA's.

Stay tuned for details and be sure to subscribe on iTunes or using whatever podcast listening device you use.

Thanks for reading and I'll see you in the field!

#138 “Archaeologist” finds evidence of biblical...wait for it...Flood

I wouldn’t have even mentioned this ridiculous story if I’d only seen it on the always factual Christian News website. However, it wasn’t just on that beacon of science journalism. No. It was also posted here:

It’s also here, here, and here, among others.

OK. First I need to address the Christian News article. They start by stating, as most of the news outlets do, that the archaeologist, Robert Ballard, that made this “discovery” is the same one that found the remains of the Titanic. That’s great, but it doesn’t give him credibility for life. I just want to get that out of the way right at the top. Also, the article says that Ballard is a professor of oceanography, not archaeology. According to the University of Rhode Island website, where he teaches, Ballard has a B.S. In Physical Sciences and a Ph.D. In Geological Oceanography. He also runs the Institute for Archaeological Oceanography which is probably what has led some to call him an archaeologist.

According to the article, Ballard’s underwater archaeology team were exploring the deep waters of the Black Sea near Turkey to look for traces of ancient civilizations that date back to the times of Noah. This phrasing appears in the ABC News article linked above. It seems he actually received funding to look for evidence of people during the time of Noah. I’d like to see the terminology used on the funding applications.

Many of the articles written about this story repeat Ballard’s find of an ancient shoreline with cultural evidence that was radiocarbon dated to about 7,000 B.P. I have no doubt that the research is valid. I also have no trouble believing that the area could have been flooded, either slowly or catastrophically so, as a result of melting, retreating glaciers. There is evidence of massive glacial outflows of water across the northern hemisphere. 

Ballard states that one factor in his insistence that this find represents the biblical flood is in the size of the flood. His team is saying that the water poured in at 200 times the force of Niagara Falls. That’s easy to believe since glacial melting was likely naturally damned up around the steep hills and valleys of the area. It could have naturally released at any time and released a flood of epic, wait, biblical proportions. Crazy how science and geography work like that.

What I don’t appreciate is Ballard’s insistence that it proves the Bible true and is, in fact, the biblical flood that Noah had to deal with. I’m sure there were catastrophes during that time and that the survivors repeated the stories at length. I’m also sure that the stories were likely exaggerated and modified through time before they were finally written down. That’s just the nature of oral history.

The real story here is of an ancient shoreline with apparently cultural remains being discovered under the Black Sea. As of yet I can’t find a published journal article relating to the discovery. Is Ballard planning to do any real science or has he run out of Titanic  clout from 1985 and needs and ego boost? 

It’s frustrating that some people don’t think about the stories they read and just believe whatever is written. I’d like to think they could do a little research and find out that the science in a story like this is likely sound, but the interpretation is whacky. Unfortunately, even the big news sources were parroting this notion of a biblical flood and no one seemed to disagree with it. It can’t just be Fox News watchers agreeing with these articles. There is a wider audience and that is the scary part.

Thanks for reading, stay skeptical, and I’ll see you in the field.