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Jessica Yann

Jessica Yann

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May 12, 2017

Launching the Timeline of Michigan Archaeology

May 12, 2017 | By | No Comments

The Timeline of Michigan Archaeology has officially launched! You can find it at timemarch.matrix.msu.edu.  Overall, I’m pretty happy with how it turned out, and I hope you are too. You can scroll through time, click on individual events (archaeological sites), or even search for a specific date to see what was going on at that point in time.  I created this timeline in part by request; I have often worked with school groups and the public at archaeology events and have had several requests for some sort of timeline. I don’t think this is quite what they had in mind, but I hope it suits the purpose.

The sites presented are all listed on the National Register of Historic Places, meaning that they are the some of the most significant archaeological sites in the state. There are two exceptions to this: the Tuscola Mastodon find and the Leavitt site. However, these present crucial information about this very early time in the state, and I thought it was important to include this information. The sites also span the complete history of the state, up to about 1930.

This site was created using the Timeglider JS widget, a Javascript element that can be embedded in HTML. It was surprisingly easy to work with once I became familiar with the code, and should I need to add new events in the future, should be able to. Anyone with questions on the technical process can contact me.

Otherwise, I hope you enjoy my site and find it useful. There is a lot of information contained within it. I did my best to provide what I thought people would be interested in, but if there is something that you think would be useful to include, please let me know!

Jessica Yann

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April 21, 2017

What makes an archaeological site significant?

April 21, 2017 | By | No Comments

The semester is winding down, and my project is beginning to take on its final form. I’ve been finalizing text, references, and glossary terms, and basically making sure the content is what I want prior to playing with the formatting. As I’ve been finishing with the text, I’ve made a few observations I think are worth sharing. Read More

Jessica Yann

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April 3, 2017

Digital Heritage from Vancouver

April 3, 2017 | By | No Comments

This past week I attended the Society for American Archaeology conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  This international conference highlights the newest archaeological research, and is always the highlight of my year.  Visiting a new city, trying new food (this time it was oysters from off the coastline in BC), and seeing new sites are always fun, but what I find most useful is being around so many like-minded people and hearing new and exciting ideas.

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Jessica Yann

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March 16, 2017

Project Update!

March 16, 2017 | By | No Comments

Greetings all! I don’t have many exciting new developments to report on my CHI project, so instead I thought I would share with you some screen shots of where I am at right now, and some of the pieces I could use help on.  The first is coming up with a flashier banner to go across the top. You can see my current placeholder banner below:

Along with that, I need a flashier title for my project.  You should be able to access it here, if you want to take a look at it in its current state. I’m still working on formatting, so you may still see some odd placement, off font size, or other issues.  However, please point them out!

All that aside, I have been learning a lot about how to make archaeological information accessible to the public. It is a lot more difficult than I anticipated to take the language from a National Register form, convert it into something that a school kid could understand, and maintain the information about why that site is importance.  I’ve done more editing on the text for each of my timeline events than on anything else!  We often underestimate the importance of communicating archaeology to the public. One of my main goals with this project is to successfully show how important archaeology is to understanding our past.  I hope by the time I am finished I will have succeeded, at least somewhat, in doing just that.

Jessica Yann

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February 17, 2017

Timeglider JS: moving right along

February 17, 2017 | By | No Comments

Construction of my timeline project is moving right along.  I have almost completely entered in all of the basic events, and have formatted the website into what it will basically look like. It is really coming together! I am using Timeglider JS as the framework for the timeline portion of my project and coding the rest of the pages with html/css. So far, it has been pretty easy to manipulate the basic components of Timeglider to enter in my own data points and re-do the icons (I’m pretty proud of my legend).  It has definitely been a learning process, but I think it will do what I want. Assuming I keep all my commas where they are supposed to be.

While the content is not yet as complete as it will be by the end of the project, I welcome feedback (just understand that nothing is yet in its final version!). You can view my timeline here.     Perhaps more importantly, I need a catchy title! Timeline of Michigan Archaeology is just too long. What do you think, internet? Take a peak through the site, then give me your feedback.  If I choose your title, I’ll give you an acknowledgement on my page! 🙂

 

 

Jessica Yann

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January 27, 2017

Phase I: Developing my Timeline

January 27, 2017 | By | No Comments

Now that the new semester is here, I have finally begin to build my archaeological timeline of Michigan.  While not much has changed on the project website, I have been working steadily on collecting the necessary data to include.  You are welcome to view/keep tabs on my project development by going to my project development page here. Depending on when you check, there may or may not be a navigation bar at the top (that has been my most recent struggle).  I’m hoping to have the base pages created soon, with a navigation bar on all of them, and the timeline visible on the main page very shortly.  From there I can amend the events on the timeline and really start to add content.

Speaking of content, I’d like to say a bit regarding the type of information you can expect to see on my timeline.  After struggling a little trying to make decisions about just which archaeological sites to highlight, I decided it was important to highlight the most important sites in our state, which will be represented by those sites that have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  These are archaeological sites that have been determined to be nationally significant, that have yielded or may be likely to yield, information important in history or prehistory (you can see the criteria for listing here).  I will probably add a few additional sites that represent the earliest occupation of Michigan (these have not yet been nominated for listing).

Keep tabs on my project, comment on what you see, and enjoy! Just know that this is a living draft, that is always changing. I’m hopeful by my next blog post I will have started adding events and information to my page!

 

Jessica Yann

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December 9, 2016

Gliding through time!

December 9, 2016 | By | No Comments

Last time I described my idea for my CHI fellowship project, an interactive timeline on Michigan’s Archaeological history.  I have had plenty of time to play with this idea and test out several different means to try and get a functioning timeline on my web page.  I think I have finally decided on using Timeglider JS, as it looks like it will allow me to create the pop-ups and interactivity I am looking for.  Timeglider JS is a widget written in javascript that you use to create your timeline, then incorporate that into your web page.  I’ve tested it with dates from 14,000 years ago up through the present, and even tested the interactivity to a point. I believe it will do everything I am hoping for.

Now that I have decided how I’m going to accomplish my project, the next step is to accumulate the information to put into it.  During the coming semester, I am going to start compiling archaeological information on important sites and themes to include on my timeline, while figuring out how to best incorporate them into the timeline. Some of the major themes I am thinking of incorporating into the timeline include major environmental changes, faunal changes (i.e., demise of mammoths and mastodons), and then major technological changes (i.e., appearance of pottery, plant domestication, introduction of the bow and arrow).

While I can do this all on my own, I am also soliciting input from you all as well.  What do you see as the most important themes in Michigan Archaeology that should be included? What are your favorite archaeological sites?  What information do you think the general public would most benefit from having included? Let me know what you think!

Jessica Yann

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November 18, 2016

Timeline of Michigan Archaeology

November 18, 2016 | By | No Comments

I’ve been thinking a lot these last few weeks about my project for my CHI fellowship.  As I have mentioned before, I strongly believe in making archaeology accessible to a broad range of people. In my work with the State Archaeologist of Michigan, as well as with various school groups, I’ve noticed that there are several things most folks really want to see: a timeline of Michigan archaeology to help put things into perspective, and lots of artifacts.  You can view a basic version of the current available timeline on the State Archaeologist’s website.   However, this timeline is very basic and lacks any interactive features.  It also highlights very few artifacts. Read More

Jessica Yann

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October 22, 2016

Making Archaeology Accessible

October 22, 2016 | By | No Comments

These past few weeks I’ve been pondering what to do for my CHI fellowship project. This has prompted a lot of introspection on what I think is important about digital cultural heritage, along with many internet searches.  One of my core beliefs is that archaeology, in some form, should be accessible to the public (this is sometimes referred to as public archaeology, or you can go here for more information on digital public archaeology). This is partly because people need to be invested in our shared past, but also because the public supports archaeological research (in more ways than one).  But making it available and helping people understand it are two different things.  How do you help the public understand sometimes difficult concepts?

One (I think) cool option for making it easier for people to understand and become engaged with archaeology is through 3D modelling, which has already been discussed in several other blog posts. As I was perusing some of my archaeology news sites this week, I came across an article where researchers had created a 3D rendering of a wealthy family’s home at the site of Pompeii, in Italy.  This site was destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79, which buried much of the city under layers of volcanic ash, preserving the site in situ (in its original, undisturbed location).  3D modelling is great for providing these views of how things looked in the past, like this tour of Rome as it looked circa AD 320.  This allows people to get a glimpse of these sites at their height, as well as see some of the results of the archaeological research that has been done on them.  Significant research goes into recreating these sites as they would have looked 2000 years ago.

Models such as these make sites that may not be accessible for a variety of reasons (cost, distance to travel, general accessibility) accessible to anyone with a computer.  Whether you have bad knees and can’t walk great distances, or just can’t afford the cost of flying to a foreign country, you can still experience what it feels like to be amid these important sites, while also experiencing results of the research done there.

If you are just interested in viewing some of the more well-known sites from afar, 3D imaging allows for that now as well.  You can use Google maps to do street views of many popular archaeological sites, such as Stonehenge, Pyramids of Giza, Chichén Itzá, Machu Picchu, or the Colosseum in Rome.  While these views don’t provide any interpretations of the sites, they do open the door on the conversation, and allow greater accessibility to places that are of great historical importance.  Hopefully this can be a start to prompting additional research and more in depth thought on these sites and what they mean, while also being another avenue for digital public archaeology.

While I highly advocate for greater accessibility to important places such as these, and for cool new ways of providing archaeological interpretations such as through modeling of sites as they looked at their peak, this greater accessibility does lead to some issues.  Increased awareness and increased tourism can lead to greater risk for the site and its preservation, in the forms of looting, vandalism, or just through additional traffic by tourists (for more information on the effects of tourism, check out this article: Tourism and Archaeological Heritage). At the same time, these digital representations help preserve the sites in one, static form.  As of yet, there is no easy answer on how to rectify this.  There are many challenges yet to be overcome, but this is an exciting direction to see things headed in.

Jessica Yann

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September 30, 2016

Introducing Jessica

September 30, 2016 | By | No Comments

Hello all!

My name is Jessica Yann. I am a PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology. My focus is archaeology, specifically of the Midwestern region with an emphasis on the late 18th and early 19th centuries.  I am currently working on finishing up my research and analysis for my dissertation.

683My dissertation research focuses on how Native Americans and British traders were interacting throughout the Great Lakes region from 1760 to 1820, which is sometimes referred to as the ‘British period’ in the history of this region.  Specifically, I am looking at the choices that various groups were making regarding what goods to get from traders as well as who groups were choosing to trade with.  I am examining issues of supply and demand to test notions of dependency.  Many early research on this time period and topic claim that Native Americans became completely dependent on Europeans.  By looking more closely at supply and demand, I can examine these notions of dependency, and get a better idea of what was actually happening during these trade interactions. [Spoiler alert: I don’t think Native Americans were ever ‘dependent’ on Europeans, in the sense that they could not survive without them. I’m investigating this.]

All of that said, I am really excited to be working with CHI this semester.  I’m not sure that my project will relate specifically to my research, but I really love the idea of making archaeology more approachable and accessible to the public, so my project will probably revolve around that.  As my project develops, I will keep you all posted!