Hello again. I’m happy to say that I’m a returning CHI fellow. I’m looking forward to getting to know this new CHI cohort, and learn some new digital tools and tricks. In case you’re just tuning in to the CHI blog, I’ll rewind for a moment and introduce myself.
I’m Lisa Bright, a second year Ph.D. student in the anthropology department. I’m also currently serving as the Campus Archaeologist for the MSU Campus Archaeology Program. My main scholarly focus is mortuary archaeology. Mortuary archaeology is the study of material remains related to funerary behavior, and the deceased themselves. As a discipline, it covers a wide range of space and time, but I focus on a historic cemetery in San Jose, California. My dissertation examines the pathology and nutrition of the individuals that were interred there. The cemetery was in use from 1875-1935 so I’m hoping that my research will allow a better understanding of health during western expansion and industrialization. My previous CHI project, Mortuary Mapping, focused on creating interactive maps of the cemetery that allowed users to examine variables like age, sex, and button patterns. This summer I added new material that I gathered in trips to San Jose area archives.
My project this year will be a bit different. I was able to participate in the Institute on Digital Archaeology & Practice (DAI) last month. Part of this NEH funded institute requires the completion of a digital project. For CHI, I will be working on creating the database functionality of the DAI project myself and Katy Meyers Emery have proposed: ossuaryKB: The Mortuary Method & Practice Knowledgebase. This knowledgebase will serve as a central location for where mortuary archaeologists can see and share best practices, case examples, forms, innovative methods and more. I look forward to sharing my progress with you all.