Friday, September 21, 2012

Welcome To AA!

Romulus finds the hot spot  

Two and a half years ago, Old Man Dave, the almost 48 year old 'boy who wants to know everything,' decided to return to school to study Anthropology.  I was living in Bremerton, Washington at the time on a shoestring, and had recently (9 months or so) moved in with my soon-to-be wife; Cassandra.

Cassi was returning to school to pursue an Associate of Technical Arts degree and a professional Cosmetology license.  My observations of her efforts and her resultant personal growth inspired me to return to academia also, and thus my journey had begun. 

Anthropology, or the study of all humans, in all times, and all places, is a bio-cultural, holistic discipline, and so any and all subjects which concern humans are fair game.

As for the story of my original interest in Anthropology, it goes something like this:

"As a boy, I lived in a small, rural, southern Indiana town named Clinton.  Founded by coal mining Italian immigrants, Clinton is located in south Vermillion County, alongside the muddy Wabash River.  The Wabash, the state river of Indiana, is a tributary of the Ohio River, which in turn flows into the Mississippi River.  Indiana mainly consists of flat farmland, but the woods which surround Clinton are dotted with several, seemingly out-of-place hills.

One particular hill, larger than most and remotely located, was once used by local gun enthusiasts as the background for an unofficial shooting range.   My young friends and I occasionally prowled this location because we liked to collect the brass shell casings, which shooters would leave behind.  We fantasized that perhaps they were valuable, and it was something adventurous to do. 

In the summer of 1975, following a particularly violent Indiana rainstorm, a few of us biked out to the informal shooting range with empty pockets, paper bags, and high hopes that the rain had revealed new treasure.  As expected, the rainwater runoff had exposed several different types of shell casings on and around the hill.  We were soon busily scooping them up and showing off our trophies to each other.  

A few feet up the hill, I made a startling discovery.  Spying a small pointed rock protruding from the slope, I pried it free.  It was a beautiful stone projectile point!  My reward for the next three hours of excited digging was twenty separate stone artifacts ranging from scrapers to intricately designed projectile points. My memory of pausing and imaginatively pondering the fact that long ago others had lived and died in exactly the spot I was standing is distinct." - drd

That was then, this was June, 2012:

Thanks for the memories O.C.!  Dave will never forget you: faculty, staff, students!

My posterior is currently parked in Ellensburg, WA., and I've found a new home:

Best of all, Fall quarter started two days ago, September 19, 2012, and I'm finally back where I started:

Anth 347

And I'm treading in some new waters:

Anth 351

Anth 321 & Anth 321 Lab

Anth 110 Lab

Oh yeah, definitely getting my fix.  I've also volunteered to be a lab assistant at either of these two places:

The Wenas Mammoth Project - Mammoths In The Wenas. 
Source:; painting by Bronwyn Mayo.

 "Thousands of years ago, a mammoth was buried in the hillside near the Wenas Creek in Selah, WA. In 2005, its remains were discovered and a team from Central Washington University, headed by Pat Lubinski, began the careful process of removing the bones from the hillside. The Wenas Creek Mammoth exhibit in the Window On Central explores what the team found and what they have found out about the mammoth. The exhibit features real mammoth bones in the display case."

The CWU zoo-archaeology laboratory

So far, it seems a new chapter in my own exciting adventure has begun, and it's a chapter that I want to record...along with the rest of the book!  

From the beginning, my excellent instructors, expert anthropologists one and all, have stressed to me the overwhelming need for members of our profession to stop making discoveries and writing/reporting only for each other, and to start doing more "PUBLIC ANTHROPOLOGY."  I agree with this sentiment entirely, and have from the moment I heard it.  My goal is to educate, engage, and entertain, and to build bridges between cultures and individuals by narrowing the knowledge gap.

Although I blog in other places on various subjects, I want this forum to be a place strictly dedicated to my personal, 'public anthropology' obligation.  All are invited to come along and watch my journey unfold and to learn more about and reflect on the topics concerning the field of anthropology in general.  For those of you who know me from other sources, I invite you to get to know another side of me, and to join me in my upcoming exploration into the exciting world of anthropology.  Comments are extremely welcome!  Come back often and enjoy your stay.



  1. Will do Dave!!! You have my attention!!!

    1. Hi Teresa! Thanks so much for becoming a member and for stopping in and commenting! I really appreciate the support and hearing from you always brightens my day, old friend. I'm glad you enjoyed the post, and I think you will really like what I'm going to do with future posts as well. As a preview for leaving the first comment: My next post will be entitled, "The Invention Of The Indian." See you soon! :)

  2. Rock on, Dave! Best of luck in a new adventure for you, bro. I'll be sure to keep up with your developments. Exciting times!

    1. Thank you my excellent friend. Your support means the world to me and your comments and perspectives are always solicited and will be a welcome and fantastic addition to this forum. I hope you're really going to enjoy some of the work we do here at AA. I know I'm going to enjoy doing it!

  3. Hear hear!
    While scholarly pursuits are completely valid in and of themselves, since learning is excellent, Anthropology IS everyone, and everyone can really benefit from the expansion of findings into the public arena.
    We've been fortunate to learn with great educators who encourage us to put the 'Applied' in Anthropology!
    Looking forward to see how your efforts unfold ~ A

  4. Hi Anna! That's what I'm talking about!!! I'm in Dreamland right now...6, count 'em 6 Anthro courses this quarter. Anthroverdose!!! :) I'm excited about a lot of things right now, and you becoming a member of my latest venture is one. Maybe I can talk you into a guest post...if you're not too busy writing that thesis!!! I have a million questions for you. Glad I'm going to get to ask them. Props to Professor Floyd Aranyosi, Dr. Caroline Hartse, and Dr. Euhna Jung; true professionals one and all. Thanks for the push!

  5. It is great that you knew exactly where and when you gathered those points. We have some friends, Pete and Alice Murphy, who gathered arrowheads in North Carolina when they were grad students in the early 70's. Tobacco farmers let them look in their fields and they documented what they found. Now Pete is writing some articles about them for an archaeology magazine. I guess a bunch of those fields are now suburbs and malls and so on so it is a good thing the farmers didn't object to Pete and Alice gathering the arrowheads while they could still be accessed in somewhat natural settings.

    I like your new blog!

    1. Greetings and Salutations Delorus!! So glad to hear from you!

      Cultural Resource Management is booming in the field of archaeology right now, and in the immediate foreseeable future, barring change in current federal law. Nowadays, there is much greater emphasis on a concentrated effort to observe, record, and measure, (qualify and quantify) reusable data at sites like these before development, or to protect them from development if they are determined significant. Your friends were not only having fun and doing something cool, but they were being cool by doing it in the most ethical way available to them at the time and in the circumstances concerned. I'm looking forward to reading the article. Thanks, and come back often! ~ Dave


    This is one of their articles.