June 12, 2017

Who needs an osteologist? (Installment 44)

Today's installment of "Who needs an osteologist?" comes courtesy bioarchaeologist Megan Perry, who was watching a Science Channel clip on the skeletons found in the Pyramid of the Feathered Serpent at Teotihuacan.

Here's the clip: (if the embedded YouTube video doesn't work for you, this one might)

So, what did you notice? I rolled my eyes at the radii, which were upside down when being held, and the os coxae, which are mis-sided. 

Then raised my eyebrows at the overabundance of lumbar vertebrae. 

Then heaved a deep sigh for the incorrectly placed clavicles. 

Anything else I'm missing? Pretty sure those humeri have issues. And the foot bones. But it's hard to tell in the video...

Previous Installments of Who needs an osteologist?

May 17, 2017

Ladypants and Archaeology

One of the reasons that I've been posting very little here lately is that I am gearing up to go into the field in July, for some excavation, 3D modeling, and osteological analysis at the site of Oplontis outside of Pompeii. My goal for the summer is to blog here about that fieldwork, although it'll likely take the form of writing about work-life balance. You see, I'm bringing my family to the field for the first time! So I'll send missives about the adventures of traveling and seeing Europe with my 8yo and 3.5yo daughters and software engineer husband.
Found this on Pinterest as a "summer archaeology excavation
outfit". To which I say Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

In preparation, since I really haven't been in the field in a while, save a few weeks every other summer, I've been restocking my archaeological toolkit -- not the actual equipment, since my Marshalltown doesn't age, but my field clothing. Between the changes in site rules in Italy and the changes in my body following two kids, my old field garb isn't cutting it. Shirts are a no-brainer, and Italy requires EU-rated steel-toed boots, but that leaves the question of pants.

Ladies' pants are problematic. I'm currently wearing jeans that fit me well, but that annoy me because they have lady-pockets. You know, the teeny half-pockets (or sometimes no pockets!) that you can't fit anything in except lipstick because of *course* that's the only thing I want to carry with me. I've also found that ladies' khaki pants (no laughing here, Brits!) are woefully inadequate for fieldwork, especially if purchased at a store like Old Navy. The fabric is thin, the pockets are sad, and the worst part is that the men's pants are far more useful and rugged... and usually cheaper. My last pair of field pants was a men's style and size (plus a belt), since I had to prioritize function over fit.

To remedy this, I did what any social media maven would do: crowdsourced suggestions for archaeological ladypants. If you're also looking for rugged but lightweight pants for the field, here's a big ol' list that is only vaguely organized. (Full disclosure: I've not tested any of these except Rothco.)

National Sports/Sportswear Stores
  • Columbia Sportswear. Among the recommendations here were the fishing pants. To save on the cost, find an outlet near you.
  • REI. Highly recommended were the Sahara pants - there's a regular kind and a kind that can be rolled up when you get hot. Bonus points: these were also recommended by a recently postpartum archaeologist. 
  • Eddie Bauer. The zip-off hiking pants, rip-stop pants, and the Horizon pant were recommended (which also rolls up).
  • These stores were recommended as well, but no specific pants were mentioned: Academy Sports, Tractor Supply Company, Bass Pro Shops.
Local or Online Sportswear Stores
  • Army surplus was recommended for either hiking combats or paratrooper style pants. I found the Rothco brand of fatigues online at Amazon and ordered a couple, mostly because of the drawstring waist/side tabs at the waist, figuring that would get me through weight fluctuations.
  • Workout pants / activewear. I don't think this is allowed where I work, but if you are in a more lax country, sweat-wicking workout capris or other activewear could be a good bet. I was warned, though, that mosquitoes can bite through the thin stuff (see Ex Officio above).
I'm excited to try out the Rothco pants to see how comfortable they are. If they're not, I guess I'll try one of the above. Sadly, archaeologists are not as cool as NASCAR drivers and don't get crazy sponsorship deals. But man, I'd totally list sponsorship on my project page and say nice things about the company if I got free field clothes and backpacks! 

The author in 2003 as "queen of the trench"
at the site of Azoria on Crete. Definitely
can't wear this sort of field gear now!

Thanks muchly to all the ladypants wearers who contributed to my Facebook thread: Traci Ardren, Jo Buckberry, Sarah Levin-Richardson, Julie Hruby, Kate Ellenberger, Erin Stevens Nelson, Claire Terhune, Mindy Pitre, Tanya Peres, Katie Brewer, Amanda Mathis, Beth Koontz, Jane Holmstrom, Liz Berger, Kate Spradley, Megan Perry, Sonia Zakrzewski, Michelle Ziegler, Sheri Pak, Jess Beck, Anna Osterholtz, Sarah Miller, Ruth Beeston, Carlina de la Cova, Sarah Rowe, and Shannon Hodge. And thanks to the menfolk who also suggested pants: Dimitri Nakassis, Andy Danner, Stephen Savage, and Jim O'Hara.

Clearly, the sheer number of people with opinions on this topic means finding good archaeo-pants is a very real concern!

March 31, 2017

You guys, I got *another award* for this whole blogging thing!

Tonight at the annual business meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, I received the Award for Excellence in Public Education.

Per the conference program:

Dr. Kristina Killgrove has earned the SAA's Award for Excellence in Public Education for her exemplary contributions to public education and service to the profession. Dr. Killgrove's masterful contributions to writing archaeologically for the general public have included her own website as well as at Forbes.com and at Mental Floss, with some online compositions receiving millions of views. She has produced an extensive corpus of published work on how archaeology, anthropology, and science intersect with our daily lives, as well as having excelled as a teacher and scholar. In particular, she has successfully entered into the public fray on ethical issues related to the treatment of human remains and how nonrenewable archaeological resources can be exploited by television and looting. Finally, her online writing has served as a litmus test for the efficacy of how archaeologists can serve as barometers of the "truth," and how we can actively work against the dissemination of falsehoods like Dr. Ben Carson's patently untrue claim that the Egyptian pyramids were used to store grain. For her storytelling, advocacy, and public outreach, we are proud to nominate Dr. Killgrove for this award.

The spiffy plaque I got is in the upper right. And here's what I looked like receiving it from outgoing SAA president Diane Gifford-Gonzalez... (I'm sure the professional photographer got a better pic, but this was helpfully snapped by Lynne Goldstein):

Last time I got an award for my outreach, I thanked a whole bunch of people. This time is no different. In addition to the awards committee, I would like to thank Megan Perry for nominating me and Lynne Goldstein and Jane Buikstra for writing letters of support. Of course, I appreciate the opportunities that my editors Alex Knapp and Forbes and Jen Pinkowski at mental_floss have given me in terms of a platform to write about why the past is relevant to the present. Thanks to all of my colleagues who have let me cover their latest article or discovery, given me comments on my pieces, and allowed me to interview them.

And last but definitely not least, thanks to all my readers here, at Forbes, and at mental_floss, and my peeps on Twitter and the PbO Facebook page! If you keep reading, I'll keep writing!

Who needs an osteologist? (Installment 43)

Welp, it seems like I haven't blogged here in two months. Spring semester is always crazy, so while I've been keeping up with my Forbes blog and writing the occasional piece for mental_floss, I haven't been linking to my Bones reviews here (series finale, y'all!).

So I'm going to try to do better, inspired by Roberto Cighetti's tagging me in a photo of a set of skeletons that really need an osteologist:

These are from the Museo delta Antico, which is in Comacchio on the northeast coast of Italy. They shared this image in a Facebook post from March 20.

There's even a closeup that shows just how painful it must have been for that person's left arm to bend entirely the wrong way. ;-)

And as a bonus, I don't even know what's going on here. Is that an... adult fibula in the kid's right arm? An unfused radius that is way too old for the skull?

Previous Installments of Who needs an osteologist?

January 24, 2017

Bones - Season 12, Episode 3 (Review)

Here's a link to my review over at Forbes of:

January 11, 2017

Bones - Season 12, Episode 2 (Review)

Here's a link to my review over at Forbes of:

January 5, 2017

Bones - Season 12, Episode 1 (Review)

Here's a link to my review over at Forbes of:

'Bones' Season 12, Episode 1 Review: 

The Hope in the Horror

Bones - Season 11, Episode 22 (Review)

Here's a link to my review over at Forbes of:

'Bones' Season 11, Episode 22 Review: 

The Nightmare in the Nightmare

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