Re: anthropology & archaeology & the public

thomas w kavanagh (tkavanag@INDIANA.EDU)
Tue, 1 Oct 1996 11:57:25 -0500

On Tue, 1 Oct 1996, Kimberley Dawn Weinbender wrote:
<snipping Ron's post, sorry Ron>

> My point is that in a world of cutbacks, anthropologists and
> archaeologists must start proving their worth. The best way to do that is
> to approach the public.

Well, last week was Archaeology week here in Indiana (nationally?), and so
on Saturday, we (the Mathers Museum), the Glenn Black Laboratory of
Archaeology, the Center for Research on the Anthropological Foundations of
Technology ("CRAFT", Nick Toth), as well as a number of grad students,
held an "Archaeology Day". 20 some tables and work areas demonstrating
flint knapping, areal photo interpetation, magnetic resonance, etc.

I was talking about the "archaeology of beer" -- I believe that beer, and
other alcholic beverages such as wine, could not have had a nutritional or
economic impact until the development of water-tight pottery. [Barley was
domesticated ca 7500 bc, water-tight pottery was not developed until ca
4000 bc.] That is, even though one *could have* brewed in a skin, a
pitch-covered basket, etc., there was a far greater likelihood that the
brew would be infected, resulting in a really foul brew, than that it
would be potable. {Although the quality of the taste is not usually a
requirement for ritual purposes, just look at peyote (or sacramental
wine)}. I had a fermentor bubbling away, and one of KD Vitalli's
reproduction pots visibly leaking water.

We had close to 1000 people visit during the 4-hour afternoon. 'Tweren't
many, but we all had fun.


[no, I was not giving away samples]