Category: UIUC Anth Faculty in the News!


A Dragon Kiln in Carolina

By K. Kris Hirst, About.com Guide

excavation photoChinese Pottery Technology in the Antebellum American South

As modern humans, we tend to think of international trade, commercial innovation and mass production as strictly modern inventions, no more than a century or so old and certainly never dreamed of by our great-grandfathers. I know what you’re thinking–didn’t Henry Ford invent that stuff? But as archaeology teaches us over and over again, modern industrial revolutions are in fact based on centuries and even millennia of collaboration, innovation and espionage.

A Dragon Kiln in Carolina is the story of the origins of mass production of an innovative and revolutionary type of ceramic stoneware, pottery made beginning in the southern United States about 1815, with clay body and glaze recipes and equipment technologies borrowed in part from 6th century Chinese manufacturing. It is a tale of the import of an idea for an enormous, fiery pottery-making monster, aptly named a dragon kiln for its heat, length and high-maintenance characteristics, and it is one of technological transmission from China to South Carolina that the excavators have yet to completely understand.

The archaeological identification of a dragon kiln in the historic South Carolina pottery workshops called the Edgefield District was made by Christopher Fennell (U. Illinois), George Calfas (U. Illinois), Carl Steen (Diachronic Research Foundation), and Sean Taylor (S.C. Department of Natural Resources) during the summer of 2011, and I thank them sincerely for bringing the story to me, as well as providing photos and information to take the story to you.

Read full article and photo essay online http://archaeology.about.com/od/ceramics/ss/Dragon-Kiln-In-Carolina.htm

 

Jamie Arjona and Steve Szynal of UIUC excavate at Pottersville

Jamie Arjona and Steve Szynal of UIUC excavate at Pottersville

Unearthing the Past: Edgefield Pottery Excavations Reveal New, Surprising Information

June 30, 2012, by DeDe Biles, Aiken Standard News

Archaeological excavations are uncovering new and surprising information about the potteries that thrived in Aiken and Edgefield counties in the first half of the 1800s.

“There is a sparse documentary record of this area that is maddening, and what we’ve found has been a complete revelation,” said Dr. Christopher Fennell, an associate professor and the associate head of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Fennell and a team of graduate and undergraduate students, along with some volunteers, have been working at Pottersville, a site not far from downtown Edgefield, since just after Memorial Day. They are scheduled to wrap up this year’s efforts on Friday. Their focus in 2013 has been to add to the knowledge gained during a series of digs at the same location in 2011.

Before then, much of what was known about local potteries in the past suggested that a groundhog kiln about 25 to 30 feet in length and 9 to 10 feet wide would be found at Pottersville. Instead, the researchers discovered a kiln that was more than 105 feet long and had a sloping floor similar to the dragon kilns used in China.

“It gave us quite a new view of Edgefield,” Fennell said. “There had been a working historical theory before then that this had started out as smaller scale crafts industry. But what was found was a much bigger industrial-scale pottery.”

Read the full article online.

gottlieb_grahamMay 7, 2013 event, 7pm, at Common Good Books. “Anthropology and narrative nonfiction come together in a fascinating look at life in West Africa. In a compelling mix of braidedworldsliterary narrative and ethnography, anthropologist Alma Gottlieb and writer Philip Graham continue the long journey of cultural engagement with the Beng people of Côte d’Ivoire that they first recounted in their award-winning memoir Parallel Worlds. Their commitment over the span of several decades has lent them a rare insight. Weaving their own stories with those of the villagers of Asagbé and Kosangbé, Gottlieb and Graham take turns recounting a host of unexpected dramas with these West African villages, prompting serious questions about the fraught nature of cultural contact.” Read the full event announcement online at Common Good Books.

Prof. Kathryn ClancyFrom Science magazine online, published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science — “Fieldwork is a rite of passage for anthropologists. It gives the initiate firsthand knowledge of a culture, along with a feeling of camaraderie with colleagues, often in remote and rugged locations. But for women there is also a dark side — a risk of sexual harassment and rape, according to a survey of fieldwork experiences released today. Anthropologist Kathryn Clancy, who authored the study, found a disturbingly high incidence of physical sexual harassment among respondents: More than 20% of female bioanthropologists who took part said that they had experienced ‘physical sexual harassment or unwanted sexual contact.’ Most of these victims are female, and most of the perpetrators were colleagues of superior professional status, sometimes the victim’s own fieldwork mentor.” Read the full article online (by John Bohannon, Science, April 13, 2013), and another article by the UIUC News Bureau, both with links to Prof. Clancy’s Context and Variation blog for Scientific American.

UNESCO LOGOHSilverman

 

Prof. Helaine Silverman has worked with two other colleagues on campus to found a new UNESCO Center on campus!

UNESCO CENTER FOR GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP

The public is invited to the inaugural event of the new UNESCO Center for Global Citizenship

Please join us! Learn about the goals of the new Center, partnership ties with UNESCO associations across the world, upcoming activities including a guided visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Cahokia Mounds in Illinois, museum tours, reading/discussion groups, guest speakers, school events, and traveling exhibitions.

Monday, April 15, 2013 5:00 – 7:00pm Champaign Public Library Robeson Rooms A&B

UNESCO and the Mission for Peace in a Troubled World

Mr. Guy Djoken

Executive Director, UNESCO Center for Peace Washington, D.C.
Introduction by Professor Barbara Ford, Director of the Mortenson Center for International Library Programs at the University of Illinois Library Member of the U.S. National Commission for UNESCO

Other events with Guy Djoken

Sunday, April 14, 2013
5:00-6:00pm
WILL-AM 580 radio interview on “Keepin’ the Faith” with host Steve Shoemaker Listeners are invited to call-in with questions.

Tuesday, April 16
12:00-1:00pm
Room 219 Davenport Hall, University of Illinois Community Activism and UNESCO’s Millennial Goals

Support for the events is provided by: University of Illinois Anthropology, African-American Studies, International Forum for U.S. Studies, Center for Advanced Studies, and Center for Global Studies. April 15th reception’s food is donated by World Harvest, Schnucks, and Strawberry Fields.

UNESCO: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

“Building Peace in the Minds of Men and Women”

For more information visit http://cgs.illinois.edu/ucgc and contact amani3@illinois.edu or bjford@illinois.edu

Check out all these upcoming campus events to celebrate the launch here: UNESCO Ctr at UIUC-Opening Events Flyer

Godesses-small2013-Conference-HeaderCultural Anthropologist and Emeritus Professor David Plath has been selected to receive the 2013 Association for Asian Studies award for Distinguished Contributions to Asian Studies. The presentation will be made at the annual AAS meeting in San Diego, March 21-24, 2013. The AAS web site states that the award “is intended to honor both outstanding scholarship and service to the field. It is the highest honor the AAS can bestow.”

Prof. Stanley AmbroseCongratulations to Prof. Stanley Ambrose who has accepted an invitation to present the Annual Distinguished Lecture in African Archaeology at the Center for African Studies, University of Florida, Gainseville, on Monday, Feb. 11, 2013. The title of his talk is The Archaeology of Modern Human Origins in Africa: The Gift is Mightier than the Spear.

PromoDoc is a European Union funded project to promote European doctoral program to scholars around the world. The three-year PromoDoc project is being implemented by an international consortium, led by Campus France and composed of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Nuffic, the British Council, the European Council of Doctoral Candidates and Junior Researchers, and the Institute of International Education. It helps doctoral students find the program that fits their needs and facilitates the exploration of funding opportunities, including the Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctoral Program and Marie Curie Actions. Congratulations to Professors Alma Gottlieb on her appointment to serve as an Ambassador for PromoDoc!

Mark your calendars for an information session and join colleagues to learn more about these great opportunities from PromoDoc Ambassadors: “Graduate Studies in Europe,” Friday, Nov. 30, 2012, 2:30pm to 3:30 pm, at the Illini Union Bookstore, 5th Floor (Room 514).

 

“Lessons From the Ancient Maya” by Lisa Lucero

Co-sponsored by IPRH and the Chicago Humanities Festival

Date: November 11, 2012; Time: 3:00 p.m.

Location: First United Methodist Church at the Chicago Temple, 77 West Washington Street, Chicago

University of Illinois archeologist Lisa Lucero has been digging up the secrets of the ancient Maya for more than 20 years. Her most far-reaching discovery, though, is a recent one and carries implications for our own era. At the height of Maya Classic culture, around the year 800, several multiyear droughts may have hastened the end of the civilization’s ruling kings. Lucero’s research centers on the resilience and water management practices of the commoners, helping us understand the importance of rituals, strategy, and conservation to their ingenuity and perseverance. Hear her talk about the ideas Maya history may offer for present-day sustainability.

For program details and ticket information, visit the Chicago Humanities Festival website

Read a related CHF blog post about this program by intern Tara McGovern, who is a student of Lisa Lucero’s.

 

“How Did We Get Here?” A Conversation with Ripan Malhi, with Stephanie Levi

Co-sponsored by IPRH and the Chicago Humanities Festival

Date: November 10, 2012; Time: 4:00 p.m.

Location: Claudia Cassidy Theater at the Chicago Cultural Center, 77 East Randolph Street, Chicago

When did humans come to the Americas? And how? Those are some of the oldest (and greatest) questions of anthropology. Theories abound, but they are obsolete. Over the last few years, new genetic research technologies have upended our understanding, suggesting an intriguing model that turns on multitiered colonizations along with settlements in Beringa. University of Illinois professor Ripan Malhi is at the forefront of this scholarly revolution, which also involves the development of novel research collaborations with native communities. Malhi discusses his research with Stephanie Levi, founder of Science Is Sexy, which gives Chicagoan nonscientists and scientists alike a short, sweet taste of science in their everyday lives through a series of public events.

This program is generously underwritten by Colette and John Rau.

For program details and ticket information, visit the Chicago Humanities Festival website

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