While most archaeologists dig in the dirt, archaeologist Dr. Katie Kirakosian digs in the library. Dr. Kirakosian studies the history of archaeology in New England, examining American Indian seashell constructions through the eyes of generation after generation of local archaeologists.
By looking at the lives and shifting politics of archaeologists over time, Dr. Kirakosian opens up questions as to the theories and conclusions archaeology produces about the lives of ancient (and not-so-ancient) people’s lives. Critically examining the field of archaeology itself means examining how knowledge itself is created, whose knowledge counts, and why the legacy of colonialism is still critical to pay attention to today.
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For more information on Dr. Katie Kirakosian:
Dr. Kirakosian’s academic webpage: https://umass.academia.edu/KatieKirakosian
Dr. Kirakosian’s personal webpage https://sites.google.com/site/katiekirakosian/home
More information on the material discussed in this episode:
Dr. Kirakosian’s dissertation research: Curious Monuments of the Simplest Kind: Shell Midden Archaeology in Massachusetts
Articles by Heidi Bauer-Clapp and Katie Kirakosian on the need for archaeologists to be trained in archival research: Archaeologists and Archives: Revisiting an Old Challenge and A Walk in the Woods: Adapting Archaelogical Training to Archival Discovery
Organizations and other resources:
Society for American Archaeology FAQ about archaeology, which provides information on Cultural Resource Management as an archaeology career: FAQ for Students
Some general background on shell middens: The Archaeological Study of Shell Middens