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The Coolest Things I’ve Found
Synopsis: When I tell people I’m an archaeologist, one of the questions they always ask me is “what’s the coolest thing you’ve ever found?” In a view popularized by the Indiana Jones franchise, many people often think that archaeologists search for specific, highly meaningful objects. In reality, archaeologists usually search for meaningful contexts, that is, assemblages of objects in particular arrangements, which can tell us something about ancient people. Yet within these contexts, particular finds can indeed have a special impact on our understanding of the past. Such finds are thrilling for the archaeologist, and perhaps even cool for the public as well. In this talk, I will describe the three coolest things I’ve found, why they are cool within the archaeological context, and what they reveal about archaeological interpretation more generally.
Speaker Bio: Joanne Baron is an assistant professor of Global Social Sciences at Bard High School Early College Newark. Her research focuses on the politics and economics of the ancient Maya. She has conducted archaeological excavations in Guatemala, Belize, and Honduras. She directs the La Florida Archaeology Project, which explores the rise and fall of a river trading port in northwestern Guatemala. Her recent publications focus on the use of chocolate and textiles as money among the ancient Maya, as well as the philosophical underpinnings of archaeological interpretation.
Email Dr. Baron (firstname.lastname@example.org) for the zoom link.