With the Spring 2020 semester now officially closed, I wanted to update you on our efforts on a number of fronts. But first, I would like to wish all of our student volunteers and employees a healthy summer, and I want to say thank you to our graduating students many of whom have been an important part of our family for years. Last fall we began work on the monumental task of bringing together the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology and the Mathers Museum of World Cultures into one new institution, the Indiana University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (IUMAA), and redesigning our building, exhibits, and the way we work. In many ways, the process has been like combining two families to create something bigger, stronger, and more diverse. We now face many of the tasks that go along with combining households: we are building a new home, and moving out of familiar spaces, all of this while working in a global pandemic!
Our building renovation is addressing outdated and inefficient HVAC and other infrastructure, and because these issues have far-reaching implications for the safety of our collections and the people who care for it, our renovation is still on track in spite of COVID-19. The pandemic situation has meant that we’ve been conducting our planning meetings and collections work online via Zoom. Not being together has been difficult, but we are committed to doing whatever we can to slow the spread of this disease. Soon enough we’ll all be back in the building working hard to continue preparing for the move and renovation.
We’re excited about the plans for the building and will share those broadly once they are finalized—for now we can say that you’ll notice improvements to our entrances and programs spaces. Major changes will encourage visitors to explore the behind the scenes work of the museum more easily. People will be able to see what kinds of work takes place in our laboratories, storage, and analytical spaces, while improvements to collections accessibility will facilitate student, collaborator, and faculty research. New technologies and techniques are also planned for exhibit halls that will create even more meaningful learning experiences.
As you might imagine, the COVID-19 pandemic has rendered our timeline is somewhat uncertain and a little fuzzy, but we are still hopeful that in early 2022, we’ll be able to welcome you into our new museum and laboratory. Until then, we hope we’ll see you around campus and online. During the time we are under renovation we’ll still be conducting programs, hosting research, and participating in the life of the campus. I hope you’ll follow along with all or our efforts and activities via social media and the IUMAA website. Please stay safe and healthy.
Click here to read a message from the Executive Director of the Indiana University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Ed Herrman.
From the Desk of the Director
Click here to read a message from the GBL Director, April Sievert.
From the Desk of the Curator
Click here to read a message from GBL Curator, Melody Pope.
This Semester at the GBL!
Plains Anthropological Conference
The 77th Plains Anthropological Conference was held in Bloomington, Indiana on October 16-19, 2019. The Conference was organized by Dr. Laura L. Scheiber and Amanda Burtt of the Indiana University Anthropology Department. This was the first year the conference was held in Bloomington!
The Plains Anthropological Society promotes the study of North American Great Plains cultures, and encourages the exchange of ideas and information at its annual Plains Anthropological Conference. The society encouraged papers, posters, and organized sessions on topics related to Anthropology and Ethnohistory on the Great Plains and adjacent regions.
Amanda Burtt organized a poster session with members of the Saving America’s Treasures Angel Mounds Rehousing Project for the Plains Anthropological Conference. The poster session was titled: Rediscovering Angel Mounds.
Research presented in this poster session highlight the ongoing efforts of the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology in rehousing collections from Angel Mounds. Excavations at the Angel Mounds site (12Vg1) conducted during the WPA era recovered more than two million artifacts. With a Federal Save America’s Treasures grant, these collections are being removed from their original paper bags and boxes and upgraded with archival grade bags, tags, and boxes. A team of graduate and undergraduate students have been instrumental in this process, learning about curation practices while rediscovering the material remains of Angel Mounds residents. Posters represent various aspects of curating this legacy collection and the interests of those that have been on the front lines of this exciting project including research on curation practices and community involvement in archaeology, as well as archaeological investigation into food-ways, tool use, and fauna remains from Angel Mounds.
New Collections to the Library & Archives
This summer and fall, the archives have received several marvelous donations! Cheryl Munson brought boxes of records related to her work on GE Mounds; Kevin Crouch donated a few boxes of books and reports to be added to our collections; and Jonathan Reyman, former curator of the Illinois State Museum and member of the GBL Advisory Board, donated the papers of the Feather Distribution Project.
The Feather Distribution Project, organized and coordinated by Dr. Reyman, collected over 14 million naturally molted feathers over a 34 year period from around the country to donate for use in the Pueblo nations. This archive of documents will be organized and a finding aid created in the near future!
In the digital-realm, Patrick Sovereign has been digitizing the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology Reports of Investigations abstracts and submitting them to Indiana University’s ScholarWorks database. To date he’s uploaded 117 of the more recent report abstracts.
Trowel & Brush Society
In August, a lobby exhibit called Trowel & Brush opened to highlight images and archival materials of past field schools run by Glenn Black. The name comes from The Trowel and Brush Society, which began in 1948 when Glenn Black thought to start an organization made up of those students who had worked at Angel Mounds under his tutelage. This exhibit showcases many images from past field schools at Angel Mounds and remembers the students who were part of this institution’s story.
We said goodbye to our latest Headdy Gallery exhibit this semester. Items were rehoused in November in preparation for the upcoming spring collections move.
You Are There 1939: Exploring Angel Mounds
You can still visit the Indiana Historical Society exhibit and interaction about Angel Mounds at the History Center in Indianapolis! Guests are transported back to the Depression era as workers with the Works Projects Administration study Angel Mounds, the once-thriving Mississipian town located in southern Indiana. Learn how archaeologists and workers survey the land, excavated artifacts, and process their findings.
Campus Archaeology Symposium
–Organized by Elizabeth Watts Malouchos
On September 6th, 2019, archaeologists from IU campuses across the state and the wider Midwest convened at the Wylie House Museum (WHM) for IU’s first Campus Archaeology Symposium. The Campus Archaeology Symposium was inspired by the recent collaboration between the GBL and WHM to explore early campus landscapes and document and preserve campus cultural heritage at the 1835 home of IU’s first president Andrew Wylie. Funded through IU’s Office of the Bicentennial, the Campus Archaeology Symposium was organized to explore the buried archaeological record of the historic campus and to discuss how to balance university growth with preservation of campus cultural resources.
The symposium has held in the WHM’s Morton C. Bradley Jr. Educational Center, a restored 19th century barn, the perfect setting steeped in local history and charm to host our speakers and guests. The symposium started out with a delicious bagel breakfast spread and a welcome from GBL Research Scientist Liz Watts Malouchos. Next, the WHM Director Carey Champion and WHM Outdoor Interpreter Sherry Wise introduced the history of the Wylie House and a missed opportunity for archaeology (the foundation of the original Wylie carriage house was disturbed during a construction project) that inspired the partnership between WHM and the GBL. Then, GBL Director, April Sievert introduced our recent collaborative research project that culminated in a 2018 field school investigating two subterranean greenhouses at Wylie House that were used to overwinter flowers starting in the 1860’s. IUB Anthropology graduate student Molly Mesner Bleyhl presented next and spoke about the unique experiences of learning to do archaeology in a local and familiar landscape. Liz Watts Malouchos followed and provided a summary of the many recent campus archaeology projects at Wylie House and other locations on campus like the Griffy Research and Teaching Preserve and Campus Farm and Hinkle-Garton Farmstead. IU Historian James Capshew presented on the history of place-making at IU and how early students participated in sculpting the IUB natural and cultural landscapes that we know today. To round out the morning, John Summerlot Coordinator for Military and Veteran Services and IU history buff and Spencer Bowman IU undergraduate student and Bicentennial intern discussed their research on IU’s illusive centennial timecapsule buried at the original Seminary Square Campus. Undergraduate students and GBL/WHM interns Lauren Schumacher and Maclaren Guthrie also presented posters on their original research on campus archaeology and material culture at Wylie House.
After a delightful lunch was enjoyed on the lawn next to the WHM garden, the symposium moved to archaeological projects and programs farther afield from our Bloomington campus. Jay VanderVeen from IU South Bend presented on his recent campus excavations and research linking participation in archaeological field schools to increased civic engagement. Paul Mullins from IUPUI followed and shared his research on the displacement of black communities to make way for the downtown Indianapolis campus. Then, Mark Schurr from Notre Dame University described how he combines traditional collegiate field schools with high school field schools to explore UND’s Old College. GBL Curator Melody Pope spoke about campus archaeology projects during her tenure at the Iowa Office of the State Archaeologist on the University of Iowa’s campus. Finally, we had the great pleasure of hosting two keynote speakers: Lynne Goldstein, founder of the Michigan State University (MSU) Campus Archaeology Program (CAP) and Stacey Camp, CAP’s current director. MSU’s Campus Archaeology Program is the premier campus cultural resource program and serves as a model for sustainable, successful campus archaeology that we at IUB strive to replicate. Dr. Camp spoke about current CAP initiatives and the benefits of student learning and professionalization through exploring campus archaeology and history. Dr. Goldstein relayed the journey of her work in educating MSU’s administration in the importance of campus cultural heritage and leveraging the foundation of CAP. We here at the GBL were inspired by the interesting research and results of recent IU campus archaeology projects and how our colleagues across the state and at other academic institutions have built and sustained successful campus archaeology programs, preserving university past into the future.
D&D and Archaeology
Kelsey Grimm, GBL librarian, hosted a successful event at the Monroe County Public Library in September discussing the connections between Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) and archaeology. Archaeogaming is an emerging field of study dedicated to the archaeology both of and within games. Open world games, like Dungeons & Dragons, have culture, civilizations, and a history. Players that have an understanding of basic archaeology concepts can find their gaming experience enriched.
Collaborating with the Wylie House Museum, the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology showed off some of the artifacts found during 2018 summer excavations at the Wylie House!
Volunteer and Student Appreciation!
Thank you to all who gave their time this semester!
Collections: Jorge Luis Rios Allier, Ariel Creal, Preet Gill, Maclaren A. Guthrie, Anne Hittson, Victoria Kvitek, Amanda Pavot, Ryan PEterson, Brenna Roller, Noah Sandweiss, Lauren Schumacher, Matthew Staats, Cally Steussy, Cameron Ricci Strause
Thank you for being a part of the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology community.
I am thrilled to begin my tenure as Executive Director of the Indiana University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology with a note about our plans for this new museum. As you may have heard, the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology (GBL) is merging with the Mathers Museum of World Cultures (MMWC) to form the Indiana University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (IUMAA) on the Bloomington campus. Much of my archaeological training occurred during my five years at the GBL, where I spent most of my time working with collections and conducting fieldwork. I am excited to return to work with those as well as the Mathers collections. Perhaps more importantly, I am happy to work with Director April Sievert and the passionate and dedicated museum staff and faculty professionals—who average more than 20 years of experience per person in areas such as museum administration, outreach and education, curation, exhibit planning and design, material culture analysis, and ethnographic and anthropological research.
As a university museum and laboratory at a research one institution, the IUMAA will focus on the creation, dissemination, and curation of cultural knowledge. Continuing in the tradition of the MMWC and the GBL, the museum will foster education at all levels through collections-based teaching, exhibits, and research focused on our extensive and rich ethnographic and archaeological collections from around the world – including from the unique Angel Mounds Site, our largest collection. We intend our collaborative efforts to include work with many IU departments, professors, students, teachers, K-12 students, and the general public. Traditional Arts Indiana will help us engage with people enmeshed in the creative processes currently being documented in Indiana today. The IUMAA will also work with indigenous communities and engage with tradition bearers to bring their perspectives to Indiana audiences. We hope to collaborate with Native American tribes that were once present in Indiana to help bring their viewpoints to our audiences. My own research and teaching has involved collaborations with indigenous communities including the Maasai and Chagga tribes in Tanzania, Africa as well as projects with the Crow, Salish, and Kootenai in Wyoming and Montana, and I have always found these collaborations to be some of the most rewarding and important aspects of my work.
The two centers, which are currently housed in separate but adjoining buildings, are slated for necessary renovations starting next summer. Indiana University President Michael McRobbie has secured over $10 million for renovations, and additional funds from generous donors have helped support expanded and updated exhibits. Renovations will be extensive, incorporating replacement and modernization of mechanical and other infrastructure through the installation of new HVAC systems, electrical upgrades, and other improvements that will make our facility better for visitors, students, researchers, and employees. The GBL and MMWC will close in May 2020, renovations will be completed in the fall of 2021, and the new museum will open in the spring of 2022. We look forward to new teaching spaces, lab spaces, artifact study areas, compact shelving in curation areas, expanded exhibit space, and extensive technological additions that will facilitate our teaching and learning missions.
I am grateful to those who have warmly supported my arrival and the staff, faculty, and students who have welcomed me.