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VCU Archaeology

Uncovering and Exploring the Fragments that Assemble Virginia’s History

By Bernard K. Means

Yesterday, October 27, 2017, a poster session I organized was presented at the annual meeting of the Archeological Society of Virginia, this year held at Natural Bridge, Virginia, which is Virginia’s most recent state park. The session’s abstract read:

We sometimes forget that not all archaeological research takes place in exotic far off places on the other side of the planet. Important archaeological investigations might be just a plane trip, a bus ride, and a bike ride away from the place we call home. Virginia played an integral role in the early development of the United States as a country, and as such, the opportunity to study that which is left out of history books is endless.  This session showcases innovative technologies for preserving and presenting archaeological sites to  collectively  create  a cohesive representation of Virginia’s rich heritage.  We use different techniques for building a bridge of understanding between archaeologists and the general public. Now more than ever, there is an urgent need for public engagement with archaeology to ensure that elements of the past are not lost forever.

This session in part was designed to showcase the work we do in the Virtual Curation Laboratory and with our partners across the state, including the Virginia Museum of Natural History and the Germanna Foundation. But, I also wanted to give four of my students an opportunity to present their research in a professional setting. Four Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) students developed posters of their research: Hannah Bedwell, Brittany Blanchard, Isabel Griffin, and Madelyn Knighting. Madelyn was sadly ill, but her poster represented her in absentia. Both Hannah and Brittany had space on their posters to attach objects. Here are  their four posters:

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I have also been working with a recent VCU graduate, Kristen Egan, with material from enslaved contexts in Virginia for the Virginia Foundation for Humanities’ Encyclopedia Virginia. Our poster is here:

ASV posters for online_Page_5

Another poster highlighted the partnership between the Virginia Museum of Natural History and the Virtual Curation Laboratory in the creation of the Exploring Virginia exhibit that was at the Virginia Museum of Natural History. Dr. Elizabeth Moore and I developed this poster:

ASV posters for online_Page_6

The last two summers I have been working with Germanna Archaeology on a field school. Mark Trickett and Erick Larsen contributed posters to this session (I’ll update with Eric’s poster when I get the file):

ASV posters for online_Page_7

The VCU students really seemed to find the experience enriching and liked the experience of explaining their research to their future colleagues.

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The VCU Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program provided conference travel support for the VCU students who attended this conference.




  1. Pingback: An Artistic Interpretation of the ASV Conference | the Virtual Curation Laboratory - October 30, 2017

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