Presentation by Benjamin Van Alstyne
Ph.D. Student researching VR/AR/MR applications in Anthropology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas
2020 is a year filled with many challenges, and a lot of them have to do with education and combating misinformation. Among these are the challenges of combating and helping people learn about our society's social injustices and systemic racism. Additionally, here in Southern Nevada, are the challenges that parents/guardians, students, and teachers are facing with distant learning. We are experiencing a historical triggering of major adaptive changes and rearrangements. But what does that mean for cultural preservation and helping educate the public? My research aims to engage the public remotely and help them learn about the richness of human diversity and its past through immersive and emotional experiences using Virtual Reality and 3D modelling; thereby creating resources for teachers to help their students learn through engaging experiences that promote empathy as they learn about other cultures and our past. And doing it in a way that doesn't restrict these experiences to those with big budgets/pockets.
To see some of Ben's 3D modeling visit https://sketchfab.com/LostCityMuseum/models
Kathrina Aben, archaeologists for the Bureau of Land Management-Las Vegas Field Office, shared with us some of her interests and previous research. Her presentation information is below.
Consuming Identities: Material Analysis of Mid-20th Century Filipino-American Food Practices in Agricultural Landscapes in San Joaquin County, California
In the early 20th century, the San Joaquin Delta in California served as a significant center of agricultural production in the U.S. Migrant laborers served as the backbone of the agriculture industry by following the seasonal rotation of crops to cultivate, harvest, and process food products to feed the country, often living in semi-permanent structures in farm work camps. Filipino-Americans and immigrants comprised a large percent of farmworkers in the region, resulting in Filipino communities with strong social networks and vibrant cultural traditions. This presentation explores the mid-20th century Filipino-American experience in agricultural work camps through the materiality of food practices in San Joaquin County, California. Food is a useful lens to explore the performance of cultural identities despite social, political, and economic challenges affecting food accessibility. Oral histories, archival records, and objects are used to discuss daily meals and celebratory feasts, exploring the meaningful interconnections between space, food, and practice. This research addresses the absence of Filipino-American archaeological studies in the discipline by exploring the materiality of food practices and their potential impact on the archaeological record.
A video of the zoom presentation can be seen on our YouTube Channel
NVFCP in partnership with the Nevada Site Stewardship Program (NSSP) held the first virtual presentation of 2020.
Kish LaPierre, Cultural Resources Manager, Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, presented on the following:
The United States Army Corps of Engineers and Nellis Air Force Base (Nellis AFB), Nevada, contracted with Far Western Anthropological Research Group, Inc., (Far Western) to conduct a study of rock writing (petroglyph and pictograph) sites on the Nevada Test and Training Range (NTTR). This study was conducted in accordance with Section 110 of the National Historic Preservation Act. The project entails updated recordation of existing sites, with emphasis on extensive photo-documentation, and selected archaeological survey of surrounding areas. These efforts were completed in cooperation with tribal representatives from the Consolidated Group of Tribes and Organizations (CGTO), who participated as field monitors to provide Native American perspective on their observations. The CGTO represents 17 tribes and organizations that provide government-to-government consultation with Nellis AFB.
A video of the zoom presentation can be seen on our YouTube Channel
NVFCP is gearing up to host some online talks in the next few months. In person events are suspended until participant safety is no longer questionable.
If you have a request for an online talk, discussion, lecture, or other event, please contact us at Contact@nvfcp.org.
Participants took part in an hour long introductory lesson on GPS units before heading to the Las Vegas Springs Preserve for a scavenger hunt. At the Preserve they tested their new skills by entering way points and following their units to the destinations. Each small group of 2 or 3 was accompanied by a trainer who let them make and learn from little mistakes along the way.
In partnership with the Nevada Site Stewardship Program and the Bureau of Land Management Red Rock Field Office, NVFCP trained scouts to be citizen site stewards. They were taught how to take photographs of damages and complete an online reporting form found here. The scouts and their families will now complete reports when they visit public archaeological sites and find damage.
Nevada Site Stewardship Program intern, Chava Aaron, provided an amazing dating workshop for historic bottles and cans. After an overview presentation on what elements to look for, attendees were provided a bottle and can to date. They used informative handouts and the internet to narrow down date ranges. We had so many RSVP's that we held back-to-back workshops of about 8 participants each. This made it possible for attendees to share the information they found and help each other out.
Seven scouts and their leaders joined the Nevada Site Stewardship Program and Nevadans for Cultural Preservation for an Ocher Pictograph Experiment. We used the scientific method to test which binder (lard, blood, egg yolk, etc) worked best when mixed ocher to form a paint for pictographs. The scouts got to grind locally sourced ocher, mix and measure, and are in the process of observing the results. In December, they will join us again. This time to learn how to be citizen stewards and to adopt a site in Red Rock National Conservation Area to monitor for damages.
NVFCP Executive Director, Rayette Martin provided an artifact identification and site recording workshop for Sierra Club volunteers. The information she provided in this abbreviated training was sufficient to ensure volunteers could make an educated guess whether or not an object was possibly an artifact or not and how to document the finding so it could be relocated. The group later did a pedestrian survey (walked and looked for evidence of endangered species and cultural sites) in the muddy mountains area. They found an artifact and an old historic building in their survey and sent in photos to be verified.
We love working with our partners to help them better care for our cultural resources!