Ancient Fijian Stone Tools: documenting and explaining variation


Project code:  ART007

Disciplinary Area

Anthropology

 

Supervisor

Dr Ethan Cochrane

The Remote Oceanic archipelagos from Vanuatu to Sāmoa were first colonized 1000 BC by people who left an extensive archaeological record of pottery, food remains, ornaments, and stone tools. The pottery and food remains of these people have often been the focus of much research, but very little is known of the stone tools including adzes, scrapers, chisels, and other artefacts. The goal of this project is to document the stone tools in a newly acquired collection from the important colonization-era site of Bourewa, Fiji. The Bourewa collection at The University of Auckland includes several hundred artefacts dating from 1000 BC to the mid-first millennium AD, and is one of the few large stone tool assemblages from this time period in Remote Oceania. The summer scholar’s description and analysis of the stone tools will contribute to research on the diverse uses of these artefacts by Remote Oceania’s first people (e.g., horticulture, carving, food preparation) and how these uses changed over time in relation to local environmental transformation and subsistence change.

Scholar’s Work

Using dedicated space and equipment in the Roger C. Green Archaeological Science Laboratories, the summer scholar will

·          work through a prepared reading list of archaeological stone tool analyses and regional archaeological research;

·          produce a descriptive inventory of all (approximately 500) stone artefacts in the collection, that includes dry-cleaning and digital photography of the artefacts, basic metric measurements, plan-view and cross-section shape, rock material type (e.g. basalt, meta-sedimentary), and microscopic identification of use-wear;

·          construct a database linking artefact descriptions to archaeological provenience information;

·          use the descriptions to classify the artefacts into a series of preliminary tool types;

·          and by the end of the project write an approximately 3000 word document that, in conjunction with the database, discusses the preliminary tool types, their possible uses, and noting variation in their abundance over time.

 

The supervisor will meet regularly with the summer scholar for analytical training (e.g., identifying rock types), to discuss readings, troubleshoot descriptive procedures, and refine the tool classification so that it is relevant to questions of changing tool use.

Required Skills/Pre-requisites

There are no required skills, however the best prepared applicants will have some knowledge of quantitative social science, basic artefact analysis procedures, and Oceanic archaeology.

Top

Issues of semantics and metadata in archaeological data management


Project code:  ART021

Disciplinary Area

Anthropology

 

This project is part of the Archaeological eResearch Collaboration Initiative (ARCI), a multi-discriplinary research project between Anthropology and the Centre for eResearch at the University of Auckland. This research project has worked on developing schema and software solutions for the management and analysis of archaeological data. This project has used data from archaeological projects in different parts of the world including the Ahuahu Great Mercury Island Project. Most of the dataset from this project has been prepared for input into the ARCI database, however, a number of components have yet to be integrated. Part of this involves investigating issues of semantics in archaeological data management and researching solutions from other big-data projects in the discipline.

Scholar’s Work

The scholar will work on inputting data into the ARCI database, in addition to examining solutions for more complex datasets. The majority of work will be around issues of workflow, semantics and metadata standards for the Ahuahu Great Mercury Island project data that could then be applied to other projects, including national heritage databases. The scholar will use data from the recent work on the island, in addition to legacy data to do this. The scholar will work on documenting workflow during the February field work. This work will then be used for the preparation of a manuscript on data management in NZ archaeology with the summer scholar as one of the authors.

Required Skills/Pre-requisites

Basic familiarity with data management in archaeology, SQL database, and GIS. Knowledge of the Ahuahu Great Mercury Island Project field recording protocols and field experience is desirable.

Top

Ethnohistory and Aboriginal Archaeology at Roonka


Project code:  ART027

Disciplinary Area

Anthropology

 

Supervisor

Associate Professor Judith Littleton

Professor Harry Allen

This project is part of a large interdisciplinary project reanalysing the Aboriginal site of Roonka, South Australia.  As part of the work we have gathered together through archival searches a large amount of material from the area including photographs, journal articles, published works and newspaper accounts. The next stage of the project is to develop a catalogue of these materials and code them for content (e.g. material culture, burial practices, subsistence etc). We will use that database as a way of guiding further targeted searches of archival material and to identify a number of research questions that will guide the writing of reports and manuscripts for publication.  Our interest is in comparing the historical data with the longer time averaged data coming from the archaeological site.

Scholar’s Work

The summer scholar will organise the archival materials into a database and with supervisors develop a system of coding. Having completed this task we will work together to identify areas and sources where the student should search further for archival material. Also on the base of the database the student will work with the supervisors on writing up and summarising key issues such as variations in subsistence practices, material culture, mobility, burial practices etc. This information will be pulled together both as community reports for the Aboriginal community and the beginning of a manuscript on some aspect of the data. This work may involve a fieldwork trip to Adelaide in February with members of the research team.

Required Skills/Pre-requisites

Familiarity with archaeological approaches to material culture, mortuary practices and/or ethnohistorical data.

Well-developed research skills (Stage III or above).

Ability to organise an EXCEL spreadsheet.

Good writing skills.

Top

GIS analysis of burials at Roonka, Australia


Project code:  ART028

Disciplinary Area

Anthropology

 

This project is part of a large interdisciplinary project reanalysing the Aboriginal burial site of Roonka, South Australia. As part of that work we are aiming to begin a GIS analysis of the burials examining their location within the dune and the impact of dune location on the preservation of the burials. In doing this we will be tying the spatial data with data on taphonomy. Our goal is the 3d reconstruction of part of the site where the greatest number of burials are found.  This work is a crucial component of analysing past burial practices and the demography of the people who used the site as a burial ground, in addition to understanding formation of the archaeological record.

Scholar’s Work

The summer scholar will digitise the site plans which were drawn up in detail during the 1980s and then with the use of ARCGIS will work to develop a 3d reconstruction of the site. The individual burials will be analysed in terms of their preservation and their location in the dune testing the relationship between bone preservation and location. A report on this work will be written for the descendent community while the analysis itself will be the basis for a published manuscript with the summer scholar as one of the authors. This work may involve a fieldwork trip to Adelaide in February with members of the research team.

Required Skills/Pre-requisites

Familiarity with archaeological approaches to GIS, familiarity with ESRI GIS software, mortuary practices and/or taphonomic data.

Well developed research skills (Stage III or above).

Good writing skills.

Top

Hello “Dr. Google”: How Digital Healthcare Technologies are Reshaping Medical Expertise and Patient Care Practices


Project code:  ART041

Disciplinary Area

Anthropology

 

Hello “Dr. Google” examines how health apps and the internet have frequently become the first port of call for understanding the body, health, and illness, tracing the effects of this on our understandings of medical knowledge and expertise. The project focuses on how heath apps, websites, and internet search engines reshape contemporary health practices, putting more onus on the patient, but also enabling a broader understanding of what we mean by medical knowledge, “expert” advice, and patient participation. The scholar will engage in digital ethnography, conducting observation and engaging in discussions with others users of interactive health apps, health-related internet chat sites and discussion fora. He or she will also be responsible for conducting interviews with a range of healthcare providers in order to elucidate both their perspectives on, and actual uses of, digital healthcare technologies with their patients.

Scholar’s Work

1)    The scholar will conduct online and offline ethnographic research, engaging with a range of new health apps and taking part in web fora in order examine how medical knowledge is socially constituted online. This will include online interviews with other health app users and possibly also online/offline interviews with health app developers.

2)    A second aspect of the scholar’s work will be to conduct interviews with healthcare professionals, collecting information about their uses of health apps and other forms of digital technologies with their patients. Healthcare professionals will be Auckland-based and will work in both the areas of physical and mental health.

3)    The scholar will contribute to an Endnote database on academic and professional reviews of health apps and interactive websites.

4)    The scholar will transcribe his or her own interviews plus additional interviews conducted by the Supervisor or other members of the research team.

5)    Based on his or her online research and examination of professional journals, the scholar will keep the supervisor up to date on new trends in healthcare apps and interactive web technologies.

Required Skills/Pre-requisites

·          Interest in and, ideally, prior knowledge of, digital healthcare technologies

·          Strong inter-personal skills and comfort conducting online and offline interviews, including interviews with medical professionals

·          Transcription Skills

·          Strong organizational skills

Top

Digital Care: How Youth Make Sense of Health and Illness Using Digital Technologies


Project code:  ART042

Disciplinary Area

Anthropology

 

Digital Care examines how contemporary New Zealand youth (ages 16-24) use health apps and interactive online forums to shape health and fitness, with a focus on both physical health and mental/emotional wellbeing. The project involves interviewing young New Zealanders about their perspectives and use of digital healthcare technologies in order to get a broad-base understanding of the impact of new technologies on youth health practices. Specific issues the scholar will examine will include: how health apps redefine our ideas about fitness and resilience; whether health app use is effected by age and gender; how youth create new kinds of identities and socialities online; and how the accessibility, anonymity, and privacy of online services are reshaping young New Zealanders’ engagements with GPs and other (face-to-face) medical services.

Scholar’s Work

1)    The primary role of the scholar will be to assist in conducting ethnographic research on digital healthcare. Priority will be placed on organizing, conducting, and transcribing interviews with young New Zealanders about their use of health and fitness apps. This will include reaching out to potential interview subjects through schools, community groups and other sites. The target group will be youth ages 16-20.

2)    A second aspect of the scholar’s work will be to update and expand an Endnote database of books and articles that examine both the use of digital technologies in healthcare and digital cultures and socialities more broadly. This will include reading and summarizing a range of texts.

3)    The scholar will transcribe his or her own interviews plus additional interviews conducted by the Supervisor or other members of the research team.

4)    Based on the interview findings, the scholar will keep the supervisor up to date on new trends in healthcare apps and interactive web technologies.

Required Skills/Pre-requisites

·          Interest in and, ideally, prior knowledge of, digital healthcare technologies

·          Strong inter-personal skills and comfort conducting interviews with teens

·          Transcription Skills

·          Strong organizational skills

Top