Some updates! (It’s been awhile…)

24 Apr

First off, as a continuation of my last post a long time back… My finished abstract:

Recent studies at the regional and national levels show how the earliest inhabitants of the Americas, also known as Paleoindians, were spread across the land by looking at the distribution of projectile points and other associated artifacts dating to between 11,500 and 9000 years BP (before present).  However, there is still much to understand about Paleoindian and subsequent Early Archaic site distributions because the existing data is insufficient to truly understand the lifeways of these first inhabitants.  Several reasons partly account for the paucity of the data base.  First, early sites are few in number and difficult to find because they are frequently represented by single finds of distinctive projectile points.   In addition, many regions have poor documentation of most sites in existing databases.  Finally, few systematic research efforts have been undertaken in many areas with the intention of locating sites from this time period.  Thus, a wider range of sites needs to be identified before we can truly understand the lifeways of our earliest inhabitants.  This project proposes to develop the existing database of Paleoindian/Early Archaic sites with the objective of generating a predictive model of Paleoindian/Early Archaic settlement in a portion of west central Michigan.  The study area will include Allegan, Kent, and Ottawa counties, a region where few sites have been recorded.  Paleoindian and Early Archaic site distributions will be compiled by utilizing publications on artifacts (primarily projectile points) from these two periods and State of Michigan Archaeological Site File records.  These existing sources will be supplemented with information from landowners, artifact collectors, and historical societies which constitute a relatively untapped resource and will be the most important in discovering the patterns of Paleoindian/Early Archaic land use for the study area.  Through these methods, it will be possible to establish a comprehensive database of known locations of sites in these three counties which will become the basis of a predictive model that can be tested by systematic survey. Maps of the site locations will be created and compared to environmental and other features to develop a testable predictive model. This model will be a valuable resource for future inquiries into early settlement and adaptive strategies in the region and also can be used to identify new sites in the future.

Yup!  That’s what I’m doing starting in May.  It’s pretty exciting now that it is getting closer.  I recall being ready to strangle the nearest person while writing that whole proposal out.  All I have left for this semester is two take-home finals and one in-class final to do.  Then, I have a week of a break that my SO and I will be off to visit our families on the other side of the state (and maybe some friends). 

Monday, May 9th there is a kick-off luncheon for McNair Scholars students and mentors.  Pictures taken for the journal and website and all that fun stuff.  I am already setting up appointments to look at artifacts, have finalized my list of museums to contact for setting up the artifact identification days, and started making my lithic recording forms.  Now, as this all draws nearer, I’m getting that much more excited.

My typical McNair week:
Monday —  GRE (Verbal) study class: 9:00am-10:30am; Wellness seminar 10:45am-12:00pm
Tuesday —  Graduate School Research and Application Preparation(GS-RAP) class: 9:00am-11:15am; Toastmasters meeting 11:30am- 1:00pm
Wednesday — GRE (Math) study class: 9:00am-10:30am; Yoga: 10:45-12:00pm
Thursday — GS-RAP class: 9:00am-10:45am; McNair Meeting: 11:00-1:00pm

… Every week save for practice GRE exams, 5-,10-,15-minute presentations, and the McNair conference in Buffalo.  Check out the links if you want to know more about what each one of those things is.


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