PAST Posts is a blog for the Texas State University’s Center for Archaeological Studies’ PAST Program. Our PAST (Public Archaeology Serving Texas) Program is a dynamic public outreach program that aims to involve Texans in the archaeological work we conduct and raise awareness of our state’s rich cultural and natural heritage. The PAST Program is first and foremost committed to providing the public access to the archaeology of the Spring Lake site on the Texas State University campus, specifically we aim to show how archaeology is completed and the importance of archaeology in understanding the past lifeways around Spring Lake. In order to foster appreciation of, respect for, and increase a vested interest in the irreplaceable heritage present at Spring Lake and around Texas, the PAST program uses a holistic approach, offering a suite of public outreach activities that appeal to a diverse audience.
Why a blog?
This is a good question in today’s world of social media and 140 character posts. While we have embraced social media and recognize the value it brings to our public outreach program, we also see social media as fleeting: today’s great post is lost in tomorrow’s feed on Grumpy Cat, political debates, and which celebrity is hot that second. We feel that a blog has more long-term value for our goals of public outreach and education. A blog post made today will remain available as long as we wish. We can update posts as new information becomes available and direct people back to updated or specific posts in our social media feed. With a blog we hope that we can attract a wider audience to our research and public outreach programs with more in-depth, but concise, posts than are generally available through social media.
What will our blog cover?
The primary purpose of CAS’s blog will be to highlight our projects, research, and public outreach efforts. Two of our first five posts will include coverage on our outreach efforts during our Spring Lake Mitigation Project and on the use of Structure from Motion (SFM) photogrammetry to record the excavation at Spring Lake. As the semester moves forward, we hope to be able to feature some of our students’ on-going research as well.
We also wish to highlight our services, collections, and technology. CAS is home to an extensive library on Texas archaeology, but it is vastly underutilized by students and the archaeological community. One of our future posts will make people more aware of our library and the rare items in it. We also plan to discuss the use of 3D imaging/scanning of artifacts for public outreach and recordation, illustrated in this post by the GIF image of a Bulverde point that was recently found at Spring Lake. This sort of scanning can be helpful in creating interactive public outreach websites as well as informational pages for archaeologists and the public.
(Click to view)
Finally, we hope to show how archaeological skills and knowledge are applicable to other subfields of anthropology, in particular forensic/physical anthropology.
So look back here in two weeks to see Amy Reid’s post on our public outreach efforts during our Spring Lake project. We will publish new posts every two weeks. Also, watch our FaceBook and Google+ pages for announcements of upcoming posts and events.