Collections and Research News for the Week of June 1, 2012

Staff & Student News: 

The Field’s Flickers, a team made up of Associate Curator John Bates, Resident Graduate Student Nick Block, High-School Intern Nathan Goldberg, and Staff Scientist Jason Weckstein (all Zoology/Birds), participated in a 24-hour birdathon fundraiser for the Chicago Audubon Society on May 12.  The Dr. Willaim S. Beecher Birdathon is a 24-hour “big day” in which participating teams compete to see or hear the most bird species in Cook County.  Each team collects pledges per species seen or heard, and these funds benefit the educational and environmental missions of Chicago Audubon Society.  With 148 species of birds seen or heard, this is the fourth year in the last five that the Field’s Flickers have won the competition for the Beecher Cup (it’s not too late to donate, click here to do so).

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The Field’s Flickers, a team made up of Associate Curator John Bates, Resident Graduate Student Nick Block, High-School Intern Nathan Goldberg, and Staff Scientist Jason Weckstein (all Zoology/Birds), participated in a 24-hour birdathon fundraiser for the Chicago Audubon Society on May 12.  The Dr. Willaim S. Beecher Birdathon is a 24-hour “big day” in which participating teams compete to see or hear the most bird species in Cook County.  Each team collects pledges per species seen or heard, and these funds benefit the educational and environmental missions of Chicago Audubon Society.  With 148 species of birds seen or heard, this is the fourth year in the last five that the Field’s Flickers have won the competition for the Beecher Cup (it’s not too late to donate, click here to do so).


MacArthur Curator Jonathan Haas and Graduate Research Assistant Matthew Piscitelli (both Anthropology) were recently awarded the Curtiss T. & Mary G. Brennan Foundation Grant for Archaeological Field Research.  The $5,000 grant was awarded to support their proposal entitled “Ritual is Power: Investigating Late Archaic Temple Structures on the North Central Coast of Peru.”  Their project will investigate the role of temple-like structures in the Late Archaic Period (3,000–1,800 B.C.) on the north central coast of PeruThey will use modern technology such as pollen analysis, micromorphology, and X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) to reconstruct ancient ritual practices in hopes of documenting changes in ceremonial activities over time.  

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Research & Publications: 

The documentary film “Shipibo: The Movie of our Memories” has been accepted by Alexander Street Press for inclusion in its “ethnographies on-line” series for worldwide distribution to universities and libraries.  The film was produced by Curator Alaka Wali and co-directed by Associate Claire Odland (both Anthropology) together with volunteer Nancy Feldman and Peruvian cinematographer Fernando Valdivia.  The film documents the commentaries of Northern Peru’s Shipibo peoples on viewing documentary footage of daily life in the 1950s.  It was supported in part by funds from the Anthropology Department’s acquisitions fund and provides context for the collections of ceramics and textiles from the Shipibo.

Fieldwork & Collections: 

The Library in the Division of Insects benefited from several improvements to the space over the past several months.  At approximately 18,000 volumes, it is the largest division Library in the Department of Zoology.  The Field Museum Library and Division of Insects staff worked together to purchase and install new shelving, clean existing shelving, and shift books and journals to allow for new acquisitions.  Many thanks to Museum Librarian Christine Giannoni, Insects Collection Manager Jim Boone, Division of Insects Volunteer Tom Durica and Intern Stephanie Garcia for the collaborative effort!

Public Education & Media Coverage: 

The collaborative TFM-UIC study of Maya obsidian research recently published in Antiquity and carried out by Mark Golitko, James Meierhoff, Gary Feinman, and Ryan Williams (all Anthropology) was written up in an article in the Huffington Post.


Gary Feinman’s (Anthropology) recent co-authored article in PNAS, “Archaeology as a Social Science,” was the focus of a May 20 Op-Ed column in the Columbus Dispatch concerning education and careers in archaeology and anthropology.  You can read the column here.


Gary Feinman (Anthropology) joined Joel Palka (UIC Anthropology) and Cynthia Robin (NU Anthropology) in a discussion of Maya Civilization, on the Milt Rosenberg radio show (WGN radio) from 10:00 PM to midnight Tuesday, March 29th, 2012. Palka and Robin are both Field Museum Adjunct Curators.