SUT-OSIG Well Represented at International Archaeology Day
By: Anna Heller // SUT Houston // Nov. 15, 2016Houston, TX- The celebration of the third annual International Archaeology Day (IAD) took place last month at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. An array of festivities and hands on learning activities relating to archaeology were on display to the public.
Members from the Society for Underwater Technology (SUT)- Offshore Site Investigation and Geotechnics (OSIG) were at the event to represent SUT and take advantage of an opportunity to engage with the public about marine archaeology.
“Educational outreach is the main goal,” Marine Geophysicist and SUT-OSIG School Touring Chair, Andrew Haigh said about the event, “to try and raise the profile of marine archaeology.”
According to Haigh, most of the organizations displayed at IAD focused on terrestrial archaeology, while the SUT-OSIG group was one of the few that demonstrated underwater and nautical archaeology.
Thanks to Patsy Rhymes, SUT-Houston’s event coordinator, SUT-OSIG had the opportunity to be apart of the event to share experiences with visitors about marine archaeology.
Andrew Haigh & Kim Faulk at International Archaeology Day. Photo/Patsy Rhymes
“For the Houston Museum of Natural Science to have marine archaeologists at an event like this is quite strong for them.” Haigh said about IAD.
Marine Archaeologist and SUT-OSIG committee member, Kim Faulk, MA, was present at the event as well, helping teach visitors about what marine archaeology entails.
“The goal was to make the demonstration more hands on this year.” Faulk said. The group wanted visitors to get a sense of how marine archaeologist work in the field.
Using two mystery boxes filled with artifacts, visitors had to feel the object ‘blindly’ to get an idea of what it’s like to work in zero visibility. With the information gathered from feeling each object, visitors were then asked to draw maps of what they believed the objects were.
Kim Faulk works with visitors at International Archaeology Day. Photo/Patsy Rhymes
This gave people an “understanding of what marine archaeologists do, how underwater technology actually functions, and how to search for items in the deep sea,” Faulk stated.
We want to “make sure people understand that archaeology is a viable career path,” Faulk said, “what we do within SUT-OSIG actually touches archaeology in a meaningful way.”
Also volunteering at the event was SUT-OSIG member and underwater archaeologist John Albertson, “the event was absolutely fantastic! It was phenomenal, the kids love it, the parents love it, and they got to be involved in hands-on activities.”
According to the volunteers there were around 400 people that stopped by the SUT-OSIG exhibit throughout the day. Haigh said that many teachers and professionals also attended the event to raise their own awareness of archaeology.
Kim Faulk & John Albertson at International Archaeology Day. Photo/Patsy Rhymes
All the SUT-OSIG volunteers voiced similar goals for SUT-OSIG at future events such as International Archaeology Day.
To have more collaboration between professionals and students, to teach kids and adults that science is cool and that there are careers in this field. They also noted how valuable an experience such as IAD is for them.
“The most valuable aspect is always getting to see a ‘light’ go on for a kid.” Faulk said. “Our goal going forward continues to be a voice for education, a place where kids can learn something new and different about the world they didn’t already know.”
Albertson paralleled that saying, “It’s really fulfilling to see kids and families get excited, we had several kids stop back with their parents at the end of the day asking for more information on how they can get started in ocean science right now.”
All four SUT volunteers worked passionately to make this event a success. According to Albertson, “It takes a team effort, it takes a team to build a better community.”
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