In 2006, the Burke Museum Archaeology Department began the Burke Museum Archaeology Research Collections Fellowship (BMACRF). This program is made possible by the support of our generous donors and the income generated from the department’s endowment. The fellowship provides a stipend for one graduate and one undergraduate student to conduct summer research on Burke archaeological collections.
Shannon Rosenbaum - Reflection on the fellowship
Due to budgetary constraints, the Burke Museum did not offer a research fellowship in 2009. Fortunately, it has been reinstated for 2010.
Studying Gender through Shellfish Analysis
Phoebe Anderson, a University of Washington Anthropology graduate student, is currently testing her hypotheses about gender in shellfish exploitation as well as prehistoric human impacts on shellfish populations. Her research involves analyzing the bulk shell samples from two collections from the San Juan Islands which are housed at the Burke Museum (45SJ24 and 45SJ280).
In order to test the gender hypotheses she is identifying and counting each shellfish species present in the collections to identify changes in relative abundance through time. She is also measuring the size of several species to determine if there have been changes in mean size throughout the past. Finally, to control for environmental impacts on species relative abundances and size, she is sampling shells of sea surface temperature and upwelling reconstruction.
Are Mountain Goats Native to the Olympic National Park?
Brian Durkin was an undergraduate majoring in Anthropology at the University of Washington when he was the recipient of the 2007 Undergraduate Archaeology Collections Research Fellowship. His research involves the faunal analysis of Cattle Point (45SJ1), an archaeological site located on San Juan Island. Cattle Point was first excavated in the 1940’s by Arden King during a University of Washington field school. The resulting collection received little attention until the fall of 2006 when Brian Durkin and Kate Trusler, now University of Washington alumni, worked to decipher a complex code that had been used to label the artifacts. The unusual code was based on paint chips instead of the more common numbering systems of today. Without a key to the paint code system, little research could be done with the extensive collection from Cattle Point. By deciphering the code, Brian and Kate were able to identify which bones came from which areas in the site, opening the collection up to a myriad of research questions.
Specifically, the collection can now help answer the question of whether or not Mountains Goats (Oreamnos americanus) are indigenous to the area. Since the 1940’s, a heated debate has taken place over whether they are a native or exotic species to the Olympic National Park. The only way to settle this debate is through archaeological evidence from the area. The goal of this project is to determine if Mountain Goats are present or absent at the Cattle Point site. This will also lead to a better understanding of the relationship between people and animals living around San Juan Island.
Investigation of Olcott Tools
Roger Kiers, a doctoral student in Anthropology at the University of Washington, was the 2006 recipient of the Archaeology Collections Research Fellowship. His project investigated the development of early Olcott phase (early to mid Holocene) stone tools in the Northwest. The Olcott phase is roughly defined as existing in western Washington between 9,000 and 4,000 years ago. Roger is working to better define the characteristics of these tools and is also attempting to obtain more reliable dates for their manufacture by utilizing luminescence dating techniques.
Roger spent two months working in the collections from July-August 2006 and presented some of his findings to the public at the annual Burke Museum Archaeology Day held in October of 2007. Click here to download the Olcott information sheet from this event.