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Archaelogists gather at UA for conference

By Lisa Rich
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, September 23, 2004
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A symposium began on campus yesterday, bringing together students, scientists and researchers from Mexico, Canada and the United States.

The Archaeological Sciences of the Americas Symposium is a conference intended to increase communication and involvement between different scientific fields, said anthropology graduate student Kanani Paraso.

Paraso said the four-day conference, developed and organized by anthropology graduate students, is the first of its kind, featuring a wide collaboration of professionals from a variety of fields such as archeology, geology and material sciences.

Yesterday's participants attended one of three separate field trips. Anthropology professors Paul and Suzy Fish led a group to Tumamoc Hill in the Tucson Basin, assistant anthropology professor Barnet Pavao-Zuckerman toured the missions and presidios of Southern Arizona, and anthropology regents professor Vance Haynes visited the Murray Springs Clovis site, seven miles east of Sierra Vista.

Haynes discovered the underground Murray Springs Clovis site with Peter Mehringer in 1966, uncovering tools and methods of civilization from over 13,000 years ago.

"This site has contributed a lot to education," Haynes said. "It's a site that people from all over the world come and see ... The stratographic context allows the site to be examined through the layers (of dirt) like chapters in a book of time."

Anthropology graduate student and publicity head of the symposium Kacy Hollenback said the field trips were unique and beneficial to the conference participants because they each focused on different time periods.

The symposium continues today with UA laboratory tours and more than 30 paper presentations from specialists in fields of spatial analysis, material culture studies, geosciences in archaeology, and chronometry a scientific study of the relationship between time and archaeology.

Hollenback and Paraso said participants need to be pre-registered to attend the paper presentations, but the keynote addresses, laboratory tours and poster presentation during the conference are free and open to the public.

"This is different than most conferences in that we are opening things up to the public. When people come they can tour the labs, and the keynote speakers are also open to the public," Hollenback said.

A.M. Pollard, professor at the University of Bradford in the United Kingdom, will conclude the presentations today with a keynote address at 7 p.m. in the auditorium of the Center for English as a Second Language building.

Paper presentations will continue on Friday, with a poster presentation from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in the South Ballroom of the Student Union Memorial Center.

Hollenback said students' posters are centered on the same issues as the papers, but are represented visually to offer a more dynamic venue.

Paraso said this atmosphere will allow participating graduate students to talk one-on-one with guests to answer questions or exchange networking information.

"I hope that it gives me a little exposure to other archeologists, and maybe when I start looking for jobs they will know what I have done," said archeology graduate student Julia Meyers.

Meyers said she worked on the research and formation of her poster for more than a year, and said this project was a great way to increase her interaction with the university.

"I felt it was a great opportunity because I wanted to get involved. It was about material science, and it fits with my dissertation topic," Meyers said.

Paraso said the conference was developed during the last year and a half, and she expects approximately 200 participants. If this year's conference is a success, Paraso and Hollenback plan for the conference to become a biennial event on UA campus.

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