May 15, 2020   twilliams

Our lab may be shuttered, our tours halted, and our talks postponed, but like many we are doing our best to carry on. Our research continues, mainly in trying to finish the monograph, but also catch up on our papers and reports that need editing and finishing. As our “work from home” life continues we are looking at ways to continue to provide outreach and education in some form or another. To that end you can now find us on YouTube, where not only are we trying to add new content, but we are exploring live broadcasting options as well. Stay tuned!

One of the more interesting discussions to watch as this pandemic continues to have a profound effect on our daily lives is the interface between science, and the various reporting outlets, from officials to the news media. Its highlighting an issue that is prominent in archaeology, the line between the science and interpretation. Science, the data collection, methods, results and then the interpretation of what that means. In archaeology, this can be a fine line, and the Pre-Clovis debate has often demonstrated this. Old sites, human artifacts, ages beyond 13,000. Those might be the facts of the science, but the interpretation of that, dates are wrong somehow or the artifacts are not right is something that continues to plague our research. This is not necessarily a bad thing; it pushes us as researchers to explore all possibilities. And of course, archaeological science can only provide part of the story, the rest is about human nature, and as humans we can be unpredictable, but we also like our patterns and routines. Factors that we are all experiencing under the current pandemic. It is not something we are always aware of, the line between scientific data and interpretation, but you can usually spot it if you look carefully enough.

This is something we pay attention to at the Gault Site, what our data is showing us, and what we can interpret from that data. This is particularly important when studying the early Gault Assemblage, where we can conduct studies of the tools and technology, there function and use, but we will always be at a loss when it comes to what was in their minds. But one thing is for certain, like us there were times when life got tough, when everything you knew changed almost fundamentally, but they persevered, and we can too. If the study of human history has taught us anything, it is a story of perseverance against all odds.

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