With funding the from the from the Department of Natural History Fall 2023 Travel Award, I traveled to the 79th Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Archaeological Conference. This conference took place from October 25th to October 28th in Chattanooga, Tennessee. I presented a poster entitled Transitional Ceramic Traditions of Late Woodland Communities from the Upper Tombigbee River Drainage, Mississippi. The paper discussed archaeological pottery collections from multiple archaeological sites in the Tombigbee River Drainage in Mississippi. I studied these artifact collections in the in the Ceramic Technology Laboratory at the Florida Museum using compositional analysis, specifically ceramic petrography. Thin-section ceramic petrography is a method of ceramic compositional analysis used to study ceramic artifacts under a microscope. This method involves cutting pieces of pottery to create thin sections by affixing each sherd to a microscope slide and grinding the slide to a thickness of approximately 30 μm. Petrography is useful for identifying the naturally occurring inclusions of parent materials, such as rock fragments, and intentionally added additions, such as shell fragments. I utilized this method to examine the series of operations used to transform raw clay and temper into a finished pot. I used this data to compare the steps of ceramic craft production between sites and aim to define local and regional traditions. My results suggest that production steps were often consistent between sites but varied over time.

As a PhD candidate, attending this conference was very beneficial. I was able to share my research and establish connections that I may use when searching for employment in the near future. As someone who is trying to pursue a career as an archaeologist in the Southeastern U.S., this regional conference allows me to expand my professional network and contribute to an academic community that is likely to appreciate my work.

The 2023 Fall Student Travel Awards are supported by the FLMNH Department of Natural History, including funds from the Gapenski Endowment. If you would like to help support this fund for future student awards, please go to:

Louis C. and Jane Gapenski Endowed Fellowship