Preface: I know I’ve not blogged. It’s on my to-do list, which, as an involved, active, and actively researching senior, is lllooonnnggg. I hope I can still take a bit of your attention away from the rest of your life.
I’d like to continue a series from last semester that allows you a peek into what else I’m doing, what I’m learning in this institution called Luther College, and why I’m not hogging more of your time. On a whim, I chose the least appealing, in terms of title, class to start the new semester. I’m one of seven anthropology majors taking the new class Quantitative Research Methods in Anthropology. Five of the seven are archaeology focus; one other and myself are cultural anthropology focus. Uf – this is a archae-y class. We’re learning the ropes behind doing academic research, anthropological style, by doing a semester-long research project in class. In terms of work, it’s a normal senior project…but I would be a different person had I chose our research topic for my senior project.
My prof asked the question, “When was bow and arrow technology adopted in Northeast Iowa?” No one has ever studied this question before us, so that’s cool. The technology of archery had pretty large effects on a culture; a community in the transition to archery could change their prey of focus from larger, slower game to include smaller, faster game that could evade spears thrown from an atlatl. Humans were easier to kill from larger distances away. With the more efficient weapons technology, a group drastically changed the social interplay consisting of themselves and their surrounding groups. And, from other localized studies focused elsewhere in North America, the technology was adopted (either by invention or by taking the idea of it from a neighboring group), dropped, and readopted later. Significant economic and cultural shifts, as evidenced by the material remains datable to each transition, accompanied each change.
I’m not particularly enthralled by the subject material, but the process is important. One of my post-Luther options is grad school for something in research, and I’m researching another topic independently for my senior project (subject of another blog). This class not only helps round out my understanding of anthropology, and of Northeast Iowa’s prehistory but also helps determine whether I should go for a graduate degree focused on research.