Anthropology major, Logan Ernst's experience at recent SAA conference

Logan describes his research and experience at the SAA conference in Austin this spring.

Logan Ernst recently presented his research at the SAA conference in Austin, Texas this spring.  Below is a brief synopsis of his experiences.

My first impression of the SAA conference was very overwhelming, so many archaeologists presenting a broad range of diverse research with hundreds of posters, sessions and exhibits. However after attending a few sessions and observing discussions I found it all very exciting, researchers coming together to share experiences, network and to discuss ways to better the foundations of archaeology as scientific discipline. My favorite session was about research based on an applied archaeological approach for understanding the impact of global environmental change and for addressing the fundamental challenges of future human global sustainability.

Archaeology provides the long-term perspective on human environmental relationships and provides a historical context for sustainability.  The goal of this session was to discuss how archaeologists in organizations like IHOPE (Integrated History of People of Earth) and GHEA (Global Human Ecodynamics Alliance) could apply their research in a way that helps direct public policy (local, national and global) towards a global sustainable future. This session was very inspirational and enlightened some of my own interests as a researcher.

Overall the conference was a success, and the archaeological experiences that were shared were very informative to my own research purposes, giving me perspective and thought for growth. I was able to network with local and national archaeologists that helped answer questions and provided insight for my own future goals. Presenting my research at a national archaeology conference was a profoundly awesome experience that gave me confidence in my skills and abilities as a young researcher. These experiences were made possible with the support from the University of Louisville Dept. of Anthropology and Associate Professor Dr. Jonathan A. Haws.

Logan's Research Abstract:

Charcoal analysis allows archaeologists to identify the woody resources that were available, selected for and utilized by ancient humans over time. Archaeological charcoal recovered at Praia Rei Cortico, a Middle Paleolithic site dated to 100,000 BP, provides information concerning the human selection of P. Sylvestris L. in the Estremadura Portugal. The site is located at the edge of a peat deposit that records a five-part pollen sequence of vegetation change during the Last Interglacial. Throughout the pollen sequence, arboreal and shrubby species fluctuate but pine, oak, birch, hazel and ericaceae are the main woody types. The archaeological charcoal assemblage derives from dispersed pieces recovered from across the site and two distinct clusters likely remnants of hearths. Two species (Pinus Sylvestris L. and Myrtus Communis L.) have been identified consistently within different areas and levels of Praia Rei Cortico. The results suggest a targeted selection of wood for fuel despite the availability of a broader range of woody shrubs and trees.