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Intern Preserving Naval Heritage

It has been a very busy couple of weeks since my last post. It is hard to believe that this internship is coming to an end. At the Underwater Archaeology Branch (UAB) of the History & Heritage Command (NHHC), I have continued to clean and preserve the two brass flash pans as well as work with more of the survey equipment. The photos below are what the artifact looked like before I started to clean it and then during the cleaning process.

Brass Flash Pan during cleaning

Brass Flash Pan during cleaning

Underwater Archaeology Branch of the Naval History & Heritage Command

Brass Flash Pan Prior to cleaning

This past week I was able to go to Williamsburg, VA to test survey equipment out on the water for two days. It was great to actually see everything working after we got all the bugs worked out. This week the UAB is planning on conducting an archaeological survey to relocate a flagship near the D.C. area. I am hoping to be able to spend a day or two working with them on the survey to get as much experience as possible.  In the picture below, the long white object is a magnetometer. Once in  the water, it is towed behind the boat. There is a sensor on the magnetometer that detects changes in the Earth’s magnetic field. It is used to locate ferrous material such as iron that is buried under the seabed.  The sensor then sends a signal to a computer that makes a chart. When the sensor passes over iron on the seabed it makes a bump on the chart. The chart can later be analyzed to find the appropriate location of the wreck. We will be using this magnetometer when we are trying to relocate the flagship.Joshua Anderson, 2014 AAA Summer InternJoshua Anderson, 2014 AAA Summer Intern

I have been keeping busy during my free time as well. I drove up to Philadelphia the weekend before last to pickup my wife, May, from the airport and took her to New Jersey.  She is instructing a class at Fort Dix for two weeks. I enjoyed the small amount of time we had together.  This past weekend I learned to double check with the bus drivers around here on where they are actually going. I was planning on taking a bus out to Kent Island, MD to visit my cousin. The bus that was going to Kent Island, MD was actually going to California, MD which is two hours southwest of where I was supposed to be. I ended up getting a ride to a car rental place and drove out to Kent Island. On Saturday, we went out to a beach on my cousins boat and stayed the night. I was able to get up and watch the sun come up Sunday morning through a thick fog. It was a great start to the day.  We went crabbing shortly after I took this picture and caught a few crabs that we later steamed and ate.Joshua Anderson, 2104 AAA Summer Intern

Sunday afternoon my dad and family from Minnesota arrived out in Kent Island. They brought their camper out and are going to be spending the week in the D.C. area checking out all the sites and hanging out with family. When they got here we took a ride on the boat and then went out to eat. We ate at the Crab Deck on Kent Island and took the picture below.  I am looking forward to hanging out with them later this week.Joshua Anderson, 2014 AAA Summer Intern

After this week is over I am on my way to Fort Dix, NJ for two weeks to instruct a carpentry/masonry class for the army. When I get finished up there I finally get to go home. I will be jumping right into classes at Minnesota State University Mankato (MNSU) where I will continue working with the anthropology department conducting archaeological research.

This internship has allowed me to expand my knowledge, gain experience, and extend my abilities as an anthropologist. While at the American Anthropological Association I was able to aid in the planning process of the very first annual National Anthropology Day.  During my time at the Underwater Archaeology Branch of the Naval History & Heritage Command, I was able to work in the lab as well as get experience with some of the equipment in the field. I would like to thank all of the donors, professors at MNSU, and my family for encouraging this educational opportunity and supporting my future career as an anthropologist.Joshua Anderson, 2014 AAA Summer Intern

AAA Intern Conducts Underwater Archaeological Survey

Josh Anderson

It sure doesn’t feel like it but, three weeks have gone by since starting my internship. I have been enjoying my time at both the American Anthropological Association (AAA) as well as the Underwater Archaeology Branch of the Naval History & Heritage Command (NHHC). Katie and I have been working on a couple projects at the AAA office. One of which is introducing the first annual celebration of National Anthropology Day. We have been brainstorming ideas and coming up with drafts of materials to send to colleges, universities, museums, and other partners to hand out during National Anthropology Day . This will aid in disseminating information about the field of anthropology to others. We are also developing a virtual student poster presentation that will accompany National Anthropology Day activities. The virtual poster presentation will allow students/clubs in all fields of Anthropology to present posters online about their current research or anthropological issues. By presenting online it allows for students/clubs to reach a wide range of anthropologists and other interested parties. Another benefit is that there is not cost for travel or printing.

Underwater Archaeology Branch of the Naval History & Heritage CommandWhile working at the NHHC I have been working on cleaning and preserving two artifacts. These artifacts came from the USS Tulip. USS Tulip was a steam-crew gun boat that, unfortunately, had a steam engine that exploded causing it to sink on November 11, 1864. The artifacts that I have been working with are what seem to be brass flash pans that possibly came from an M 1835/40 Pomeroy or Springfield percussion rifle. I have also continued working with equipment that is used during an underwater archaeological survey. I am enjoying being able to work on a variety of projects at the NHHC. It is allowing me to further understand the process of conducting an archaeological survey underwater and the processes that occur after the survey.

Joshua Anderson

During my free time I have continued to enjoy the sights around the D.C. area, and this past weekend I was able to meet my uncle and cousin for the first time. While I was there my cousin took me out on his boat to go crabbing. It was a great experience and we actually caught a few crabs. When we came back to shore he cooked them up and had a great dinner. I am looking forward to meeting up with them again while I am here.

I would like to thank the donors once again for this opportunity and great experience.

The AAA Summer Internship Program is funded entirely by AAA member donations. Make your contribution today!

Introducing Eric Rodriguez, AAA Intern at the Underwater Archaeology Branch of the Naval Heritage and History Command

Today’s guest blog post is by one of two AAA Summer Interns. This is the second year of the AAA Summer Internship Program. Learn more and support the program today!

Hello all,

My name is Eric Rodriguez and I am one of the two summer interns for the American Anthropological Association (AAA). For the next five weeks, I will be splitting my time between the headquarters of the AAA in Arlington,Virginia and in the Underwater Archaeology Branch (UAB) of the Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) located in the Washington Navy Yard.

This past April, I graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor of Philosophy in Anthropology and History with a focus on maritime archaeology and Mediterranean history. For this degree, I published a thesis focusing on research conducted last summer under the supervision of Dr. Bryan Hanks of the University of Pittsburgh and Dr. Sheli Smith of the Partnering Anthropology with Science and Technology (PAST) Foundation. The shipwreck under study was the Austro-Hungarian vessel Slobodna located in Molasses Reef off Key Largo, FL. Using structural analysis and the interpretation of excavated artifacts and historic documents belonging to the ship and its time period, I was able to address the profitability of the vessel as it pertained to the unique circumstances that Austria-Hungary was situated in the 18th century. I drew from this experience a love for maritime archaeology that I would carry from that point onward.

Following my thesis defense, my professor, Dr. Kathleen Allen informed me of the AAA internship. Hoping to continue gaining experience in this field, I applied. A few weeks later, I received Damon Dozier’s call informing me that I was selected for the internship, which promptly led to dancing in the hallways of the anthropology department. A few months later, I found myself here in Washington,D.C.with my first week set an exciting pace that I’m sure will carry on in the weeks to come. I spent the first half of the week at the AAA, where I hope to gain experience outside of the research component of anthropology and into the public and publishing sectors. My first project for this internship is to boost student membership in universities, a task that I am quite sure Susannah and I are more than capable of completing.

On Wednesday, I made my way to the Navy Yard to intern at the Underwater Archaeology Branch of the NHHC. The purpose of the NHHC is to control and apply preservation and conservation on all sunken military craft and the artifacts that have been exhumed from these sites. After meeting the staff and other interns, my supervisor George Schwarz and I discussed some of the recent projects in maritime archaeology and shared personal field stories. Due to my strong background in the subject, I was given the opportunity to immediately join ongoing projects. One of my many responsibilities is to respond to inquiries concerning the history of vessels that have been recently discovered and identified.  This research has allowed me to gain insight into the designs and functions of many crafts such as WWII-era German U-boats and several confederate ships from the Civil War. My tasks are not solely research; they stem into public education as well. This first week I had to opportunity to prepare a lesson for high school students, introducing them to maritime archaeology. Some of the long-term projects I have the opportunity to assist in concern the USS Scorpion, which the 2011 AAA/NHHC intern had the opportunity to conduct research, and the Bonham Richard. The Bonham Richard has a special place in my heart as its famous Captain John Paul Jones and his battles aboard this ship have been a favorite of mine since childhood. It is truly an amazing privilege to be working with such vessels that hold great significance in American history and maritime archaeology.

Outside of my internships, I have done a great deal of exploring the lesser-known areas of DC, braving the recent heat wave. I am residing in one of the WISH Foundation’s Capitol Hill locations with interns from various regions of  the United States. With such a variety of people, I get a chance to understand different perspectives, something anthropology has trained me to enjoy. I’m sure my time with these individuals in this city will provide a fruitful experience that I will cherish for years.

I am very grateful to both the AAA and the NHHC for granting me the opportunity to continue gaining experience in the many aspects concerning anthropology and archaeology. I am anxious to continue working with these organizations and my supervisors and look to the next five weeks with great anticipation.

Eric Rodriguez
eric.rodriguez117@gmail.com

Join the Cause!

Do you recall life as a student? Do you remember that particular opportunity that provided you with invaluable professional experience? The AAA Summer Internship Program aims to be just that for students today!

With more than 40 applications to the 2012 AAA Summer Internship Program, AAA is gearing up for this year’s summer interns. Of the applicant pool, two students will be chosen to be the 2012 AAA Summer Interns. This year the interns will be placed at one of our two partner sites:

  • The Underwater Archaeology Branch (UAB) of the Naval History & Heritage Command (NHHC) – the official history program of the Department of the Navy.
  • The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art fosters the discovery and appreciation of the visual arts of Africa.

While the internship is unpaid, AAA provides housing and a meal/travel stipend during the intern’s six week experience. The Summer Internship program wouldn’t be possible without generous donations from people like you. Help a student in building their professional experience by making a donation to the AAA Summer Internship Program.  Join the cause today!

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