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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

Melissa Campbell-McIntosh Internship

My last week in Washington D.C. has been filled with times of reflection as I assist in the completion of Phase II of the USS Scorpion Project and say my goodbyes to the staff at the American Anthropological Association (AAA). I am incredibly fortunate to have been allowed to experience first-hand the inner workings of the AAA. There is a great deal of work that needs to be done in order to keep anthropologists connected and informed as well as to publicly promote the discipline in order to maintain government funding for future research for members of the AAA. I am pleased that I was able to help, if even in a limited capacity,  with the daily tasks. This experience has been and will continue to be a personal asset to me as I move forward with my career in the field of anthropology.

In addition to working at the AAA office, I also served as an intern to the Underwater Archaeology Branch (UAB) of the Naval History & Heritage Command (NHHC) located at the historic Navy Yard in Washington D.C.  This command is responsible for promoting and preserving Naval History and is also home to a Navy Art Gallery and Navy Museum. I worked primarily in the conservation lab, the main UAB office, and out in the field. In the lab I was able to undertake an inventory of all artifacts. Basically, I was able to personally inspect everything and make sure that all items were accounted for; bullets, cannon balls, chamber pots, dinnerware, lanterns, and weapons. Every drawer I opened held my new favorite piece!

I was surprised to find that I would have an opportunity to assist the UAB team in the field. I was not aware that when I applied for this internship I would also be fullfilling a dream of mine to work in the field with archaeologists on a historic shipwreck. The shipwreck is  the USS Scorpion, a War of 1812 ship  that was scuttled in 1814 in the Patuxent River. The team consisted of a lead archaeologist, Dr. Robert Neyland, four archaeologists, one conservator and five interns. The UAB team worked in conjunction with the Maryland State Highway Administration and the Maryland Historical Trust.  I arrived just as Phase II was beginning. The previous phase was to determine the exact location of the ship before excavation could begin and to acquire funding and supplies. Days in the field began at 6 am, the team would meet and load the van and head out to the Patuxent River where we would unload the van, and load a boat that would take us upstream to a floating research barge that was anchored in the middle of the river. My duties included all levels of gear set-up and operation, assisting with a continuous rotation of divers and taking notes and photographs of all daily events. My experience as a scuba diver and my training as an emergency oxygen provider and emergency first-responder proved to be a great comfort to the divers.  I was also able to catalog and provide inital care to artifacts brought aboard by the archaeologists. Personally, I felt an emotional connection to the artifacts and to the ship itself, having served as a Marine and knowing that Marines served aboard this ship in defense of our country was a powerful experience for me. I felt that I was honoring their service and sacrifice by making sure that this site will never be forgotten through the archaeological process.

Prior to coming to D.C. I was resolved to not advance my education further by attending graduate school, however I feel that this may in fact be a viable option for me. I know more of what I want to accomplish in my life and after having met professionals at various stages of their academic careers I feel that I have a greater understanding as to how I will go about fullfilling my own academic goals.

I cannot express in enough words my profound gratitude to all the people that worked so hard to provide me with this life-altering experience. I would like to thank the entire AAA staff, especially Damon Dozier, I have learned so much from all of you, thank you for welcoming me into your midst. I would also like to thank the UAB, Dr. Robert Neyland, Alexis Catsambis, Heather Brown, Brad Krueger, Kate Morrand, and George Schwartz, I now know what I want to do and exactly how I will do it, thank you all for shedding light upon my future.

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