Pre-Columbian Society of Washington DC

The Pre-Columbian Society of Washington, D.C. (PCSWDC), is an educational organization dedicated to furthering knowledge and understanding of the peoples of the Americas before the time of Columbus. Founded in 1993, the Society provides a forum for the exchange of information regarding these pre-Columbian cultures between academic professionals and interested members of the public.

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Talking Trash: Refuse and Ritual in Maya Archaeology by Sarah Newman, PhD, James Madison University.

This meeting will be held at the Charles Sumner School, 17th & M Streets, N.W., Washington, D.C.

The meeting starts with refreshments at 6:45 pm and the lecture begins at 7:15 pm.

Archaeology is often describe (by archaeologists themselves) as "the discipline that tries to understand garbage." In this talk, Dr. Newman turns this perspective on its head. She explores how objects that have long been assumed to be simply ancient trash--broken pots, bone fragments, worn-out tools, crafting debris--may have held different meanings in the past. Drawing on evidence from archaeological artifacts, historic documents, and ethnographic observations in Mesoamerica, Dr. Newman shows how extending the modern concepts of rubbish to the past is not only anachronistic but actively limiting to our capacity for understanding of archaeological assemblages.

Sarah Newman received her BA at Yale University (2007) , her PhD from Brown University (2015), and is currently Assistant Professor of Archaeology at James Madison University. She has conducted archaeological and zooarchaeological research in Mesoamerica since 2006, with a current field project at the site of Topoxte, Guatemala, and is a co-author of Temple of the Nigh Sun: A Royal Tomb at El Diablo (2015). Her work has been supported by several grants and fellowships, including the US Department of State Fulbright Program, the National Science Foundation, the Dolores Zohrab Liebmann Foundation, the John Carter Brown Library, and most recently, a 2017-2018 Richard Carley Hunt Fellowhsip from the Wenner-Gren Foundation to support the writing of her manuscript book..


Earlier Event: April 7

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