Hi, we’re Katy Meyers Emery and Lisa Bright. We’re both currently Anthropology Ph.D. students at Michigan State University studying mortuary archaeology. Over the next year we will be working together to produce ossuaryKB: The Mortuary Method & Practice Knowledge Base. Mortuary archaeology is the study of the material remains of funerary behavior and the deceased in the past, and deals with a wide range of evidence across time and space. We want to leverage this diversity to improve standards, increase conversation and collaboration between different periods and regions of research, and improve methods and practice. In order to do this, we need a single knowledge base where mortuary archaeologists can see best practices, exemplar case studies, innovative methods, and more. This knowledge base will allow researchers to find new methods, see innovative practices, connect with other archaeologists, comment on these new methods and share their own work.
Each project included in the site will have identifiers or keywords that relate to the methods and practices that they are using that will allow people to easily find the project based on those words. For example, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center Historic-Era Cemetery would be listed as a project with keywords such as ‘historic’, ‘inhumation’, ‘block-lifting’, ‘low preservation’, ‘redwood coffins’ etc. Users who were interested in learning about unique methods for dealing with ‘low preservation’ would look that up in the knowledge base, and learn about projects like this. Each record about the site will include a narrative about the site, citations, any documentation they used, and space for commenting from the archaeologists and users. In addition to the project records, there will be information about the new and traditional methods that these projects are using. We will also provide links to various websites or databases that are linked to the projects, methods or practices- such as links to ASU standards or BABAO forms.
We look forward to working together, as well as with the other MSUDAI participants and mentors over the next year. Please feel free to reach out with any comments or questions.
Katy – @bonesdonotlie
Lisa – @Lisa_N_Bright