Hello again everyone!

As I planned, I’ve been collecting more information about the history of the Pocumtuck Fort Archaeology and Stewardship Project (FPASP), and related archaeology and history work. My goal for the month was to identify short bits of “compelling, relatable content” to use on the website, and I have! (I am not ready to share yet – some of these came from an interview with one of the researchers so I will be asking for permission to use them.)

When you last heard from me I was also looking into visual narrative construction. I thought instead of citing more articles I read on the topic, I would follow the suggestion of MSUDAI Faculty member Dr. Shawn Graham to do some text analysis visualization for this month’s post.* I decided to go back to a tool I learned while working & tweeting through Shawn Graham’s digital history course: voyant-tools.org. I input four publications from the FPASP, in chronological order, into their web interface and came up with this:



Voyant Tools lets you explore basic trends in the text, including the ubiquitous word cloud. I explored for a while, and used my observations to reflect on my sources and design plan.


WordCloud Pocumtuck

WordCloud of the Pocumtuck Fort Archaeology and Stewardship Project publications

Recent reflections on the project, including a publication by Drs. Hart and Chilton, have focused on the challenges of poly-communal archaeology, this wordcloud reveals more of the original intent of the project. fThe prominence of “native” is consistent with what I’ve learned studying the history of the PFASP; the project’s recent leaders Dr. Chilton and Dr. Hart were inspired primarily by the realms of decolonizing and indigenous archaeologies when their interactions with local stakeholders prompted them to start this phase of work.

I have been fiddling with the terms, and here are a couple views I found interesting.


The relative frequencies of the most-used terms throughout the text

Frequency and repetition of the most-used terms throughout the text. Notably, more recent publications (near the right side of the screen) don’t use “archaeological” much, perhaps reflecting the current state of the project as a stewardship effort. “Native” has persisted throughout the history of the project.


Frequency of "Communities"

The frequency of the word “Communities” peaks during theory-focused sections of the publications but is not used much during the methods-focused portions



Frequency of the word "testing"

The frequency of the word “Testing” peaks in the PhD dissertation around where poly-communal research procedures were described, but were barely used otherwise.

What have I learned from this techy fiddling? I should include some metadata when I link to research products such as publications in the portfolio section of the site; the distribution of themes like indigeneity, history/prehistory divide, and traditional archaeological terms like “testing” is a clever way of providing more information about the development of ideas throughout the ten year project. The theoretical, methodological, and practical aspects of the project have developed in ways that are not necessarily discussed in publications, but which can be revealed somewhat by these text-based trends.

Last but not least, what are my goals for this month? Get the portfolio portion of the website running (the “easy part”) & input at least 20 historical tidbits into the website database so I can begin getting them to interact how I’ve envisioned using php.


*I tried experimenting with a Markov Chain generator on Matt Furden ‘s GitHub to answer how likely I was to finish this project as I envision it, given my writing in this blog and in my own notes, however I wasn’t able to figure it out in the time I alotted to work on this blog post.