OT student digs for answers

OT student digs for answers

OT student digs for answers   As an occupational therapy major, sophomore Heleinna Cruz learns by observing how people move. Over the summer, Cruz had a chance to learn from bodies that hadn’t moved in nearly 5,000 years. Cruz was a member of an international team of specialists and students from around the world who excavated and analyzed material from burial sites in the Bronze Age cemetery of Békés 103 in Hungary. The work is part of the BAKOTA project, an international, multidisciplinary archaeological project. This fall, Cruz presented her research findings at a professional conference and will continue developing her work to present at a conference in Canada in…

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Death Metals: Trade Networks of Doom

Death Metals: Trade Networks of Doom

Death Metals: Trade Networks of Doom Have you ever wondered how people in the ancient world got their hands on the materials they used in their daily lives? Sometimes we look at the people of the past, and assume that they made everything they needed themselves. The thing is, this is usually not the case. Just like us humans today, the people of the past usually worked very hard, and could do a few jobs very well, but weren’t able to make everything they needed. So what they couldn’t make for themselves, they would trade in from other places. The “Death Metals” team spent this season researching the trade networks…

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Perspectives from a BAKOTA alum

Perspectives from a BAKOTA alum

Perspectives from a BAKOTA alum   Hey Bakota team and friends! I was an REU participant during the 2015 and 2016 field season and I wanted to update you all with what’s going on my in my life! Some context: at the tail end of the 2015 season, while I was passing through the Budapest Keleti train station, I saw hundreds of people living underground. The news came alive for me as I realized the people I saw were refugees. I have since kept up with the news and politics that continue to shape the refugee crisis, and am now studying refugees, health, and humanitarian action in Amman, Jordan. This…

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Measuring what (C)remains at Békés 103!

Measuring what (C)remains at Békés 103!

Measuring what (C)remains at Békés 103!   What do most people think of when they hear about an archaeology dig at a cemetery site? For me, it used to be inhumations: (NPR ). As it turns out, Békés 103 has far more cremated burials than inhumations. The cremated remains, or cremains, were buried either within an urn, or scattered with small empty vessels marking the grave. For several decades, cremated remains were disregarded and even thrown out before in-depth analysis because they were thought of as far more useless than intact bones. Luckily, at BAKOTA we are making full use of those cremains In previous work, researchers have found that…

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Touch through time and space - ceramics coding and spatial patterning as survey methods

Touch through time and space – ceramics coding and spatial patterning as survey methods

Touch through time and space – ceramics coding and spatial patterning as survey methods What if you had the opportunity to tell someone’s story? Through the BAKOTA project, we have the chance to do that for a Bronze Age society in eastern Hungary, by investigating material culture and spatial relationships of the Békés 103 cemetery (Fig. 1). The aim of the BAKOTA project is to answer questions regarding the emergence of technological advances, such as agriculture and metallurgy within a Bronze Age society. Traditionally, scholars viewed the Bronze Age as a period powerful, centralized chiefdoms controlled their surroundings and maintained political and economic power. However, these theories are being questioned…

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DO Judge a Bone by its Color!

DO Judge a Bone by its Color!

DO Judge a Bone by its Color!   The grass is green. The sky is blue. The world is a mixture of rainbows with colorful hues. We beautiful humans are graced with the vision and vibrancy of color. Living or not, color will always be relevant to us. In terms of the Békés 103 cemetery, I analyzed the bone color of people who were cremated from the Bronze Age. This is incredibly important in order for us to understand how people were treated when they were buried. The treatment of the dead can give us noteworthy indications of what life was like back during the Bronze Age. A great way…

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What’s so Dense about Crystallinity?

What’s so Dense about Crystallinity?

What’s so Dense about Crystallinity? This year for the BAKOTA project I am one of two students working on chemistry related topics! Chemistry is becoming widely used in the archaeological field as a means to approaching a problem. The Békés 103 site where we are working deals with many cremated burials thus to the naked eye one would believe not much is left for us as archaeologist to understand, however there is so much that we have yet to uncover! Bone even in its burned state has many underlying properties which can tell us so much about the past. One of the biggest studies currently on bone relates to the…

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Getting to the Core of Archaeology Clay and Ceramics Reveal Bronze Age Trade Routes

Getting to the Core of Archaeology Clay and Ceramics Reveal Bronze Age Trade Routes

Getting to the Core of Archaeology Clay and Ceramics Reveal Bronze Age Trade Routes Think for a second about soil. Yes, the gritty stuff below your feet that you never pay attention to. Sometime when you’re by a river, pick up some wet river soil and roll it in your hands until it’s nearly dry. If you’re lucky, the soil will be full of clay. If that’s true, you’ll be able to mold your clay without it breaking. It turns out that people have been using this type of clay for thousands of years to make ceramics. As a member of the BAKOTA project, it is my job to find…

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Feeling the Heat: Investigating Fracture Patterns on Cremated Human Remains

Feeling the Heat: Investigating Fracture Patterns on Cremated Human Remains

Feeling the Heat: Investigating Fracture Patterns on Cremated Human Remains My job for the season is to learn more about Bronze Age funerary practices by fearlessly delving into the blaze of the funeral pyre.  How do I successfully accomplish this task without catching fire and meeting a similar fate as my subject, you ask?  No time machines or superpowers are necessary—I instead read the clues provided to me by the fracture patterns that form on the surface of human bone during cremation. As a member of the BAKOTA Project’s “Bone Team,” I investigate cremated human remains with the goal of answering broader questions addressing the connections between the living and…

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Structure by Motion-Sickness

Structure by Motion-Sickness

Structure by Motion-Sickness   The future is now, and its name is computer vision. Computer vision is a branch of computer science involving image processing that addresses the question: if a computer had eyes, what would it do? Its applications include navigation, medical imaging (think CT scans), and manufacturing, among other things. It’s making a splash in archaeology as well, where applications like pattern and object recognition are allowing professionals to analyze and digitally preserve potentially brittle, far-away or endangered material from their own personal machines. At the BAKOTA project we’re using a technique called photogrammetry to generate 3D models of our graves and vessels without ever having to make…

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