“A Global Archaeological Evening, Ranging From the Pointy End of a Trowel in Europe, Australia, and the United States, to Older Times in the Middle East,” by Jack Mc Ilroy and Dani Renan. Jack Mc Ilroy takes the view that the way things are done in the field are somewhat different from how archaeologists are taught at university, resulting in intense cultural shock to fresh graduates on their first major field project. Along with an archaeological tour of several continents, he will get stuck into a few of his favorite archaeological cows before handing over to Dani Renan for the more classical archaeological part of the evening. We will end by returning to the Bay Area with a showing of a 35-minute DVD, ‘Privy to the Past,’ chronicling the Cypress Freeway Archaeological Project.
Originally from Ireland, Jack Mc Ilroy ended up in the U.S. via a long diversion through being a shovel bum in Europe to running sites in Australia. He has spent about thirty years in archaeology, most of it in fieldwork on sites ranging from Iron Age and earlier in Europe through Roman, Saxon, and Medieval periods and on to ‘colonial’ sites in Australia and California. From 1992 to 2006 he was Staff Historical Archaeologist at the Anthropological Studies Center at Sonoma State University. During that time he was excavation director on some of the largest urban excavations in the U.S., including the Cypress Freeway Archaeological Project in Oakland in the mid-1990s. Covering twenty-two city blocks, it can lay claim to being the largest urban excavation in the US (if you are willing to argue the title with the Boston Big Dig). He also worked as excavation director on six inner city blocks on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge West Approach Replacement Archaeological Project in the early 2000s. The reports for the Cypress and West Approach projects can be downloaded free at http://www.sonoma.edu/asc.
Dani Renan is a dual Israeli and U.S. citizen. With a degree in history and a passion for biblical archaeology, he has worked as a tour guide on biblical archaeological sites in Israel. He will take us back to earlier times, focusing on aspects of archaeology in Israel and the Middle East, an area where archaeology can be more politicized than in other lands. Not content with a historical career, he went on to become a geologist and hydrogeologist before ending up as an attorney with a specialty in environmental and contract law. He is also an OSHA forty-hour HAZWOPPER instructor, something of great use when dealing with archaeology on contaminated sites.