January 2010

So over the past week we seem to have become marginally famous! Not that we weren’t famous before, of course…

The USC College website ran two articles this week about the ARC lab and the research being undertaken here. Check out the links below!

Beaming with Joy: This article discusses the research being undertaken at the Argonne National Laboratory by Professor Lynn Swartz Dodd. She won “beam time” for the second year in a row, allowing her and her team to use a high intensity X-ray to study the makeup of ancient artifacts. The artifacts are the oldest objects ever to be studied with the synchrotron beam.

Exploring the Rise and Demise of Empires: This article is about the research presented by undergraduate Sarah Hawley at theĀ  2010 joint meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) and the American Philological Association (APA) in Anaheim. The research focuses on ancient figurines from Tell al-Judaidah and the ways in which the modification of forms reflects empire transition.

Also, Lynn Dodd and our very own archaeology alumna Ashley Sands introduced Polynomial Texture Mapping (PTM) imaging technology to the Alalakh excavation in Turkey this summer. This photographic technique allows for high quality imaging of object surfaces in which light can be moved around the photograph. This technique allows researchers to view objects in ways that are impossible using normal photographic equipment or the naked eye. Senior field supervisor Murat Akar published Ashley’s description of the USC team’s contributions on the official Alalakh website, located here.

We are immensely proud of everything that the ARC lab has accomplished. Hopefully you’ll be reading even more about us in the months and years to come!


What a busy week! Jenny and I finally got to present at the AIA annual meeting, after much preparation and a great deal of stress. And it went great!

Jenny presented her poster on the gilding of an ancient Egyptian bronze figurine, and I read my paper about the Tell al-Judaidah terracotta figurines. Overall, we received very enthusiastic responses, and multiple comments on how rare it is for undergraduates to present at these conferences. I am honored to have been selected, and glad to represent a much younger generation of archaeologists. I know so many bright, talented, passionate students who truly represent the future of the discipline, and it’s a shame that so few have the opportunity to present at academic conferences. The empowerment of student archaeologists is a primary goal of USC archaeology, in our student group (The Society of Trojan Archaeologists), our planned outreach programs to surrounding schools, and our endeavors to promote discussion and freedom of ideas between students worldwide (Check out “The Next Generation: Students discuss archaeology in the 21st century” on facebook, a group dedicated to encouraging the voices of young archaeologists across the world).

Jenny and I are proud to have taken our first steps into the world of professional archaeology, and we hope to participate in more conferences in future!

Oh yeah, and we won a bottle of wine in the raffle at the carbon dating booth… which wasn’t so bad either.

Sarah at the podium before her presentation

Jenny with Professor Dodd in front of her poster

Jenny and Sarah at the AIA, preparing to present!

The AIA/APA joint annual meeting is “the largest and oldest established meeting of classical scholars and archaeologists in North America.” From January 6-9, scholars will present research from around the world in posters and lectures.

This year, the Archaeological Institute of America selected two USC undergraduates to present their research at the conference! This is a tremendous opportunity for both of us, as well as being utterly terrifying. In order to reduce the blind panic, we request that you come see us present–we need the support!

Jenny Crawford will be presenting at Poster Session 2G from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM on Thursday, January 7 in Marquis Ballroom South. Her presentation, “Deconstructing and Recreating a Rare Ancient Egyptian Gilding Technique,” represents years of research on the gilding of a shabti figurine housed at USC.

Sarah Hawley will be presenting during Session 2F on Thursday, January 7, 12:30 PM – 2:30 PM in Platinum Ballroom 5. Her paper, “The Iconography of Empire: Figurines from Tell al-Judaidah,” discusses figurine design and production during the Persian and Hellenistic time periods at an important site in southeastern Turkey.

The sessions intersect, but Sarah will only be talking for 10 minutes, so you can pop in for that and then pop back out to see Jenny!

Please come support us as we represent USC archaeology!

Anaheim Marriott
700 West Convention Way
Anaheim, CA

Jenny and Sarah, not yet in a state of blind panic.