Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology

Review: Women Do Archaeology Series

This October, the Haffenreffer Museum celebrated Rhode Island's Archaeology Month with a new virtual talk series, Women Do Archaeology. Inspired by 2020’s centennial commemoration of the 19th Amendment, we highlighted the work of women archaeologists and anthropologists affiliated with the Museum.

The series included five separate talks (listed below) and included topics such as ancient technologies, feminist archaeology, and museum practices. The program was supported by generous donors to the Friends of the Haffenreffer Museum, and we appreciate all of those who joined us for these special events.  

Annalisa Heppner: (Being a Woman While) Searching for Women in Ice Age Alaska |  Watch on YouTube
Weaving together stories from Alaskan archaeology, feminist archaeological theory, and research on the osseous tools from the Broken Mammoth Pleistocene site in Interior Alaska, this discussion highlights how personal experiences can shape the course of archaeological exploration. 

Annalisa Heppner, MA is the Project Manager for the Circumpolar Laboratory Inventory Project at the HMA. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Tennessee and her master's degree from the University of Alaska Anchorage. She has been an archaeologist for over a decade, with experience all over the USA, but especially in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest. Ms. Heppner is passionate about the role of Indigenous people in archaeology and museum management. Her areas of interest within archaeology include Indigenous archaeology, Feminist archaeology, story-telling as archaeological interpretation, and Decolonial practice in fieldwork and museums.

Dr. Pinar Durgun: Woman the Toolmaker | Watch on YouTube
In this conversation, Dr. Pınar Durgun tells us about the evolution of stone tool technologies. She demonstrates flint-knapping techniques she teaches in her Experimental Archaeology course and discusses some of the misconceptions about stone tools and their makers. 

Dr. Pınar Durgun is an archaeologist with a strong background in anthropology and museums, passionate about outreach and education. Her research focuses on death and burial, image and identity-making, and ethics of museum display. She teaches about ancient art, makers, and materials. (For more information, visit her website.)

Dr. Michèle Hayeur Smith:  Women, Cloth, Looms, and Power in the Viking North Atlantic | Watch on YouTube
When cloth became the basic unit of currency in the medieval Icelandic economy, women–the sole weavers in Norse society–found themselves literally weaving money on their warp-weighted looms. Using experimental archaeology, Dr. Michele Hayeur Smith discusses how cloth became currency in the Viking North Atlantic and demonstrates weaving on a Neolithic-style loom.

Michèle Hayeur Smith is an anthropological archaeologist working predominantly in the Norse colonies of the North Atlantic regions on issues of gender, identity, ethnicity, and cultural contact, which she is examining through a focus on material culture, textiles, dress, and the body. She is currently a Research Associate at the Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology, where her projects focus on the roles of men and women in Norse societies of the North Atlantic, the structure of Viking Age and medieval textile production in that region, the role of textiles and women in international trade, and creative approaches developed by women as sustainable responses to climate change during the Little Ice Age in the North Atlantic.

Dr. Jen Thum: Exploring Ancient Egypt in New England’s Academic Museums | Watch on YouTube
More than five thousand miles away from the Nile, New England boasts a number of impressive collections of ancient Egyptian artifacts across several world-class museums. Join Egyptologist Jen Thum for an interactive close look at three Egyptian objects from the Haffenreffer Museum, RISD Museum, and Harvard Art Museums. 

Jen Thum is Assistant Director of Academic Engagement and Assistant Research Curator at the Harvard Art Museums. She received her PhD from the Joukowsky Institute at Brown in 2019 and is a specialist in the art and archaeology of ancient Egypt. Jen’s work has included a range of object-based studies in various museums and a dissertation on Egyptian royal stelae carved into living-rock features. She is dedicated to fostering public dialogue about the ancient world and is a member of the Archaeological Institute of America’s Outreach and Education Committee, as well as a frequent participant in Skype a Scientist.

Leah Hopkins: Cooking Northeastern Indigenous Cuisine in Clay Vessels | Watch on YouTube
Join Leah Hopkins (Narragansett) as she demonstrates the various traditional Native cooking methods of the Coastal Northeast focusing on the use of clay vessels. Leah describes her cultural perspectives on traditional recipes and speaks to the historical influence that Northeastern Native food has had on modern cuisine.

Leah Hopkins is a citizen of the Narragansett Indian Tribe and is the  Community Engagement Specialist at the Museum. Leah holds a BA in Anthropology from the University of Rhode Island and has a background in museum and tribal education that spans over 10 years, working at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center, the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah), and with other regional institutions, organizations, and tribal communities. Leah has done and continues to do extensive work within the New England region to promote the visibility, histories cultural complexities, and cultural continuity of the area’s Indigenous peoples.