Fifth Annual Milwaukee Archaeology Fair

March 7th and 8th, 2014 saw the successful presentation of the Milwaukee Archaeology Fair, co-hosted by the AIA-Milwaukee Society and the Milwaukee Public Museum (MPM) and funded in part by an AIA Society Outreach Grant. This is the fifth year in a row that the Milwaukee Society has partnered with the MPM to sponsor the Archaeology Fair and it is safe to say that it is now a much-anticipated fixture in the archaeological calendar of the local society and the Milwaukee community at large.

More than 2000 visitors attended over the two-day event, with the largest contingent coming on Friday in the form of multiple local school groups on field trips and several groups of home-schoolers. Saturday’s visitors were mostly walk-ins attending the Museum and “discovering” the Fair. Also in attendance on Saturday were groups of Boy Scouts, some earning merit badges in archaeology.

As always, participants in the Fair represented a wide array of local area talent including archaeologists, art historians, anthropologists, classicists, historians and their students. Students play a very active role in the fair—some of the best activities were put on by students—and they gain valuable experience in performing public outreach. The participants come from several local universities as well as museums. And in addition, we have a large and loyal contingent of re-enactors of all stripes—including Roman legionnaires, Greek hoplites, a Renaissance knight in shining armor, and a group representing the early colonial period in the Americas. The re-enactors are very well-informed about the cultures they represent and can talk about them knowledgeably with children and adults alike, really helping to make their pasts come alive. New this year was a “mess room”—a room set aside for hands-on demonstrations of field archaeology techniques including how and why to use a sifter, why archaeologists use grids to excavate, and helping to sort out the tiny things found in flotation.

These are just some of the rich offerings presented at the Fifth Annual Milwaukee Archaeology Fair and we are already looking ahead to the sixth Annual Fair in March of 2015. Join Us!

Photos of some of the highlights follow:

Flint knapping is an old tool-making technique. Photo J. Waldbaum

Making Roman wreaths with Sylvia Peine. Photo J. Waldbaum

Greek Hoplites take a break. Photo J. Keim

Josephine Yanasak setting up to play what in the world. Photo J. Keim

Traci Billings explains mazes and labyrinths in ancient myths and art. Photo J. Waldbaum

Helping sort finds from flotation. Photo J. Waldbaum

Medieval armor doesn't always fit. Photo J. Waldbaum

Making broken pottery fit together. Photo J. Waldbaum

Jocelyn Boor explains archaeological tools and methods. Photo J. Waldbaum

Cricket Harbeck teaches conservation methods. Photo J. Waldbaum

LaKaysha Blacksher explains how to use a sifter in excavation. Photo J. Waldbaum

Learning why archaeologists use grids to excavate. Photo D. Scher Thomae