About Eric L Larsen

YosemiteEric

     I am a student of history and anthropology.  What I love are stories – stories that make you laugh, stories that make you cry, stories that teach, stories that provoke – any good stories.  In my head, I picture different groups of people sharing around the campfire, or the dinner table, at the well or water cooler.  I see this crossing generations, centuries, even millennia.  Sharing of stories is a common experience of humankind that is not hard to imagine.  We all want to feel.

     Writing my own story, however, causes me some trouble.  Not completely sure of where I am going, what do I mark as significant?  I don’t see myself or my story as any more significant than anyone else’s.   There are plenty of other stories out there that surely deserve a place.  Despite this reservation, I also feel compelled to fill out this section called “About Me.”  I am a firm believer in context.  So here are a few items of context that may be of use when reading through this blog.  Maybe they will hold some clues as to, “how did he ever get THAT idea?”

     Over the last 20+ years, I have worked for various governmental agencies – at the federal, state, and local levels – identifying and protecting cultural resources. I have experience and familiarity with the field work, lab work, analyses, and report writing that are part of archaeological experiences with cultural resource management. I have designed and taught several archaeological field schools, developed and taught “Introduction to Archaeology” courses, and directed several archaeological projects in urban environments. Throughout my career, I have found great satisfaction in sharing the process with interested stake holders, students, and visitors to sites.

     I’ve found that activity at an archaeological site creates an event – a spectacle that stirs people to visit and ask questions. This “attraction” is a remarkable tool that can be a catalyst for public discussion of the past and its importance to us today. In this way archaeology has the potential to help people to “care” more about the cultural resources around them. I have also noticed that when excavations come to an end, the excitement fades.

In recent years I find myself wanting to explore the possibility of sustaining the “event” beyond the fieldwork. Another way of thinking of this is moving archaeology beyond the finding, describing, and defining of sites to adding our voice in the continuing discussions of the “meanings” of sites. To this end, I find myself exploring different possibilities and venues. I look to the display of archaeology in museums and traveling exhibits (museum studies). I explore Interpretation and what practitioners of that profession have to offer (finding efforts toward “civic engagement” to be promising). I am also interested in the potential of various online resources (social networking, blogs, podcasts, etc.).

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