Saturday, April 24, 2010

Congratulations to Jessica Montcalm

On Thursday, April 22nd, Jessica Montcalm successfully defended her Master's Thesis in Industrial History and Archaeology, which she titled: A Burning Question: Archaeology at the Davenport Pottery and Technological Adaptation in the Mormon Domain.

While she has some revisions and editing to finish, her committee was impressed with how much she had learned and accomplished over the last year.  Many of this blog's readers will recall that Ms. Montcalm was the assistant archaeologist during the excavation and field school last summer.  She volunteered her time over the past year both processing and cataloging artifacts in the lab, while also supervising other volunteers in the lab.

I will discuss some of her findings when I speak at the Church History Museum's exhibit opening early in May.

Congratulations to Jessica for all her hard work.

This is the penultimate abstract:

The archaeological excavations and the associated artifact analysis at the Davenport Pottery in Parowan, Utah, serve to inform questions of landscape learning and technological adaptation in unfamiliar geographic settings. Thomas Davenport and his family immigrated to the Utah Territory from Brampton, England, in order to answer the call to gather issued by the leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He, along with thousands of other settlers moved into and occupied a geographic region unknown to their prior experience. Studies of prehistoric peoples' colonization of unfamiliar landscapes indicate that unfamiliar and challenging geographical surroundings hinder successful or long-lasting colonization. By contrast, the experience of the Mormon settlers, including Thomas Davenport, provides a unique situation for inquiry in which a large population made use of exhaustive planning and active restructuring of unfamiliar geographic settings, resulting in successful and lasting settlements. Analysis of the archaeological remains associated with the kiln at the Davenport pottery shop provide physical evidence of one man's learning in an unfamiliar landscape. The remains also highlight cultural preferences as a basis for technological choice, and lend to an adaptive technological discussion regarding the form of kiln used by Davenport.

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