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Carly Plesic on location at the Stoddartsville location

Carly Plesic and Danielle Cannon

By Molly Gallagher '18

Through their interest of anthropology, Kutztown University students Carly Plesic and Danielle Cannon, were able to find their niche for research within the KU Department of of Anthropology and Sociology.

Plesic and Cannon began their research on artifacts in Stoddartsville, Pa., where they were a part of the 2016 archaeological summer field school offered through the department. Stoddartsville is an early 19th-century milling village in northeast Pennsylvania. The research at Stoddartsville focused on understanding how socioeconomic status and ethnicity influenced the internal organization of village; and the role it played in the burgeoning economy of northeast Pennsylvania in the early- to mid-19th century.

Moving forward, the duo chemically sourced pottery shards that excavated from the Stoddartsville location, hoping to trace back these pottery pieces to their makers - a process is called "provenance analysis." They presented this research at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology in Vancouver, British Columbia, and at the 2017 Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol - Pennsylvania Poster Conference in Harrisburg, Pa., last spring.

Danielle Cannon on location at StoddartsvilleWith the experience gained from their research, Plesic and Cannon  were co-crew chiefs for the Summer Field School in Stoddartsville in 2017. They directed other students in surveying, site mapping, excavating and artifact analyzing.

"Kutztown University is unique in this way in that its professors care about their students and want them to reach out to them for research opportunities," Cannon said.

Currently, their research efforts are centered on creating a Geographic Information System (GIS) database for the Stoddartsville Cemetery, which has been used from 1817 to present day.

"I think that the research and field work opportunities are like no other, because professors really care and want to help you succeed," Plesic said about her own research opportunities.

Dr. Khori Newlander, an assistant professor at KU and the director of the Kutztown University Archaeology Field School, worked with Plesic and Cannon in their research.

"They are dynamic young scholars, who have repeatedly demonstrated the intellectual curiosity, analytical rigor, and work ethic necessary to positively contribute to this ongoing research project," Newlander said.

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