A Selective Approach to Determining Blood Serum Calcium Levels in Rhesus Monkeys

Posted By on May 23, 2014

By Emily Sievert, Wisconsin Lutheran College Class of 2014

The importance of healthy living and eating is imperative to the overall balance of bodily functions in all living organisms. The depletion of a critical nutrient can have negative effects on the development of anatomy and brain functioning. One such mineral needed is calcium; this element provides proper bone growth and development and hormonal balance, especially in pregnant mothers and their growing offspring. Toxicity is an issue that must be addressed due to its appearance and complications in biological functions. Too much of a substance can cause harm in a living being. This is especially applicable in the health field. The proposed method for determining calcium levels in rhesus monkey blood samples is by atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS). AAS is a specific technique for determining the concentration of a known element in a fluid sample through the use of light radiation of free ions in a gaseous state. With an element specific standard of calcium determined, samples of blood plasma will be tested to determine if sufficient calcium levels are maintained in female Rhesus monkeys during estrus cycles to promote successful pregnancy. The idea is that calcium levels will increase during estrus. The methods paper I have constructed reviews the importance of this research and proposes a protocol for testing.


Figure 1: A pictorial representation of the route calcium takes through the human body. Source: Biology-Forums.com. (2014). Biology-forums.com: For all your science needs. Simple Machines LLC. doi:biology-forums.com/index.php?topic=75583.0.

During this semester, I was able to perform the first half of this research project. I reviewed the backgrounds of calcium homeostasis in the human body (Figure 1). I went on to explore the effects calcium has in pregnant women because of my interests in calcium toxicity changes during estrus. It has been generally accepted that women should increase their intake of calcium during pregnancy to provide sufficient amounts for fetal bone and tooth formation as well as maintain their own dietary needs. To combat insufficient levels of calcium in the diet, women are recommended to eat dairy products like milk, cheeses, and eggs, along with dark green leafy vegetables, baked beans, dried fruits such as figs, or certain types of fish with the bones (Lowdermilk, Perry, Cashion, & Alden, 2012).

I also reviewed the backgrounds of my intended test subjects, the Rhesus monkey. The Rhesus monkey has been a popular primate for study due to its similarities to humans in excretion of nutrients. Studies have indicated the average calcium level in female monkeys is 2.60?0.15 mmol/L (Wang, Si, Li, & Yan, 2012). The importance of maintaining calcium levels to prevent serious side effects is reason to propose an animal model of detecting calcium levels in blood samples. Goals and insight to gain from this research will help to improve awareness of nutritional needs during pregnancy as well as bring to light environmental influences that may inhibit pregnancy or cause high mortality rates.

The literature I have reviewed for this topic focused on selective approaches to determining substances in blood serum samples. I propose a method that strays away from the generally accepted technique of immunoassays. The extra costs and time consumption of the immunoassays is my reason for change when atomic absorption spectrometry is much more time efficient and provides more precise and quantifiable data. Research has been done on rats using AAS to determine the effects of zinc toxicity on salivary gland functioning (Mizari, Hirbod-Mobarakeh, Shahinpour, Ghalichi-Tabriz, Beigy, Yamini, & Dehpour, 2012).


Figure 2: A Perkin Elmer AAnalyst 200 proposed for this protocol. Photo by Emily Sievert.

Materials and methods for this research include blood samples from twenty female Rhesus monkeys. Blood serum is collected and prepared with 0.1% Lanthanum. Samples are analyzed using a Perkin Elmer AAnalyst 200 Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer and a Perkin Elmer HGA 900 Graphite Furnace (Figure 2). Samples are run against standards of Calcium carbonate and 0.1% Lanthanum.


Lowdermilk, D. L., Perry, S. E., Cashion, K., & Alden, K. R. (2012). Maternity and women?s health care (10th ed., p. 310, 315-316). St. Louis. MO: Mosby, Inc.

Mizari, N., Hirbod-Mobarakeh, A., Shahinpour, S., Ghalichi-Tabriz, M., Beigy, M., Yamini, A., & Dehpour, A. R. (2012). Effect of subchronic zinc toxicity on rat salivary glands and serum composition. Toxicology and Industrial Health, 28 (10), 917-922. doi:10.1177/0748233711427052

Wang, H., Niu, Y.Y., Si, W., Li, Y. J., Yan, Y. (2012). Reference data of clinical chemistry, haematology and blood coagulation parameters in juvenile cynomolgus monkeys (Macaca fascicularis). Veterinari Medicina, 57(5), 233-238.


Milwaukee Public Museum Archaeology Fair

Posted By on March 20, 2014

Last weekend, more than 1,200 students from the greater Milwaukee area attended the fifth annual Archaeology Fair at the Milwaukee Public Museum. The Wisconsin Lutheran College Anthropology Department’s research assistant, Marie Blacksher, taught children about archaeology work, the history of Mount Hope, and how to sift soil for artifacts. She was assisted by students Lindsay Wood and Brandon Pawlowski.

Current research

Posted By on February 11, 2014

The ecological richness of the Great Lakes Watershed has attracted human Populations since the late Pleistocene Epoch and is now home to more than 325,000 American and Canadian residents.? Dr. Farley and Professor Moll (instructors at Wisconsin Lutheran College) are studying the cultural Variability associated with the peopling of this region and the Biological effects of shifts in subsistence strategy.

Crania from a four culture areas including biological material from twelve archaeological sites in Wisconsin (AD 900-1600) are being compared in order to test the notion that craniofacial traits associated with a diverse environment would reflect a mixed subsistence strategy as opposed to an overreliance on plant domesticates.

Courtesy of the Milwaukee Public Museum, 2010

Courtesy of the Milwaukee Public Museum, 2010

Intro to Archaeology mock site survey

Posted By on September 19, 2012

This fall, Introduction to Archaeology students conducted a survey of “Site 47 WLC 203″, a mock archaeological site complete with stone tools, bone fragments, ceramic sherds, and glass trade beads. ?Students first learned to map the site, by laying out a grid of 2 meter by 2 meter squares, marked in chalk on the WLC outdoor basketball court. ?Then, students identified, mapped, and labeled more than 100 artifacts, in order to understand how the “site” could have been used by a past people. Back in the lab, students will be doing more analysis of the artifact spatial distribution, developing hypotheses about past human activities at the site, and then testing those hypotheses with a mock “excavation” classroom activity.

A student investigates an artifact scatter in square E9 of Site 47 WLC 203

Students worked individually and in pairs to grid and survey the site

Applied learning
Concepts from lecture were applied in this outdoor activity

Primate Research at the Chimfunshi Research Center

Posted By on July 20, 2012

Located in the Copperbelt region of northwestern Zambia, the Chimfunshi Wildlife Orphanage provides safe haven to chimpanzees rescued from dangerous living conditions or poaching.? Orphanages like Chimfunshi provide students of anthropology with the means of examining complex mammalian behaviors from an individual, strategy-based perspective, as opposed to a traditional male-female provisioning model.?

The Chimfunshi Research Center ensures its primate inhabitants with stable food resources and safety from predators.? Local villages supply orphanage personnel with sugar cane, banana, and sweet potato resources that are used to feed chimpanzees at each of the property?s four research enclosures.? Though each enclosure contains a variety of naturally occurring food resources (such as the leaves of the Musamba tree) the carbohydrate-rich food provided by the staff is both preferred and prized by the primates.? Primatologists often question how the availability of these food resources and their preferred status among captive individuals inherently change the relationships between the those rescued, their potential mates, and their offspring.? Unlike national preserves, such as the Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania, where primates will often be responsible for procuring and processing seasonal food resources, provisioned populations have daily access to stable, domesticated food resources.? In captivity, potential mates and parents are not required to provide for their dependents.? The resources are equally distributed to all members of the society.? At Chimfunshi, the caretakers verify that all individuals, within an enclosure are provided with an equal opportunity to eat.? (Unfortunately, access to food does not always result in a reduction in individual stress or physical violence.)? This means that studies conducted at orphanages like Chimfunshi or Jane Goodall’s “Eden” provides researchers with patterned behaviors that are not solely food focused.? Without food as a primary motivator, individual acts of reciprocity, altruism, and violence, can be understood in their most organic expressions.? Social structure in semi-captive environments can be contrasted with what is observed in the wild, providing ethologists with social actions outside of a strictly ecological point of view.

A recent article published by the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), redresses the notion of cooperation and evolutionary fitness.? Authors William Press of the University of Texas at Austin, and Freeman Dyson of Princeton, apply the mathematical principles of Axelrod?s ?Prisoner?s Dilemma? (1984) in order to highlight the importance of individual strategic planning as it relates to survival and reproductive success.? This model can be used to study a wide range of behavioral topics, including many applied to captive populations.? As the title implies, the dilemma presented by incarceration becomes a motivating force in nearly of all a captive’s decisions and actions.? Students from Wisconsin Lutheran College are utilizing this model, focusing their observations on the effects that provisioning has on grooming and playing relationships among a group of females and their offspring.? Once completed, this study will help conservationists to understand the psychological and sociological impact that successful rescue operations have on primate populations.? Additionally, understanding the impact that this practice has on the structure of primate societies will help organize future conservation efforts within the United States and abroad.


Axelrod, Robert

1984? The Evolution of Cooperation. New York: Basic Books.



Spring Archaeological Fieldwork at the Mount Hope Cemetery Site

Posted By on May 17, 2012

The team works under canopies to get some relief from the rain.

The team works under canopies to get some relief from the rain.

Saturday April 28th was a cold and gloomy day, but the weather didn’t stop eight people from packing archaeology supplies and themselves into a WLC van and continuing the archaeological research at at Mount Hope Cemetery. The group included the project director Dr. Farley, Professor Walder, Professor Moll (Biology department), project assistant Jeremiah C. and his son Brandon, and WLC students Andrew, Chris, and Katie. They left WLC around 1:15 and arrived at Mount Hope at about 2:15 in the afternoon. The sky was completely clouded over and there was a wind blowing, chilling everyone down to their wool socks! The first thing they did was open up a 1 meter x 1 meter test pit that was covered in a tarp to protect it over the winter. Then they began to set up all of the equipment, which included rain canopies, soil sifters, tape measures and other measuring devices, and of course shovels. The goal of the dig was to “ground-truth” the anomalies found using Ground Penetrating Radar at the site in 2010.

Laying out the survey grid north of the cemetery fence-line.

Laying out the survey grid north of the cemetery fence-line.

The next step was to begin to plot out two more squares to expand the excavation, following the old fence-line of the cemetery. It took a lot of work to make sure the plots were exactly 1 meter by 1 meter square. Once the math was figured out, the team placed stakes in the places to plot out the corners of each square. Then they strung a string around each stake to be able to see the unit and know where to begin digging. Then Chris and Katie worked on taking off the sod layer. The sod was removed in large pieces. They did not remove the sod all the way up to the edges. Then their job was to go along the edge of the newly formed unit and clean up the edges and remove the sod layer. While they were doing that, with the help of Professor Walder, Professor Moll was working with the already established unit. She cleaned up the unit and removed the long grass that was around the unit. Her work would make digging in that unit much easier and neater.

Students dig deeper using sharpened shovels and trowels

Students dig deeper using sharpened shovels and trowels

Meanwhile, Dr. Farley, Jeremiah, Brandon, and Andrew conducted a pedestrian survey, walking through a field to find the possible location of a water spring located on a map from the mid 1800s. They carefully calculated the distance and direction of the spring from the cemetery. When they reached the point of the spring, they found an overgrown area that may or may not be the place found on the map. Excavation there could be difficult, because erosion could have buried the spring (and any cultural material) under up to 4 meters of soil! Andrew and Brandon also laid out a survey grid just north of the cemetery fence-line; future investigations will test a hypothesis that 18th century trash was dumped in this area.

Professor Moll (it's her; you'll just have to believe us) sifts the soil, looking for artifacts

Professor Moll (it's her; you'll just have to believe us) sifts the soil, looking for artifacts

Back at the cemetery site, once the two new units were cleaned up and ready, the entire team began helping with beginning to dig in them. One person, with a shovel, removed a layer of dirt one strip at a time. Another person was working to sift through the dirt to find artifacts. The goal was to find things that were human-made “material culture.” The artifacts that were found included barbed wire, 19th century square nails, and different lithic materials. The most challenging part of digging was to get the bottom of the unit to be completely flat. To create a level bottom took extra hard work from everyone. That day the two units were dug to about 10 centimeters below the ground surface. The team?s work got cut short due to the quickly approaching rain. The day was filled with lots of hard physical work, but they prepared the units for further excavation to later find even more cultural artifacts.

the 20 cm level of our Unit N1E64, showing two field-stones left in place during excavation

the 20 cm level of our Unit N1E64, showing two field-stones left in place during excavation

The next day, Dr. Farley, Professor Walder, Jeremiah, and WLC Archaeology student Rebekah returned for a full day of fieldwork. Excavations continued, and another 10 centimeters of soil was removed from each of the new units. The team consulted with landowners and the site caretaker to keep them updated on the progress of the project. Warmer weather and even some sunshine was certainly a blessing! The excavation units were sketch mapped and photographed, and artifacts and soil samples were taken back to the lab. The WLC Anthropology department is looking forward to continuing research at this site this summer and fall.

New Course Offering: Historical Archaeology

Posted By on April 5, 2012

Do you love visiting Civil War battlefields, learning about American history, or just looking at old stuff? Are you looking for an upper-division course that brings together community outreach, social media, history, and archaeology?

The Anthropology department is offering Historical Archaeology (ANT 391) next fall semester. Students in the class will be writing weekly blog posts about course topics of their choosing. Skype-based ?field trips? to visit active historical archaeology projects are planned. Other course topics will include the intersection of historical and archaeological methods, ethnohistoric documents, the ethics of historic preservation, and the role of the public in historical archaeology. Small group discussions will allow students in this course to explore the various aspects of this discipline, aided with short readings by professional archaeologists, historians, and preservation activists.

No prior experience in Anthropology is required. Please join us!

Fall 2012
Anthropology 391
Tuesdays and Thursdays 12:30-1:50

For more info, contact heather.walder@wlc.edu, @heatherwalder #ANT391HistArk


Posted By on March 22, 2012

Intro to Archaeology (ANT203) students recently participated in an outdoor lab activity in order to learn the hands-on process of producing flaked stone tools, or “flintknapping.” Professor Walder began the class with a short demonstration about how to use the “hammer” stone, and copper and antler hammers, to strike a stone core, producing flakes, blades, and lithic debris that can then be further fashioned into any number of tools. Pressure flaking was also demonstrated. Prof. Walder emphasized that, for stone tool production, skill and practice are more important than brute force.

Students then had the opportunity to try flintknapping for themselves, and explored other properties of lithic artifacts at several workstations. They refitted previously knapped blades to a core, identified different stone types suitable for knapping, and practiced drawing and labeling the parts of lithic artifacts. This hands-on approach allowed the students not only to appreciate the effort and skill required for prehistoric peoples to fashion tools for their everyday use, but also helped students better understand the complex fracture mechanics inherent in the stone-tool-making process.

Students who may be considering a career in either Anthropology or Archaeology gained experience identifying lithic artifacts and the waste materials generated in their production. Beautiful spring sunshine and warm temperatures made this an enjoyable learning experience for the class!

Students attempt to produce stone flakes, while Prof. Walder supervises, and other students in the background explore the properties of stone tools at several workstations.

WLC archaeology students respond to ‘treasure-hunting’ reality TV shows

Posted By on March 7, 2012

As a historical archaeologist and anthropology instructor, I work to inform both my students and members of the public about the importance of preserving the archaeological record for the benefit and education of future generations. Two new cable television shows promote the reckless and uncoordinated destruction of archaeological sites for the purpose of profit, adventure, or “reality entertainment.”

“American Digger” is a show that is going to air soon on SpikeTV, and “Diggers” is a similar show already airing on the National Geographic Channel. You can find out more about the movement against these shows here.

Professional organizations such as the Society for American Archaeology, the Society for Historical Archaeology, and others have already spoken out against these shows, but I would like to share with you the responses of my “Introduction to Archaeology” students at Wisconsin Lutheran College.

These students have only been studying archaeology for five weeks, but they already demonstrate an excellent understanding of the critical importance of artifact context and association. After just five weeks of class, they already know that members of the public and professional archaeologists must work together to preserve our national heritage. It is my hope that the programming executives of the National Geographic Channel and SpikeTV will come to share this understanding.

(The following student responses were sent as an open letter via email, modified to address either “Diggers” or “American Diggers” as appropriate.)

Responses of archaeology students at Wisconsin Lutheran College:
“No excavation ought to ever be permitted except under the immediate eye of a responsible and trustworthy superintendent. Superfluous precision may be regarded as a fault on the right.” - Augustus Henry Lane-Fox Pitt-Rivers
The quote above is an example of the serious nature and precautions that should be taken when collecting artifacts from a site. Archaeological excavations are very important processes that should be respected as well as handled responsibly. As reality television starts to devastate content and disregard important methods, it is upsetting our national heritage. As viewers are forming opinions about the show, what they might not see is that we risk losing crucial context due to a haphazard excavation just for a recording. It is important to keep in mind that once a site is excavated, it is not replaced, that piece of history is gone, and it should be regarded as so.
- Elizabeth L.

The idea of modern archaeology has recently been evolving. In the past the goal of archaeology has been to excavate, discover, and study previous cultures. Modern archaeology has changed in the fact that preservation has become part of the role of the archaeologist. Preservation of the context and association of artifacts has become a key part of the study of past cultures. New technology has made this possible, such as ground penetrating radar. Many archaeological sites that are discovered in recent times have been left untouched, due to the level of importance of preserving the past culture, because excavation is naturally a destructive process. The site is only excavated once and from then on it is permanently disturbed. “Diggers” and “American Diggers” are putting key archaeological sites at risk for distraction due to unqualified, so called professional, excavating a site, and permanently destroying the artifacts that may be present, all for the sake of making money on a television series.
- John K.

The TV show “American Diggers” is a disgrace to the archaeological field. Artifacts that are in the ground are in there for a reason; to stay there. When this TV show starts, people are going to be digging up the history of our ancestors. This is a horrible act. Even though our society is about knowing the past I believe that burials and other artifacts should not be moved. “American Diggers” is not respecting the land and our ancestors.
- Brett M.

In the days of antiquarianism archaeology, shows such as “American Digger” and “Diggers” might have been a little more acceptable, as they show treasure-hunting and destroy historical sites. Today, however, your show does not correctly portray the American archaeologist. Archaeology today is concerned with finding historic artifacts in their appropriate context, to better understand past cultures. It is clear that this is not the goal of the characters on the show. Besides misrepresenting the role of honorable archaeologists, your show may well incite Americans to begin treasure-hunting on their own. This would prove disastrous, as archaeology requires proper training, and the historical sites will suffer the damage from amateur excavation. Our ancestors deserve better than this.
- Nicole W.

Archaeology does not merely consist of treasure hunting, as “American Digger” and “Diggers” suggest. Archaeologists strive to discover more than a single, potentially profitable object. They are interested in the bigger picture surrounding objects and the sites they are found in. Meaningful insight regarding past civilizations and ways of life are hidden in these objects and the context in which they are found. The knowledge that can be gained is disrupted by shows such as these. Simply digging up objects for profit negates everything archaeologists have been working for so long to achieve. In order to be considerate to archaeologists and their processes, shows and characters such as these need to be stopped.
- Nicole M.

I am a student currently studying Archaeology at Wisconsin Lutheran College in Milwaukee. This past Tuesday, February 28, 2012, I viewed the [National Geographic Channel] show “Diggers.” It thoroughly disgusted me. You are sending America false information about Archaeological studies and how they are properly done. This show was inaccurate in multiple ways. The characters of this show did not properly excavate the field site. They removed artifacts from the sites without making any field notes. Field notes should have included mapping location, numbering and identifying the artifacts removed. Field notes are essential; they are the basis Archaeological studies. Artifacts are History, they help fit time lines together, and your show makes them out to be prized and only possessions. Soon, every American will be out with metal detectors attempting to find valuable artifacts. On top of your television show supplying false information, it does not even supply entertainment. Please, for the sake of Archaeologists, aspiring Archaeologists and the average American?cancel your show.
- Laura K.

I am a student studying archaeology at Wisconsin Lutheran College. On February 28, 2012, I watched two episodes of the new [National Geographic Channel] show “Diggers.” To my amazement, there were two men acting like they just purchased their first metal detectors frantically digging in the area of an 1871 ranch and at the Jones Island Civil War Battlefield site. Their disregard for proper fieldwork procedures was quite disturbing. They removed artifacts from the sites without making any field notes, which should have included mapping location, identifying and numbering the artifacts removed. These valuable field notes are essential for archaeologists to support or falsify their hypotheses and are records for future archaeology fieldwork in the area. I feel the real problem that will arise from the airing of this show is the overwhelming response of your viewers to purchase metal detectors and go on their own treasure hunts, disregarding the historical value of the artifacts found and the area in which they are removed from. Once these artifacts are removed improperly, you cannot go back and repair the damage that is done.
- Jacob R.

Response from Jeremiah C., WLC anthropology research assistant:
As a person of Native American descent and an archaeology/anthropology major in college, I am against the new cable television shows “Diggers” and “American Diggers.” It is unprofessional and immoral that these men are not only allowed, but encouraged, and paid to find for profit, items or artifacts of history. These artifacts, if recovered from properly recorded contexts, could be used to expand our knowledge of history, but this does not seem to be a goal of these series. Perhaps artifacts of a sacred nature will be disturbed in the course of these activities. If these shows are allowed to continue the possibility of these men finding culturally or religious artifacts increases exponentially. This will open these men and the producers of the show to not only public outrage but also legal and possibly monetary fines and repercussions.

Five anonymous responses from “Introduction to Archaeology” students:
Consider going into war with a BB gun, your odds for survival would be slim to nothing. Instead, soldiers carry quality weapons when heading into battle to give themselves the best chances possible for survival. In the same way, the validity of archeological research relies on quality of the site which is being surveyed. Many factors can affect an archeological site. Natural occurrences such as wind and rain can cause erosion that changes the layout of artifacts or carries artifacts far from their original resting place. More destructive than natural factors is poor archeology, in which a site is destroyed forever and can never be reexamined. These new shows, “American Diggers” and “Diggers,” are in effect the most harmful thing to happen to American archeology since nature.

Even though this new show “Diggers” might bring a new interest to archaeology, it is not going about excavations in the proper way and therefore is ruining pieces of American History. First of all archaeology is not a treasure hunt. This is how archaeology first started off, but it has advanced far further in its systematic discovery and collection of humanity’s past. If care is not taken to properly extract artifacts, by taking extensive notes and care to the area around the artifacts, many things that could have been learned about the objects and their past will be lost with the carelessness of those who are greedy to find the “treasure.” The art of archeology, which helps the rest of the world learn many things about the past, is poorly represented in the show “Diggers.”

The context and association of an artifact is so immensely important that without the context, an artifact is almost useless. While some information can still be deciphered from the artifact itself, so much more is shared and known when an artifact is found in context. That context can be used to understand the use of an artifact or the people it belonged to. While television and movies make finding these magnificent artifacts look easy and adventurous, the truth is archaeology is a lot of little scraps and broken pieces. Those pieces and scraps only make sense when they are found and identified at the site and in their context. Nothing ever makes sense taken out of its original context. Archaeology is no different.

Having recently been introduced to the subject of archaeology and all that it entails, seeing shows such as “American Digger” and “Diggers” appear on TV causes slight alarm for me. These shows appear to be careless in how they are excavating artifacts and simply selling them. By making reality television shows like this, they could potentially ruin our collective national heritage by not taking into account artifact context. I have recently been given a chance to work in an archaeology lab helping to classify artifacts and have seen first-hand how important context really is. By knowing as much as possible about the site and area the artifact was excavated from it makes it easier to classify them as well as learn about the people who lived in these areas before us, what their life may have been like, and what types of activities they did. These shows do not appear to take all of this into consideration. In my opinion it is unethical for them to do because they are simply on their way to destroying our collective national history and leaving us with little to no information about the people before us.

Archaeology has come a long way since the days of antiquarianism, becoming a profession. These shows disrespect and throw away that history and evolution. Artifacts need to be documented in the context they are found in because context is a major factor in having a true understanding of culture history. Pieces of cut-up kettle metal may not be considered treasure, especially in terms of monetary value, but the information that can be learned from them has value money can?t buy. Archaeology is the study of human society, and learning about artifacts in their true context is necessary in order to accomplish the goals of this science. These shows will be a step back in the profession, a regression to antiquarianism.

Below is the contact information that the students used to contact each show and network. Readers, please feel free to add your own response.

National Geographic Channel
National Geographic Society
Communications Department
1145 17th Street NW
Washington, DC 20036-4688

Spike TV

Scott Gurney and Deirdre Gurney
Gurney Productions, Inc.
8929 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Suite 510
Los Angeles, CA 90045

Kevin Kay, President
Spike TV
1633 Broadway
New York, NY 10019

Press Contact For “American Diggers”
Shana Tepper
Spike TV

Philippe Dauman, President and Chief Executive Officer
Viacom Inc.
1515 Broadway
New York, NY 10036

GPR scan

Posted By on November 18, 2010

In late October, WLC students ? enrolled in Anthropology 203 ? used GPR (ground penetrating radar) technology to locate and record burials at Mount Hope Cemetery (Burlington, Wisconsin). This glacial drumlin was an important social landmark in the historic peopling of Walworth County. Prior to the scan, only twenty-one burials were recorded for the cemetery group (these burials dated to between 1840 and 1888).

The GPR profile image below depicts a buried feature along the southwestern border of the historic site. The feature appears as a arch of disturbance four to five feet below modern terrestrial levels. This disturbance was classified as a single, extended burial (three by seven feet in its surface measure). It was aligned in an east-west fashion, however it was not associated with a headstone marker.

This imagery allowed students to identify over forty archaeological features (indicative of sixty-three human burials). Currently, these images are being mapped and analyzed. When the analysis is complete, this information will be reported to the Office of the State Archaeologist. Archaeological personnel will use the scans and the related report to understand the design and historic development of the burial group.

Future research will attempt to reconstruct the use-history of the drumlin including artifacts recovered by WLC students in 2009. As they are cleaned and analyzed, these artifacts may give support to the idea of a prehistoric component within the confines of the cemetery group. During the October scan, three group burials of three to four individuals were recorded? (these features were significantly larger than the surrounding historic-era burials). Their depth, orientation, and scanned profile may argue for their prehistoric nature. Future research of the land surrounding the cemetery will attempt to indirectly support this assumption.