Laura Urana being interviewed by Kitty Kennedy. Photo Courtesy C.Milano
Lauren is 22 years old and a 2014 graduate of Mercyhurst University with a Bachelor of Arts in Archaeology. She is in her second year working at the Vero Dig Site and has studied with Dr. Adovasio at Mercyhurst with a specialty in Perishable Artifacts. She hopes to attend graduate school in the future.
What are perishable artifacts? "……they are artifacts that do not normally survive in the archaeological record for example, weaving, twisted fibers, and baskets," Lauren explains that it is environmental conditions that help to preserve these items, like very hot or very cold temperatures, or very dry or very wet conditions.
Lauren was involved during her sophomore year in the conservation lab at Mercyhurst when a large archaeology find of over 400 textiles items were cleaned and preserved. They were found at the western boarder of Peru, dating back over 6,000 years. The find was entrusted to Mercyhurst because of Dr. Adovasio’s experience in the field of perishables. Lauren accompanied the artifacts back to Peru and had the opportunity to visit the site where there were still items visible that have yet to be excavated. How did she feel about that? "I loved it. It solidified my interest in this area of archaeology."
Asked when she became interested in archaeology she said that as young girl of 8 she enjoyed digging in her sandbox and began her interest in Egypt and civilizations along the Nile. She studied Arabic thinking she would work at digs in the Middle East but as her interests turned to the Americas she is now studying Spanish.
What interests Lauren in perishable artifacts? “It’s a glimpse into the minds of the people who made them. For example in weaving, you see the end product of the decisions of the people making the item. How the knots were tied, how the weave was made lets you see the decisions they made.”
And what about being part of the crew at the Old Vero Ice Age Dig, Lauren said, “ I am very glad to be a part of this research endeavor. It is wonderful that the community is engaged and excited about broadening our knowledge of the early occupation of North America.”