Cities are dynamic places and archaeologists, and the people who work with them, get to examine the physical record of change--from neighborhood to parking lot, from parkland to burial ground, from alleyway to traffic interchange.
This year’s Bernard J. Malis Memorial Lectureship in Humanities brings noted archeologist Rebecca Yamin, who has been conducting archaeology in and around Philadelphia since the 1990s, to the University. She uses the results of her projects to build a picture of people and places that are generally not in the history books. Yamin will recount some of these stories in her talk “Urban Archaeology - Adding to History from the Ground Up” on Monday, Nov. 16 from 4:30 to 5:30 in the McNeil Science and Technology Center.
Drawing from her recently published book, Digging in the City of Brotherly Love, Yamin will talk about some of those people: an accountant who worked in the first federal government, an African-American barber who was a lay minister in the AME Church, a comb-maker and a cabinet maker whose families used personal possessions to express membership in the city’s emerging middle class.
This kind of archaeology is done in the context of ongoing construction, and Yamin will describe how urban archaeologists work with construction contractors and backhoe drivers to record remnants of the past before sites are transformed for the future.
The Bernard J. Malis Memorial Lectureship in Humanities was endowed by Malis, who graduated from PCPS in 1944 with a BS in pharmacy and in 1947 with an MS in pharmacy. He was a consultant in pharmacology and public health, and was chair of the Philadelphia chapter of the Explorers Club. In 1989, Malis was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts.