Teaching


My teaching philosophy is motivated by the same curiosity and enthusiasm for the study of the human past that motivates my research. My belief that all archaeology is public archaeology is also an important part of my teaching philosophy. Every student will not become an archaeologist, and so my goal is for students to leave my classes with an appreciation of the diversity of our shared human experience and an understanding of what archaeology can contribute to public discourse surrounding contemporary social and ecological issues. 

In all of my classes we discuss the complexities and best practices involved in multi-disciplinary and collaborative work with Indigenous communities. I work to incorporate different theoretical approaches into my classes, and am also explicit about my own scientific and ecologically-oriented roots. I work with students on the details of designing and executing a research project using the scientific method, and particularly emphasize how to evaluate an argument. It is important to me that students understand that critical thinking, open-mindedness, and ethical collaborative research are essential skills at every level of our profession.  

I also teach and model archaeology done in the service of Indigenous communities; Indigenous archaeological theory and practice is a topic in almost all of my classes, from the introductory level through graduate coursework.  Working through an Indigenous archaeology lens, and working closely with several Indigenous communities helps me teach this approach in a hands-on, applied manner to our students by engaging them directly in my work and drawing class work and examples from my research and experience doing Indigenous archaeology.

I feel empowered through my work as a teacher and mentor to change our discipline into a more inclusive and diverse workforce at all levels of the field (e.g. field technicians, project directors, state, agency, and academic positions). I take the special demands put on student parents, first generation students, and students of historically underrepresented groups into consideration when designing my classes, when mentoring and advising a diverse student body, and in deciding how best to focus my service work


Prospective Students

Some topics I am interested in working on with students include:

  • Community-driven archaeology and historical ecology projects
  • Hunter-gatherer clay and ceramic technology
  • Hunter-gatherer cooking and food processing practices
  • Hunter-gatherer mobility and settlement organization (e.g. sourcing, GIS modeling)
  • Remote sensing applications in archaeology
  • Community-based planning for climate change impacts to archaeology

I am open to other interests, this is simply a list based on current projects/funding opportunities.  Please contact me (ashelby@pdx.edu) if you are thinking of applying to work with me.  I am unlikely to accept students who I have not corresponded with prior to application.

Getting a Job

Shovelbums field school and job listing – comprehensive list of accredited field schools updated updated in the late winter/spring.  Job announcements on a daily/weekly basis.

USA Jobs – One stop job announcements for National Park Service, Forest Service, and other government archaeology jobs.

Washington State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation – Find an up to date list of consultants who may be hiring for local CRM projects.  There is also some great info about resource management and laws in Washington state.

Oregon State Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation

Experiential Learning Opportunities

In my teaching, I work to incorporate issues in applied archaeology and also emphasize practicing skills and concepts in class that students will need as professional archaeologists.  For example, in Fall of 2013 my field methods class (Anth 453/553) carried out archaeological survey and site recording at Ecola State Park on the Oregon Coast, documenting sites that had not been re-evaluated for natural and visitor impacts in over 10 years.  The best undergraduate site forms were filed with the State Office of Historic Preservation, as was the 60+ page report on the project that the graduate students in the class completed according to Oregon state SHPO standards (Catto et al. 2014).  In more recent field methods classes, I collaborated with the Grand Ronde Tribe to carry out two years of fieldwork on Sauvie Island, and a season of fieldwork at Chahalpam, a tribally owned property south of Portland.  Students worked on site identification and technical writing skills through both classroom and field experience, all through an Indigenous archaeology lens. 

Students conducting fieldwork on Sauvie Island, for Anth 453/553

I bring my research into the classroom and I also bring students into my research. Several graduate students and numerous undergraduates are actively engaged in my research.  I invite students to work in my lab on various lab processing and analytical tasks associated with on-going research projects.  Through this opportunity, students gain hands-on experience with archaeological lab work, which will better prepare them for work as archaeologists after graduation. 

I also work with a variety of local agencies, Tribes, and cultural resource management companies to connect students with internship and work opportunities while they are students at PSU.