Alaska edition: community archaeology and wild salmon

Madison Dapcevich
Honorary archaeologist and TV reporter/producer, Madison Dapcevich

Community archaeology is the topic of today’s podcast. We chat with Madison Dapcevich, a journalist and TV reporter/producer out of KECI Montana. Madison wrote her MA thesis about a community archaeology project in her home state of Alaska. If you want to understand the power and benefits of getting a community involved in archaeology, then you should have a listen!

Next, we chat about her father’s  deliciously simple salmon recipe. If you can get your hands on some wild salmon, you need to give this recipe a go!

I’ve also been curious about Alaskan life. On today’s program, Madison provides us with her personal stories of growing up Alaskan. Apparently, all those TV programs about Alaska are accurate!

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Viking age cats, Tex-Mex, and learning how to cook in the field.

Ph.D. candidate Brenda Prehal and noted cat lover!

Today, it is a cat episode! So, for all of you cat lovers out there, please tune in to hear CUNY Ph.D. student Brenda Prehal talk about her fascinating research about cats in Iceland.

We talk about her research and other work in Iceland. And, we also talk a little about life as a graduate student.

Working at Ingiridarstadir with the great Howell Roberts.

Brenda shares with us her new adventures into cooking. Dominos and Subway were no longer an option for her. She found the courage to face her cooking avoidance and decided to jump in the deep end of the pool. Today, she shares with us her dish of Arroz con Pollo!

Cat love!

Today’s recipe: Arroz con Pollo!

2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried cumin
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
4 skinless/boneless chicken breasts
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 small yellow onion, finely diced
2 red bell peppers, diced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups long-grain rice
7 cloves garlic, finely diced
2 1/2 cups low-salt chicken stock
1/2 cup salsa
Combine the salt, garlic powder, cumin, black pepper and chili powder in a plastic gallon bag. Shake until the mixture is well combined. Pat the chicken dry and place in the bag with the spice mixture. Shake the bag, making sure the chicken is well coated. Heat the oil in a high-sided skillet over high. Add the chicken and brown on all sides, about 6 minutes each side. Transfer the chicken to a plate. Add the onion & red peppers and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the skillet. Sweat the vegetables over medium heat, stirring, until softened and fragrant, about 7 minutes. Add the rice and garlic and cook until the rice begins to turn gold in color and fragrant, about 1 minute. Meanwhile, combine the stock, salsa and remaining teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Then add to the skillet and make sure the rice is covered in liquid. Nestle the chicken in the rice, adding any juices from the plate. Bring the rice to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover. Cook until the chicken is cooked through, the rice is tender, and most of the liquid is absorbed about 30 minutes. Let the skillet stand covered, about 10 minutes before serving.

Add salsa, sour cream, and shredded Mexican cheese to taste when serving.

Original recipe from

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The Sotra Project, Finnish fish soup, and public outreach in archaeology

Dr. Kristin Ilves, archaeologist and expert at reaching out to the public.

Today, we have a variety of topics to discuss. Dr. Kristin Ilves joins us to talk about a very large and comprehensive archaeological project underway on the west-coast of Norway. The Sotra Project, lead by Leif Inge Astveit from the University of Bergen Museum, is currently recovering and recording archaeological remains from the early mesolithic to the late neolithic. This project, like many across Norway,  is part of a road expansion project taking place just outside of Bergen.

Stone-age expert, project leader, and all-round-cool guy Leif Inge Astveit (center) giving one of his inspiring motivational speeches to his crew.

Kristin’s role on the project is to develop, execute, and coordinate public outreach. She’s using social media as one platform to reach out to the public with a lot of success. Kristin’s been making and publishing videos documenting the excavation but also interviewing the archaeologists working on the project. It’s a great way for the general public to find out more about what archaeologists do. On a side note, this is an exciting time in archaeology because of all the new technology and social media platforms archaeologists have at our disposal to reach to the public. You should have a listen and check out the Sotra project on the link provided below!

Archaeologists are removing uncooperative and hard to get at turf. This task is probably one of the more physically demanding jobs archaeologists perform.
Test-pitting at the Sotra Project to determine the extent of the area to excavate.

Finally, Kristin shares with us a famous Finnish fish soup recipe. She discovered when doing fieldwork in Finland. For Kristin, this dish is not only easy and delicious it’s filled with fond memories! Awww…the beauty of food!

Project link!!!

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Across the North Atlantic with Spinach Artichoke dip.

Elizabeth Pierce
Dr. Elizabeth Pierce at Calanais, Isle of Lewis.

Dr. Elizabeth Pierce takes time from her hectic summer schedule to talk with us about her research into the Medieval period of the North Atlantic and her work as a lecturer.

In the first part of the interview, she takes us to Greenland, Iceland, and the Faroe Islands as we discuss her dissertation research. Elizabeth was examining the differences of Norse culture at the periphery. It is a fascinating talk about the cultural diversity across the North Atlantic.

A picture of the stones from the Ring of Brodgar in Orkney.


Next, she talks about her work as a lecturer aboard cruise ships. We’ve all heard about this excellent job. I always thought it was a fairy tale told to us in graduate school, but it’s true. Unlike unicorns, this position does exist, and Elizabeth has one! All kidding aside, Elizabeth works hard at bringing history alive for the folks aboard these ships. It’s a great story as she talks about her visit to Greenland.

Hvalsey church from southwestern Greenland.
The grave site where the Franklin expedition overwintered the first year at Beechey Island in Nunavut, Canada.

Finally, Elizbeth parts with her treasured spinach and artichoke dip. Apparently, this dip has made its way across most of the North Atlantic. I’ll be sure to make here in Norway!

The week’s recipe:

Spinach and Artichoke Dip

1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
¼ C. mayonnaise
1 C. grated parmesan cheese
1 clove garlic, minced
1 14 oz. can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
½ C. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients in a bowl in order listed. Put in an oven-safe dish and bake in a 350 degree oven until hot.

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