Marilyn is a second year Nautical Archaeology Program student whose current research is focused on Archaic Greece and the development of the Archaic economy, with particular emphasis on the types of people central to the changes that occurred during this period. The role of slaves is of particular interest to her, and she hopes to participate in the Cooperative Consortium with University of Texas at Austin in the Spring of 2010 to take a course on ancient slavery being offered there.
Before she became interested in archaeology, though, Marilyn was a student of Ancient Greek with Dr. Leah Himmelhoch at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. She has at this point read many of the "must reads" of classical Greek literature, but hopes to pursue some lesser known documents that will assist her in her thesis research. Marilyn is also beginning to study Latin this year, and will have completed the first year of study at the end of the Spring of 2010 semester. With these two languages becoming more familiar to her all the time, her summer reading list is beginning to get a bit out of control!
In the field, Marilyn has been involved with archaeology from a very young age. In the fourth and fifth grade, her class was lucky enough to assist in the excavation of the Spanish presidio located in San Diego, CA. This formative experience was put on the backburner for some time while Marilyn pursued goals ranging from podiatrist to environmentalist, and chemist to journalist. In the end, though, a field in which she could utilize her analytical mind and her writing skills won out over all the others, and Marilyn found herself enrolled in the Nautical Archaeology Program.
Marilyn has participated in two major field projects in recent years, both of which equipped her with important and applicable skills. In August of 2007 she was a volunteer to Archibald Dunn of the University of Birmingham in his survey of the Greek town of Thisve, and in particular the extant Byzantine structures therein. The survey consisted of three major parts, and Marilyn was able to participate in all of them. First, a geophysical survey was conducted using a magnetometer in an olive grove outside the ancient city wall. Remains of several walls were evident, and the results of the survey indicated a considerable number of other structures below the surface. The team's second objective was to map in two acropolises and a number of chapels scattered across the town with a Total Station. Although this involved more mountain climbing that Marilyn was mentally prepared for, the map that was produced from these labors was of sufficient quality to make it all worth it. Finally, the team spent their final days in Thisve using a 3-D HD Laser Scanner to record several of the more well preserved chapels, a process which was a challenge to set up and even more challenging to wait the several hours one series of scans took. This survey experience gave Marilyn an important set of skills that can be applied to a wide variety of survey situations.
The summer of 2009 took Marilyn to one of the most remote, and archaeologically interesting, places in the Aegean - Kizilburun, Turkey. In an excavation directed by Dr. Deborah Carlson, she participated in the final season of excavation of a Roman column carrier carrying eight column drums, a capitol, and various other marble pieces in addition to various artifacts related to shipboard life. Marilyn gained experience in all aspects of an underwater excavation, from using an airlift to remove sediment in her section to mapping in finds using Site Recorder and Photomodeler to basic conservation of artifacts in the field. She contributed not only to the conservation of raised artifacts, but also the conservation of the column drums that still remain on the sea floor, now with a layer plastic tarp between them and the organisms that have attacked them for the last 2,000 years.
Although these field experiences were essential to her training as an archaeologist, Marilyn is also active in the academic community in the Nautical Archaeology Program at Texas A&M University. In the spring of 2009, Marilyn was a member of the Anthropology Department's Ethics Bowl Team which competed and won at the SAA conference against other departments from all over the country. The team plans to compete again in the spring of 2010, hopefully with similar results. Marilyn is also the organizer of the "Brown Bag Lunch Series," which challenges students in the Nautical Archaeology Program to present personal research at any stage to their peers. This process both engages the community in the research being conducted by other students, and also provides a forum for comments and suggestions that can help strengthen both presentations and research. Through her Graduate Assistantship with Dr. Deborah Carlson, Marilyn is also active in the formation of the newly chartered Archaeological Institute of America Byran/College Station Chapter.
A copy of Marilyn's CV is available here.
Marilyn Cassedy can be easily reached through her e-mail.