Archive for the ‘Archeology’ Category

Climate Change Uncovers Our Past

By September 16th, 2016 at 9:50 am | Comment

When we think about climate change, we usually picture extreme temperatures, mega-storms, and rising seas disrupting our collective future.

But climate change is also erasing our past.

At our poles, melting ice is exposing and washing out new archeological discoveries. In the world’s arid regions, severe sandstorms are unearthing and eroding buried treasures. And on our coasts, rainstorms are revealing ancient reserves and wiping them out, often before scientists can study them. Read the rest of this entry »

Time Traveling in New Mexico

By August 12th, 2015 at 11:25 am | Comment

Stewards monitoring site on the Santa Fe National Forest (Credit: Santa Fe National Forest)

Stewards monitoring site on the Santa Fe National Forest (Credit: Santa Fe National Forest)

Citizen scientists of the Santa Fe National Forest Site Steward Program in New Mexico volunteer thousands of hours through difficult terrain to record observations at archeological sites, helping protect their scientific value for future research. Find out more about this project on SciStarter. Going out on a hike? Check out these cool projects that you can participate in!

Read the rest of this entry »

Win a 25 million year old fossil at USA SciFest!

By April 24th, 2014 at 9:09 pm | Comment


Non-profit citizen science organization Paleo Quest is very excited to partner with SciStarter at the USA Science and Engineering Festival (Hall DE, Booth Number 5337). Paleo Quest researcher John Nance will share marine fossils that are up to 25 million years old with attendees. Each fossil that will be on display was collected by the non-profit’s founders Aaron Alford and Jason Osborne while scuba diving in murky swamp rivers with swift currents and black water conditions along the coast of the Chesapeake Bay. Show John how excited you are about science and our prehistoric past by asking as many questions as you can, and you may walk away with your very own fossil to add to your personal collection.


Paleo Quest will also be at the Scientific American booth where attendees can participate in our citizen science program SharkFinder. Use Zeiss microscopes to search for microfossils in 19-million-year-old marine deposits and see if you can discover a first occurrence of a species or even a new species all together. SharkFinder was recognized by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy last year as one of the top citizen science programs in the country.

Paleo Quest fulfills its mandate through exploration and scientific collaboration, by discovering and recovering fossil specimens, including underwater (scuba) excavations, advancing the understanding of stratigraphy, and by donating materials of scientific significance to museums and universities. The organization donates fossils and fossil-bearing matrix as educational materials to elementary through college level institutions that go to support their science curriculum. This in turn promotes literacy in the earth and paleontological sciences at all academic levels, and collaborative publications of notable findings for the broader research community at a professional level.

What’s the Score?

By December 10th, 2012 at 9:45 am | Comment

Music on the mind!

The hills are alive with the sound of citizen science (and music)!

Calling all music enthusiasts–the Bodleian Libraries are enlisting the help of the public in order to improve access to their music collections. About sixty-four boxes filled with unbound, uncatalogued sheet music from the mid-Victorian period has been digitized for public access. Although this particular genre of music was considered to have little academic value in the past, it has recently come into new light as a window of insight into amateur music making as well as social practices during the Victorian era.

For instance, the “Cleopatra Galop,” written by dance-master Charles d’Albert, was advertised as “new dance music” in New Zealand’s Hawke’s Bay Herald in September 1878. Archival gems like these are not uncommon in the Bodleian collection. What’s even more fascinating is that the Bodleian team has partnered with the University of Oxford to make recordings of some of these works available so that users can aurally experience the pieces that they’re helping to describe. Listen to the “Cleopatra Galop” in the extensive recordings collection.

In order to help with the project, participants simply submit descriptions of the music scores by transcribing the information they see. There’s no pre-requisite of being able to read sheet music to take part, and the Library provides a superb step-by-step guide on how to do it.

Screen shot 2012-10-19 at 6.33.17 AM

The metadata collected from this project will eventually feed into a database, making the music collection ultimately more searchable online once it’s made available. By participating in this project, you’ll gain access to tons (all right, maybe pounds or kilos) of sheet music that has never been released to the public. Not only that, but the artful covers are worthy of a study in themselves.

Most importantly, the Bodleian Library has partnered with Zooniverse, a world leader in crowdsourced technology and a platform for various citizen science projects like Galaxy Zoo, Planet Hunters, and Bat Detective (many of which are searchable in SciStarter’s Project Finder).

Music enthusiasts, history buffs, archive divers, or those simply curious are all invited to take part in this sonically stimulating citizen science project. Help the Bodleian keep score!

Sign up for the SciStarter Newsletter

Image: Musical Notes, NSF
Image: Bodleian tutorial,

8 Spooky Citizen Science Projects for Halloween!

By September 27th, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Comment

Most of us live in fear of what we don’t know. In science, however, the Unknown is exactly what keeps us hooked. Even the most revered physicist of all time (I’m talking about Einstein, of course) had a little trouble explaining the universe at times, calling what we now know as entanglement in quantum mechanics “spooky action at a distance.” The Unknown can be spooky, indeed, but with citizen scientists in hot pursuit of knowledge and data, we can collectively un-entangle scientific mysteries that come our way this Halloween.

This holiday brings out the dark, the macabre, and the sometimes inexplicable. We put on costumes to temporarily assume roles that we usually don’t play in our normal lives. Here are some Halloween-themed citizen science “costumes,” or roles, that you can don this October.

1. Extraterrestrial Tracker
Astronomy and Space
SETI Live, Zooniverse, NASA


Photo credit: NASA

Are we alone? With an ever-expanding, vast universe beyond our tiny blue planet, SETI thinks not. SETI Live is a citizen science project (part of Zooniverse) that invites you to help scan astral objects for radio waves and signals that might be transmitted by extraterrestrial life. The Allen Telescope Array (a name that looks conveniently like “Alien Telescope Array” from afar) scans the skies and sends data back to the SETI Live website, where citizen scientists are able to help sift through information and classify stars with exoplanets.

Or, if you’d rather Be A Martian this Halloween, you can do that, too! On this highly interactive site, you can create Martian profiles to become “citizens” of the planet. (We like to think of it as citizen scientist-ship.) You can count craters, ask questions about Mars in the forum, and tag photos taken by the rovers Spirit and Opportunity, the Curiosity’s predecessors, with descriptions of what you see. No matter where you land on this site, your experience is destined to be out of this world.

2. ZomBee Watcher
Nature and Animals
San Francisco State University Dept. of Biology, SFSU Ctr. for Computer for Life Sciencies, Natural History Museum of LA County


Photo credit:

The ZomBee apocalypse is upon us! Run—or buzz your way—to Zombee Watch! Researchers suspect that the parasitic fly Apocephalus borealis is responsible for infecting large populations of honeybees. The fly lays eggs inside the body of honeybees, which then serve as incubators. As the eggs grow, they suck up nutrients from their bee hosts. The hosts become disoriented as their bodies change from within, often leading them astray from their natural habitats. Eventually, newborn fly larvae crawl out of the honeybee’s body and grow into adult flies, beginning the cycle all over again. Citizen scientists can contribute to ZomBee Watch by helping collect sick-looking or dead bee specimens to observe whether parasitic pupae emerge. See what the buzz is about.

3. Vital Signs
Nature, Animals, and Plants
Vital Signs Maine

vital signs

Photo credit: Vital Signs Maine

When distinguishing the un-dead from the living, it’s important to look for the right Vital Signs. This citizen science project brings scientists and novices together to investigate invasive species in Maine. Are certain ecosystems at risk of being overrun by invasive plants and/or animals? Participants can help scientists observe both invasive and native species by taking photographs, then entering data into the online application. The site provides helpful how-to guides for those just starting out and offers a huge database of observations made by other citizen scientists.

4. Secret Agent (Sci)Spy
Nature, Animals, and Plants
Science Channel (Discovery)


Photo credit: Discovery

Our mobile technology today is analogous to the gadgets of Hollywood’s most sophisticated spies. Use your spy cameras (or phone cameras) to spy on nature and contribute to science. Created by Science Channel (Discovery), SciSpy enlists agents to document the natural world of their backyards, parks, cities, and towns. Report back to base by sharing photos and observations and contribute to research initiatives that rely especially on amateur participation. This project is sure to leave you both shaken and stirred.

5. Archaeologist
Paleontological Research Institution, Cornell Dept. of Education


Photo credit:

Dig deep into the past with Fossil Finders and uncover hidden clues about human history. Participants will help paleontologists from the Paleontological Research Institution identify and measure fossils in rock samples from central New York, enter their data into an online database, and compare their data with the data of other schools. Local participants can sign up for trips to important sites, whereas online participants can engage in virtual tours. Fossil Finders’ learn-by-doing approach to science unearths a sea of knowledge for those who contribute.

6. Tastemaker
Biology, Genetics
Denver Museum of Nature and Science


Photo credit: DMNS

If you find yourself hording sweets this Halloween, perhaps this next project is just your flavor. The Denver Museum of Nature & Science, supported by the Science Education Partnership from the National Center for Research Resources and National Institutes of Health, has spearheaded a project called the Genetics of Taste: A Flavor for Health. The study aims to increase public understanding of genetic research, while also making strides to better understand the genetic ancestry of the gene Tas2r38, which dictates the ability to taste bitter, and its affect on the health of modern day humans. Don’t mind lending your taste buds to science (after consuming all that Halloween candy)? The opportunities are so tangible, you can almost, well, taste it.

7. Ghost HunterSmart Phone Apps
Northwestern University


Photo credit:

Photo credit:

Earlier this year, Professor Fabian Bustamente of Northwestern University developed an experimental augmented reality Android phone app that allowed users to participate in citizen science while simultaneously playing a game. Participants “zapped” ghosts that showed up on a map of their surrounding area by taking photographs, which were then stitched together into panoramic shots. Commentators believe that augmented reality apps like these could pave the way for future mobile app-based citizen science.

8. Bat Detective
Nature and Animals

Courtesy of USGS

Photo credit: Zooniverse

Here’s a citizen science project that gives you a glimpse into the lives of these creatures of the night. Bats, nocturnal creatures, are very hard to spot with the naked eye. This project enlists the help of citizen scientists to screen over 3,000 hours of acoustic surveys of bats’ calls, which researchers believe “leak” information about their behavior into the environment each night through echolocation. These classifications will later be used to create a new algorithm to help researchers more easily extract information from their sound recordings to monitor threatened bat populations.

While Hallow’s Eve has you captivated by the curios, be sure to stay curious too! With these citizen science projects, it’s all treat, no tricks. Make sure to visit SciStarter to find over 500 more citizen science projects!