Michael Jarvis has had a year of multitasking and starting new projects. He divided his time between the history department and directing U of R’s new Digital Media Studies major, where he oversaw 20 DMS seniors’ yearlong six capstone projects (a videogame, a museum augmented reality app, a national campus newspaper integrator website, a Rochester-area restaurant app, and two digital art installations). The twelve students participating in my summer 2015 Smiths Island Archaeology Field School worked on four sites and helped establish the dating of Oven Site to circa 1614 – the earliest site excavated in Bermuda. In the fall, he took my Maritime Atlantic History seminar students on an experiential road trip to Erie, Pennsylvania, and pressed them into a day’s service on the Brig Niagara, a War of 1812 warship, where they learned sail handling, naval discipline, and public history in practice. And throughout the year, he worked with independent study student researchers on my Virtual St. George’s project to create an interactive GIS layer of Bermuda’s first capital in 1775, on the eve of the American Revolution.
Through new grants and collaborations, he has grown enormously as a digital historian and archaeologist this past year. A U of R Pump Primer II grant enabled him to purchase a FARO laser scanner and build two cutting edge 3D graphics processing computers to advance his Virtual St. George’s project; this and a research trip to Bermuda in February (shooting 19,000 photos in six days) has enabled him to start digitally rebuilding the town, circa 1750. In January, he began a new digital history/archaeology research collaboration with UR’s ATHS program and the University of Ghana, focused on modeling Elmina (built 1482) and other Transatlantic Slave Trade castles and forts and training Ghanaian Ph.D. students in the use of scanning and photogrammetry reconstructions. Most recently, a UR Undergraduate Research Discover Grant enabled Nick Gresens (Religion and Classics) and him to take three UR students to Pompeii, Herculaneum and Oplontis to photograph, scan, and try infrared and UV spectrum recording of Roman graffiti and eroded frescoes dating to the first century AD. In addition, he presented papers on Bermudian, Atlantic, and Digital History at the Universities of Delaware and Alabama, Berkeley Institute (Bermuda), the University of Ghana, and the University of Southampton (UK), and had the unique experience of being the keynote speaker for the Colonial Wars Society floating conference, held aboard the cruise ship Breakaway in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.