Final Reflection

Participating in the Hidalgo County Public Cemetery Project (HCPCP), Spring 2018, has taught me how to conduct public archaeology within a cemetery. The great part about this course was that it was in the local area of Edinburg, Texas near the UTRGV campus. It helps us understand better the local history as well as work with the community.

What I learned in the HCPCP semester is how to collect data from each individual grave. With our personal phones, we downloaded an app called KoBo Toolbox that asked to input the recorders name, date and grave number. Each grave had its personal number marked in a flag, which was check-marked when data collection was complete. After that, we added the marker information such as images, descriptive appearance, dimensions, inscriptions, and of course if the name and date of the deceased are still visible. Sadly, some of the grave markers were underground or illegible, making it difficult to get the full name and date. Since we were only allowed to clear the area from weeds, it was not possible to uncover the underground graves. Some graves had only part of their name visible or part of the date whereas others had nothing visible. Yet, a lot of other graves were recorded with full names and dates. Perhaps for those monuments who were impossible to determine the inscriptions can be later found in the list provided by the HCPC owner. This is why it is very important to not miss any graves for later on the data can be analyzed to fill in the blanks.  

Not all the graves were recorded because we ran out of time. There are about 90 graves still needing to be recorded in the KoBo Toolbox. Anyone is welcomed to go into the HCPC to collect data. For those who already known Dr. Sarah Row, they are free to go and help finish the recording. If someone else wants to do volunteer work that is possible as well. I am not sure if anyone can sign up through the Engagement Zone website:  but it would be convenient if they could. Maybe that is something to think about, creating volunteer need or an event at the moment when UTRGV classes are over. But aside from that, anyone can contact the project coordinator, Dr. Row, to volunteer or for personal information upon the HCPCP project through the HCPCP website:

Within our phones, there were some problems faced with the KoBo Toolbox app. One was that the app would overheat the phones, making the phones die in the field. Perhaps, this was the reason why some marked graves flags did not save the recorded data. To avoid this problem in the future, it would be best to bring portable chargers. Even more, some student’s phones were not able to download the app. For those students, they should be given diverse tasks, like placing new flags to the broken or faded flags, sorting already collected data at the lab room, using the Total Station, working with another student to record the grave monuments, etc. This will help the student feel needed in the course rather than lost since they have a phone that does not comply with the app. Aside from that, it was good that the app was able to save and later submit the recorded graves for some phones received no signal at the HCPC.

Another great benefit in participating with the HCPCP is learning how to use a Topcon GTS-753 Electronic Total Station. This equipment maps the top surface of the cemetery. The main task was to take four points of each grave to give a sized image of the monument. In this part of the project, we did not get very far because it is very time-consuming and only have one Total Station. I know that the team was thinking of getting an additional Total Station but it might make the mapping more difficult in the end run. There would have to be two stable points and then to add both information to the end result map can be overwhelming. I am not sure if other archaeologists have used multiple Total Stations, but if they have and it is not difficult to collect both datasets into one then two machines would be best. Hopefully, this can help the grave mapping pick up a faster pace. For the next HCPCP semester, it would be nice on the first day of class to go over how the Total Station works. Maybe even bring the Total Station to class and set it up so students can understand how both tripods work. Also, with the class projector, show the students how to use the portable device. Show them where we have left off and how to input the information. This will help the ones working with the Total Station have some background knowledge before using the technical device.  

Aside from all the outside fieldwork, the course provided various readings that helped us the students understand how public archaeology works, data collection, benefits for the community project participants, and others, as well as how mapping can show historical markers. What was missing was actually reading about local history within the area. If readings about the region were included, the students can further connect their fieldwork with the region’s culture. With this, one can further appreciate the work that is being done.

An intriguing factor that stood out at the HCPC is how some graves were so old. I saw a grave dated from the U.S. and Mexico revolution period. How did they get there? Was that location their original burial? Or were they moved? Also, we saw that mainly towards the back of the cemetery there was voodoo dolls and other voodoo ritual practices going on. Maybe providing more feedback about such culture can help us understand more of their religious practices. I would like to know what they mean, especially the wax ball covered with thread that at times was found hanging from trees.

I did not mind the assigned reading responses, but I do think it might get old for some students that have already taken the course. If there are other projects that are more time to consume, like making a poster, perhaps that can replace a grade from the needing to do all writing assignments.  Moreover, as discussed in class, having the students choose a certain grave to do research on would be productive. The student findings can be published on the website in case a family member of the deceased comes across the extra information or a scholar is doing research on a specific monument. For this project the students can be extra descriptive about the monument, find out information about the types of offerings that were left, research the deceased time period of life, research time period within the location, and if possible research about who that person was during his lifetime. The last part might be more difficult but unable to find free information about the person, one can describe the life roles during their time period.

It was unfortunate that the 3D iPad scanner did not work because of lack of good signal. For next class, ask the UTRGV if they can order a mobile hotspot or ask the class if anyone has one. If the internet hotspot helps the iPad function within the HCPCP then there is another task that the students can work on.

In class, you had mentioned that half the class will go to the field and other half be in lab fixing the records. I think in both places there has to be someone that has already taken the class. Previously, there has been little lab work so it is best to place someone in charge on the field to help you be more focused at the lab. Once the students at the lab get to know you and you get to know them, you can, later on, move from lab to field. I do think it would be a waste of time having all the students on the field since there are little students needed for the Total Station. Moreover, having someone that has already worked in the Total Station on the field would work best because they already did that type work. Maybe refresh with the student one on one so they can know exactly how to guide the students going to the field. Also at times, the tree branch would make it difficult for the students at the Total Station to be able to see the tripod triangle. If possible, provide gloves for the students to move branches or maybe even a branch cutting tool to cut small amounts. Finally, another thing discussed was to provide walkie-talkies so the students do not need to walk across the fieldwork in order to communicate. it was easier to use walkie-talkies than phones because of the lack of signal to some phone services and windy days. These possible resources will save time and make the field work be more trouble-free.

I really look forward keeping up to date with the progress that the HCPCP will make next Fall semester. It would be nice if pictures were added to the website about the students participating. If the work material does change, perhaps make students provide short journals to be blogged so we can read what will occur next semester. In all, I recommend other students to participate because it was a great class.

Communicating Archaeology

Many people always ask me what is an anthropologist. I myself had asked that question before. Because of this, it appears that anthropologists have not fully grasped the attention of the media and people. Why is such profession unknown to be people if there is a lot of anthropologist and archaeologist that written articles and reports? There are even films about the work that has been done. This lack of awareness is most likely occurring because of the anthropologists’ research form of writing.

Looking back at my previous anthropological writings, I gasp at how dull and boring the work sounds. Yes, it has all the crazy anthropological vocabulary, but what is missing is a connection to myself. In fact, I was told to not input my own thoughts or opinion. I was even told to not write  “I” because it sounded unprofessional. The outcome came to be a dull, boring, detached paper that I myself will not want to read again.

Mitch Allen suggest that archaeologist should write to the “hidden audience” rather than the other scholars or critics (Allen: 247). With this, more people would begin to understand the archaeologist research and work outcome. It does seem very complex when reading some archeological works because of the language used and overly professional material structured. Even one who studies archaeology has difficulty comprehending the material and at times needs to be re-read in order to grasp the writer’s meanings and work. Therefore, Allen provided us 10 rules to apply: hook the audience, storytelling, put yourself in the writing, write in simple words, write like talking to someone, input memorable identifies, apply only needed data, be visual, emphasize theory and method, and always think of the audience. This method of writing is very different from what archeologist are used to. In fact, I have not read many articles that meet all the ten rules. One article that I can remember writing in simple words and putting herself constantly in the work, is Practising Archaeology-As if it Really Matters by K Anne Pyburn. Just reading her title, we start to see a connection,“As if it Really Matters,” because it gives an informal way of speaking. This informal vocabulary triggers the attention of others, making the audience want to read the paper for they want to know what she will say. Moreover, her style of writing is ethnographic which appears to be like a conversation and her personal response towards the reader. Such form of writing will be great when the Hidalgo County Public Cemetery Project (HCPCP) collects all the data and starts to collect the outcome of the project. If the papers and presentations are written in the ethnographic style, not only will we get the attention of the audience but also the scholars. This will make it helpful for others to find the work interesting and want to read more or be part of the archaeological work. I always thought the whole point or writing in archaeology is for others scholars to read the work and get something out of it. Maybe they decide to pick up where the work left off, use it as references, figure out other questions and concerns that came out of the research or just enjoy the reading. Personally, I never enjoyed criticizing other people works. I always felt like; who am I to criticize this great hardworking archaeologist! But since it was mandatory, my critical response was always suggesting the writer be less wordy, more to the point, too much information, and difficult to understand. Aside from that, it was difficult to state that their work was wrong. To me, everyone seems to have a point in their work. Maybe some material is wrong, especially back in the days when archaeology was more racist. Moderately, everyone seems to give a valid statement if not within all the work, there is something to grasp from everyone’s research.

Now, through writing,  how can the HCPCP grasp the audience attention? I suggest that some of the HCPCP members should express their experience within the field work. Did they like working outside? How was the environment and weather around them? Was there any encounter of interest? Like a really exotic looking monument or the voodoo dolls lying around the cemetery. Of course, I really enjoy pictures, so by providing visuals, the readers can get a better understanding of what the writer experienced. If not able to provide visuals, the writer to use ethnographic writing to detailly express what they witnessed in the field. In truth, Peter Young suggest being a storyteller. For example, he states to make it existing like “ these were flutes that hadn’t been played for a thousand years (242).” The HCPCP can state how by looking at certain graves conditions one can infer how the departer grave has not been visited for many 10 years. Their names, probably already forgotten, had not been mentioned until we came along.  Even more, their once life existence had not been thought about until we read and placed within the data their grave marker information. I myself wondered who were these people when they were living and roaming the land. How was their lifestyle? What did they see and accomplished? Did they live a long life? Many did not live a long life, the HCPCP has a large of infant graves. Could their deaths be related? That is a question that can be asked when viewing the year of their departed. It is going to be an exciting experience when the fieldwork and lab work is fully completed. Then, the archaeologist can fully give a written piece. For now, we can write our personal experience in the field.

The whole point about writing is to give the information obtained from the research to the audience. They can use the information to find a relative, history about the site, connections to other cemeteries, cultural background and so forward. Through participation, my interest in the HCPCH research has been caught so I will continue to keep up to date with what the project will do next as well as the end results.

Site Interpretation

Rosewood, Florida has a lot of important history that helps determine the social changes that the United States faced during the early twentieth century. The destruction of many African-American towns was caused by a race riot in 1923. This riot caused a lot of people (mainly Blacks)  to lose their homes, have no place to live in and migrate out. To recover the historical racist and inequality of Rosewood riot event in 1923, Edward Gonzalez-Tennant placed together a Virtual Rosewood research project on the website; With this, he seeks that the public will remember, learn and “remind us that those who have forgotten are doomed to repeat (Gonzalez-Tennant: homepage).”

His webpage is very interesting because he put together oral history, 3D models, archive documentation (photos, maps, census, etc.). This gives the viewers multiple forms to fully witness and understand the past. Yet, it appears that Gonzalez-Tennant aim to reach towards the minorities for the research is about African-American being discriminated and evicted. Also, he points out towards the majority when he states; this historical event is to “remind us that those who have forgotten are doomed to repeat (Gonzalez-Tennant: homepage).” In other words, he wants the event to be remembered so the mistake will not be repeated. In all, he calls his project virtual reality for he is giving the viewers physical documents, maps, pictures,  and information about the site. With this, the people can see exactly how the time looked and how it has changed over time. He informs us that the history can as well help us see if there is still the presence of discrimination and inequality between races.

How can we learn from his virtual reality work and use it in our own the Hidalgo County Public Cemetery Project (HCPCP)? We know that digital techniques have been improving and more people are using the source. Even more, the internet gives worldwide access to the online material, making it not an issue to reach the long-distance areas. With the already created website, the HCPCP can, later on, add the data collections of the monumental structures. This will lead the HCPCP to become a more virtual reality by placing the information on the website. In fact, the current website is heading that way since we are informing the digital public of our project by giving them resources, our thoughts, and historical information. Hopefully, soon we can add some data collection to the site where the public can access the cemetery monuments and burial locations. Also, it would be great if we could provide the original list that the owner has of people buried in the cemetery. This would be very memorable to the family members and those who are interested in historical documents.

In furthering the advertisement, this Spring 2018 semester, we had the local channel 5 News at the site. Hopefully, a lot of locals watched the news and would like to come out and help or find their relatives. The newscast did a great story of Gloria Ramirez and her family members attempting to find their buried relative. The family members at the end found the monument through the use of our already collected data and the deceased name that they provided. It would be cool if the KRGV link of the video was posted on the HCPCP website so other can have easier access to the link. The link is found in and is titled “Records Unknown, Graves Unmarked at Hidalgo Cemetery (Christian Von Preysing, 2018).” In connection, the web designer of Virtual Rosewood Gonzalez-Tennant public aim was towards everyone and he even has a documentary film of the site. Aside from the local news report,  maybe in the future, the area can be documented with relatives, students working the site, the cemetery workers that have helped out with maintenance and even add some history of the time period that the burials consist of. This will give the people more understanding of the deceased time period and the location historical events. Moreover, another aim that the project should trigger is the UTRGV students and other nearby college students that are interested in archaeological fieldwork. By sending out and posting flyer around campuses, students can contact the project director, Dr. Sarah M. Rowe, to participate in the project. This will aid the project in having more helpers to complete the collection more quickly. Also, it will give students more knowledge about the location and about anthropology fieldwork. The fieldwork can count towards volunteer work through the Engagement Zone website so volunteer workers can place it on their resumes. It is a win for everyone.

Like Gonzalez-Tennant, the aim for the HCPCP is to remember the past in order to learn and remind us of those who have been forgotten. With that, the cemetery burials will always be recorded in case if natural destruction occurs or other destructive factors. I honestly believe this archaeological fieldwork to be worthwhile because it helps the community’s culture maintenance, awareness of the region’s history, and connecting with the community. In all, the project website is doing great. Once the data is fully collected and revised, the HCPCP hopes to provide online access to each individual grave.


Social Justice

Marginalization and inequalities occur all over the United States continent since, after the conquerization of the land and people, the new laws and enforcements discriminate minority races. In particular, by viewing the graves and the landscapes physical conditions in Hidalgo County Public Cemetery (HCPC) we can witness such aspects of neglect and marginalization from the other cemeteries. To express the findings of marginalization and inequalities the project needs to explore the neighboring cemeteries. What should be compared is the date range of the burials, race types, maintenance of the site, maintenance of individual graves, and difference of used grave markers. With all that, we can address the issue of diversity to find if racism has taken place in this mainly Hispanic descended area.

Date range of burials can help view the start of burials and the end. Has this location filled up leading to the need to start other cemeteries nearby? Or did the other cemeteries also began burials at the same time? How old are the decedents? In Hidalgo County Public Cemetery Project (HCPCP) there are some burials that have been relocated to this area. Why where they moved? Was there a renewal movement at their previous location? In all, the date can help view the shift of people migrating into the region and the past race as well as class that dwelled within Edinburg, Texas.

Maintenance of site shows how the owner has the number of funds gained from the burials to continue maintaining the land clear and clean. When the HCPCP began the area had no restroom facilities unlike the neighboring cemetery Hillcrest who has a building. Even more, most of the road is dirt road whereas Hillcrest has paved roads. There were no trash cans in the location when first starting the project. Now there is one. In fact, now there is more maintenance of yard work compared to the first day of the project. Moreover, there is no inputted sprinkler system in HCPC but there is in Hillcrest. therefore, we can state that the owner does not have the funds like how Hillcrest has. Is it because HCPC was cheaper to purchase compared to purchasing a grave plot at Hillcrest. This can help figure out the class of the region.

Maintenance of individual graves can explain reasons why the location looks like it does. The amount of people who still visit their buried family members by leaving offerings (such as flowers) gives a glimpse of what family members are still present in the area. It can also help determine if some have been forgotten or have no determination of who they are.  In HCPC there are some burials with no names and date of birth as well as death. Did someone know this person? Is this location a place for lower income, therefore, the family members had no money to buy a durable gravestone? Has the time caused failure to remember where their family member was buried? For sure, it is a lower class graveyard. Do the other cemeteries also have poor grave monuments? Also, have some of the there burials been of people that no one recalled since their death, which caused the city to bury them in this location.

Grave markers can determine the type of class the family and deceased stood on. Here there are some that are just a wood marker, with no name and date. Has there been a previous maker that was stolen or broken? Or was that the original? Also, there are a lot of grave markers that are personally made rather than store bought. Did they want to make them themselves or was it more inexpensive than buying one? We can analyze the type of material used like if its something you can easily find lying around the house. For example, fencing made out of house bricks. This could have been leftover material from their house. There are some who seemed very expensive like those made of marble or granite. How many of there stone monuments are there in the area? Compare to the other cemeteries. This can determine the number of well-off people in the region.

It is how Paul A. Shackel conducts his research in New Philadelphia with the assurance  that “the history of racism on the landscape is obvious (Shackel, 2007: 252).” With all these questions we can answer if there is a separation of class and race. Then, we can raise the consciousness of the landscape history in order acknowledge the city’s cultural aspects, classification, and historical shifts (Paul Mullins, 2007: 97). We can then ask ourselves if there have been improvements in racial norms and marginalization or is there a maintenance. It is obvious that there is marginalization within this area. The researchers are here to address these inequalities and make aware to the public of the graveyard that has been forgotten.

Digital Techniques

Our media technology continues to advance by creating new forms, engagements, and access towards it. As explained by Neil Postman, these new inventions have created ecological adaptations, making the people adjust to the new ways (Bonacchi, 2017: pp.2). With this, digital engagement seems to be the aim of public archaeology in order to give the audience wider access to the resource and research that are conducted. In fact, digital engagement goes beyond locals having access to the data for the internet is international. Even more, the storage of information is great because there are diverse programs one can engage in with little to no money. At first, one might struggle to find a good web source, but you can switch around to diverse apps or tools. Also, the online storage makes updates of data and digital forms easier to conduct compared to previous usages like pen and paper. In all, HCPCP would be better off digitally since our society has been moving forward with improvements in our mass media technology.

Nowadays, since adolescence, the younger people have been raised with technology.  They have embraced technology at all times, creating a change towards our methods of teaching, performing and interacting. This social change is worldwide, therefore; there are more international connections than ever seen before.  It is great news for archaeologist because it helps them expand their connections, access to materials and providing information worldwide. In specific, the HCPCP can become collaborative with the younger civilization. I have always thought that to better the nation, the young students should be pushed and have access to newer inventions so once they grow up they can develop more complex technology that will better our civilization. The way HCPCP can be helpful to students is by showing them ways to store historical information, maintain it and accessing the past. Later on one might find such technique used as well, and also start to store past records digitally. Yet, that is not the most important aspects of making HCPCP data digitalized. The beauty of this is so the students and people can have access to the information.

Kevin Garstki states that holding or studying the full artifact itself brings you back to the actual individual that made it (Garstki, 2017: 727). Here he is talking about a 3D object that can be physical but as well as digital. If HCPCP would make the data in 3D mode and make it accessible online, the people can get a better glimpse and understanding of the material and information collected. The project can go certain ways. Firstly, having a better aerial view of the landscape can give the people understanding the location of the cemetery. What kind of landscape is the cemetery? What part of the world is it located? What else is nearby? How big is the cemetery? Is there a pattern within the burials? We can also see the nature of the land and where each individual decedent is located. This will help some find a certain individual as well as the type of burial. Another possible 3D model is each individual burial is by taking a panoramic picture of the monuments. The information can be stored to view the condition of the monuments. We can also capture the diverse styles and how they interconnect. Furthermore, the number of offerings will be present in order to determine the cultural background, if the burial was a memorial to the family members or friends, and can help determine the age and gender of the decedent. That last point is nice to know in case the grave marker has been damaged or missing, this can help identify the decedent. It will be a great way to store history and information in case the cemetery values and materials get damaged. Lastly, HCPCP can get an underground 3-D x-ray of the burials. With that image, the researchers can analyze the skeletons decays, burial positions and once again gender and age. We can also view if there are other unmarked burials. Again this will help see patterns and cultures.

All sounds great but the downfall is having a lack of access to creating the 3D models. The time doesn’t really matter since HCPCP researchers are college students and professor. What matters is funds. With limited funds, the project can only do so much. There are some free digital technologies around the internet, but are not as high quality as other priced software applications. In addition, the 3D X-ray scanner machine is expensive. It is actually a new technology used to scan the ground not only by anthropologist but as well as armed forces. The HCPCP researchers might even face trouble with the decedent’s families who might not want to see or have someone bother the dead. These are a few of difficulties that the project faces when trying to make the information 3D.

For researchers, the ability to engage with others is the main goal. This way their research and data can be further used by others. When doing research there is never ending inquiries.  So by providing the information publicly, others can use the material for further studies. Also, storing history is helpful for a person to find their background roots. It is just a nice way to give someone something to look back on.   


Once when doing Archaeology in Belize, I got the question from a local worker that was participating in his community public archaeology; “ Why are you here?” He knew about the research taking place and how we were there to discover new findings of the Maya civilization. What he did not understand is why a person would fly over the lands and sea to study some region and culture that does not pertain to their own. This question remained with me since and I been trying to understand it myself. Back then I did not have an answer but now working at the Hidalgo County Public Cemetery Project (HCPCP) I seem to find the archaeologist’s motive.  We are here to help both us and the community, to gain new knowledge, preserve and enjoy the cultures. Or as Ervin states, we are here to create “ a greater awareness of community members’ own resources’ (Ervin 2000: 200).” In relation, two great writers, Fred McGhee and John Jameson, go into detail of how to achieve public archaeology.

McGhee’s 2012 work consists of using the Participatory Action Research (PAR) whereas Jameson’s older work of 2003 speaks of public education and outreach. Firstly, what PAR consist of is to “transform communities for the better and where positive social change is an explicit goal (McGhee 2012: 213).” PAR is considered to be revolutionary for its goal is to commit to the region’s political struggles in order to become part of the community’s collective memory, build solidarity and knowledge (McGhee 2012: 218-219). This is done by having the community work hand in hand with the archaeologists. Differently, Jameson aims for the archeologist to work more with instructors, officials, leaders rather than the common locals (Jameson 2003: 158). The first one seems to be more directed towards the community self-learning while the other view is to first spread towards a smaller group of people that can then teach the community.  This difference in public archaeology approach shows how ethical principles are becoming more embraced and understandable over time. Now that the world has more connections, like social media, it is easier to see and learn from the different and similar ethics. Also, we have become more racially mixed and even live next to multi-diverse cultures. This will further make anthropology researchers closer to the people. In fact, the HCPCP has been building their work to be available to the public by providing the resources online like and being published in the University of Texas at Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) press release and the main end goal to make a publicly accessible database of each individual grave. What seems to be missing is for the project to be even more open to the public by sending out volunteer opportunities to the community. There does seem to be a number of people approaching the project participants (UTRGV students) that are interested in what we are doing in the area. Maybe providing them with a flyer of the project they could explore the website and contact us for more information or even suggest to help out with the project. I believe that can make the project become more PAR.   

It doesn’t matter where archaeology takes places, what matters is the resources that are contributed to the people. Therefore, the work that we are doing at the HCPCP will help the community and others that have moved farther away to find their relatives. What we gain from here is giving the available resources to the public as well as better understanding the cemeteries cultural aspects. Here the cemeteries preservation has been reignited and hopefully the graves cultural notions will become alive as how the other nearby graves stand. I really like Jameson’s explanation that the ultimate goal of archaeology is “to improve people’s lives by helping them to enjoy and appreciate their cultural heritage (Jameson 2003: 161).”   


It is important to note that the Rio Grande Valley has more Hispanic people than any other ethnicity. Therefore, the HCPCP is conducted by diverse cultures with most of the research participants and burials being of Hispanic descent. I believe that with these same or similar cultural backgrounds, the project is easier to understand and determine valid results, for we can understand the forms of burials conducted in the area by comparing with our own lives. With that said the stakeholders are both the community and the researchers since there is a connection with the culture and society. Of course, this does not leave out other cultures that are integrated, buried nearby, who we are able to learn as well as understand, such as Hispanic culture. The end result is to record, analyze, provide and revive the cemeteries’ descendants and memorial region.

Communities in the Rio Grande Valley are mainly Hispanic but there are diverse cultures. One way we can glimpse at this is by viewing the nearby Black descent cemetery. This shows that others besides Hispanics have been living in Edinburg, Texas since the earlier days. Even so, there are mainly Hispanics buried in this region as there are more Hispanics living here in present times. The reason for this is that the Rio Grande Valley is neighbor to Mexico and the land became part of the United States after the Treaty of Guadalupe of Hidalgo in 1848. The cemetery has dates going back as far as the late 1700s. It shows that the start of burials was during the time that the land belonged to Mexico. Such acknowledgment raises the question: does this cemetery have older descendants than the other three neighboring cemeteries? As stated before, there is another cemetery nearby that has black burials whereas the other well maintained (compared to the one we are working on) Hillcrest Memorial Park and Monuments cemetery. It is interesting how the Hillcrest cemetery is so well maintained with paved roads, integrated water sprinklers, trash cans, restrooms and so on.  What happened to the HCPC? Is it much older than the Hillcrest? Is there a difference in the hierarchy? This is important to know so we can determine what communities should be more reached out to. It is like how Cheryl LaRoche and Michael Blakey’s African Burial Ground project in New York shows how the work gave a testimony of the African-American contribution and suffering in that region (LaRoche and Blakey 1997: 100). Here we might find a connection to the regions past participants of what they represented and who they were.

   Having Hispanic students conducting research with the HCPCP there is obvious cultural affiliation. It would be great if we could work with communities around us especially those who are families from the descendants. However, “all people put value on objectivity in certain contexts” and no one should be rejected or forced to use the data collected (Kanne Pyburn 2009: 163). By placing the information online, whoever wants to go and see is free to do so. I do believe that there needs to be cultural affiliation involved for the project to function. This does not mean that the leader of the project should be someone that has a decedent in the cemetery. What I mean here is that it makes it easier to have some people that know about the culture. With that, the researcher can teach the others something they know about the burial materials or forms that are difficult to see if not part of that culture. Together they learn and understand the cemetery. Cultural affiliations can as well ease tension with the community who at times dislike non-Hispanic people to research their region. Something similar to the African Burial Ground project problematic situations of questioning if white people should study black people (LaRoche and Blakey 1997: 93).  Now if we have Hispanics in the project there will be more comfortable with the communities. In all, I think working with diverse cultures is good for there are so many different views and interpretations that can work together to find the cultural significance of the cemetery.

The stakeholders for the HCPCP are the community and researchers. Both should have some control over the research to share with each other what comes out from the project. What they end up gaining is knowledge of the regions ancestors, culture, and social changes. In fact, the power dynamics of the project is to make the cemetery a better place in order to maintain the cultural importance of the living and the dead. By working together, the attention to continue maintaining the cemetery will increase, for people will become aware of this forgotten graveyard. Going back to HCPCP stakeholders, not only does the researcher need to know the community but the community needs to get to know the researchers in order to understand each other. It is how Pyburn states: “It is important to be known, as to know (Pyburn 2009:174).” In other words, by knowing each other we can place trust and respect on the region and the work that is being done.