Books in Beta

Over the holiday weekend, I’m going to take some time to finish up typesetting on book that has been lingering on The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota‘s to-do list for last year or so. It’s a textbook on the history of science and technology that is already in use in digital form at the University of Maryland’s global campus. You can check out the digital version of the book here

The challenge of this book for me is that it’s really not complete. That said, it is in use and the main editor of the book wants it available in paper form for students who don’t want to read it on the screen. This makes a certain amount of sense to me.

As a book that will be published under an open license, of course, being complete is a relative situation. Even if the author sees the book as final, it’s status as an open book (especially if it is released under a “by attribution” license) allows it to be adapted and modified in ways that other readers might find more helpful. This is especially relevant for a textbook which might be mined for useful sections, reorganized to fit different priorities, expanded, or even radically condensed depending on a class’s focus. In other words, books like this are in perpetual beta as they are tried and modified to meet the goals of different courses, instructors, and situations.

I’m still struggling a bit to wrap my head around “publishing” a formal version of a book that simply isn’t complete. 

That said, I’ve had a couple of other situations that could justify publishing a beta version of a book. 

I’ve recently received a nice draft of a book which offers some approaches to addressing and teaching about pseudoarchaeology in the archaeology classroom. The author doesn’t expect this book to be the last word on the subject, but see what he and his coauthors have brought together a useful start for anyone looking to teach about pseudoarchaeology. In other words, they hope that this book is expanded and adapted through use. And considering the prominence of conversations about pseudoarchaeology both across social media and in the discipline right now there is real reason to expedite the appearance of this book.

Finally, I have a brilliant manuscript prepared by students in a graduate course in English that I taught last spring. The book is a thoughtful and creative response to their experiences in one of the oldest buildings on campus, Merrifield Hall. This building is slated for a major renovation this spring and summer. Over homecoming weekend, the college held an open house that allowed faculty, students, alumni, and friends to say good bye to the building in its current form and to celebrate their memories and experiences in its broad, low-ceiling, halls and awkwardly designed classrooms and offices. 

The book was essentially done at the time of the event, but it wasn’t quite the level of polish or finish that we wanted. If I had to do it over again, I might have released a beta version for people to enjoy—even if it was just in digital form—at this event. It would have cast a stronger light on these students’ work and encouraged interested readers to “stay tuned” for the final version which will appear in the coming months.

These three examples have given me the idea of creating a “Books in Beta” catalogue at my press which will allow us to release books that aren’t quite (or won’t ever be) finalized. It’ll also acknowledge that in the 21st century, digitally-mediated world, publishing isn’t ever the final step, but just another step in knowledge making. As such, it is perfectly acceptable to recognize publications that exist in various states, from the polished, authoritative, and complete, to the rough, tentative, and provisional.

Would you download a book in beta from The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota?  

Cyber Monday from The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota (feat. North Dakota Quarterly)

It’s Cyber Monday which, to my mind, isn’t really a thing. That said, we live in a world where quite a few things that aren’t things (e.g. the entire internet) seem to exist and go about their daily business. As a result, it seems wise to at least acknowledge Cyber Monday has a kind of existence even if its “thingness” should be qualified.

Once we get to the point of acknowledging its existence, it makes sense to celebrate it in some way. 

So, here’s the deal.

Below is a link, click the link and download the entire 2022 catalogue from The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota and a special gift from North Dakota Quarterly. It’s free. The books are good, and since I’m not charging anything, I feel like I’m doing my part to subvert the commercial non-thing energy of Cyber Monday and to replace it with something more joyful, more convivial, and more positive. 

CLICK HERE.

With that one click, you’ll get:

Rebecca J. Romsdahl, Mindful Wandering: Nature and Global Travel through the Eyes of a Farmgirl Scientist. 2021. From Bookshop.org.

Epoiesen 5 (2021). From Amazon.com.

Michael G. Michlovic and George R. Holley, Archaeological Cultures of the Sheyenne Bend. 2022. From Bookshop.org.

Brian R. Urlacher, The Library of Chester Fritz. 2022. From Amazon.com.

Jurij Koch, The Cherry Tree. Translated by John. K. Cox. North Dakota Quarterly Supplement Series, Volume 2. 2022. From Amazon.com.

Rodger Coleman, Sun Ra Sundays. Edited by Sam Byrd. 2022. From Amazon.com.

And remember, if you really HAVE to buy a book in paper, proceeds from each sale helps The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota continue to publish more books and make them available for free! Likewise, consider subscribing to NDQ.

New Book Day: Rodger Coleman’s Sun Ra Sundays

This is a big NEW BOOK DAY for The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota.

We are very excited to announce the publication of a long simmering book project: Rodger Coleman’s Sun Ra Sundays, edited by Sam Byrd.

And, yes, I did schedule the release date for the book to be the day before the annual ASOR meeting!

This book is an incredibly accessible and personal guide to Sun Ra’s most artistically vibrant decades of the 1960s and 1970s. For those of you who don’t know Sun Ra, this is the perfect place to start to explore the work of this important jazz visionary, Afrofuturist, poet, and thinker. And this is the perfect time to familiarize yourself with his work as the Smithsonian readies its landmark exhibition on the history of Afrofuturism.

The book is a heavily revised and reorganized version of Rodger Coleman’s iconic blog series “Sun Ra Sundays” (2008-2016) which anticipated the revival of interest in not only Sun Ra’s musical legacy, but also Afrofuturist music, art, and culture more generally. As Irwin Chusid, the administrator of the Sun Ra estate, remarked: “The opinions herein are exhaustive, authoritative, and worth reading. They are a valuable addition to Sun Ra scholarship…”

For a recent review of recent scholarship on Sun Ra, check out this review essay that appeared in the most recent North Dakota Quarterly.

What makes this book unique in the recent flurry of work on Sun Ra is that both Rodger Coleman and Sam Byrd are musicians. This produced perspectives are not only accessible and entertaining, but steeped in the sensibilities developed over decades of playing improvised and jazz music.

For Rodger, this book also offers a tonic for our age: “In our current era of profound cynicism and bad faith, it is all too easy to dismiss Sun Ra’s schtick as so much showbiz hokum, filtered through a nostalgia for a “Space Age’ future that never came to be—but that would be a mistake. Whatever you might think of the music, there are lessons to be learned about discipline, DIY entrepreneurship, and the virtues of collective action…”

As with all Digital Press books, Sun Ra Sunday is available as a free, open-access, download. If you like the book and want to support the Digital Press’s approach to open access publishing, please consider buying a paper copy.

The press release is “below the fold” as they say:

Sun Ra Sunday Cover

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sun Ra in the Spotlight:
A New Book on the Music and Art of a Foundational Afrofuturist

As the world eagerly awaits the next episode in Marvel’s Black Panther film franchise and the Smithsonian prepares a massive retrospective on Afrofuturism, the visionary musician, writer, and thinker, Sun Ra enjoys growing acclaim as the grandfather of Afrofuturism.

The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota is proud to announce the publication of Sun Ra Sundays. This groundbreaking book offers readers an accessible window into Sun Ra’s musical legacy from 1961-1979, which includes many of his most revolutionary and inspiring releases.

Born Herman Blount, Le Sony’r Ra (or Sun Ra) took his new name when he moved from Birmingham, Alabama to Chicago. In Chicago, he became active in the booming post-war music scene and assembled a band comprised of some of the best young musicians in the city. Under Sun Ra’s direction, this group produced some of the most sophisticated jazz music the city had seen and combined it with space age costumes, stories of alien abduction, and distinctive interpretations of Black history. By the late 1950s, Sun Ra relocated with his band, known as the Arkestra, to New York where he became a mainstay in the city’s experimental music scene and recorded and released a bewildering number of albums. The number and variety of releases has long overwhelmed the casual listener.

Rodger Coleman started Sun Ra Sundays on his blog NuVoid as a way to introduce Sun Ra to a wider audience. His weekly posts exploring Ra’s discography ran for several years before he got discouraged and “pulled the plug” on his efforts to unpack the complicated history and legacy of Sun Ra’s music. By then, however, Coleman’s musings had already become an invaluable touchstone for Sun Ra fans and curious newcomers alike.

Coleman remains modest about his work: “Ra’s discography is vast and bewildering and these scribblings were my attempt to at least partially come to grips with it.”

Sam Byrd, who took the lead in editing Rodger Coleman’s blog posts into the book Sun Ra Sundays is more forthright: “There is no one proper way to approach Sun Ra’s massive output, but Rodger Coleman gives us a start with comprehensive overviews and in-depth musical analyses of every official Sun Ra album from 1961 to 1979, as well as invaluable examinations of an astounding number of unreleased concert recordings and other rarities.”

What makes this book unique is both Byrd and Coleman are musicians.

Coleman notes: “It wasn’t until Sam and I started covering some of Sun Ra’s music back in the ‘90s that I could really wrap my head around it. Make no mistake: no matter how “out there” the music may seem to get, it remains deeply rooted in the entire history of African American musical practice. These roots may be obscured but can still be discerned.”

When asked why someone might pick up this book and explore the music, thought, and legacy of Sun Ra, Coleman offered this observation:

“Whatever you might think of the music, there are lessons to be learned about discipline, DIY entrepreneurship, and the virtues of collective action. Over the course of decades, Ra attracted a core group of gifted musicians who eschewed fame and fortune to fulfill his vision of self-sufficiency and artistic integrity.”

Like all books from The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota, Sun Ra Sundays is available as a free download or a low-cost paperback.

You can listen to some of Sam and Rodger’s music here:

https://rodgercoleman.bandcamp.com/

And their adventuresome cover of Sun Ra’s “Dancing Shadows” as the first track here:
https://wavelengthinfinitysunratribute.bandcamp.com/album/wavelength-infinity

New Book Day: The Library of Chester Fritz

It’s homecoming week at UND and we have a homecoming themed book for New Book Day! It’s the first book in what should be a pretty exciting 2022/2023 publishing season!

CCF COVER Single

Brian R. Urlacher’s, The Library of Chester Fritz, is the first novel published by The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota, but is very much in keeping with our focus on the history of the state, our campus, and the region’s remarkable characters.

More importantly (especially to anyone without a real connection to North Dakota or UND), the book is a good story. Urlacher’s novel weaves his story into the real journals of Chester Fritz to produce chimerical narrative where Fritz’s words, Urlacher’s story, and the landscape of early 20th century China combine to create a world where the line between truth and fiction is so blurry as to be almost indistinguishable.

If that sounds pretty cool to you, you can download the book for FREE from The Digital Press website or buy it for the low, low price of $7 from Amazon. Remember being a paperback copy offers more than just the fine sensation of holding a paper book in you hand, but also supports The Digital Press’s mission to publish more open access books in the future!

https://thedigitalpress.org/the-library-of-chester-fritz/

If you’re still on the fence as to whether to download a free book, I offer a slightly more dramatic version of the book’s plot below:

Fate has entangled a library, a businessman, and the future of humanity. A trail of documents left behind by an eccentric businessman, traveler, and philanthropist Chester Fritz is the only way to understand the urgent danger. This book brings together Chester Fritz’s journals and follows his travels through war torn China and his ascent to the heights of global capitalism.

As World War II plunges the world into chaos, Fritz and his traveling companions wrestle with what to do and what forces are too dangerous or too dark for humanity to wield. But something must be done, and the decision will fall to Chester Fritz.

Thank you, as always, for supporting The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota and, if you like this title, do share your enthusiasm over twitter (@digitalpressund) or Facebook.

If you don’t like this title, that’s ok! It was FREE. And I’m pretty sure we’ll publish something that you DO like later in 2022-2023 season!

The formal press release is below and you can download the book’s full media kit here.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Time is Running Out!

The Chester Fritz Library holds the secret of its mysterious donor and the fate of the world hangs in the balance. Anyone who has spent time on the University of North Dakota’s campus knows it to be an enchanted place. A new novel takes this feeling to the next level.

The Library of Chester Fritz, is the debut novel by Professor of Political Science, Brian R. Ulacher. This daring and imaginative work hints that the power of the UND campus might go far beyond its well-kept gardens and collegiate Gothic architecture. Urlacher’s novel traces the travels of former UND student and benefactor, Chester Fritz, through early 20th-century China and speculates that his experiences on this journey introduced him to a powerful, and dangerous, secret.

Chester Fritz’s journal a version of which was published by the University of North Dakota Press in the 1980s and describes his work and travels in China prior to World War II. Fritz was born in Buxton, North Dakota and attended UND before heading to the West Coast and then abroad to make his fortune. In 1950 and 1969, Fritz made sizeable donations to UND which funded the library and auditorium that bear his name. Urlacher built from this manuscript and developed his story in a way that integrates seamlessly with Fritz’s own words. The result is a chimerical narrative where Fritz’s words, Urlacher’s story, and the landscape of early 20th century China combine to create a world where the line between truth and fiction is so blurry as to be almost indistinguishable.

Urlacher points out that Fritz’s journals themselves offer more than enough fodder for the imagination. He said, “I’m fascinated and frankly perplexed by Fritz’s choice to travel across China in 1917. He was utterly unprepared when he set his course through the heart of a civil war in which warlords, bandits, and crusader armies vied for every inch of territory.”

In Urlacher’s novel, Fritz’s mysterious experiences abroad become entangled with his monumental library at the heart of the UND campus. Urlacher explains that he was inspired by the Chester Fritz Library: “I’ve spent a lot of time just wandering among the stacks. I’m not sure if other people experience this, but I get a static tingle in libraries. Something about massing books, each representing a lifetime’s worth of experience, in such close proximity is powerful. There are so many stories about books being more than just pages, and libraries being more than just buildings. When I sat down to start world building, there was never a question of where to anchor the story. It had to be the Chester Fritz Library.”

Urlacher noted that something of Chester Fritz’s spirit lingers on our campus, observing, “Fritz had this unshakable optimism, and it comes through in his journal. He writes with an understated North Dakota humor, which is makes for very charming prose.”

Like all books from The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota, The Library of Chester Fritz is available as a free download or as a paperback book from Amazon.com.

 

Three Things Thursday: Data, Books, Teaching

This semester feels very odd to me. Not only did I start the semester a bit more tired than I expected to be, but I also didn’t have a clear set of goals and deadline ahead of me. After I submitted my revised book manuscript at the end of August, my fall semester seemed oddly under scheduled. It’s taken me a while to recognize that this is probably a good thing and more of a feature than a bug at this point in my career. 

This sense of being under-committed this fall has given me the space to work on a number of other projects in a less frantic way than I have in the past and today’s Three Things Thursday is about that.

Thing the First

Earlier this week, I posted about my work with the Isthmia data and my effort to corral and clean up various datasets produced by the Isthmia excavations over the past 50 odd years. My primary goal has been to work on Roman and Post-Roman material from the excavation and to focus particularly on Byzantine and Roman pottery. Earlier in the week I finished recoding the inventoried Roman and the Byzantine pottery so that it can be integrated with the stratigraphic data and context material from the site.

Then I moved on the the lamps from the site, figuring that most of the lamps found in the Ohio State and Michigan State excavations at Isthmia were Roman and later. Fortunately, Birgitta Wohl has just published a volume analyzing the lamps from these excavations, but her substantial catalogue identifies the lamps according to the inventory number and the area where they were found, but not their stratigraphic context or even trench. This is annoying, but perhaps not too unusual. 

More vexing is that I don’t have a table that includes all the lamps in Wohl’s catalogue. Instead, I have a partial table that I excavated from an Access database whose creator and purpose is unknown and I’ve spent about four or five hours now transforming Birgitta’s catalogue into data. This, of course, is both absurd and a completely normal part of archaeology as early-20th century practices and late-20th century digital tools continue to find opportunities for incompatibility. 

Thing the Second

This summer, I spent a good bit of time fretting about the number of projects I had wending their way through The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota. In particular, I was worried about a collaboration that I had hatched with our sister project, North Dakota Quarterly. This project involved the publication of a translation of Jurij Koch’s novella, The Cherry Tree, which would be the second book in our emerging NDQ supplement series.

Cherry Tree Cover FINAL

Our current plan is to release this title on October 11th. In fact, we don’t even have a landin page for the book yet, but the translator convinced us to accelerate the timeline so he could take some copies with him to Croatia next week. Because my fall is under scheduled, we were able to make this happen and while the book has not officially dropped yet, you can, if you know where to look, find a copy from a major online retailer

Thing the Third

Finally, I continue to think about whether being under scheduled is a privilege or something that university faculty should aspire to, and this has started to impact how I teach. In some ways, the current “syllabus as contract” driven environment creates an expectation that the schedule on the syllabus represents an accurate summary of student work during a semester. Because faculty (and students) recognize that under representing the quantity of material creates problems with student expectations, we tend to over represent the amount of material (or at least represent the maximum amount of material) that we hope to cover in a semester. This tends to compound a sense among students (and even among faculty) of being over extended or scheduled “to the max.” 

This doesn’t feel very healthy to me.

A Book By Its Cover: The Cherry Tree

This fall looks to be a busy one for The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota. We not only have three (and maybe a four!) books on tap for the next couple of months, but we also have plans to publish our first two novels. 

The second novel scheduled to appear this fall is in collaboration with our friends at North Dakota Quarterly as the second volume in our little NDQ Supplement series. The first volume in the supplement series was Snichimal Vayuchil, a collection of Tsotsil Maya poetry translated by Paul Worley. In 1984, NDQ published its first full-length novel, Thomas McGrath’s This Coffin Has No Handles

Today, we’ll share a copy of the cover of our next novel, Jurij Koch’s The Cherry Tree, translated by John K. Cox whose talented wife Kathleen T. Cox designed the fantastic cover.  

Cherry Tree Cover IMAGE

Without giving too much away, the cover captures the role of motion and movement in Koch’s compelling tale, while preserving the sense of mystery at the core of the story.

If you want to read a bit more about the book and what it’s about, go here

Layout Work for a Busy Fall at The Digital Press

There are three books in various stages of layout and design this fall. The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota particularly excited to publish a novella titled The Cherry Tree which will appear as the second volume of a series co-produced with North Dakota Quarterly. The Cherry Tree is the first major Sorbian work published in English and its author, Jurij Koch, is perhaps the best known Sorbian literary figure. The novella was translated from the German by John K. Cox. 

John has described the novella like this:

Set in the Sorbian-speaking region of the former East Germany, this unique and thought-provoking novella focuses on Ena, a young farm worker, who is torn between her family’s culture and the growing demands of modern society. She must navigate the conflicting demands and competing world views of her two lovers, Mathias (a Sorbian farmer) and Sieghart (a German engineer), even as she moves to Paris and then deals with the passing of her beloved grandfather. The story is tight and intense, with touches of magical realism as well as beautiful descriptions of nature. Koch’s pithy, accurate descriptions of life in Brandenburg and Saxony are animated by the author’s steadfast and heartening appreciation of rural traditions, the visits of a pre-Christian goddess, and…a surprise ending.

Cherry Tree Proof 0 pdf 2022 08 24 06 05 47

In my reading, the novella has a distinctly modernist vibe to it and I wanted to capture that in my page design while still keeping the overall feeling contemporary and tidy. As a result, I tried a new font to me: PS Fournier, which is a transitional font used for works like the first edition of Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake and a 1930 edition of Thoreau’s Walden. I combined it with the perhaps most distinctly modern German font (and a Digital Press favorite), Futura.

Cherry Tree Proof 0 pdf 2022 08 24 06 04 03

PS Fournier is set at 11.5 pts which should make this a pretty easy book to read and enjoy and give it a pleasant “heft” appropriate for its significance. I’m pretty happy with how it looks and we’re just waiting on the cover and some final edits and this book should appear later this fall! 

Stay tuned for more updates.

Book by its Cover: The Library of Chester Fritz

As the semester looms, I’m working to wrap up some publishing projects with The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota and North Dakota Quarterly including two new novellas. One is entering typesetting soon but the other is almost ready for prime time!

The first should be out in time for homecoming at the end of September: The Library of Chester Fritz by Brian R. Urlacher. It’s brilliantly entertaining piece of University of North Dakota-themed Gothic horror! 

As a little sneak peek, here’s the current, almost complete, cover draft.

CCF COVER pdf 2022 08 10 05 24 01

Curious? 

Drop me a line in the comments if you want to see an advanced copy!

New Book Day: Epoiesen 5

Epoiesen and The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota have a special relationship. When the press was just starting out and unsure of itself, Epoiesen’s founding editor, Shawn Graham, reached out and asked whether we might be interested in producing a print and pdf version of his new online journal. Shawn is one of those brilliant and creative scholars who facilitates creativity in others. This trait sometimes seems distressingly rare in academia. Ventures like Epoiesen, however, showed how creating a platform for others to showcase their creative work can elevate entire disciplines. 

Considering the absolute shit show this year has been, I feel like everyone could use a bit of a lift. Fortunately, volume 5 of Epoiesen has arrived to do just that.   

This is the longest and perhaps strongest issue of Epoiesen with a wide range of thought provoking, timely, and creative work that explore the the changing face of campus life, objects and memories, images of war, the multitude of meanings at archaeological sites, and the potential of poetry as a way to explore tragedy and hope. (I am honored to have a couple of contributions in this volume!)

Epoiesen is always available for free to read on the web and you can download it as a paginated PDF or buy it as a paperback for only $7. Go here for more on Epoiesen 5.

Cover Epoiesen5 SINGLEPAGE 2

New Book Day: The Archaeological Cultures of the Sheyenne Bend

It’s my favorite day of the year! NEW BOOK DAY. 

And this new book day is better than most because it’s a NEW ARCHAEOLOGY BOOK DAY. 

Let’s celebrate the publication of Michael G. Michlovic’s and George R. Holley’s Archaeological Cultures of the Sheyenne Bend!!

Here’s the skinny on The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota’s latest publication. As always it’s available for free or as a low cost paperback. Download links are below and do remember that purchasing a copy in paperback supports future publication projects by The Digital Press and contributes to building a sustainable infrastructure for small-scale, scholar-led, collaborative, open access publishing!

As a bit of backstory, the authors of this book reached out to me after struggling to find a traditional publisher for their manuscript. They wanted to publish their synthesis of a career of archaeological field work in the Sheyenne Bend region of Walsh County, North Dakota in a way that would ensure that a diverse and interested audience could get access to this work. They eventually discovered The Digital Press and we worked together to bring this remarkable little book together. 

The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota has had the good fortune of publishing quite a few books that deal with archaeology, on the one hand, and North Dakota, on the other. Every now and then, there’s a happy coincidence, and we publish a book on the archaeology of North Dakota. 

Today’s New Book Day celebrates one of these books: Michael G. Michlovic’s and George R. Holley’s Archaeological Cultures of the Sheyenne Bend. This book will join a small handful of books that explore in an engaging and accessible way the pre-European history and archaeology of North Dakota. Michlovic and Holley present a synthesis of over 35 years of archaeological research in the Sheyenne Bend of Walsh County. The book should be of interest both to specialists who want to get a broad overview of the archaeology of the region as well as to nonspecialists who are interested in how archaeologists interpret their finds and produce new understandings of regions and cultures. 

As with all our books, you can download it for free or pick up a low cost paperback from Amazon. Go here for the download or a link to purchase

More on the book and the press release below the cover image! 

Sheyenne Bend Book Cover

This volume presents the results of several decades of archaeological research in the Sheyenne Bend region of southeastern North Dakota. Piecing together evidence from disparate field projects, along with the work done by previous researchers, Archaeological Cultures of the Sheyenne Bend offers a status report on the pre-European era cultures of southeastern North Dakota. Presented in ordinary language, this book constitutes the essential details to make sense of the regional archaeological record.

A New Archaeological History of the Sheyenne Bend

Denizens of eastern North Dakota know that there is more to the history of this region than meets the eye. Mike Michlovic and George Holley pulled together over 30 years of archaeological field experience in southeastern North Dakota to write an accessible new history of the pre-European cultures on the Sheyenne Bend region.

Both Michael Michlovic and George Holley are Emeritus Professor s of Anthropology at Minnesota State University Moorhead, where Michlovic served as chair of the Department of Anthropology and Earth Science and president of the Council for Minnesota Archaeology. Holley excavated across the United States in the Southeast, Midwest, Plains, and Southwest, and in Mesoamerica where prehistoric ceramics became his specialty.

Mike Michlovic remarks that the new book, The Archaeological Culture of the Sheyenne Bend, “is an effort to make our work more accessible to a larger audience, and to put all of the sites we worked into a single story.”

Beginning over 10,000 years ago, Michlovic and Holley welcome us into the world of the communities that lived around what is now the Sheyenne River in Walsh County, North Dakota. Retreating glaciers, the disappearance of Lake Agassiz, and the changing course of the Sheyenne River provide a vivid backdrop to the thousands of years of activity in this region that predate the arrival of Europeans.

For Michlovic and Holley, the story of these societies remains important to this day: “We were both educated as anthropologists, and as such were taught that there are no people in the world who are unimportant, and who, through understanding, don’t have something to teach the rest of us. We feel it is the same with the study of the past. There is something to learn from everyone’s past, not just the from the history of presently dominant societies.”

Michlovic and Holley explain how the sites only gave up their history of the area when combined on a regional scale: “The Shea and Sprunk sites demonstrated the features of a previously unknown cultural entity in the Sheyenne region, the Rustad site by far the oldest site, and one well represented by the cultural deposits, and the Biesterfeldt site, now a National Historic Landmark reflecting the early history of the Cheyenne people.”

Taken together these sites remind us “every people and every place have a past worth knowing, and it is vital that we learn this past before it is lost.”

William Caraher, director of the Digital Press at the University of North Dakota and himself a field archaeologist, said, “Working on this book was particularly rewarding because it combined the press’s interest in archaeology and North Dakota into a book that is both accessible and one of the very few book length studies of North Dakota archaeology published this century.”

Like all books from The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota, it is available as a free download for the press’s website or as a low cost paperback: https://thedigitalpress.org/sheyenne-bend/