Archeological Approaches to MIA-Recovery Missions in Europe; Representations of Railroading from the 1820’s; WN@TL Goes Dark for Thanksgiving

Explore the Unknown!   

For November 11, 2020

Please share this missive with your friends & neighbors.

If you’ve already registered for a previous WN@TL this fall, you’re good—you don’t have to register again.

If you’ll be watching for the first time this week, please register here for the WN@TL Zoom.

Hi WN@TL Fans,

Today the summer wind blew away and a menacing storm flew in, not unlike 45 years ago when the Edmund Fitzgerald sank in a gale, or 80 years ago tomorrow when the Armistice Day Blizzard of 1940 tore into the Midwest and killed more than 150 people.

A hundred and two years ago another type of storm passed with the end of the World War.  Beginning in 1919, the UK, the US and many other nations marked November 11 as Armistice Day and as day to remember those killed in the war.  Over the years, the commemorations of the day have evolved.  In 1939 the British shifted from marking November 11 to marking the second Sunday of November, and changed the name to Remembrance Sunday.  The US, which already had a national Memorial Day at the end of May, in 1954 re-designated November 11 as Veterans Day.

One way to measure the mettle of a nation is to ask how that nation finishes the work of war as it moves to peace.

As Lincoln put it in March 1865 as the Civil War drew to a close: “With malice toward none with charity for all with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right let us strive on to finish the work we are in to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan ~ to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.”

As examples of enduring memorials, the British have the Cenotaph in Whitehall, the French Unknown rests under the Arc de Triomphe, and in the US at Arlington National Cemetery we have the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers from WWI, WWII, Korea and Vietnam.

Notably, since 1998 the tomb for the Unknown for the Vietnam War has been empty.  DNA technology enabled the identification of the set of remains originally entombed;  the tomb now is a memorial to America’s missing servicemen, 1958-1975.

It is that confluence of commitment and technology that is enabling the identification of remains of unidentified service members and civilians.  Among the pioneers at the frontiers of advanced technology dedicated to finding and identifying remains are the people at the Missing in Action Recovery & Identification Program led by UW-Madison in conjunction with scholars at UW-Milwaukee, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and other institutions.

This week on November 11 we will observe Veterans Day with a presentation by Gregg Jamison, archeologist and professor of anthropology at UW-Milwaukee.

His talk is entitled “The UW MIA Recovery and Identification Project: Archaeological Approaches to Recovery Missions in Europe.”

Description:  Since 2016, the UW MIA Recovery and Identification Project has partnered with the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) to help recover, identify, and repatriate the remains of missing American armed services personnel from WWII in Europe. In this presentation, the team’s Scientific Recovery Expert and Lead Archaeologist Dr. Gregg Jamison will discuss archaeological approaches and perspectives on our recovery missions. This will include an overview of research methods, a summary of past successes and future goals, and emphasize the unique character of our recovery missions. In closing, Dr. Jamison will reflect on how the project provides valuable teaching and learning experiences for students and other volunteers. These experiences provide our team with valuable, hands-on experiences in archaeology and help us to remember and honor the sacrifices of our fallen heroes.

Bio:  Gregg Jamison is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee at Waukesha, where he teaches a wide variety of introductory and upper-level anthropology courses. He received his PhD in Anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and specializes in anthropological archaeology.

His research interests are diverse and include the ancient Indus Civilization, the origins of cities, states, and civilizations, prehistoric craft production, experimental and ethnoarchaeology, and cultural resource management. Professor Jamison has twenty years of archaeological field experience and has served as the Scientific Recovery Expert and Lead Archaeologist for the UW MIA Recovery and Identification Project since 2018.

Explore More:


Next week on November 18 Scott Lothes of the Center for Railroad Photography & Art here in Madison will be here to speak on “Representations of Railroading From the 1820’s.” 

Description: As one of the world’s most transformative technologies, railroads are frequent subjects of all forms of art. Beginning with the first paintings of steam locomotives from the 1820s and moving all the way through to digital photographs of today’s trains, we will consider the long relationship between railroads and visual media. Featured works will include highlights from the collections of the Center for Railroad Photography & Art, a Madison-based nonprofit organization whose mission is to preserve and present significant images of railroading.

Bio: Scott Lothes is president and executive director of the Center for Railroad Photography & Art and editor of its quarterly journal, Railroad Heritage. An accomplished freelance photographer and author, his work appears frequently in a variety of publications. He grew up watching coal trains in West Virginia and received a B.S. degree in mechanical engineering from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. He lives in Madison’s Glen Oak Hills neighborhood with his wife Maureen Muldoon, who works as a career advisor at UW-Madison’s SuccessWorks. They enjoy exploring Madison and Wisconsin with their dog, Maddie.

Explore More:

Rain, Steam and Speed — The Great Western Railway by J.M.W. Turner


We’ll be dark for November 25, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.  Don’t know how many of us will be going over the river and thru the woods this year.


Remember, we now meet by Zoom, since we can’t gather all in one room.

If you have registered for the WN@TL zoom series, you don’t have to register again.

If you haven’t signed up yet, please register at

A Zoom Meeting allows everyone to choose whether to turn on their video; and I’ll be able to unmute you in the pre-talk warmup (we’ll fire up the video around 6:50pm) and you’ll be able to ask questions by audio or by chat.

So the WN@TL by Zoom will be include 4 components:
1. Prelude Chat (not recorded),
2. Intro & Talk (recorded),
3. Q&A (recorded), and then
4. Linger at the Lectern when you can chat with the presenters informally (not recorded).

I believe this is as close to the WN@TL experience in the Biotech Center Auditorium as the technology permits.

The recorded presentations and Q&A will be posted on the WN@TL YouTube site.


I hope to see you this Wednesday at 7 by Zoom.

Tom Zinnen
Biotechnology Center & Division of Extension, Wisconsin 4-H