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Texas State Students at AAFS 2017

Several current and former Texas State Anthropology graduate students presented work at the 2017 American Academy of Forensic Sciences conference in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Shelby Garza AAFS 2017

Shelby Garza is an undergraduate majoring in anthropology, and presented the poster entitled 'The Differences in the Rate of Decomposition Between Frozen and Non-Frozen Human Remains" that she co-authored with Dr. Wescott.

Krystal Lewis AAFS 2017

Krystal Lewis presented part of her Master's thesis research in a co-authored poster entitled "Mapping Surface Scatter of Scavenged Human Remains Using Drone Aerial Photography."

Courtney Siegert, Lauren Meckel, Devora Gleiber, and Chloe McDaneld  AAFS 2017

Current and recently graduated Master's students present their collaborative research project: "Accumulated Decomposition Score (ADS): An Alternative Method to Total Body Score (TBS) for Quantifying Gross Morphological Changes Associated With Decomposition." (left to right: Courtney Siegert, Lauren Meckel, Devora Gleiber, and Chloe McDaneld)

AAFS 2017 Group

Current and former students, and faculty members.

Dr. Carolyn Boyd wins the Society for American Archaeology Book Award

Boyd BookDr. Carolyn Boyd has been selected by the Society for American Archaeology as the 2017 recipient of their book award for her new book, The White Shaman Mural: An Enduring Creation Narrative in Rock Art of the Lower Pecos

This short video that highlights the work Dr. Boyd and her team (including our students) are doing in the Lower Pecos.

FACTS faculty and student presentations at the AAFS in NOLA February 13-18

Bytheway, Joan A., Nicole Miller, Dawnie Steadman, Kelly Sauerweins, Dr. Daniel J. Wescott, Chaunesey M.I. Clemmons, Devora S. Gleiber, Chloe P. McDaneld, and Lauren A. Meckel. Validation of TBS/ADD equation at 100, 300, 500, and 1000 ADD on 30 human subjects with known PMI from three human decomposition facilities Proceedings of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences 23:248, American Academy of Forensic Sciences, New Orleans, LA.

Christensen, Angi M., Michael A. Smith, Deborah L. Cunningham, Daniel J. Wescott, and Devora S. Gleiber. The use of industrial CT in forensic anthropology. Proceedings of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences 23:216, American Academy of Forensic Sciences, New Orleans, LA.

Clemmons, Chaunesey, Nandar Yukyi, Kate Spradley. The accuracy of estimating ancestry in undocumented migrants along the south Texas border using dental morphological traits: a comparison to craniometrics. Proceedings of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences 23:198, American Academy of Forensic Sciences, New Orleans, LA.

Garza, Shelby and Daniel J. Wescott. Differences in rate of decomposition between frozen and non-frozen human remains. Proceedings of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences 23:214, American Academy of Forensic Sciences, New Orleans, LA.

Gleiber, Devora S., Lauren A. Meckel, Courtney C. Siegert, Chloe P. McDaneld, Justin A. Pyle, and Daniel J. Wescott. Accumulated decomposition score (ADS): an alternative method to TBS for quantifying gross morphological changes associated with decomposition. Proceedings of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences 23:206, American Academy of Forensic Sciences, New Orleans, LA.

Gocha, Timothy P., Kate Spradley, Ryan Strand, Bruce E. Anderson, Alicia Lusiardo. The role of the anthropologist in the identification and repatriation of deceased migrants along the United States-Mexico border. Proceedings of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences 23:272, American Academy of Forensic Sciences, New Orleans, LA.

Gordon, Gwyneth, Tiffany Saul, Dawnie Steadman, Kelly Knudson, Daniel J. Wescott. Preservation of hair stable isotope signature during freezing. Proceedings of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences 23:700, American Academy of Forensic Sciences, New Orleans, LA.

Ingvoldstad, Megan E., Timothy P. Gocha, Christian Crowder, Victoria M. Dominguez. Examining the effect of region of interest (ROI) size on the ability to accurately estimate age at death from osteon population density (OPD). Proceedings of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences 23:177, American Academy of Forensic Sciences, New Orleans, LA.

Kovic, Christine M., Mercedes Doretti, Kate Spradley, Eduardo Canales, Molly Miranker, Rachel Daniell, Ryan Strand, Timothy P. Gocha, Robin C. Reineke, Chelsea Halstead. The Forensic Border Coalition (FBC): collaboration in forensic sciences, human rights, and public policy. Proceedings of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences 23:270, American Academy of Forensic Sciences, New Orleans, LA.

Lewis, Krystle N., Daniel J. Wescott, Eugene J. Robinson, John Buell, and Michael Josephs. Mapping surface scatter of scavenged human remains using drone aerial photography. Proceedings of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences 23:211, American Academy of Forensic Sciences, New Orleans, LA.

Spradley, Kate, Mercedes Doretti, Christine M. Kovic, Molly Miranker, Rachel Daniell, Timothy P. Gocha, Ryan Strand, Alberto Giordano. Searching for the unidentified in South Texas: the Forensic Border Coalition (FBC) cemetery survey project. Proceedings of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences 23:268, American Academy of Forensic Sciences, New Orleans, LA.

Warner, Monica M., Amber M. Plemons, Nicolas P. Herrmann, Laura A. Regan. Proceedings of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences 23:212, American Academy of Forensic Sciences, New Orleans, LA.

Graduate student, Jessica Galea, wins American Association of Physical Anthropology (AAPA) Pollitzer Essay award

Graduate student, Jessica Galea (mentor Dr. Daniel Wescott), won an American Association of Physical Anthropology (AAPA) Pollitzer Essay award. There were 118 entries and 50 awards. The award is a $500 travel stipend to attend this year’s AAPA conference. Further, because Jessica’s essay was ranked in the top 10 essays, she’s been invited to participate in the AAPA Presidential panel on, “What’s in a Name.” Jessica’s essay is attached.

Jessica Galea | AAPA William S. Pollitzer Student Travel Award 2017

Labels are meaningful ways of courting group solidarity as well as drawing lines between groups.  Today’s American Association of Physical Anthropologists bears little resemblance to that of its founders.  As the phrase “biological anthropology” becomes increasingly common among journal articles and academic programs, it is clear that while we share a common ancestor, it is time to recognize a new species: the American Association of Biological Anthropologists.

The physical anthropology of the 19th and early 20th centuries, much like that of the 21st century, aimed to explore human biological variation.  Technology has made enormous leaps, though methodologies remain remarkably similar.  The difference, then, lies in how we apply what we’ve learned – and the lens through which we interpret our data.  The first physical anthropologists used physical variation between “races” as evidence for biological and mental hierarchies, which is our greatest sin.  Boas, however, was quick to point out the importance of environment and genetics, and thus the fluidity of populations (Boas, 1899).  At mid-century, Washburn’s “New Physical Anthropology” called for a paradigm shift that emphasized problem-oriented research through a population genetics lens, rather than mere physical description (Washburn, 1951).  This shift strengthened physical anthropology’s resemblance to the biological sciences; by then, both fields had embraced evolutionary theory as their conceptual backdrops.  Thus, a change to "biological anthropology" makes the most sense.  It neatly encapsulates the vast array of questions we address.

Indeed, physical anthropology continues to evolve in all but the professional organization and journal’s names: the term “biological anthropology” is widely used in journal articles and is the preference of the National Science Foundation and a majority of graduate programs listed on the AAPA website.  Use of the term in the AJPA goes back as far as 1983 (Rourke and Petersen, 1983).  Practicing anthropologists have long been ready for change.  As our science becomes ever more involved in public outreach, it is imperative that our professional organization represent us as we see ourselves.  A new personal label brings with it a new frame of mind: “Being called Biological Anthropologists, and thinking like a biological anthropologist,” makes relating to the public “easier than being labeled a Physical Anthropologist, which, in the eyes of the public and in those of many science writers, confines us to a limited sphere,” which does not resonate with our modern goals (Fuentes, 2010:5).  Changing the names of our professional organization and journal is an important step toward improving public accessibility in a time when outreach is critical, if not welcomed.  This may seem a superficial gesture, but when a name is the public’s first introduction, it could easily be the difference between indifference and curiosity.

As anthropologists, we are well aware of the power of language and words.  Our linguistic choices are no accident.  George Dorsey was aware of this when he declared our subdiscipline the study of “physical man” (Dorsey, 1897:109).  “It treats of man as an animal,” he continued, after listing the things physical anthropology does not consider – all of which are what make us human.  “Physical” calls to mind stagnation and rigidity, which is very much in line with contemporary views such as biological determinism.  Furthermore, these early practitioners were physicians first.  Today’s anthropologists advocate a holistic approach that treats humans as complex beings whose biology cannot be separated from their sociocultural context.  Perhaps the change would be merely a symbolic break from the past; it certainly could not erase it (nor should it).  Rather, it would function as a statement that the subfield has gone through growing pains and has emerged as a new and fascinating creature that works to improve lives.  Calling ourselves biological anthropologists returns emphasis to what makes this science possible: the living (or once living) subjects who have taught us so much about ourselves.  It is time for the American Association of Biological Anthropologists to be born.

Boas F. 1899. Some Recent Criticisms of Physical Anthropology. American Anthropologist 1:98-106.

Dorsey GA. 1897. Physical Anthropology. Science. 6:109-120.

Fuentes A. 2010. The new biological anthropology: Bringing Washburn's new physical anthropology into 2010 and beyond - The 2008 AAPA lecture. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 143:2-12.

Rourke DHO, Petersen GM. 1983. Biological Anthropology and Genetic Disease Research: Introduction. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 62:1-2.

Washburn SH. 1951. The New Physical Anthropology. Transactions of the New York Academy of Sciences 2:298-304.

Wescott speaks at National Sojourners meeting in Austin

Dr. Wescott Sojourners Dr. Wescott will give a presentation about the Forensic Anthropology Center at Texas State to the National Sojourners meeting on February 22.

Congratulations to all of the FACTS faculty, staff and students!

NYT Arts coverage of the Forensic Anthropology Center. I, along with Dr. Wescott and the rest of the staff worked with Shults for more than a year on this. More info is below, but here's a direct link to the piece:

Volunteer work by Texas State and Indianapolis University Faculty

Below is a link to an article on the volunteer work done by Texas State and Indianapolis University faculty and students over the holiday break. The team recovered the remains of migrants who were buried in unmarked graves in the Sacred Heart Cemetery in Falfurrias, Texas. Dr. Kate Spradley, Dr. Nick Herrmann and Dr. Tim Gocha led the exhumations and mentored the students. The work went very smoothly and was the first step in identifying and returning these individuals to their families. Congratulations to all!

Texas Project Works To Name Migrants Lost Crossing The Border

KXAN published a story on migrant identification featuring work from Dr. Kate Spradley.  You can listen to the full story here:


Congratulations Dr. Nicole Taylor!

Congratulations to Dr. Taylor whose book, Schooled on Fat, was named a finalist for the New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards:

Dr. Kate Spradley and Dr. Tim Goche, Immigrant ID Investigation

KVEO News recently interviewed Drs. Spradley and Goche about their work on immigrant identification in Brooks County.  You can find the full story the KVEO site -

Shumla and Dr. Carolyn Boyd in the news

Texas Observer recently did an article on Shumla and Dr. Carolyn Boyd.  You can find the article at the link below.

Dr. Emily Brunson - Healthcare Reform in the U.S.

Dr. Brunson wrote an Anthropology News article for the Society for Medical Anthropology on healthcare reform in the U.S.  You can read the article at the following link |

Dr. Kate Spradley and Dr. Tim Gocha in the news

KENS 5 News in San Antonio recently interviewed Dr. Spradley and Dr. Gocha about their work on the OpID project for a story regarding migrant border crossers.  The video can be found here - Researchers Overcoming Major Hurdles, Working to Identify Human Remains on Border.

Dr. Nicole Taylor Book Reading/Signing

Anthropology's new cultural anthropologist, Dr. Taylor, has two upcoming book readings/signings of her new book "Schooled on Fat: What Teens Tell Us About Gender, Body Image, and Obesity.

Thursday, Sep 1, 5:30-7:00
2025 Guadalupe Street

Friday, Sep 9, 7:00-8:00 pm
Brave New Books
1904 Guadalupe Street

NY Times article featuring Dr. Monica Schoch-Spana

The NY Times recently published an article titled, Whose Lives Should Be Saved?  Researches Ask the Public, featuring Dr. Monica Schoch-Spana. For several years, the UPMC Center for Health Security, where Monica works, has been holding forums to see how people would ration limited medical resources during disasters or pandemics. Such a difficult, but incredibly important topic, to explore.

Dr. Nicole Taylor's research blog.

Dr. Taylor wrote a blog about her research on body image and fat teasing in teens for the Huffington Post and she's been invited to be a regular blogger. Congratulations, Nicole! 

You can find the blog post here.

Canterbury Study Aborad

Nearly every year, Dr. Jon McGee has students who volunteer with the Canterbury Archaeology Trust while on their study abroad trip. This year they're working on an Iron Age site at East Wear Bay, which looks like a wonderful place to dig!

Iron Age Grinding Stone Iron Age Site East Wear Bay

Left Image: Iron Age Grinding Stone - Right Image: Iron Age Site: East Wear Bay

"Be a Bobcat" featuring Lauren Meckel

The University film series "Be a Bobcat", met with masters student Lauren Meckel at the Osteology Research and Processing Lab (ORPL) to find out more about forensic anthropology at Texas State.  You can find the amazing video here.  

Dr. Kent Reilly Gave the Inaugural Presidential Address at the School of Advanced Research (SAR)

Reilly Event

Dr. F. Kent Reilly III spoke at the inaugural School of Advanced Research (SAR) Presidential Address that closed a productive week discussing Spiroan artwork, heritage, and culture. The meeting at the SAR in Santa Fe was held preparation for the upcoming museum exhibition entitled Spiro and the Mississippian World. The exhibition will showcase Spiroan objects recovered from the site and feature a reconstruction of the Spirit Lodge as it was described in AD 1922. Museum visitors will be familiarized with artwork and religious iconography of Mississippian culture as it were AD 1400, and learn of the modern descendants who continue the artistic legacy. The exhibition is expected to travel within the United States and internationally to museums throughout the world, and is scheduled to open February 2018 at the National Cowboy Museum in Oklahoma City, OK.

Congratulations Dr. Todd Ahlman!

Dr. Ahlman was interviewed at the recent Society for American Archaeologists conference for a podcast series called “A History of the Caribbean in 100 Objects.” He spoke about a coin he and students found last year during the St. Kitts field school. Here is a link to the webpage:

Dr. Kate Spradley and her students contribute to USA Today article

Dr. Kate Spradley was recently contacted and interviewed by a reporter from USA Today because of abstracts she read from the proceedings of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (AAPA). These abstracts were written by Texas State Anthropology Graduate student and recent graduates. There were 16 Texas State student presentations at AAPA and four of the presentations concerned research of migrant remains that are part of Operation Identification. The information found in the article is based off of our graduate student's research.  

Below is the article link and title and authors of the abstracts/presentations discussed during the interview.

USA Today article

Nutrition and proportionality: A study of undocumented migrants from the Texas-Mexico border

Indicators of Stress within Modern Undocumented Border Crossers Along the South Texas Border

Cranial base height as an indicator of developmental stress in native Mexican and American-born Mexican populations

The Anthropology of Forensic Identification in Texas

Geoarchaeology survey of Spring Lake uncovers new depths of history

The San Marcos Mercury wrote an article about the work of Jacob Hooge and Dr. Fritz Hanselmann are doing at Spring Lake.

You can find the story here | Geoarchaeology survey of Spring Lake

Congratulations to our 2016 Outstanding Students!

2015 Anthropology Student Award Winners

Ruth Carrillo

Lauren Meckel

Outstanding Anthropology Undergraduate
Ruth Carrillo

Outstanding Anthropology Graduate
Lauren Meckel

2016 Academic ExcellenceAward Winners

Lauren Alexander Isabella Bortolussi Taylor Bowden
Dusti Bridges Alexandria Briere Amber Lynn Cabading
Ruth Flores Carrillo Sarah Anne Davis Natalie Dorman
Leslie Blythe Doyle Wyatt Ellison Joshua Miguel Flores-Manges
Katelyn Frederick Ashlee Guzman Oceanna Lyn Hart-Pontejos
Kari Helgeson Shanna High Kyleigh Hoelscher
Olivia Hornik Brianna Kight Emily Koehn
Victoria Lanas Lora LaPree Simone Longe
Elizabeth Miller Courtney Otte-Petrill Donnell Pomeroy
Aireka Rinehart Chloe Scarborough Mary Lucyia Schmidt
Mary Schooler Margaret Sensiba Anna Shupp
Jenna Lea Stephenson Emily Tanner Alyssa Wagner
  Shelly White  

Congratulations, Dr. Kent Reilly!

Here’s a link to a great article in Archaeology magazine describing the Muskogee Creek of Florida, who are seeking “federal acknowledgement,” or the right to officially call themselves a tribe. Dr. Reilly has worked with the Muskogee Creek for many years, he and our students have participated in their “busks," and several graduate students have done ethnohistorical theses on aspects of their culture. There’s a photo of Dr. Reilly on page 4 cooking up yaupon holly leaves, which makes the basis of the “black drink” used in rituals.

Research at Eagle Nest Cave

Dr. Steve Black has agreed to participate it Texas State University Crowdfunding and is currently working with the University to raise money to continue his research for the Ancient Southwest Texas project.  You can find more information on how to contribute to this project here

Congratulations, Dr. Augustine Agwuele!

Dr. Agwuele has won two fellowships: the Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship (summer 2016) and a Fulbright Fellowship (fall 2016, spring 2017).  In addition, Dr. Agwuele will be traveling to Nigeria this summer for his Research Enhancement Program (REP) grant.

Congratulations, Stevesha Todd!

Our student worker, Stevesha Todd, has been chosen as a McCoy College Ambassador!

The McCoy College Ambassadors are a select group of students chosen each semester and recognized as active student leaders and representatives of McCoy College. Above all, these students express a desire to engage other students on topics of leadership and personal development. Ambassadors have the opportunity to interact with the Dean of McCoy College and serve as a student advisory council to her. In addition, the group engages with their classmates as peer mentors to promote leadership and involvement within the college. Ambassadors are also involved with outreach to prospective students and College guests.

Congratulations, Ruth Carrillo!

Anthropology major, Ruth Carrillo, has been named the outstanding undergraduate student for the college. Congratulations, Ruth! 

Outstanding Undergraduate Ruth Carrillo

Congratulations, Courtney Siegert!

Courtney Siegert (mentor Dr. Hamilton) has won a $3,000 Freeman Fellow Award for her thesis work in forensic anthropology. The fellowship can be used for living expenses, equipment purchases and travel. Congratulations to Courtney!

Congratulations, Dr. Daniel Wescott!

I’m happy to announce that Dr. Wescott has been chosen as the Liberal Arts nominee for the 2016 Presidential Excellence Award in Scholarly/Creative Activity. Congratulations, Danny, and the best of luck in the next round of selection!

Congratulations, Dr. Frederick Hanselmann!

The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment would like to announce that Dr. Hanselmann (“Fritz”) has accepted a new position at the University of Miami, where he will be a member of the faculty in the Department of Marine Ecosystems and Society and a Director of the Exploration Sciences Program at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (RSMAS).  Dr. Hanselmann will be leading a graduate program in underwater and maritime archaeology, directing underwater exploration initiatives, and expanding the existing dive training at RSMAS.

While we are sad to see him go and wish him the very best, Dr. Hanselmann will continue to be affiliated with The Meadows Center as a Meadows Fellow  to collaborate with the Center as one of the Principal Investigators of the Monterrey Shipwreck Project and advise future underwater archaeology at Spring Lake and elsewhere.


Congratulations Kate!

Kate Spradley was awarded an $80,000 Ed Rachal Foundation grant, entitled Operation Identification. Among other things, these funds will allow Kate to hire a research associate to help with the identification and repatriation of unidentified human remains found near the south Texas border. Currently, there are approximately 50 unidentified individuals at FACTS to analyze and more are being uncovered every year.

Baby Graham!

Dr. Graham is delighted to announce that their newest addition, Conrad Monroe Graham, was born October 14th.
Congratulations Kerrie!!

Congratulations Kent!

Kent has been asked by the School for Advanced Research (SAR) to give a Presidential Seminar on the Spiro Mounds This is truly a great honor.

SAR supports innovative social science and Native American artistic creativity for more than a century. Since 1972, they have funded the work of more than 345 SAR scholars and artists, among whose ranks are six MacArthur Fellows and eighteen Guggenheim Fellows. You can follow the work of SAR resident scholars and Native American artists on their website at

Operation ID News

Below are links to two new articles, including one in Spanish regarding Dr. Spradley's Operation ID project. These articles help to highlight the hard work of the students who volunteer for the project. 

Dr. Spradley interview on Brooks County migrants

Texas Observer recently published an article about Operation ID in Brooks County. 

Dr. Wescott and GEFARL in Forbes

Forbes recently published an article regarding how "Body Farms" help teach Anthropologist to solve crimes.  You can find the article here

Michelle and students in the news

Michelle Hamilton and graduate students JP Fancher, Courtney Siegert, Lauren Meckel, and Chloe McDaneld were on several newcasts regarding a forensic search they were called to in Boerne. This kind of field experience is really important for our students and helps make them more competitive on the job market. Here is a link to one of the newscasts.

Scientific American Featuring Kate Spradley and colleagues

Kate and her colleagues (Lori Baker-Baylor University, Krista Latham-University of Indianapolis) work to identify and repatriate the remains of migrants who died crossing the border into South Texas is featured in a great article in Scientific American. As Kate points out, this situation is really a humanitarian crisis and the article focuses on the identification of Maria Iraheta Guardado, who died in June 2012, and was returned to her family in Honduras in April 2015. 

Megan Veltri wins Sallie Beretta Outstanding Senior Woman award.

One of our majors, Megan Veltri, won the Sallie Beretta Outstanding Senior Woman award.  Megan was given a plaque by Dr. Trauth at the 10 am Thursday commencement ceremony.  You can watch the plaque presentation here

Kate Spradley featured in Discover Magazine

Kate is featured in the article, Crime Scene Scavenger: Vultures Help Forensic Experts with CSI Research, in the latest edition of Discover Magazine!

Article on decomposition featuring Danny Wescott and his students published in The Guardian

"Far from being dead, a rotting human corpse is the cornerstone of a complex ecosystem. A better understanding of this ecosystem could have direct applications in forensic science."

Here's an article on decomposition featuring Danny Wescott and his students have been doing with drones out at the decomposition facility and in the lab with the CT scanner.

Congratulations Danny!

You can read the article here.

Kate Spradley and Hailey Duecker were interviewed for the Fronteras

Kate Spradley and Hailey Duecker were interviewed for the Fronteras. It's a really great article and provides a better understanding of the difficulties they face when trying to identify and repatriate individuals who died crossing the Texas border in comparison to those who died crossing the Arizona border.

Some of you know that Hailey finished her MA with Kate in December. She starts the PhD program in Anthropology at the University of Florida this fall.

Congratulations Kate and Hailey!

You can find the interview here.

2015 Anthropology Award Winners

2015 Anthropology Student Award Winners

Jennifer Guajardo Amanda Castaneda

Outstanding Anthropology Undergraduate
Jennifer Guajardo

Outstanding Anthropology Graduate & Outstanding Liberal Arts Graduate Student
Amanda Castañeda
2015 Academic ExcellenceAward Winners
Lauren Alexander Alexis Artuz Isabella Bortolussi
Taylor Bowden Dusti Bridges Aaron Byrd
John Cherry Glynnis Creason Justin Demere
Natalie Dorman Elizabeth Duffy Amber Frenzel
Jennifer Guajardo Ashlee Guzman Samantha Harris
Kari Helgeson Olivia Hornik Samuel Jaklich
Jessica Jimenez Brianna Kight Kelsey Lee
Jordan Lewman Simone Longe Elizabeth Miller
Sarah Miller Morgan Parker Donnell Pomeroy
Anna Provenzano Samantha Richter Aireka Rinehart
Chloe Scarborough Mary Schmidt Mary Schooler
Garrett Screws Emily Taner Kyle-Matthew Taylor
Victor Templer Alyssa Wagner Krystal Warren

Dr. Black's team at Eagle Cave

Videographers at the Office of University Marketing recently produced a Discover video on Steve Black and his team of archaeologists at Eagle Cave. The video is awesome!

This video is part of the Texas Monthly ads that the University creates. It will be showcased on the homepage as well as the discover page,, on April 23rd. 

Congratulations Steve!

Chimps That Hunt Offer a New View on Evolution

Studies of hunters and gatherers — and of chimpanzees, which are often used as stand-ins for human ancestors — have cast bigger, faster and more powerful males in the hunter role.

Now, a 10-year study of chimpanzees in Senegal shows females playing an unexpectedly big role in hunting and males, surprisingly, letting smaller and weaker hunters keep their prey.

The results do not overturn the idea of dominant male hunters, said Jill D. Pruetz of Iowa State University, who led the study. But they may offer a new frame of reference on hunting, tools and human evolution. “We need to broaden our perspective,” she said.

Read the full story in the New York Times here

Sarah Himes, has been awarded a National Science Foundation International Research Experience

Recent alumna, Sarah Himes, has been awarded a National Science Foundation International Research Experience for Students position for this summer’s Koobi Fora Field School in the Turkana Basin of Kenya. This is a very competitive award, with only seven students from more than 185 applicants receiving positions. The National Museums of Kenya and George Washington University’s Center for the Advanced Study of Human Paleobiology sponsor the field school. The goals of the 2015 field school are:

Studying fossilized footprints from 1.6 million years ago
Finding evidence of human scavenging and hunting 2.0 million years ago
Exploring evidence of climate change and animal communities over the last 4 million years
Discovering the changes associated with the emergence of domesticated animals in East Africa

Sarah was the 2013 Outstanding Undergraduate for the department and worked closely with Britt on several research projects.

Congratulations Sarah – well done!

Congratulations to Amanda Castaneda

Amanda M. Castañeda has been recognized as Liberal Arts 2015 Outstanding Master's Student.  Amanda’s thesis research focuses on the “bedrock features” of the Lower Pecos Canyonlands in southwest Texas.  These features are shallow to deep depressions that were “carved” out of limestone bedrock by the native peoples of the region.  Native American hunter-gatherers probably used such bedrock features mainly for processing plant foods, such as pulverizing mesquite beans. Amanda is adapting state-of-the-art 3D photographic documentation techniques to study the marked variation in bedrock features as a basis for understanding the economic and social roles that bedrock features played for Lower Pecos hunter-gatherers. 

Amanda  Castaneda

Prior to beginning her graduate work, Amanda carried out rock art research in the same region under Dr. Carolyn Boyd of the Shumla School.  Castañeda helped Boyd document and analyze the vivid 3,000-year-old pictographs that Native American’s painted on the walls of the same rockshelters and caves where the bedrock features are found.  Amanda has co-authored three peer-reviewed journal articles on her rock art research.

Amanda is a native-born Texan from San Antonio.  She is a popular lab instructor for Anthro 2415 and is an active member of the Experimental Archaeology Club.

Outstanding Anthropology Students

Jeniffer Guajardo and Amanda Castañeda were chosen as the 2015 outstanding anthropology undergraduate and graduate students.

Thanks to Jon, Kerrie, Steve, Michelle, Ana and Jim for their service on the committees!

Forensic Anthropology Conference: Migrant Identification Along the US-Mexico Border

The Forensic Anthropology Society is proud to announce the second annual Texas State University Forensic Anthropology Conference featuring Dr. Bruce Anderson, Dr. Krista Latham, Dr. Joseph Hefner, and Dr. Eric Bartelink. Please join us to learn more about these contemporary issues in forensic anthropology.

When: March 7, 9 am - 5 pm
Where: LBJ Teaching Theater room 4-16.1

Download the event flyer.

Todd Ahlman's article in Houston Chronicle

Todd Ahlman was interviewed for an article in the Houston Chronicle about the work of CRM archaeologists. It's a really good article and I hope you'll take a few minutes to read it.

Sifting for the past before building the future

Bobcat Tiffany Nguyen

Bobcat Tiffany Nguyen, who is featured on the university's homepage, cites Jon McGee's 1312 as her "best course." This is a great plug for the course and the department. Way to go, Jon!