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Department in the News


2014

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College Students Identifying Border Bodies

Below is a link to an article on the work done at FACTS on identifying the remains of border crossers. It features our graduate students JP Fancher and Chloe McDaneld, visiting intern Nandar Yukyi, and Kate Spradley, who is the PI for the Operation ID Project.

Texas State Anthropologists Contribute to the Investigation of Kennewick Man

Texas State Anthropologists Contribute to the Investigation of Kennewick Man

kennewick_manThe long awaited scientific analyses of Kennewick Man, first discovered in 1996 and described as the most important human skeleton ever found in North America, have finally been published in an edited volume called Kennewick Man: The Scientific Investigation of an Ancient American Skeleton through Texas A&M Press. Drs. Kate Spradley and Daniel Wescott from the Department of Anthropology at Texas State University were part of the scientific investigation team and are contributing authors in the new book edited by Drs. Douglas Owsley of the Smithsonian Institution and Richard Jantz of the University of Tennessee. Kennewick Man is an approximately 9,000 year old skeleton found in Washington State’s Columbia River Valley that has helped unlock secrets about where the first Americans came from and how they lived their lives. Using geomorphometric analyses, Dr. Spradley found that Kennewick Man falls outside the range of variation of Archaic and Historic Native Americans, meaning that the New World was likely populated through multiple migrations. Dr. Wescott investigated the effects of Kennewick Man’s lifestyle on his bones. Using computed tomography scans and beam analyses of the long bones, Wescott’s results show that Kennewick man likely speared seal and other large marine mammals while walking over rugged coastal terrain.

Dr. Douglas Owsley, Division Head of Physical Anthropology at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and lead scientific investigator of Kennewick Man, will give a lecture about the skeletal finding of Kennewick Man as well as the well-known Horn Shelter skeletons from Texas at the Texas Archaeological Society on October 25, 7:00 pm at the Embassy Suites in San Marcos. He will discuss the numerous methods for analyzing the skeleton and how they were used to solve questions about Kennewick Man’s lifestyle, diet, and origins.

Picture Cave: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Mississippian Cosmos

Reilly_Book_CoverCongratulations to Kent and his co-editors on their newest edtied book on Mississippian iconography and archaeology, "Picture Cave: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Mississippian Cosmos," which is due out in the spring.

Eagle Nest Canyon

The Summer 2014 issue of Hillviews has arrived with the lead article written by Dr. Steve Black on the work of his team and Carolyn Boyd in Eagle Nest Canyon.

You can find the article here.

Congratulations Bita Razavimaleki

Bita Razavimaleki (mentor Warms) has been hired as one of two, research assistant interns by the THECB. She'll be working with Nina Wright, who worked in the Dean's Office in our College years ago. 

Faculty Accomplishments

Kent Reilly has been appointed to the University of Alabama Museums Board of Regents.  You many also remember that Kent was very involved in the redesign of the Moundville Museum, the “Lost Realm of the Black Warrior.”

Mike Collins and the Gault Archaeological Project are featured in magazine Archaeology in “Who Were the First Americans.” It’s a very nice article and I hope you’ll read it.

Kate Spradley and her colleagues at Baylor University and Indiana University have positively identified and repatriated the remains of one of the border crossers recovered from Brooks County last summer. We now know Operation ID case 0425 are the remains of Maria Albertina Guardado, who had been missing since June 2012. Here is a link to the Telemundo news story that includes an interview with Mimi Doretti of the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team and Senora Guardado’s family.  The Operation ID team has another pending identification.

Liberal Arts Awards

On April 10, 2014, the Department of Anthropology and College of Liberal Arts honored 32 anthropology undergraduates who were awarded Academic Excellence Certificates. The anthropology faculty chose Mallory Marcone as the Department’s Outstanding Undergraduate Student. Anthropology graduate student Lennon Bates won the Outstanding Graduate Student in the College of Liberal Arts Award, which is the second time since starting our MA program in 2004 that one of our students was honored with this distinction. Congratulations to all!

LA_Awards_1_small LA_Awards_2_small

Professor Norm Whalen honored at international conference on Saudi Arabia

A display celebrating the life and work of Norman Whalen, whose academic career studying the Palaeolithic of Arabia began after a decorated military career in WWII, and two decades as a priest in the US State of Arizona. In Saudi Arabia, Whalen worked closely with the Saudi Arabian Department of Antiquities and Museums, studying and publishing key 'early man' sites, such as Shuwayhittiyah and Dawadmi. In the 1980s, he synthesised his fieldwork in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, and Jordan to focus on migration out of Africa, making technological links with classic East African sites. Whalen’s pioneering fieldwork and publications have laid a strong foundation for future Palaeolithic work in the Arabian Peninsula, yet his work has not been widely recognised in the international literature. 

For information on the Whalen Archives at Oxford click here.
For information on Green Arabia click here

Dr. Ana Juarez in the news

Ana Juárez's work on Mexican-American cemeteries is featured in the latest issue of the Texas Historical Commission's publication Medallion with discussion from Jennifer McWilliams (anthropology alum) who is the coordinator for the THC's Cemetery Preservation Program. Amy Reid from CAS is also mentioned in the article.

Kate Spradley and Ileene Vicencio in the news.

KRGV did a story on Kate Spradley and undergraduate student Lleene Vicencio, discussing identifying the remains of border crossers. You can view the story here.


2013

Bousman Receives TAS Fellow Award

In October Professor Britt Bousman was elected as a Fellow of the Texas Archeological Society at their annual meeting in Del Rio. TAS only awards one fellow annually. The photo shows Dr. Alan Skinner, who hired Dr. Bousman when he was an undergraduate at SMU over 40 years ago, giving Dr. Bousman the TAS Fellow award plaque during the2013 TAS annual meeting. Both Drs. Steve Black and Mike Collins are also TAS Fellows.

Congratulations to Jon McGee and Rich Warms

Congratulations to Jon McGee and Rich Warms on their recent publication of the cultural anthropology encyclopedia: "Theory in Social and Cultural Anthropology" (Sage Publications). With 335 entries and a total of 1056 pages, it's quite an accomplishment!

Description from Sage:

Social and cultural anthropology and archaeology are rich subjects with deep connections in the social and physical sciences. Over the past 150 years, the subject matter and different theoretical perspectives have expanded so greatly that no single individual can command all of it. Consequently, both advanced students and professionals may be confronted with theoretical positions and names of theorists with whom they are only partially familiar, if they have heard of them at all. Students, in particular, are likely to turn to the web to find quick background information on theorists and theories. However, most web-based information is inaccurate and/or lacks depth. Students and professionals need a source to provide a quick overview of a particular theory and theorist with just the basics—the “who, what, where, how, and why”. In response, SAGE Reference is publishing the two-volume Theory in Social and Cultural Anthropology: An Encyclopedia.

Features & Benefits:
• Two volumes containing approximately 335 signed entries provide users with the most authoritative and thorough reference resource available on anthropology theory, both in terms of breadth and depth of coverage.
• To ease navigation between and among related entries, a Reader's Guide groups entries thematically and each entry is followed by Cross-References.
• In the electronic version, the Reader's Guide combines with the Cross-References and a detailed Index to provide robust search-and-browse capabilities.
• An appendix with a Chronology of Anthropology Theory allows students to easily chart directions and trends in thought and theory from early times to the present.
• Suggestions for Further Reading at the end of each entry and a Master Bibliography at the end guide readers to sources for more detailed research and discussion.

Texas State students help ID remains of border crossers

Dr. Kate Spradley and Dr. Danny Wescott gave a very interesting interview to Fox news regarding the "Operation ID" project, which helps law enforcement identify the remains of border crossers.

The interview and full article can be found here.

Archaeological Field School at Eagle Nest Canyon

The 2013 Eagle Nest Canyon Field School (ENC FS) was inspiring from start (June 3) to finish (July 3) as 25 of us learned about and carried out archaeological investigations on the Canyon edge, on its sheltered walls, and in its sheltered floors. Half and half, dirt and rock art archaeology was the theme, Eagle Nest Canyon at Langtry the setting, Jack and Wilmuth Skiles our hosts, and Drs. Carolyn Boyd and Steve Black our leaders. The Texas State University field school’s partner, the SHUMLA School of Comstock, provided our base camp, logistical support, and half our staff, the other half being graduate students and a recent graduate supported by the E. Thomas Miller Research Fund of the Ancient Southwest Texas Project at TxState.

The fourteen FS students spent a week on each of three research “shifts” – investigating and documenting the hot rock features of the Canyon Edge with Matt Basham, the vividly painted images of the Sheltered Canyon walls with Amanda Castaneda, Charles Koenig, and Jeremy Freeman, and the complex layers of the Canyon Shelter floors with Dan Rodriguez, plus total data station TDS mapping with Vicky Muñoz and lab processing with Mary Noell. The students learned to use both cutting-edge and traditional tools : trowel, total station, compass, GPS, pencil, handheld digital microscope, nested sieve, digital tablet, shovel, portable XRF, camera and inquisitive can-do attitude to explore the little-known fragmented archaeological record left by those for whom we lack true name: the hundreds of generations of aboriginal foragers in the Lower Pecos Canyonlands. The students used these tools to physically and digitally excavate and record the layered clues left on the walls and in the earth.

The 2013 Eagle Nest Canyon Field School was a tremendously rewarding educational experience for all involved. The combination of dirt and rock art archaeology and the spectacular setting was unique among archaeological field schools past and present. At times it was hot, windy, and wet from sweat and rain, but we stretched our minds and muscles, honed traditional and cutting-edge skills, and we had a lot of fun. The field school ended on a sustained high note, friends and colleagues departed reluctantly.

A week after the field school ended, TxState graduate students Rodriguez and Basham, assisted by student volunteers, returned to continue rockshelter excavations and documentation and sampling of upland features overlooking Eagle Nest Canyon. Work continues apace. Learn more about the 2013 ENC FS at the Annual Meeting of the Texas Archeological Society, October 25-27 in Del Rio.

For complete information about this field school visit the Archaeological Field School at Eagle Nest Canyon page.

Forensic Experts, Students Work to Identify Immigrant Remains

As fewer individuals have tried to cross over the US border in Arizona over the last year, Texas has experienced more border crossings than usual. Sadly, a record 130 immigrants died last year in Brooks County, abandoned by smugglers. Texas State and Baylor University recovered about 100 individuals this summer with the hopes that they can eventually be identified and returned to their families. Lori Baker (Baylor), Kate Spradley, and Hailey Duecker (graduate student, Texas State) are featured in the article.

Christina Conlee quoted in USA Today

Congratulations to Christina Conlee who was was recently quoted in a USA Today article regarding a royal tomb discovered in Peru. The article, 'Temple of the dead' discovered in Peru, can be found here.

Experimental Archaeological Club in the News

The University Star has been working on a piece about the Experimental Archaeological club. They wrote an article and also produced a video documenting various club activities, including footage from the oven they built for the recent event at Grady Early's. You can read the article here.

Excavations at Etowah: Second Summer Semester, 2013

In the second Summer Semester of 2013, Texas State University in a partnership with the Department of Anthropology at the University of South Carolina-Columbia will conduct Archaeological excavations at the site of Etowah, Georgia. The Etowah site is one of the most famous Mississippian period mound centers in the Southeast and has been the focus of many years of archaeological research. Despite that fact, there is still a great deal that we do not know about Etowah and its inhabitants, and that information is important to many different communities. Because Etowah was such a prominent place during the prehistory of Georgia, the information it contains is important to Mississippian Period Archaeologists working in Georgia and the wider Southeast. Etowah’s history is also important to the residents of Georgia, who fund its operation as a state park and are intensely interested in its story. Finally, Etowah is part of the cultural heritage of Native American people. In particular, the Muscogee/Creeks, whose ancestors built the site, and the information it contains, in a very real sense, represents their cultural history. This project seeks to explore the archaeological and cultural record of Etowah for the benefit of each of these different communities. A unique feature of this year’s excavation is that representatives and students from several Native American tribes will join us in our efforts. This welcome addition to our compliment is a part of our long-term goal to return the ancient American past to the living descendants of a long neglected New World civilization.

2013 Mississippian Iconographic Workshop

The Dept. of Anthropology and CASAA announces that the 2013 Mississippian Iconographic Workshop will convene at the Chickasaw Nations Cultural Center (CCC) in Sulpher, Oklahoma, for May 14-19. Our two student organizers this year are Kevin McKinney and Nathan Heep. A Chickasaw student will match each of our student volunteers, and members of the Chickasaw Cultural Center will be observing us throughout the conference. This will be a fantastic opportunity to interact with members of the Chickasaw Nation, and will be a unique experience throughout the workshop.

This year’s conference has a specific agenda. The stated goal is to work with the Chickasaw people (both scholars and students) in an effort to explore the links between the Mississippian symbols recovered during our previous workshops and the traditions of the Chickasaw Nation. We will allocate time for each of the groups to at least have a day to a half a day to work on their previous projects.

We will be extending the workshop one additional day. Saturday will be presentation day. We will have members from the Chickasaw Government in attendance, as well as Native American scholars, students, and other interested parties. The point of these presentations is to demonstrate how important these ancient objects are for the recovery of Native American history. We want to focus on how important it is that these objects are preserved, made available for study, and treated with respect.

Dr. Emily Brunson Publishes Paper

Emily Brunson’s single-authored paper “The Impact of Social Networks on Parents’ Vaccination Decisions” was just published on-line in the prestigious journal Pediatrics (impact factor 4.115). Her paper has already received numerous references in the popular press.

You can read it here.

Gault Archaeological Sites In The News

Two very nice reports on the work done at the Gault archaeological site by Mike Collins, Clark Wernecke and their colleagues. They've discovered 2.6 million artifacts at the site, which is astounding! You can check out the articles by clicking the associated links below.

Local Dig Site Uncovers Artifacts To Refute History Books

New Artifacts Suggest Civilization in America Began Earlier Than Thought

Archaeology, Chemistry Departments team for Gault Site analysis

The Department of Anthropology at Texas State University has recently teamed with the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry for assistance with the preservation of soil samples taken from the famous Gault Site, an archeological dig site located 40 miles north of Austin that has been occupied for around 13,500 years.

The Gault Archeological Project at Texas State is made up of undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty, volunteers and interns dedicated to research and education regarding the earliest peoples in the Americas. Most of their local work takes place at the Gault Site, which has yielded numerous significant archeological discoveries including more than 600,000 artifacts of Clovis age (13,000-13,500 years ago).

Read the full story here.

Freshwater: Exploring Ancient Springs in Texas

Explore Spring Lake with Dr. Friz Hanselmann. The National Geographic Society is sponsoring an underwater geoarchaeological survey led by Dr. Hanselmann based on our own Jacob Hooge's Master's thesis material. The program is funded by NSG-Waitt, and coordinated through CAS and Meadows.

Watch the video here.

Dr. Robert Williams Publishes New Book

The Anthropology Department's Dr. Robert Williams has published a new book, The Complete Codex Zouche-Nuttall: Mixtec Lineage Histories and Political Biographies (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2013). For more information, or to purchase the book, please click here.

Dean Hennessy Visits Shumla Rock Art Field School

Liberal Arts Dean Michael Hennessy and three members of the Anthropology Department recently visited the Shumla School in Comstock, Texas.

The Shumla School is a nonprofit archeological research and education center founded under Dr. Boyd’s direction in 1998. It is the only rock art field school class of its kind in North America and attracts both national and international students.

Read full article here.

Texas State honors Dr. Jill Pruetz as 2012 Distinguished Alumna

First given to President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1959, the Distinguished Alumni Award is the Alumni Association’s most prestigious honor. Award recipients are Texas State graduates who have distinguished themselves in their chosen occupations and whose leadership serves as an example for the Texas State community.

Read full story here.


2012

"Can Science Stop Crime"

NovaScienceNow episode featuring the research of Kate Spradley, Michelle Hamilton, and Alberto Giordano. The episode title is "Can Science Stop Crime".

The episode will air October 17, 2012 at 10:00pm on PBS.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/tech/can-science-stop-crime.html

Gault Archaeological Project and "Smart Girls at the Party"

Amy Poehler, Meredith Walker and Amy Miles have created the a new TV series called “Smart Girls at the Party”, and the current season features New Braunfels teen Anna Schautteet, who is an aspiring anthropologist and works on local archaeological digs through the Gault Archaeological Project. See the link below and read about Anna and her work.

http://blog.mysanantonio.com/womensissues/2012/09/poehler%E2%80%99s-new-series-aims-to-inspire-girls/

2012 Maya Hieroglyphic Workshop “History and Rhetoric in the Monuments of Piedras Negras”

Friday Evening, October 19, Saturday October 20, 9 am to 5 pm, Sunday October 21, 9 am to 4 pm

Piedras Negras, a large site located on the Guatemalan side of the Usumacinta River, is of great importance to Mayanists because of its long and well preserved series of monuments. These sculptures, in the form of stela, altars, and wall panels, are central to the historiography of Maya studies. In her analysis of these inscriptions about fifty years ago, the scholar Tatiana Proskouriakoff proved that these texts primarily concern the lives and rituals of rulers, rather than gods. In this workshop, we will discuss the implications of Proskouriakoff’s argument for the understanding of dynastic history at Piedras Negras, as well as explore the further significance of these texts as instruments of political discourse. For more information see www.txstate.edu/anthropology/casaa/.

Forensic Anthropology in the News

As part of her National Institute of Justice (NIJ) supported "Project IDENTIFICATION: Developing Accurate Identification Criteria for Hispanic Individuals," Dr. Kate Spradley is developing a database on skeletal attributes of Hispanic skeletons that will be used to help identify migrants who die along the U.S.-Mexico Border.

Dr. Kate Spradley, Dr. Michelle Hamilton and Dr. Alberto Giordano (Department of Geography) recently published the results of a taphonomy project at the Forensic Anthropology Research Facility that assesses at how vultures modify human remains.

For more information on these forensic anthropology projects click here.

Dr. Augustine Agwuele Publishes New Book Development, Modernism and Modernity in Africa (Routledge African Studies, 2012)

This anthology examines the "unfinished project of modernity" with respect to the unrealized potential for economic, social, and political development in Africa. It also shows how, facing the consequences of modernism, Africans in and out of the continent are responding to these unfinished projects drawing on (a) the customary, (b) the novelty of modernity, and (c) positive aspects of modernism, for the organization of their societies and the enrichment of their lives even as they contend with the negative aspects of modernity and modernism.

Dr. Kerrie Lewis Graham Selected for NIMBioS Working Group

NIMBioS (National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis) is a new collaboration between the National Science Foundation and several governmental agencies in which working groups are chosen to focus on major scientific questions at the interface between biology and mathematics. Working groups are relatively small, focus on a well-defined topic with defined goals and metrics of success, and meet several times over a two-year period. Dr. Graham is one of a group of 15 international scholars chosen for the working group on "Play, Evolution, and Sociality." See www.nimbios.org/workinggroups/WG_play for more details.

Dr. Graham and her colleagues were also interviewed for a new documentary "Seriously! The Future Depends on Play" by Gwen Gordon seriouslythemovie.com.