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Anthropological Research at Texas State

Dynamic research on diverse biological and cultural aspects of the human condition, past and present, is a defining aspect of the Department of Anthropology. Faculty, staff, and students have studied lemurs, interviewed villagers, excavated tombs, identified murder victims, and much more. As can be seen on the Faculty Research Areas map, the research agendas of department members include field and laboratory studies on four continents funded by grants, contracts, and donations. Graduate and undergraduate students are involved in all of these endeavors, in roles ranging from field school participants to paid research assistants to almost-independent researchers. The Anthropology Department has six research centers and major projects as described below.

Forensic Anthropology Center at Texas State

The Forensic Anthropology Center at Texas State (FACTS) advances forensic science and anthropology through world-class education, research, and outreach. FACTS strives to be a premier nationally and internationally recognized academic training and research facility for forensic anthropology. FACTS provides a unique environment that stimulates innovative, creative, and interdisciplinary research that advances forensic anthropological knowledge, theory, and methods.

Center for Archaeological Studies

The Center for Archaeological Studies (CAS) is dedicated to conducting and promoting archaeological and anthropological research with a primary focus on compliance-based cultural resource management and student training. In 2008 CAS became certified by the State of Texas as an Archaeological Curation Facility and is home to over 100 archaeological collections. CAS also houses one of the most extensive and growing libraries pertaining to Texas archaeology with more than 5,000 volumes in our library.

Center for the Arts and Symbolism in Ancient America

The Center for the Arts and Symbolism in Ancient America (CASAA) is dedicated to conducting and promoting historical, archaeological, and anthropological research into the arts of ancient indigenous New World peoples. CASAA hosts conferences and workshops devoted to the study of ancient indigenous art and its tourism potential, and sponsors field trips and guest speakers. The center also helps train and support graduate and undergraduate student research with the goal of furthering student career development.

Center for Middle American Research

The Center for Middle American Research (CMAR) is dedicated to conducting and promoting historical, archaeological, and anthropological research into the history and cultures of Mesoamerican people. CMAR provides archaeological field research opportunites for undergraduate and graduate students in Mesoamerica.  The current focus of CMAR field research is St George’s Caye off the coast of Belize, where an archaeological field school is held every summer.

Prehistory Research Project

The Prehistory Research Project is dedicated to archaeological research and education regarding the earliest people in the Americas. The project is involved with work in the United States and internationally including the famous Gault Archaeological site about 40 miles north of Austin. The Gault Site has yielded a vast amount of information about the Clovis culture in Texas as well as evidence for older-than-Clovis occupations. The Prehistory Research Project is supported by Texas State.

Ancient Southwest Texas Project

Ancient Southwest Texas (ASWT) is a long-term research program with the broad aims of improving our understanding of the prehistoric human record of southwestern Texas and adjacent northern Mexico, sharing what we learn with the scholarly community and the public, and training the next generation of archaeologists. ASWT fieldwork in Lower Pecos Canyonlands includes archaeological field schools, graduate student field projects, and field expeditions ranging from one week to six months in length.

Cross Bar Ranch, Potter County, Texas

During the summers of 2004, 2005, and 2007, Dr. Britt Bousman directed a series of Texas State University field schools at the Cross Bar Ranch in Potter County, located north of Amarillo, Texas.  Students were instructed in various archaeological methods, including pedestrian survey, excavation, mapping, artifact analysis, and curation.

African Modder River Paleontological & Archaeological Project

The Modder River Paleontological & Archaeological Project is a long-term research project investigating the geological, paleoenvironmental, paleontological and archaeological records in the Modder River Basin’s Quaternary deposits. This research, a collaboration between Dr. James Brink (National Museum) and Dr. Britt Bousman, focuses on the alluvial terraces at the site of Erfkroon and spring mound deposits at Baden-Baden. Seven field seasons uncovered a wealth of information on the Pleistocene occupants, and produced 2 MA theses and another in progress.

The Culture and History of Cemeteries in Central Texas

The Cemeteries Project is a long-term, ongoing research venture designed to document, preserve, and analyze Mexican American cemeteries and funerary practices in central and south Texas. This interdisciplinary and ethnohistorical project depends on many collaborators, especially the long-term residents and elders of the local Mexican American community. Other collaborators include students, faculty, local and state-level agencies and cultural centers, and the Hispanic History of Texas Project. Portions of this research will be on display at Centro Cultural Hispano de San Marcos through September 30, 2014.

Identifying Migrant Deaths in South Texas

In May of 2013, with help from their students, Dr. Lori Baker from Baylor University and Dr. Krista Latham from University of Indianapolis exhumed 60 unidentified border crossers buried in Brooks County, Texas.  Texas State undergraduate and graduate students help process and analyze these remains in hopes of facilitating a positive identification. Our goal is to identify all of these individuals and return them to their families.

Anthropology Research Equipment

Bartington magnetic susceptibility meter
Bruckmann White light surface 3D scanner
Bruker handheld X-ray fluorescence spectrometer
Geoarchaeology lab-hydrometer and sieve screens for texture analysis
Histological equipment including an Olympus microscope, saws, and grinders
Leica DM LA light microscope with polarizing filter and analyzer, Image-Pro Plus software
Microscribe 3D digitizer

MinXray portable digital x-ray system
Next Engine Surface Laser Scanners
Nomad Pro hand-held digital x-ray system
Northstar Image X5000 Micro-CT system
Polhemus fast scan portable 3D scanner
Project 660 Pro 3-D printer
SOKKIA SET 530R Total Station
Standard osteometric equipment (calipers, osteometric boards, etc.)
Trimble GeoXT GP