Department in the News
Dr. Wescott was recently interviewed by CBS Austin for the work he and rest of the Forensic Anthropology Center are doing with various area law enforcement agencies. Dr. Wescott and his team help law enforcement identify remains through dental records or DNA analysis. You can read the watch the interview and read more about their work on CBS Austin.
Shumla was featured on the program, Nation Swell, explaining their current work on the Lower Pecos murals and climate change. The degradation is very rapid. Four Texas State/Anthropology alumni are employed by Shumla and are in the video (Amanda Castaneda, Charles Koenig, Vicky Roberts and Jerod Roberts).
Additionally, Shumla chemist, Dr. Karen Steelman was interviewed for Chemical and Engineering News for her work using PXRF technology to further study rock art. You can find the video on the Chemical and Engineering News website.
Congratulations to Sophia Mavroudas (PI) and co-PIs Nick Herrmann, David Falleur (Clinical Laboratory Science), Michelle Hamilton, Danny Wescott, and Jodi Jacobson on their National Science Foundation: Major Research Instrumentation Program (NSF MRI): Acquisition of Microscopy Equipment to Enhance Histological Research in Forensic Anthropology, Biology, and Bioarchaeology! Their award is $255,140.
This request is for the acquisition of an integrated microscopy imaging and data analysis suite that consists of a Leica DM6M microscope and Leica M205C Stereoscope both with internal cameras that are connected to a central computer with associated Leica Aperio ScanScope CS2 slide scanner to enhance Texas State University’s research and outreach programs in forensic anthropology, biology, and bioarchaeology. This microscopy imaging system is a user-friendly system that will impact the large group of students and researchers (majority women) from the undergraduate through to the postdoctoral level who are part of the premier Forensic Anthropology Center at Texas State (FACTS) at Texas State University, a Hispanic Serving Institution(HIS).
As an asset of FACTS, this equipment would foster synergistic collaborative research and interactive teaching that will elevate the new PhD in Applied Anthropology Program and increase faculty and student federally funded research in forensic anthropology, biology, and arcaheology. Combined with existing FACTS resources, it will support innovative experimental studies including controlled human decomposition experiments that can model the microscopic diagenesis of human bone throughout the post mortem interval as well as macroscopic trauma investigation from vulture scavenging of human remains. The associated stereoscope with imaging software will also allow for novel and detailed 3D modeling of skeletal trauma and pathology from documented collections as well as forensic casework and bioarchaeological samples. The acquisition of this equipment would help build and make available to researchers the first ever referential catalog of histological human variation from the rapidly expanding Texas State University Donated Skeletal Collection (TXSTDSC). The resulting activities if the proposal were funded include the scientific training of women and underrepresented groups, undergraduate STEM training, graduate student research and professionalization, and the expansion of FACTS workshops to include histology and surface imaging. The microscopy system will allow FACTS to build on existing research programs that focus on bone histology in an applied context including the investigation of human vs nonhuman bone differentiation, histological mammal species identification, human ageing, dental histology season-of-death estimation, dental histology studies of pathology and stress, the application of GIS technology to study bone histomorphology, as well as histological human variation and its association with socioeconomic status, sex, ethnicity, age, disease, and genetics.
The potential of the proposed equipment to advance knowledge and impact a large number of female STEM students is immense. Upon acquisition, this equipment would directly impact the academic experience of 31 graduate students 29 of which are female. Mentored by FACTS faculty, these students will be uniquely positioned to use this instrumentation and associated imaging software for detailed 3D measurement and documentation of trauma, pathology, and microdefects that are important for accurate forensic case analysis and scientific testimony. These activities have direct impacts on the success of our justice system to prosecute criminals and serve society. The images generated by this equipment will be used to train forensic anthropology students and practitioners to improve the overall caliber of forensic anthropologists within the United States.
This equipment will be integrated into existing training modules for students and professionals. The user-friendly interface will allow undergraduates to acquire novel microscopy experience in biology, anthropology, and archaeology. These same features will also allow it to become part of FACTS’ established outreach programs for students K-12 a high majority of which come from minority backgrounds underrepresented in science.
Over the four week program, the students had the opportunity to excavate an Archaic midden and survey for historic artifacts with archaeologist Dr. David Kilby, as well as record ancient rock art with Dr. Carolyn Boyd and the Shumla research team. In fact, the students documented five sites as a part of the Alexandria Project. They learned how to capture gigapan images, SfM images, create 3-D models, complete TexSite and Rock Art Site forms. They even completed site summaries for Texas Parks and Wildlife and The Witte Museum about our work and findings at Vaquero Shelter and White Shaman Annex sites, respectively. Through this collaboration the students were engaged in investigating all aspects of the Lower Pecos archaeological record. Very impressive results!
Congratulations to undergraduate student, Chisom Ogoke who was recently awarded a national Phi Kappa Phi fellowship of $8,500! She was also awarded a $500 Phi Kappa Phi scholarship during the Spring 2019 semester.
You can find out more about Chisom and Phi Kappa Phia on their Honors Society website.
Congratulations to forensic graduate student Megan Veltri who recently received a fellowship from the National Science Foundation to support her research. Megan is currently researching whether cultural conditions are correlated with biological, skeletal characteristics. You can find out more about Megan and her research on the Texas State Stories page.
Anthropology students were well represented at the recent College of Liberal Arts Research Expo.
The following students presented at the expo:
Alexis Baide | Using Tabacco Clay Pipes to Trace Changes in Leadership of Sint Eustatius from 1680 to 1800 (poster)
Richard McAulife | Central Texas Plank Baking (presentation)
Richard Saavedra | Virtual Dissection of Complex Masticatory Muscles with DiceCT (poster)
James Tichy | Comparing Ages-at-Death of Interred Individuals on Sint Eustatius (poster)
Kim Wile | Mortuary Patterns of an 18th Century Cemetery on Sint Eustatius (poster)
Anthropology Undergraduate Students Win 2nd and 3rd Place in Undergraduate Research Conference Poster Competition
Congratulations to anthropology majors Christina Tinsley and Richard Saavedra for winning 2nd and 3rd place, respectively, in the Undergraduate Research Conference poster competition!
Christina Tinsley, Consideration of Possible Anthropophagy: Four Corners Region of the American Southwest, Anthropology
Richard Saavedra, Femoral Length Estimation from Fragmentary Remains, Anthropology
Anthropology Department Welcomes New Lambda Alpha Members
On Friday, May 3, 2019 the Anthropology Department held it's first annual Lambda Alpha Awards Banquet. This banquet servers to celebrate the new and existing members of the Lambda Alpha Honors Society.
Congratulations to Dr. Kate Spradely, Ph.D. student Courtney Siegert, and the rest of the Op ID team for a recent NPR feature. On May 21, 2019 NPR posted a piece, "After Grim Deaths In The Borderlands, An Effort To Find Out Who Migrants Were" examining the cases of migrant boarder crossers. NPR conducted interviews with Dr. Spradely and Courtney for the piece to showcase the work of the Op ID team in the effort to identify migrants and return them to their families.
Undergraduate anthropology majors Amanda Rodriguez, Richard Saavedra, and Christina Tinsley presented posters at the 13th annual Undergraduate Research Conference at Texas State University held in April.
Congratulations to Dr. Kent Reilly who as received a $17,807 grant from the Lannan Foundation to fund the 26th Southeastern Iconography.
Sarah Morris (advisor Dr. Britt Bousman) was accepted to the Department of Archaeology PhD program at Simon Fraser University in Canada with a 4-yr support award (full tuition and a generous stipend). She will be working under Prof. Francesco Berna studying geoarchaeology.
Richard Saavedra, a senior anthropology major, presented research that he completed during a SOAR (Summer Opportunities in Anatomy Research) internship at the UNT at the annual meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists in Cleveland. His poster, entitled "Virtual Dissection of Complex Masticatory Muscles with DiceCT," was co-authored with R. Kile and G.A. Menegaz.
MA students McKensey Miller (mentor, Dr. Jill Pruetz) and Megan Veltri (mentor, Dr. Kate Spradley) have won $138,000 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP)* awards. This is the first time any of our students have won this award.
McKensey’s project focuses on Senegal chimpanzees use of microclimates in a savanna-woodland environment as a means of behavioral thermoregulation.
Megan’s project focuses on using facial asymmetry to understand the biological implications of social race.
Congratulations to McKensey and Megan, and to their mentors, Jill and Kate! This is an outstanding achievement. A special thanks to Dr. Andrea Hilkovitz from the Graduate College. Dr. Hilkovitz works very hard with our students whenever they apply for external funding.
Undergraduate anthropology major, Amanda Rodriguez (mentor-Cunningham) was chosen as one of two students for an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) internship in biological anthropology at the prestigious Field Museum in Chicago. Amanda will join a graduate student to assist with the respectful care of human remains from North America. These paid, 10-week internships are designed to help train future biological anthropologists, bioarchaeologists, and collections managers in both the technical and ethical aspects of human osteological curation, collections management, and research. It is anticipated that the laboratory interns will assist the museum’s bioarchaeologist with osteological inventories, as well as be responsible for re-housing of the remains, data collection, and data entry of new metrics into the museum’s database system.
Archaeology graduate students won an invitation to the 2019 Texas State Innovation Lab at SXSW to showcase how 3D technology is being used to record and investigate archaeological sites in the Lower Pecos Canyonlands of Southwest Texas. The Texas State University Innovation Lab @ SXSW Interactive Festival was designed to provide the public an exclusive look at students using and creating breakthrough technology that solves real-world problems. Members of Texas State’s Ancient Southwest Texas Project Sean Farrell, Janaka Greene, Emily McCuistion, and Victoria Pagano, along with faculty mentor David Kilby, all demonstrated the use of Structure from Motion graphic technology to create georeferenced precision 3D models of archaeological sites, features, and artifacts. In addition to aiding in research, documentation, and preservation, these models provide a way for members of the public to virtually visit archaeological sites that might otherwise be inaccessible due to remote locations or private land. The presentation attracted the interest of both archaeology and tech fans in equal amounts. The ASWT crew even created a 3D model of the display itself in real time for attendees.
Dr. Kate Spradley's research featured in Open Anthropology, a public journal of the American Anthropological Association
Dr. Spradley's 2014 paper "Toward Estimating Geographic Origin of Migrant Remains along the United States-Mexico Border" is featured in the latest issue of Open Anthropology - Walls, Fences, and Barriers: Anthropology on the Border.
Open Anthropology is an open-access, public journal that helps bring anthropology into "the public conversation about critical social issues and policy debates" by focusing on "a selection of articles relevant to contemporary concerns".
Doctoral student, Sophia Mavroudas, is the recipient of a Society of Forensic Anthropologists (SOFA) Atlas grant in the amount of $750.00, with her Co-PI Dr. Victoria Dominguez from Lehman College. Their project is entitled, Exploring the potential for microCT analysis on histological age markers, which will be initiated in April 2019 and completed March 2020. The aim of this project is to use microCT to quantify trabecular changes within the human 6th rib to explore how these variables correlate with age. The ultimate goal is improve age at death estimation methods for the biological profile.
Our 2019 Outstanding Undergraduate Student in Anthropology is Richard McAuliffe and our runner-up is Angela Bailey.
These undergraduate students have won Academic Excellence Awards:
Our 2019 Outstanding Master’s Student is Caroline Znachko and our runner-up is Alejandro Allen.
The Outstanding Student and Academic Excellence awards will be presented at the College of Liberal Arts Awards Day on Wednesday, April 24, 2019 at 5:00 pm on the 11th floor of J.C. Kellam (JCK) building.
Dr. Nicholas Herrmann has received the 2019 Cyprus American Archaeological Research Institute (CAARI) / Council of American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC) Fellowship for work on the Hellenistic to Early Christian burial samples from Ayioi Omoloyites in Lefkosia and Ancient Kition in Larnaka. The fellowship will provide travel support and research funds for Dr. Herrmann and Texas State graduate students while in Cyprus this summer.
Dr. Robert L. Williams, or “Father Robert,” as we called him passed away on January 5, 2019. After his “retirement” as a priest and bishop of the Western Rite Orthodox Church, Father Robert received his MA in Anthropology at Texas State in 2007 (mentor-Reilly) and his PhD at UT-Austin in Latin American Studies in 2009. Father Robert wrote several important books on the Mixtec Codices and taught several courses in the department. Here is a link to Fr. Robert’s obituary. http://obits.dignitymemorial.com/dignity-memorial/obituary.aspx?n=Robert-Williams&lc=7983&pid=191319259&mid=8134277
Anthropology Department professor, Dr. Jill Pruetz, was recently featured by the Texas State Newsroom. The piece about Dr. Pruetz examines her work studying chimps and her larger career as an Anthropologist. You can find a full article on the Texas State Newsroom page.
The understanding of fire is one of the traits that sets humans apart in the animal kingdom. Primatologist Dr. Jill Pruetz will explain how savanna chimpanzees in Fongoli, Senegal exhibit a behavior not common to other animals in the face of grassland wildfires.
Similar to the chimpanzee "rain dance" observed by Jane Goodall during approaching storms, Pruetz has witnessed alpha male chimp perform ritualistic "fire dance" while facing the flames. The Fongoli chimps exhibit no signs of panic or flight as animals normally exhibit with wildfires. Instead the Fongoli chimps observe and monitor carefully in preparation for the tribe response to the leading edge of the fire. Should we expect less from our closest living relative, the chimpanzee?
Biological anthropologist and primatologist Dr. Jill Pruetz is director of the Fongoli Savanna Chimpanzee Project and founder of Neighbor Apes. Pruetz is professor of anthropology at Texas State University and a National Geographic Society Emerging Explorer.
Drs. Kate Spradely, Nick Herrmann, and their students were recently featured in a New York Times piece for their work on Operation Identification at Sacred Heart Burial Park. The article, Along the U.S.-Mexico Border, can be found here.
Dr. Carolyn Boyd has been invited to give a lecture at UCLA as part of the Costen Public Lecture Series. Her talk, A Painted Landscape: Lower Pecos Rock Art, draws on twenty-five years of archaeological research and insight from ethnohistory and art history, to identify patterns in art that relate to the mythologies of Uto-Aztecan speaking peoples, including the Aztec and contemporary Huichol.
The talk will take place at the California Nano Systems Institute at UCLA, February 12, 2019 at 7. More information can be found on the UCLA Event Page.
University Marketing has a piece on the Veteran’s Curation Program (VCP) at the Center for Archaeological Studies (CAS). CAS curator, Amy Reid, who runs the program is featured, as are two of our students who are part of the program. Congratulations to Amy and Dr. Todd Ahlman worked very hard to bring VCP to the university. It’s wonderful to see the program flourishing.
Our own Dr. Kate Spradley will deliver the keynote address at the 2018 meeting of the Texas Association of Biological Anthropologists held on the Texas State Campus. This talk will be held on Friday, 11/9, at 6:00 in the Grady Early Building (1921 Old Ranch Road 12, San Marcos).
Dr. Spradley will be speaking about Operation ID: The Humanitarian and Human Rights Crisis in South Texas: Anthropological Application
Dr. Kate Spradley, Professor at Texas State University, is the founder and director of Operation Identification (OpID) established in 2013.
OpID provides humanitarian assistance to families of the missing and human rights assistance to migrants that die crossing the Texas/Mexico Border. The mission of OpID is to facilitate identifications and repatriations through community outreach, forensic anthropological analysis, and collaboration with governmental and non-governmental organizations. Dr. Spradley will discuss the applied anthropological aspects of OpID as well as research derived from studying migration from Latin America from a skeletal biology perspective.
The Texas Association of Biological Anthropologists (TABA) is a regional organization dedicated to biological anthropology including topics such as human variation, evolution and ecology; primate behavior, evolution and ecology; medical anthropology; forensic anthropology; anthropological genetics and related fields.
The 2018 meeting will be held on the campus of Texas State University on 11/9 - 10. We hope to see you there!
At the 2018 Plains Anthropological Conference in San Antonio October 26th, Dr. Chris Lintz, research associate in the Anthropology Department, received the society's Distinguished Service Award. The Distinguished Service Award is for outstanding lifetime achievement in Plains anthropological research, teaching, scholarship, and service to the profession. It goes to the people whose work is essential to our field, and is the most valued award given by the Plains Anthropological Society. The DSA has been awarded 23 times since initiated in 1991.
Dr. Doug Bamforth gives Dr. Chris Lintz Plains Anthropological Society Distinguished Service Award.
The Midwest Primate Interest Group (MPIG) named Dr. Jill Pruetz the Distinguished Primatologist of 2018 based on her contributions to Primatologist in the Midwest. Pruetz received a doctorate at the University of Illinois in 1999, was a post-doc at the University of Miami of Ohio, and then worked as a professor of anthropology at Iowa State University from 2001 to 2017, when she returned to teach at her alma mater, Texas State University. She will give the keynote address at the annual MPIG meeting, which will be held in Bloomington, Indiana on October 26-27.
Dr. David Kilby was a guest on The Archaeology Show and was interviewed regarding his research on the earliest North Americans.
The Archaeology Show podcast's 50th episode consists of interview and discussion with Dr. David Kilby regarding the peopling of the New World, Clovis archaeology, artifact caches, and the controversial Solutrean hypothesis for the origins of Clovis. The Archaeology Show is part of the Archaeology Podcast Network and is hosted by Chris Webster and April Kamp-Whittaker.
Dr. Christina Conlee will give the Annual Jeffrey Parsons Lecture at the University of Michigan Department of Anthropology on Oct. 25th; the talk is titled "Beyond the Lines: Exploring Long-Term Cultural Dynamics in Nasca, Peru."
Dr. David Kilby and his work at Bonfire Shelter are featured on the Texas State home page! Congratulations to David and his graduate and undergraduate students, Janaka Greene, Sean Farrell, Ashley Eyeington and John Hedges.
Dr. Carolyn Boyd, Shumla Endowed Research Professor, was interviewed by the late Anthony Bourdain for his series “Parts Unknown” on the White Shaman panel. Carolyn will be featured on the October 21 episode on CNN.
The TAS Annual meeting will hosts new research presentations and posters along with tours of the Alamo and Mission Concepcion, Rancho de las Cabras and the Witte Museum. The Council of Texas Archeologists host a meeting on Friday morning and there is a public forum from 7-9 discussing the La Belle ship wreck. A CTA Careers in Archeology Social follows immediate after the public forum. Get registration information at : https://txarch.org/civicrm-event/189.
We are pleased to announce that Dr. Nick Herrmann has received a National Institute of Justice Award for his project "Investigation of subadult dental age-at-death estimation using transition analysis and machine learning methods,” for $898,550. Impressively, this was Nick’s first submission of this proposal.
From the grant description: "The goal of this research is to provide forensic practitioners with an accurate age estimation method based on a large, demographically diverse, modern subadult sample that captures the variation in dental development. Current standard methodology based on tooth mineralization often underestimates age by one to more than two years as age increases, an issue we aim to minimize. This research will use dental development data collected on radiographs from modern living subadults from different populations in the United States (US), the United Kingdom, and South Africa from birth to late teens. These samples include underrepresented populations, such as US Hispanics, that are lacking in the original publication samples because of a shift in population demographics since the methods were originally developed as compared to the present-day demographic profile of the US."
Last summer, CAS's Associate Director, Jodi Jacobsen, submitted a proposal for a National Park Service Master Cooperative agreement contract, which she received. The NPS gave out a total of 25 awards, but only five of those went to “large” institutions who could handle projects in the $250,000 range, and CAS was one of the five. Project types are quite varied, and can include Archeological Identification/Evaluation Studies, Cultural Affiliation Study, Lineal Descent Studies to National Heritage Area Plans and Evaluations, and so on. This is not just a great opportunity for CAS, but it hopefully lead to NPS internships for undergraduate and graduate students.
CAS's curation facility expansion kicked off on Tuesday, September 25 and should be completed in four months. Due to Amy Reid’s hard work, CAS was recently recertified by the Texas Historical Commission to be a held-in-trust curation facility. Amy has also been working hard to also make sure that we meet federal curation standards set forth in 36 CFR 79, which will help us acquire and curate federal collections. Amy also was able to negotiate with the Texas Department of Transportation to extend our curation agreement with TxDOT through FY2020. The estimated total under this agreement for FY2019-FY2020 is $214,701.
Last year, CAS Director, Dr. Todd Ahlman, was awarded a five-year with the US CAS Army Corps of Engineers, which brought in over $2 million dollars in the first year. CAS was recently awarded new three projects through the agreement. On two projects they will team with Statistical Research Inc (SRI) to conduct archaeological surveys at the Barry M. Goldwater Range ($567,000) and Davis-Monthan Air Force Base ($720,000) in Arizona. The third project ($280,000) involves providing two staff members to support the cultural resources needs for Air Force Midwest installations and organizing a Native American consultation meeting with CAS's partner Stell Environmental.
Texas State University is pleased to announce that the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges has approved a new Doctor of Philosophy degree (Ph.D.) with a major in Applied Anthropology.
The program is the first applied anthropology doctoral program in the state of Texas and only the third in the nation! The Department of Anthropology at Texas State excels in two areas of applied anthropology: forensic anthropology and cultural resource management archaeology. Coursework in those areas incorporates intercultural communication, interdisciplinary understanding, research design, grant writing, project management, ethics and professional conduct, methods of data collection, and the use of theory in the interpretation of data. The global economy has created a tremendous need for research-based information and pragmatic uses of anthropological knowledge and skills, creating exciting and extensive career opportunities for applied anthropologists!
Each year the Pre-Columbian Society of Washington, D.C. convenes six renowned scholars to present research and provide a panel discussion on an important theme in American archaeology. David Kilby has been chosen to present research on this years theme, the Peopling of the Americas. Dr. Kilby will present a lecture on Clovis caches and address their role in the controversial "Solutrean hypothesis" for European migration to the Americas during the last ice age. His lecture argues that North American and European caches are part of a larger global phenomenon in the late Pleistocene, but do not support a direct connection between Clovis and Solutrean populations.
Dr. Emily Brunson was interviewed about her research on why parents choose to vaccinate their children (or not) by the CBC in Canada on Friday in response the the measles outbreak in Europe this year. The World Health Organization reported "a record number of measles cases in Europe this year, with more than 41,000 people infected in the first six months of the year — almost double the total number of cases for 2017 — and of those, at least 37 people have died."
Dr. Kate Spradley has been chosen as the keynote speaker for first Human Rights and Dignity workshop in Falstad, Norway on October 10, 2018. The right to seek and enjoy asylum from persecution (§14) is one of the fundamental rights of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which this year celebrates its 70th anniversary. However, the erection of border walls and fences along the US and European Union’s borders, and the adoption of stricter immigration policies severely curtails these rights and forces refugees and migrants to take ever greater risks in seeking refuge. Dr. Kate Spradley will discuss migrant deaths in Texas at the Falstad Center for Human Rights first workshop on Human Rights and Dignity.
The Veterans Curation Program (VCP) recently established a new satellite lab at the Center for Archaeological Studies (CAS) in San Marcos, Texas. CAS is a research center within the Department of Anthropology at Texas State University. The lab will employ and train student veterans to rehabilitate artifact and archives collections from the Fort Worth District, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. CAS’s Curator, Amy Reid, is a longtime admirer of the VCP and is proud to serve as lab manager. “I am so excited to give back to those who have sacrificed so much for our country. The VCP is such a great way to prepare veterans for the mainstream job market, especially student veterans who enroll in our University for that very reason.”
As part of this summer’s NSF REU: Exploring Globalization Through Archaeology and Bioarchaeology program, undergraduate students from Texas State and other universities spent 3 weeks doing fieldwork on Saint Eustatius, and 4 weeks on campus analyzing their data and writing up their project results. The students did a great job presenting their posters on August 2nd. Each student will also apply to present their research at the national Society for American Archaeology conference, which will be next April in Albuquerque.
This summer's work was directed by Ashley McKeown and Todd Ahlman.
Dr. Christina Conlee was awarded a NSF grant in the amount of $239,556 for her project titled "The Cyclic Rise and Fall of Complex Societies."
With funding from the National Science Foundation, Dr. Conlee will be conducting a multi-year archaeological project in the desert of Nasca, Peru. She will examine the development, expansion, and collapse of complex societies during the Middle Horizon (AD 650-1000), a time of unprecedented change when the highland Wari empire expanded into many areas of the Andes, including the south coast of Peru and home of the Nasca.
The Air Force does not normally employ archaeologists and conservation specialists, so, to give the aviation experts a break from shovels and paperwork, last year Texas State University entered into a $1.6 million agreement to perform cultural resource surveys and support at Air Force installations in eight states. The agreement, made between the Integrated Natural and Cultural Resources Team (INCRT) and the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), is part of a larger, potentially $45 million five-year cooperative agreement acquired in 2016 by Dr. Todd Ahlman, INCRT head and director of the Center for Archaeological Studies at Texas State.
You can read more about Dr. Ahlman and the project in HillViews Magazine.
Dr. Wescott and colleague Hayley Mickleburgh from Leiden University published the results of their actualistic experiment examining joint disarticulation patterns in a seated burial and discuss the results. The research was published in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports.
Dr. Wescott along with four current and former Texas State students and colleagues at Sam Houston State University and the University of Tennessee published a paper in the new "Forensic Anthropology" journal examining the validity of the TBS/ADD model. This is the first collaborative research project involving three human decomposition facilities.
In the August, 2018 issue of the "Journal of Human Evolution," Drs. Deborah Cunningham and Daniel Wescott, along with their collaborators, published a paper entitled "The effect of ontogeny on estimates of KNM-WT 15000's body size." The 1.5 million-year-old Homo erectus specimen KNM-WT 15000 (Nariokotome Boy) has played a critical role in our understanding of body size evolution. New interpretations suggest that KNM-WT 15000 had a younger age-at-death and a more rapid ontogenetic trajectory than previously suggested. Recent fossil discoveries and new interpretations suggest a wide range of body size and shape variation in H. erectus. Based on these new insights, we argue that KNM-WT 15000’s adult stature and body mass could have been much smaller than has been traditionally presented in the literature. Using chimpanzee and modern human growth trajectories, we bracket the range of possibilities for KNM-WT 15000’s adult body size and argue that the Nariokotome Boy was near the mean rather than among the largest known H. erectus specimens.
Drs. Deborah Cunningham and Daniel Wescott, along with recent MA graduate Devora Gleiber and colleagues at the Federal Bureau of Investigation, published a paper in the brand new journal "Forensic Anthropology" entitled "The use of x-ray computed tomography technologies in forensic anthropology."
Congratulations to Dr. Kent Reilly who was recently awarded a Lannan Foundation Community and Ethnographic Studies grant for over $18,000.
Cultural anthropology MA student, Alejandro Allen (Advisor Dr. Nicole Taylor) has been awarded an REG (Research Experience for Graduates) grant from the National Science Foundation to study how college students experience food insecurity.
Congratulations to Dr. Carolyn Boyd who has been invited to participate in the 2018 Rock Art Colloquium this summer, sponsored by the Getty Conservation Institute. The attendees are leaders in rock art conservation and management from around the world.
The report from the first (2015) colloquium is available for download from the Getty Conservation Institute site.
Congratulations to Dr. Jodi Jacobson who has been chosen as the new Associate Director of the Center for Archaeology Studies. Jodi comes to CAS from TRC in Austin where she was a Senior Archaeologist, Project Manager, Office Practice Lead, National Program Director for Tower Environmental Compliance, and Central Region Market Director.
This piece is based on their paper, “The costs of living at the edge: Seasonal stress in wild savanna-dwelling chimpanzees,” published in the Journal of Human Evolution.
The Cross Bar Ranch Field School at Texas State was highlighted on the Bureau of Land Management's New Mexico Preservation Partner's in Preservation web page. Dr. Britt Bousman has been teaching an archaeological field school at the Cross Bar Ranch in the Texas Panhandle since 2004. He is instructing student, Olivia Adams, on mapping with a Total Station in 2016.
Congratulation to Elaine Chu (mentor Dr. Spradley) who was chosen by the Graduate College to compete for the 3MT regional competition in Knoxville, Tennessee in February 2019.
Elaine is a biological anthropology master’s candidate focusing on body mass estimation of migrant Hispanic individuals and variation in stature and body mass within the Hispanic population. For the Texas State University 3MT competition, Elaine highlighted the utility of body mass estimation for unidentified individuals, specifically for cases involving multiple unidentified individuals with similar descriptions, such as Operation Identification at Texas State University. After graduation this May, Elaine will begin the doctoral program at the University of Nevada, Reno, where she will explore variation in subadult individuals from multiple populational groups.
For more information on the 3MT competition visit the University of Knoxville site.
The family of Michael Kilby has made a $100,000 gift to establish a permanent endowment in support of graduate research in anthropology.
Dr. Larry S. Kilby and Cheryl Kilby of North Wilkesboro, North Carolina, have worked with David Kilby, an associate professor of anthropology at Texas State University to establish this endowment in honor of Dr. J. Michael Kilby. David Kilby, Ph.D. is the younger brother of Michael Kilby, M.D.
You can find out more about the endowment from the Office of Media Relations.
FACTS faculty and students present 15 talks/posters at 2018 AAFS meeting.
Nicholas Herrmann | Data Standards, Archiving, and Analytics in Forensic Anthropology
Audrey Schaefer and Jessica Galea | A Test of Quantitative Age-At-Death Estimation of the Pubic Symphysis Using the forAge Program
Kate Flor-Stagnato, Susan Sincerbox, and Nicholas Herrmann | Using Structure From Motion Photogrammetry to Quantify Volume Gain and Loss During the Human Decomposition Process
Kate Spradley | A Geometric Morphometric Analysis of Contemporary Hispanic Populations From Mexico and Colombia
Nandar Yukyi and Kate Spradley | Craniometric Variation of Modern Asian and Hispanic Individuals Using Multivariate Analysis
Kate Spradley | Validation, Verification, and Performance Checks of Anthropological Equipment and Software: The Importance of Quality Assurance in Forensic Anthropology Laboratories
Chaunesey Clemmons and Daniel Wescott | Dental Morphological Ancestry Estimation in a Self-Identified Biracial Sample
Kate Spradley | The Approach Toward Identification of Deceased Migrants in the United States and European Union: A Comparative Study Between LABANOF (Italy), OpID (Texas) and PCOME (Arizona) Experiences
Kate Spradley | Humanitarian Science in the Texas Borderlands: Incorporating a Sociopolitical Perspective to the Forensic Investigation of Migrant Identification
Robyn Kramer, Nicholas Herrmann, and Kate Spradley | The Application of Stable Isotopes and Geostatistics to Infer Region of Geographic Residence for Undocumented Migrants
Courtney Siegert, Michelle Hamilton, Elizabeth Erhart | The Application of Consolidation Materials to Burned Bone: A Comparative Approach
Elaine Chu and Kate Spradley | Body Mass Estimation: Preliminary Equations for the Undocumented South Texas Migrants Using Bayesian Inference
Shelby Garza and Daniel Wescott | Reexamining Differences in the Rate of Decomposition Between Previously Frozen and Never Frozen Human Remains Using the Accumulated Decomposition Score (ADS)
Krystle Lewis and Daniel Wescott | Assessing the Utility of Total Body Score (TBS) and Accumulated Degree Days (ADD) for Estimating Postmortem Interval (PMI) in Clothed Vulture-Scavenged Human Remains
Daniel Wescott | Taphonomic Effects on Isotope Ratios of Human Hair
FACTS and Dr. Daniel Wescott were featured in the Houston Chronicle in an article titled Learning about decomposition at the body farm in San Marcos.
Dr. Jill Pruetz is one of the invited speakers at the Role of Hunting in Human Evolution Symposium. This symposium will be live-streamed Friday, from 1:00-5:30 p.m. (West Coast time). Her lecture is entitled, "Hunting by Savanna Chimpanzees".
National Geographic video, "Just Like Us, These Chimps Splash in the River to Keep Cool" Highlights New Paper from Dr. Jill Pruetz
Dr. Pruetz's latest publication on the Fongoli chimpanzees' behavior in their savanna environment was featured in a National Geographic video.
Congratulations to Dr. David Kilby was was recently awarded a National Geographic Society grant in the amount of $17,850 in support of his project in South Texas, "A new look at Bonfire Shelter: Using Structure from Motion photogrammetry to investigate the earliest Americans.”
Congratulations to these faculty who won 2018 Research Enhancement Program Grants.
- Dr. Britt Bousman, Early Later Stone Age Excavations at Erfkroon, South Africa
- Dr. Christi Conlee, Investigating Prehistoric Cultural Boundaries and Lifeways in North-Central Oregon
- Dr. Nick Herrmann, Ancient Eleon Bioarchaeological Project, Greece
- Dr. David Kilby, Investigations at Bonfire Shelter: New Dates for One of Americas Oldest Sites
Dr. Kate Spradley and her team recently made the front page of USA Today for their work on Operation Identification.
The Texas Historical Commission selected Dr. Carolyn Boyd as this year’s recipient of the Curtis D. Tunnell Lifetime Achievement Award in Archeology. Named in honor of former State Archeologist and Texas Historical Commission Executive Director Curtis Tunnell, this award recognizes an individual for outstanding lifetime accomplishments in archeological research and/or preservation.
Also, Shumla made the cover of American Archaeology magazine!
Congratulations to JP (mentor Hamilton) for winning the Outstanding Master’s Thesis Award in the Life Sciences!
Kyleigh Hoelscher, an undergraduate honor's student in the department of Anthropology (mentor Taylor), has been awarded an Undergraduate Research Fellowship from Texas State University to support her honor's thesis research on how people experience food insecurity during the holidays.
MA graduate, Caryn Tegtmeyer (mentor Hamilton), is now Dr. Tegtmeyer! Caryn recently passed her dissertation defense at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Kyleigh Hoelscher, an undergraduate student in the department of Anthropology, has been awarded an Undergraduate Research Fellowship from Texas State University to support her honor's thesis research on how people experience food insecurity during the holidays.
Dr. Spradley will discuss the humanitarian and human rights crisis pertaining to the migrants that die in South Texas. This lecture will take place October 26, 2017 in Sewall Hall on the Rice University Campus.
Dr. Kate Spradley has been awarded a $100,000 grant from the Homeland Security Grants Division (HSGD) through the Office of the Governor to continue her work with Operation ID.
Dr. Jill Pruetz was invited to the premier of the new film “Jane” and she was also interviewed by Neil deGrasse Tyson for a National Geographic StarTalk episode with Jane Goodall. You can find clips from the interview on the National Geographic site.
Dr. Carolyn Boyd's book, The White Shaman Mural was recently reviewed in Archaeology. Download the review Reading the White Shaman Mural.
Two years ago Zac Selden (Center for Regional Heritage Research-SFAU) and Britt Bousman (Texas State-Anthropology) created the Index of Texas Archaeology to provide access to the Cultural Resource Management literature for the State of Texas. As of today (Oct 4, 2017) 16,475 archaeological reports have been downloaded in 105 countries across the globe. The Index of Texas Archaeology is hosted at SFAU and uses Bepress (Berkeley Electronic Press) as the publishing platform. Bepress is now using the Index of Texas Archaeology as a "case study" on its web site.
Dr. Carolyn Boyd was selected as one of 33 leading women scientists by the Dallas Women's Foundation. The Foundation is featuring women in STEM to elevate the stories of women scientists, and to keep the conversation and interest in advancing women in science, engineering, technology, art and math in the future.
Dr. Kate Spradley presents her research on searching for unidentified remains in South Texas to the Forensic Anthropology Society of Europe in Milan, Italy. Dr. Spradley was an invited speaker for this event.
Dr. Taylor was recently interviewed about her book Schooled on Fat.
Congratulations to Dr. Jill Pruetz has won a National Geographic Society grant of $21,198.00 in support of her proposed project "Thermo-imaging bipedalism on the savanna: Chimpanzee locomotion at Fongoli, Senegal and implications for the evolution of hominin bipedalism."
Last year Dr. Todd Ahlman was approved for an request for proposal (RFP) with the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). Because of Dr. Alhman’s efforts we are one of three universities that can bid on $45 million dollars of natural and cultural resource projects over the next five years.
Dr. Ahlman has won his first task order award from the USACE for support at multiple Midwest Region Air Force facilities. This task order is for $722,712. The work includes updating Integrated Cultural Resources Management Plans at Mountain Home Air Force Base (AFB) and the US Air Force Academy (we teamed with Versar for this project), an architectural survey of Peterson AFB (we teamed with Mead and Hunt on this project), and hiring five people to work in installations in Colorado (Buckley AFB and Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station [the former NORAD headquarters]), Utah (Hill AFB), Montana (Malmstrom AFB), and Illinois (Scott AFB).
In addition to this task order, Dr. Ahlman also just received another task order for $938,101 that includes archaeological surveys at the Utah Testing and Training Range (teamed with Cannon Heritage Services where we split crew), Buckley AFB (all Texas State crew), and US Air Force Academy (teamed with Metcalf Archaeology where we split crew) and architectural surveys at Air Force bases in Colorado, Utah, Alaska, South Dakota and North Dakota. We have teamed with Metcalf Archaeology, Historical Research Associates, and Deb McClane for the architectural surveys.
Congratulations to Dr. Taylor who was awarded a nearly $30,000 EAGER (Early-concept Grants for Exploratory Research) grant from the National Science Foundation for her project "Ethical and Methodological Challenges in Social Media Research."
Dr. Reilly was recently interviewed by Santa Fe's KSFR station regarding his talk for the "Crossing Global Frontiers" lecture series. His lecture, titled "The Spiro Archaeological Site: Travels on the Path of Souls," focused on Caddoan findings near Spiro, Oklahoma. You can listen to the interview on KSFR.
Tomography for Scientific Advancement (ToScA) held its first North American conference at the University of Texas in Austin this month. Devora Gleiber presented a paper entitled "The use of industrial CT in forensic anthropology" (Cunningham, Wescott, Gleiber, Christensen, & Smith), and also presented a poster on her master's thesis research entitled "The effect of mobility impairment on femoral trabecular and cortical bone structure" (Gleiber & Wescott). Additionally, Devora Gleiber and Dr. Deborah Cunningham presented a poster entitled "Variation in the trabecular structure of the proximal tibia between obese and non-obese individuals" (Gleiber, Cunningham, Skipper, & Wescott). The conference was incredibly interesting and informative, and Devora and Deborah enjoyed exploring new collaborative opportunities with colleagues. The conference program can be viewed from ToScA.
In August 2017, Nicole Tremain (B.A. 2015) will leave her current job as a coordinator and assistant educator at the Perot Museum of Nature and Science to begin the graduate program in Geospatial Information Sciences at the University of Texas at Dallas, where she will combine her interests in anthropology and GIS. Congratulations Nicole!
Ms. Tremain, second from left, exhibits the results of a student research project on St. John’s Catholic Church along with several other students.
The Forensic Anthropology Center and Operation Identification made the front page of the NY Times!
"Over 16 years, the Border Patrol documented 6,023 deaths in the four states bordering Mexico, more than the Sept. 11 attacks and Hurricane Katrina combined.”
“When we get them, we assign them a case number because we have to have a way of tracking cases, but no one deserves to be just a number,” said Timothy P. Gocha, a forensic anthropologist with Operation Identification, a project at Texas State University’s Forensic Anthropology Center that analyzes the remains and personal items of the immigrants to help identify them. “The idea is to figure out who they are, and give them their name back.”
Texas State University recently produced a short video featuring Drs. Todd Ahlman, Michelle Hamilton and Kate Spradley discussing CRM and Forensic Anthropology. You can find the video here - Digging Deep: The Impact of Anthropology in Texas.
Nandar Yukyi is the 2017 Outstanding Graduate Anthropology Major.
Nandar specializes in the study of the human skeleton in the Anthropology master's program. Her thesis focuses on similarities in Asian and Hispanic crania and how these similarities impact ancestry identification in forensic anthropology (mentor, Dr. Spradley). Before graduation this summer, Nandar will spend some time excavating and analyzing humans skeletons at the ancient site of Eleon (Greece) with Dr. Herrmann. After graduation, Nandar will begin her new position at the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency.
Congratulations, Nandar, and the best of luck in your career!
Anthropology major Shelly White is the 2017 Outstanding Undergraduate Student for the College of Liberal Arts.
In her essay on the importance of the liberal arts Shelly wrote, "The art and skill of being interdisciplinary is what truly makes the liberal arts great as both academic pursuits and as gateways to careers. My work crosses the borders between math, anthropology, biology, sociology, and medicine, and I am happy to report that each one of these fields seems to think I am rather deviant or possibly insane for entering into all of them with equal enthusiasm. I, instead, happen to think that this is the natural result of a well-rounded liberal arts education at work, doing exactly what it likes to be doing."
Congratulations, Shelly, and the best of luck in graduate school at the University of Washington!
Award Winners are undergraduate anthropology majors with Texas State GPAs of 3.75 or higher.
Alejandro Allen Avery Armstrong Alexis Baide Nora Berry Isabella Bortolussi Charles Connelly Natalie Dorman Wyatt Ellison Mariana Garcia Duncan Gollihugh Megan Hazelwood Kari Helgeson Ashlee Hickson Shanna High Kyleigh Hoelscher Olivia Hornik Brianna Knight Morgan Parker Victoria Sanchez Chloe Scarborough Margaret Sensiba Anna Shupp Alyssa Wagner Shelly White
Research presented at the 2017 AAPA meeting by Texas State University faculty and students
The Metagenomic Analysis of Oral Microbiome Composition of Dental Calculus Recovered from Institutionalized Individuals from the Mississippi State Asylum, Jackson MS.
Jonathan R. Belanich, Heather R. Jordan, Molly K. Zuckerman, Nicholas P. Herrmann, Shane Miller and Jason Rosch
Estimating Ancestry in Undocumented Migrants along the South Texas Border using Dental Morphological Traits: A Test of Edgar’s Method.
Chaunesey M.J. Clemmons, M. Kate Spradley and Daniel J. Wescott
Pellagra mortality in the historic Mississippi State Asylum: An investigation and comparison of skeletal data and institutional records.
Michelle L. Davenport, Molly K. Zuckerman, Nicholas P. Herrmann and Michael Murply
Seasonal Differences in Accumulated Degree-days on the Rate of Human Decomposition.
Shelby L. Garza and Daniel J. Wescott
The Effect of Mobility Impairment on Femoral Trabecular and Cortical Bone Structure.
Devora S. Gleiber and Daniel J. Wescott
Cortical Thickness as a Supplement to Osteon Population Density to Estimate Age at Death.
Timothy P. Gocha, Michelle M. Murach and Amanda M. Agnew
Skeletal Stress Markers in Undocumented Border Crossers: A Comparative Approach.
Alexis Goots, Lauren A. Meckel, Devora S. Gleiber and Alejandra Ayala Bas
Explaining distinct crania from Colonial Delaware using craniometric and genetic analyses.
Kathleen A. Hauther, Ashley H. McKeown, Meradeth Snow and M. K. Spradley
Historical Bioarchaeology and DVI: Data Integration of the Mississippi State Asylum Burial Sample and Archival Records.
Nicholas P. Herrmann, Michelle L. Davenport, Amber M. Plemons, Grant L. Harley, Audrey D. Shaefer and Molly K. Zuckerman
The confusing case of Grave 42: a bioarchaeological analysis.
Coco James, Kathleen Flor-Stagnato, Erica Cantor, Anna J. Osterholtz, Andre Gonciar and Zsolt Nyaradi
Methodological Comparison of the Macroscopic vs. Radiographic Assessment of Cranial Porosities within the Texas State University Donated Skeletal Collection.
Brittany S. McClain and Michelle D. Hamilton
Understanding the Degree of Craniometric Variation in South Texas Migrants.
Chloe P. McDaneld, Timothy P. Gocha, Courtney C. Siegert, Ryan M. Strand, Lori E. Baker and M. Katherine Spradley
The Utility of Dental Cementum Increment Analysis for Estimating Season-of-Death in Naturally Decomposed Skeletons.
Lauren A. Meckel and Daniel J. Wescott
Historic and Skeletal Mortality of the Mississippi State Asylum.
Amber M. Plemons, Michelle L. Davenport and Nicholas P. Herrmann
Paleopathological Assessment of Health and Social Status in a Texas Gulf Coastal Plains Population.
Justin A. Pyle, Courtney C. Siegert and Michelle D. Hamilton
Horse Trail Shelter (41VV166): Understanding subsistence and lifeways in the Lower Pecos Canyonlands of Texas during the Late Prehistoric using a novel SfM approach to osteological data collection.
Courtney C. Siegert, Charles W. Koenig, Amanda M. Castaneda, Stephen L. Black, Michelle D. Hamilton, Lauren A. Meckel, Devora S. Gleiber and Sophia R. Mavroudas
Obesity affects the accuracy and precision of age at death estimations based on the pelvic joints.
Daniel J. Wescott and Sophia R. Mavroudas
Drs. Brunson and Taylor attended the Society for Applied Anthropology meetings in Santa Fe, NM where they presented a paper on TAAS. Their talk was recorded as part of the SfAA podcast series and is available at: http://sfaa.net/podcast/index.php/podcasts/2017/research-and-practice-higher-education.
Dr. David Kilby will be the Adolph Bandelier keynote speaker at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the Archaeological Society of New Mexico. His address, titled “The Role of New Mexico and the Adjacent Southwest in Past and Future Paleoindian Research,” will review both classic Paleoindian sites (Folsom, Blackwater Draw, Bonfire Shelter) and new discoveries, and their roles in our evolving understanding of the Late Pleistocene archaeology of the American Southwest. The meeting is from May 5-7 in Moriarty, NM. https://newmexico-archaeology.org/
Cyprus American Archaeological Research Institute (CAARI) has awarded Dr. Nicholas Herrmann the 2017 Senior Scholar in Residence Fellowship for in the Ayioi Omoloyites Bioarchaeology Project, which is conducted in Nicosia, Cyprus. Four Texas State University graduate and undergraduate students will be participating on the project this summer. For information about CAARI please go to http://caari.org/.
Robyn Kramer (mentor Dr. Nicholas Herrmann) was accepted to the SPATIAL stable isotope short course at the University of Utah with a graduate student travel award of $2,300. Use this link to learn more about this program http://stableisotopes.utah.edu/.
Dr. Taylor's book Schooled on Fat has won two literary awards:
Reader Views Literary Award, Societal Issues and the Reviewers Choice Best Non-fiction Book of the Year, Specialty Awards
More information on the awards can be found on readerviews.com.
Dr. Reilly will bring together participants in the Spiro Exhibition to discuss the catalog for the exhibition at The School of American Research in Santa Fe, NM June 2-7, 2017.
Dr. Emily Brunson publishes post on Medical Anthropology Quarterly blog entitled, "The 'Anecdote' Insult, or Why Health Policy Needs Stories" considers the importance of qualitative/ethnographic research on health policy issues. The post can be found in Medical Anthropology Quarterly.
On January 27, 2017, Dr. Kent Reilly and the Board of Regents of the University of Alabama Museum Board meet with Lord Cultural Resources and Management to decide on a long therm plan for the expansion of the Moundville Archaeological Park among other cultural facilities run and managed by the University of Alabama.
On January 13-14, 2017, Dr. Kent Reilly took part in a Maya Symposium, Tlillan Tlapallan the Maya as neighbors in Ancient Mesoamerica. Olmec Iconographic Influences on on the Symbols of Maya Rulership. The identification of elements of the Olmec iconographic system within later Maya art should be predicated on the testable hypothesis that certain elements of the Maya system can be visually identified among Olmec symbols.
With widespread support, especially from the newly created Minor in Latina/o Mexican American Studies, Texas A&M University hosted the annual Tejas NACCS (National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies) Conference in February 2017. Drawing on her thesis research with an immigrant rights organization in Houston, Loera demonstrated how social and cultural processes contributed to the success of young immigrant activists. She expects to continue her research on this timely topic in the future.
Dr. Spradley was elelcted in February as the Anthropology Section Chair for the American Academy of Forensic Sciences for 2017 - 2018.
Dr. Taylor will give a presentation about her body image research and lead a workshop on career paths for anthropology majors at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon on March 13.
Presentation: Teens, Body Image, and Obesity: Exploring Intersections of Discourse, Practice, and Policy
Dr. Nicole Taylor will share findings from her research on how youth navigate body image concerns within a dominant culture that reinforces widespread beliefs about body size as a matter of personal responsibility while offering limited opportunity to exercise and an abundance of junk foods. Drawing on daily participant observation, interviews, and focus groups over the course of a school year, Taylor’s research explores how youth managed their body size, social status, and identities as body-conscious individuals. Taylor also traces policy efforts and offers practical strategies for promoting teen wellness.
Workshop: Making Anthropology Work for You: Career Paths and Next Steps
In this workshop Dr. Nicole Taylor provides information about career pathways for anthropology majors, drawing on her own experience as a practicing anthropologist working in non-profit and corporate settings. We will also explore strategies for finding jobs and marketing oneself as an anthropologist.
Sometimes the perfect survey comes along to help us fulfill our mission to provide student training in the fields of cultural resource management and archaeological research. Today, CAS archaeologist Jacob Hooge has his teacher hat on as he provides some training in archaeological survey methods for a crew of Texas State Anthropology graduate students.
NPR's Nature Notes covers Texas State archaeological research in the Trans-Pecos region of Texas. Read or listen to the show on Marfa Public Radio.
NPR's Nature Notes covers Texas State archaeological investigations at Bonfire Shelter, TX. Read or listen to the show on Marfa Public Radio.
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 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 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."
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)
Current and former students, and faculty members.
Dr. 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.
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.
Dr. Wescott will give a presentation about the Forensic Anthropology Center at Texas State to the National Sojourners meeting on February 22.
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: https://mobile.nytimes.com/blogs/lens/2017/01/25/photographing-the-science-of-death-and-decay/
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!
KXAN published a story on migrant identification featuring work from Dr. Kate Spradley. You can listen to the full story here: http://tpr.org/post/source-texas-project-works-name-migrants-lost-crossing-border#stream/0
Congratulations to Dr. Taylor whose book, Schooled on Fat, was named a finalist for the New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards: http://nmbookcoop.com/BookAwards/2016-Finalists/2016-Finalists.html
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 - http://www.rgvproud.com/news/local-news/immigrant-id-investigation-pt-2
Texas Observer recently did an article on Shumla and Dr. Carolyn Boyd. You can find the article at the link below.
Dr. Brunson wrote an Anthropology News article for the Society for Medical Anthropology on healthcare reform in the U.S.
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.
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
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. 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 on Huffpost.
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!
Left Image: Iron Age Grinding Stone - Right Image: Iron Age Site: East Wear Bay
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.
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.
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: http://www.shoresoftime.com/portfolios/episode-8-a-coin/.
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.
Nutrition and proportionality: A study of undocumented migrants from the Texas-Mexico border
ALEJANDRA AYALA BAS and M KATHERINE SPRADLEY.
Indicators of Stress within Modern Undocumented Border Crossers Along the South Texas Border
BRITTANY S. MCCLAIN, MICHELLE D. HAMILTON and M. KATE SPRADLEY.
Cranial base height as an indicator of developmental stress in native Mexican and American-born Mexican populations
ALEXIS GOOTS1, KATE SPRADLEY1 and HAILEY DUECKER1,2.
The Anthropology of Forensic Identification in Texas
JAMES P. FANCHER, M. KATE SPRADLEY, HAILEY A. DUECKER, CASSIE E. SKIPPER, BRITTANY S. MCCLAIN, MARILYN E. ISAACKS, CHLOE P. MCDANELD, SOPHIA R. MAVROUDAS, ALEXIS C. GOOTS and ALEJANDRA D. AYALA BAS.
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
2015 Anthropology Student Award Winners
Outstanding Anthropology Undergraduate
Outstanding Anthropology Graduate
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
Archaeology magazine published a great article 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.
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 on their donation page.
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.
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.
Anthropology major, Ruth Carrillo, has been named the outstanding undergraduate student for the college. Congratulations, Ruth!
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!
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!
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.