Anthropology News Archive | 2013

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  • News | 2013

    • In October Professor Dr. 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 Dr. Jon McGee and Dr. 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.


    • 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 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.


    • 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), Dr. Kate Spradley, and Hailey Duecker (graduate student, Texas State) are featured in the article.


    • Congratulations to Dr. Christina Conlee who was was recently quoted in a USA Today article, 'Temple of the Dead' regarding a royal tomb discovered in Peru.


    • 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.


    • 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.


    • 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’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.


    • 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).


    • 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.


    • 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 visit the University of Texas Press.


    • 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.


    • 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.