Anthropology News Archive | 2015

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  • News | 2015

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

    • Dr. Kerry Graham is delighted to announce that their newest addition, Conrad Monroe Graham, was born October 14th.

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

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

    • Forbes recently published an article regarding how "Body Farms" help teach Anthropologist to solve crimes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Jennifer Guajardo Amanda Castaneda

      Outstanding Anthropology Undergraduate
      Jennifer Guajardo

      Outstanding Anthropology Graduate & Outstanding Liberal Arts Graduate Student
      Amanda Castañeda
      2015 Academic ExcellenceAward Winners
      Lauren Alexander Alexis Artuz Isabella Bortolussi
      Taylor Bowden Dusti Bridges Aaron Byrd
      John Cherry Glynnis Creason Justin Demere
      Natalie Dorman Elizabeth Duffy Amber Frenzel
      Jennifer Guajardo Ashlee Guzman Samantha Harris
      Kari Helgeson Olivia Hornik Samuel Jaklich
      Jessica Jimenez Brianna Kight Kelsey Lee
      Jordan Lewman Simone Longe Elizabeth Miller
      Sarah Miller Morgan Parker Donnell Pomeroy
      Anna Provenzano Samantha Richter Aireka Rinehart
      Chloe Scarborough Mary Schmidt Mary Schooler
      Garrett Screws Emily Taner Kyle-Matthew Taylor
      Victor Templer Alyssa Wagner Krystal Warren
    • Videographers at the Office of University Marketing recently produced a Discover video on Dr. Steve Black and his team of archaeologists at Eagle Cave. The video is awesome!

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

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

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

      Read the full story in the New York Times.

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

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

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

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

      Amanda  Castaneda

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

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

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

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

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

      Sifting for the past before building the future

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