Archaeologist Jennifer Birch publishes edited volume
Routledge has just released a volume edited by Jennifer Birch, From Prehistoric Villages to Cities. Subtitled Settlement Aggregation and Community Transformation, the volume examines a critical stage in prehistoric social and political evolution: community aggregates. These more complex social structures arose as dispersed village dwellers came together in larger societies that preceded emergent chiefdoms and states. This volume examines the transformations in social relations by considering how aggregated communities functioned internally; what shifts among daily practices proved adaptive and how these processes played out in diverse and historically contingent settings. From Routledge: “This volume employs a broadly cross-cultural approach to interrogating [many such] questions, employing case studies which span four continents and more than 10,000 years of human history.”
Jennifer Birch hosts community archaoelogy day
On March 16 Jennifer Birch and members of the Student Association for Archaeological Sciences (SAAS) hosted a public archaeology day for the Greater Atlanta Archaeological Society at the Raccoon Ridge site.
SAAS members Ian Garrison, Shelby Jarrett, and Sarah Agee, as well as Jake Lulewicz and Stephan Brennan helped make this event a success.
Stephen Kowalewski, Ph.D., oversees impressive student grant from the National Science Foundation
Stephen Kowalewski, a professor of anthropology in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, is overseeing a $25,000 Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant from the National Science Foundation on behalf of doctoral student Yanxi Wang. Under Kowalewski's supervision, Wang is mapping, describing, collecting and dating artifacts from the earlies human occupation, at least 8,000 years ago, up to historic time along the Middle Guan River valley in Nanyang, China.
National Geographic Society funds research by archaeologist Victor Thompson
The National Geographic Society's Committee for Research and Exploration has awarded Assistant Professor Victor Thompson a $19,150 grant in support of his project "Mound Key: The capital of the Calusa kingdom." The Calusa, a monument-building stratified society, created the key and other constructed islands in the area over 2,000 years ago. Mound Key is held by Dr. Thompson and others to have been the site of Calos, the capital of a kingdom that extended over much of Florida and its small islands prior to devastation wrought by European contact in the 16th century.
Dr. Elizabeth Reitz elected 2012 Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science
Dr. Elizabeth Reitz has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, an honor bestowed upon her by the association for "scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications." Among five Franklin College professors thus honored for 2012, Dr. Reitz was recognized for pioneering research in the study of past diet and foodways, and for fundamental contributions to the development of zooarchaeology.
The university's Department of Anthropology is now home to two AAAS Fellows; Archaeologist Dr. Stephen Kowalewski was elected as Fellow by the society in 2008.
The tradition of AAAS Fellows began in 1874. Currently, members can be considered for the rank of Fellow if nominated by the steering groups of the association's 24 sections, or by any three Fellows who are current AAAS members (so long as two of the three sponsors are not affiliated with the nominee's institution), or by the AAAS chief executive officer. Each steering group then reviews the nominations of individuals within its respective section and a final list is forwarded to the AAAS Council, which votes on the aggregate list.
The American Association for the Advancement of Science is the world's largest general scientific society, and publisher of the journal, Science as well as Science Translational Medicine and Science Signaling. AAAS was founded in 1848, and includes 261 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. Science has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world, with an estimated total readership of 1 million. The non-profit AAAS is open to all and fulfills its mission to "advance science and serve society" through initiatives in science policy, international programs, science education, and others.
Dr. Reitz will be presented with an official certificate and a gold and blue (representing science and engineering, respectively) rosette pin on Saturday, Feb. 16, at the AAAS Fellows Forum during the 2013 AAAS Annual Meeting in Boston, Mass.
Dr. Velásquez Runk co-authors significant contribution to work with indigenous peoples of Panamá
Julie Velásquez Runk has co-authored with colleagues (Monica Martinez Mauri, Blas Quintero, and Jorge Sarsaneda), Pueblos Indigenas en Panama: Una Bibliografia (Indigenous Peoples in Panama: A Bibliography). The book was officially presented last week at the National Library of Panama together with the Web site Languages and Cultures of Panama.
On August 5th, the University of Panama held a colloquium on "indigenous peoples today." Speakers included all the book's co-authors as well as U.S. and Panamanian anthropologists.
The book was funded thanks to a grant from Panama's NSF, the Secretaria Nacional de Ciencia, Tecnologia, e Innovacion (SENACYT). Dr. Velásquez Runk was PI on the grant. The introductory chapter of the book is an up-to-date description of the indigenous groups in Panama, as well as an overview of the bibliographic materials on each group. In the introductory chapter to the book the authors describe how the book resulted from presence of indigenous peoples, the need to distribute information about the many already published works, and the passion to contribute to work with indigenous peoples. Indigenous Peoples in Panama: A Bibliography compiles over 4,000 references and 537 pages on Panama's seven indigenous groups. Below are three Web links to articles about the project. Since Dr. Velásquez Runk is a research associate with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Associate, their newsletter features both the book and the colloquium, on pages 3 and 5 respectively.
- In Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panamá newsletter
- In La Prensa newspaper, Panamá
- In Languages and Cultures of Panamá
Three professors chosen for fall’s First-Year Odyssey program
Three anthropology professors will be teaching self-designed seminars for the university’s First-Year Odyssey program this fall. These courses are created to introduce entering students to critical thinking regarding timely issues, research and study skills. Those faculty members whose proposals were selected for inclusion in the program were awarded $2,500 for their one-credit-hour class.
Pete Brosius’ seminar, Conservation in a Complex World, incorporates the insights of multiple disciplines to address contemporary conservation matters in a world riven by intractable poverty, increased resource extraction and climate change, where different human needs and realities often compete.
Stephen Kowalewski’s students in Archaeological Discoveries will examine these discoveries throughout time and over the globe to consider our knowledge of human experience—and our lack of vast swathes of it—and discuss means to conserve cultural and natural resources.
Virginia Nazarea’s seminar introduces participants to the ideas of cultural memory and “memory banking” related to biodiversity conservation. Called Google Is My Grandma, the course explores the course of how personal communication of culture—Grandma—is yielding to technology-based transmission of information, and some effects of this change.
For more information, visit fyo.uga.edu.
Dr. Nazarea Celebrates SSL Future in Texas
Dr. Virginia Nazarea will be speaking at the University of North Texas to celebrate the inauguration of the Southern Seed Legacy and the Laboratory for Environmental Anthropology on Thursday. Dr. Nazarea and her late husband, Professor Robert Rhoades, founded the project fourteen years ago and have seen a network of seed-savers increase each year, saving both seeds and memories. Dr. Jim Veteto, now an assistant professor at UNT, was for many years as a graduate student heavily involved with SSL, and is honored to be chosen to carry on the legacy begun in Georgia. His students in Texas joined others in Arkansas to for a seed swap—the SSL's 14th, and the first for Hot Springs, AK. The tradition is in good hands.
Former UGA anthropology professor’s work featured in NY Times
Alexandra Brewis Slade, former professor and graduate coordinator in the department, now professor and executive director of the School of Human Evolution and Social Change at Arizona State University, has her work on international perceptions of obesity and preferred body size featured in this week's Health section of the New York Times. Read the article here.
LaBau Bryan acts in March play
Who dunnit? LaBau knows, but the challenge will be for theatre goers to figure out who could murder a brilliant grad student on the eve of her engagement party. A long-time member of the Town and Gown Players, LaBau appears in on March 31. The production is part of an evening that includes music and fine dining in the State Botanical Garden atrium; proceeds will benefit the March of Dimes. For more information, and a photo of LaBau in character, visit http://www.modathens.org/
Dr. René Bobe and his research partners land article on the cover of prestigeous journal Nature.
René Bobe is part of an global team of scientists who have discovered evidence that hominins were using stone tools to butcher animal flesh around 3.4 million years ago, 800,000 years before the accepted date. As part of the Dikika Research Project, Dr. Bobe works in Ethiopia to discover the environmental and ecological context of human evolution.
Advisor completes the university’s Foundations of Leadership and Management
Lisa Norris was admitted to the class through an application process in which she shared her goals. She expects her coursework will both prepare her for positions of increasing responsibilty and will enhance her work relationships. July marks Lisa's five-year anniversary with the department. Today's UGA's Columns newspaper covers the March 2009 graduation of just 20 university staff members in this year's leadership course.
Zapotec Digs in Mexico Show Clues to Rise and Fall
In its March 9 issue, National Geographic magazine covers a dig near Oaxaca, Mexico which reveals more details about the pre-Columbian Zapotec state. Dr. Steve Kowalewski is consulted as an expert on ancient Mesoamerican civilization. He looks at the demise of the Oaxaca Valley's civilizations in terms of a combination of factors which led to the collapse of their market economy.
Mountains of Change
The National Science Foundation has awarded $6.7 million grant to a consortium of universities headed by UGA for research on the effects of climate change and urbanization in the southern Appalachian Mountains. The grant extends the work of the Coweeta Long-Term Ecological Research project, which has been continuously funded since 1980, according to Ted Gragson, a professor of anthropology in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences and lead principal investigator of the ongoing project.
Professor authors book
The University Press of Colorado has published The Origins of the Ñuu: Archaeology in the Mixteca Alta, Mexico. This macroregional study traces the ñuu, the kingdoms of the Mixtecs, through their origins and growth cycles. Among Dr. Kowalewski's collaborators, three earned their PhDs in anthropology in our department; Thomas Pluckhahn, Verónica Pérez Rodríguez, and Charlotte Smith. John Chamblee is a post-doc working here with the NSF-sponsored Coweeta LTER Project
Anthropologist documents history of semi-nomadic forest dwellers
For more than a decade, Julie Velàsquez Runk has lived and worked among the Wounaan, one of seven indigenous peoples who have villages in the Republic of Panama. Wounaan are known for their craftwork, including colorful baskets and sculptures from cocobolo wood and the tagua nut, which is as hard as, and resembles, ivory. But Velàsquez Runk’s interests as an anthropologist go much deeper than carved artwork....
Archaeologist: I’m no ‘Indy’
As "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" premiered in the U.S., University of Georgia archaeologist Stephen Kowalewski shrugged off the Hollywood heroes and left to search for true hidden history. Kowalewski and a host of real anthropologists left to explore a part of Mexico's Coixtlahuaca believed to have been a market place for wild feathers in the 1400s.
11th Annual Seed Swap
Seed banks have been sprouting up like, well, seeds around the globe in recent years as scientists and farmers set aside plant genetic material in an effort to preserve the diversity of food crops and other plants. But the University of Georgia has a seed bank with a difference, the Southern Seed Legacy. With those seeds, you also get recipes. The Southern Seed Legacy aims to do more than just store genetic material, explained UGA anthropology professor Virginia Nazarea, who directs the legacy project with husband Robert Rhoades, also a UGA anthropologist.
An Assessment of the Faunal Evidence
Hominin Environments in the East Afreican Pliocene, published by Springer and edited by René Bobe, Zeresenay Alemseged and Anna K. Behrensmeyer, receives an excellent review in the 8 April issue of EOS. The review is written by William Ruddiman, Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia.