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Alumni News

In 2015, Dr. Meredith Jackson-de Graffenried (PhD, 2009) became Country Director of Helen Keller International (HKI) for Bangladesh.

Max Stein, left, a UA doctoral student working in Peru, sits with Oths in her campus office (Bryan Hester).
Max Stein, left, a UA doctoral student working in Peru, sits with Oths in her campus office (Bryan Hester).

Dr. Charlan Kroelinger (MA, 1997), Team Leader for the Maternal and child Health Epidemiology Program at the CDC, was recognized with a Superior Leadership Award by the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Director. "She has strengthened and expanded the program through innovative staff assignments in 13 states, mentored young professionals who will carry the field into the future, and developed new tools to better understand and communicate the importance of improving quality of care to women and their infants."

Kelsey Herndon (MA, 2015)  has been awarded a 2016 DEVELOP Program internship by NASA. They work on remote ecological forecasting and related projects.

Daniel R. Turner (BA, 2010; M. Phil Cambridge 2012) has been admitted to the PhD program in archaeology at Leiden University, Netherlands. He will be joining an archaeological project focused on the monumental architecture of Mycenaean Greece.

We're very proud of our alumni and their successes! If you know of any alumni updates that we don't, please let us know.

Kelsey Herndon (MA, 2015) teaches Tuscaloosa Magnet School Elementary kids as part of our department's
Kelsey Herndon (MA, 2015) teaches Tuscaloosa Magnet School Elementary kids as part of our department's "Anthropology is Elemental" outreach program.

Anthros in the News

In June, Dr. Kathy Oths was featured in UA's Research Magazine in "Who Will Heal? Climate Change Disrupts Ancient Medical Tradition in Andes" ( In December, Dr. Virgil "Duke" Beasley (lecturer; MA, 1997) and Dr. Matt Gage (OAR) were featured an article entitled "Using the Future to Understand the Past" (

In the July UA News ( and August 2015 Desktop News ( from the College of Arts & Sciences, Dr. Jason's DeCaro's grant from the Imagination Institute and collaboration with Dr. Ansley Gilpin (Psychology) on their project was featured .

Our departmental elementary and middle school outreach program, rechristened "Anthropology is Elemental," is pictured among the College of Arts & Sciences' "Outreach and Economic Development Programs" (

Dr. Chris Lynn was mentioned among faculty selected for the 2016 Alabama-Greece Partnership ( Dr. Lynn was also mentioned in UA News in conjunction with ALLELE series talks by evolutionary psychologist Dr. Rebecca Burch (, paleontologist Dr. Linda Ivany (, historian Dr. Ron Numbers (,

Elliot Blair has continued his research constructing social network visualizations of aggregated mission communities in 17th century La Florida. He has also continued working on two collaborative projects using compositional analyses to examine the sourcing and circulation of glass beads in the 16th to 18th century Southeast.

John Blitz published a study of the relationship between skeuomorphs and technological change with evidence from archaeology, ethnography, and psychology. What is a skeuomorph? Look it up! Dr. Blitz co-authored a preliminary report with graduate students Jessica Kowalski and Grace Riehm on the results of the undergraduate field school investigation of Mounds A and B at Moundville Archaeological Park. The goal of the project was to date the final construction stages of the two mounds. Preliminary results suggest that Mound A construction ended by A.D. 1350, but evidence from Mound B was inconclusive.

Ian Brown has been preparing for an archaeological investigation at the site of Vergina (burial place of Phillip II of Macedonia) in Greece. He is the new editor of Teocentli, a journal that has been going since 1926 that provides a unique perspective to the history of archaeology through the use of autobiography. Dr. Brown published one book on the archaeology of coastal Louisiana and a couple of book chapters, one dealing with Plaquemine culture pottery from the Anna site in Mississippi and another on the Mangum site, a late prehistoric site in Mississippi and, with Paul Eubanks, published an article in the Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology about the archaeology of salt in eastern North America. Dr. Brown has also been working on a longtime study of the connections between prehistoric Indian mounds and historic cemeteries.

Jason DeCaro advanced two ongoing research projects, regarding the effects of food security and maternal mental health on child outcomes in Mwanza, Tanzania, and the psychobiology of school adjustment in West and Central Alabama. For the first of these projects, funded by the University of Alabama Research Grants Committee, he spent a month and a half in Tanzania collecting interview data regarding childcare practices and the social settings in which children develop - a follow-up on previous work where he and collaborators found subtle biological impacts of maternal depression. For the second of these projects, funded by the Department of Health and Human Services and done in collaboration with three psychology faculty, his team measured physiological stress responses in over 300 children attending Head Start programs to see how individual differences in the stress response relate to social and emotional learning during the transition into kindergarten.

Bill Dressler is continuing work on his National Science Foundation-funded research on gene-environment interactions and depression in Brazil. Currently he is in the process of writing manuscripts for publication based on those data, two of which have been submitted (one to the American Journal of Human Biology and one to Journal of Anthropological Research; one paper based on the research was published in Field Methods in January of 2015).

Marysia Galbraith developed a new research project “Memory in Fragments: Reassembling Jewish Life in Poland” which explores the resurgence of interest in Jewish culture in Poland, and in particular local-level projects that preserve and commemorate tangible and intangible heritage even in the absence of Jews. She spent the 2014-2015 academic year in Poznan, Poland, funded by a sabbatical leave, Fulbright Fellowship, and UA’s Research Grants Committee Award. She will return to Poland in summer 2016 to continue research.

Keith Jacobi continued his bioarchaeological research of warfare and violence in the prehistoric Southeastern U.S. in general and northern Alabama in particular. He is also assessing the reliability of cadaver dogs for a forthcoming article.

Lisa LeCount directed the Actuncan Archaeological Project in Belize Central America for the seventh year from May 19 until July 19, 2015. Research focused on the site’s E-group, a type of mound complex known to be the earliest public architecture on many ancient Maya sites. Goals of the excavations were to determine the types of activities performed on the mounds and the date of construction episodes. The work was funded by the National Geographic Society: Committee for Research and Exploration (CRE 9658-15) and UA’s College Academy for Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity.

Chris Lynn continued data collection for a study of fireside relaxation, began new data collection and analysis for the tattooing and immune response study, started a new study of the influence a career in anthropology has on family life, and initiated a collaboration to investigate the relationship between psychological absorption and the genetic polymorphism COMT.

Steve Kosiba continued his research on the religious and ritual practices that constituted Inca authority in the capital of their empire (Cuzco, Peru). He is preparing a manuscript on how the construction of the Inca temple at Huanacauri manifested Inca notions of time and divine rulership (for Latin American Antiquity). Kosiba recently submitted a co-authored article (with Andrew Bauer, Stanford University) to the Journal of Social Archaeology and two grant proposals (National Geographic Society and National Science Foundation) for archaeological and historical research at Rumiqolqa, a quarry and colony where the Inca and Spanish Empire forcibly relocated hundreds of workers to cut stone for the construction of the city of Cuzco.

David Meek is currently developing several new research projects. The first is a geostatistical analysis of rural school closings in Brazil. This study seeks to assess whether race and the development of agroindustrial capital are factors behind the massive wave of school closures. The second is a study of learning in transnational social movement exchanges. This project explores how social movement activists learn through becoming embedded in communities of practice.

Kathy Oths continues to work up her new data on treatment choice from her restudy of the northern Peruvian Andes hamlet of Chugurpampa, where she worked over 25 years ago.  Topics include changes and continuities in medical beliefs and practices, secular trends in child growth, and the demographic transition, all in the context of modernization and climate change.  She has been aided in her analyses by three incredible Emerging Scholars, Hannah Smith, Rachel Madey, and Fatima Becerra.  She has also finished two ethnographic films on a highland huesero (bonesetter) this past fall, in collaboration with Adam Booher.

Sonya Pritzker joined the faculty of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Alabama in August 2015. She has continued to publish on the translation of Chinese medicine in various venues, including the Routledge Handbook of Chinese Translation and the Routledge Handbook of Chinese Medicine. Her recent research has been focused on an ongoing project examining the development of integrative psychologically oriented Chinese medicine (IPOCM) in China, funded by the Wenner Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research. This research documents, through close ethnographic study of everyday clinical encounters, the emergence of IPOCM through interactive practice in various clinical settings.

Jo Weaver returned to rural Brazil for the 2015 field season, where she conducted preliminary research on eating habits, common recipes, and prestige and non-prestige foods in the community. This research was supported by a grant from UA's Research Grants Committee. Future phases of the work, which will also include research sites in Haiti and Ethiopia, will be funded by a National Science Foundation senior award.


John BlitzEvery semester we profile a faculty or staff member from the Anthropology Department who you may see every day but know less about than you realize. In fact, many of us became interested in anthropology because of the interesting adventures it presents. Dr. John Blitz (, Professor of Anthropology and Curator at the Alabama Museum of Natural History, is a classic example. He is an anthropological archaeologist whose research has focused mostly on precolumbian Mississippian societies of the American Southeast, but his experiences are much more diverse. Here are 10 things about Dr. Blitz and his interesting life you may not already know:

  1. He has had two completely different first and last names during his life.
  2. In Ethiopia, he entered Emperor Haile Selassie’s lion’s den and petted a lion.
  3. He has fished with dynamite.
  4. He participated in a shaman’s curing ceremony in the Ecuadorian rain forest but fell asleep because it was so boring.
  5. He crossed the Nile from Luxor to the Valley of the Kings in a dhow.
  6. He helped map an underwater shipwreck in the Florida Keys before he decided archaeology on dry land was hard enough.
  7. He went four days without eating in the mountains of Utah on a vision quest.
  8. He once had two pet bush babies named Teeny and Weeny.
  9. He survived a street car accident on Halloween night in New Orleans.
  10. He loves to dance.

Check our blog and newsletter archives for things you didn't know about our other fascinating anthropology faculty and staff.

Invited Lectures

Several of our faculty were invited to give lectures around the country this past fall. Dr. Lesley Jo Weaver flew to Arizona State University on October 23 to give a talk for their School of Human Evolution and Social change entitled "Chronic Diseases in India: A Biocultural Approach” and another for Smith College's South Asian Studies Concentration (Connecticut) entitled “Studying Illness in India: The Case of Type 2 Diabetes and Mental Health.” Dr. Marysia Galbraith was invited to give a guest lecture at UA called "Memory in Fragments: Reassembling Jewish Life in Poland" and to provide information about Fulbright opportunities for students and faculty on September 3. She gave a version of this lecture called "The Holocaust in Historical Perspective" on October 15 for Dr. Steve Jacobs' Religious Studies class (REL 223). Dr. Jason DeCaro was invited to give a lecture as part of the William W. Winternitz Conference for the College of Community Health Science at UA in September entitled "Culture gets under the skin: The implications of everyday experience for human biology and health." Dr. Sonya Pritzer was also invited to give a Winternitz Lecture (December 1) entitled "Conducting Research in Integrative Medicine." Dr. Kathy Oths was invited to give a lecture for the UAB Honors Program on September 28 entitled "Farmers Markets and Foodies: Conflict, Change, and Resolution in Tuscaloosa, Alabama." Dr. Lisa LeCount was invited to give a Spark Talk for the Gulf Coast Exploreum on November 5th entitled "Like Water for Chocolate: The Importance of Ka'Kaw in Domestic and Political Rituals among the Ancient Maya of Central America."

Conference Panels and Presentations

Our students and faculty are always well-represented at conferences, both in terms of session organizing and presenting, and this past fall was no exception.

American Anthropological Association (AAA), 114th Annual Meeting, Denver, CO, November 17-22

  • DeCaro JA. What Constitutes a 'Constitution?' Biological Sensitivity, Canalization, and the Biocultural Substrates of Differential Resilience. In the symposium, Stress and Health from Genes to Culture: Genetic, Epigenetic, Developmental and Biocultural Interactions.
  • Dressler WW, and JA DeCaro. Organized symposium Stress and Health from Genes to Culture: Genetic, Epigenetic, Developmental and Biocultural Interactions.
  • Dressler WW. Culture as a Mediator of Gene-Environment Interaction. In the symposium, Stress and Health from Genes to Culture: Genetic, Epigenetic, Developmental and Biocultural Interactions.
  • Kosiba, S. Animism and Authority in the Indigenous Americas. In the symposium, Sacred Matter: Animism and Authority in the Indigenous Americas.
  • LeCount, LJ, J Yaeger, B Cap, and B Simova (MA former). Tangled Web: Classic-period Political Pragmatics on Naranjo’s Eastern Frontier in the Mopan River Valley. In the symposium, Beyond the Familiar: Towards a Pragmatic Model for Classic Maya Political Organization.
  • Lynn, CD , and M Howells. Anthropologists, Kids, and Careers: When Family is Strange and the Field Familiar. In the symposium, Hidden Motivations and Glossed Justifications: Problems and Priorities in Biocultural Field Research.
  • Meek, D. Organized symposium Educating for Food Sovereignty (two sessions; invited by the Culture & Agriculture section).
  • Oths, KS, & HN Smith (BA current). Ecological, Social, and Cultural Contributions to Rapid Secular Change in Child Growth in Andean Peru.
  • Pritzker, S. Making the Strange Familiar and the Familiar Strange: Reinventing Classical Theories of Chinese Medical Psychology in Contemporary Beijing. In the symposium, Making Strange Traditions Familiar in Conventional and Complementary Therapeutic Settings.
  • Pritzker, S. Organized symposium Making strange traditions familiar in conventional and complementary therapeutic settings.
  • Pritzker, S. Organized open business meeting Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) and Integrative Medicine (IM) Group.
  • Thomas, M (PhD current). The Social Ecology of HIV Risk Among Southern African American Female Youth. In the symposium, “Anthropology and HIV/AIDS: Has the Strange Become Too Familiar?”
  • Weaver, LJ. Raced Encounters in Fieldwork: Reflections and Questions. In the symposium, “Hidden Motivations and Glossed Justifications: Problems and Priorities in Biocultural Field Research.
  • Weaver, LJ, and CD Lynn. Organized symposium Hidden Motivations and Glossed Justifications: Problems and Priorities in Biocultural Field Research (Invited session sponsored by the Biological Anthropology Section and the General Anthropology Division).

Association for Public Policy Analysis & Management, 37th Annual Fall Research Conference, Miami, FL, November 12-14

  • Boxmeyer C, Gilpin A, DeCaro JA, Lochman J, Mitchell Q. Power PATH: Integrated Two-Generation Social Emotional Intervention for Head Start Preschoolers and their Parents.

Association for the Study of the Arts of the Present (ASAP), 7th Annual Meeting, Greenville, SC, September 24-27

  • Galbraith, M. "Do Not Open: Heritage in Embodied Silences."

Belize Archaeology and Anthropology Symposium (BAAS), 13th Annual Conference, San Ignacio, Belize, June 29-July 3

  • LJ LeCount. Founding Families, Collective Action and Urban Settlement Patterns at Actuncan, Belize.

Cognitive Development Society, 9th Biennial Meeting, Columbus, OH, October 9-10

  • Nancarrow A, Gilpin A, Boxmeyer C, DeCaro JA, Lochman J. Roles of Self-Regulation and Familial Economic Stress on Head Start School Readiness.
  • Thibodeau RB, Brown MM, Gilpin AT, Boxmeyer C, DeCaro JA, Lochman J. Relations between Executive Functions in Childhood across Multiple Informants.

Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA), 75th Annual Meeting, Pittsburg, PA, March 24-28

  • Oths, KS, & HN Smith (BA current). Rapid Ecological, Social, and Cultural Change in the Northern Peruvian Andes and Its Effects on Child Growth.

Society for Psychological Anthropology (SPA), Biennial Meeting, Boston, MA, April 9-12

  • DeCaro JA. Enculturing the Brain: Toward a Neuroanthropology of Childhood.

Southeastern Archaeological Conference (SEAC), 72nd Annual Meeting, Nashville, TN, November 20

  • De Vore, W (Adjunct), and K Jacobi. Facial Mutilations Associated with Scalpings from the Middle Tennessee River Valley. Invited participant Middle Tennessee Valley Excavations Revisited: Bioarchaeological Research on Personal and Communal Identities.
  • Eubank, P (PhD current). Salt Production in the Southeastern Caddo Homeland.
  • Funkhouser, JL (PhD current). Preliminary Investigations of an Early Moundville Cemetery. Invited participant Middle Tennessee Valley Excavations Revisited: Bioarchaeological Research on Personal and Communal Identities.
  • Gordon, F and W De Vore (Adjunct). Surviving Childhood: Evidence of Violence in Children from the Middle Tennessee River Valley. Invited participant Middle Tennessee Valley Excavations Revisited: Bioarchaeological Research on Personal and Communal Identities.
  • Hawsey, K (PhD current). White Oak Creek Archaeology in Dallas County, Alabama.
  • Ide, J (Moundville). Juvenile Identities, Communal Burials, and their Cultural Implications. Invited participant Middle Tennessee Valley Excavations Revisited: Bioarchaeological Research on Personal and Communal Identities.
  • Morgan, C (PhD current). Sticks and Stones May Break My Bones but Warfare Really Hurts Me. Invited participant Middle Tennessee Valley Excavations Revisited: Bioarchaeological Research on Personal and Communal Identities.
  • Nelson, TC (PhD current). Debates on Group Identity: Revisiting the McKee Island Phase in Guntersville Basin, Alabama. Invited participant for Middle Tennessee Valley Excavations Revisited: Bioarchaeological Research on Personal and Communal Identities.
  • Stewart, A (PhD current). Does Infection in Life Trump Treatment in Death? Burial Differences and Treponemal  Infection. Invited participant for Middle Tennessee Valley Excavations Revisited: Bioarchaeological Research on Personal and Communal Identities.
  • Thompson, B (MA former). Bioarchaeological Analysis of Prehistoric Skeletal Populations from the Middle Tennessee River Valley in North Alabama. Invited participant for Middle Tennessee Valley Excavations Revisited: Bioarchaeological Research on Personal and Communal Identities.
  • Thompson, VD, AD Roberts Thompson, J Speakman, EH Blair, and A Hunt. All that Glitters Is Not Gold: pXRF Analysis of Gilded Beads from Spanish Period Sites in the Southeast.

My grandmother's family (in about 1918)
My grandmother's family (in about 1918)

My research on Jewish heritage asks: what can be done with the fragments of Jewish culture that remain in Poland, sometimes hidden and sometimes in plain sight? And what value does such memory work have? I explore these questions on two levels: the social level where I focus on what is actually being done with physical traces of Jewish culture in the absence of living Jewish communities, and on the personal level via the archeology of my own hidden Jewish ancestry. These fragments can reveal something about the past, even if it is just in an incomplete and shattered form. And they can point toward the future---the possibilities that might emerge out of traces of memory.

A pool in the ground of a Jewish cemetery. Most of the gravestones were destroyed by the Nazis, and then the pool was built during the Communist period (Photo: M. Galbraith).
A pool in the ground of a Jewish cemetery. Most of the gravestones were destroyed by the Nazis, and then the pool was built during the Communist period (Photo: M. Galbraith).

For 1000 years, until World War II, Jewish culture flourished in the Polish lands, increasing to 10% of the population of the country (3 million people). Most were murdered in the Holocaust, and even the 300,000 who survived faced prejudice and persecution after the war. By 1968, nearly no Jews remained in Poland, and in the oppressive environment imposed by communist leadership, there was very little space to even talk about Jews, leaving the physical traces of their culture to be forgotten and destroyed.

I was fortunate to receive a sabbatical leave and a Fulbright Research Fellowship to spend the 2014-2015 academic year in Poland seeking out the fragments of Jewish life that still remain. I was affiliated with the Institute of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, where I taught one class per semester and participated in the Institute’s academic life. I travelled throughout Poland and beyond, visiting archives, conducting interviews and acting as a participant-observer at festivals, commemorations, and sites associated with Jewish communities and their brutal destruction. I also gave 10 guest lectures and conference presentations, half of which were in Polish (a real accomplishment for me---Polish is a challenging language).

The opening of the commemorative rock garden (lapidarium) for recovered fragments of Jewish gravestones, December 2014 (Photo: M. Galbraith).
The opening of the commemorative rock garden (lapidarium) for recovered fragments of Jewish gravestones, December 2014 (Photo: M. Galbraith).

Over the course of the year, I documented the profound contrasts between places characterized by what Iwona Irwin-Zarecka calls the “absence of memory,” and others dominated by an exuberant revival of interest in Jewish culture. These contrasting and often competing orientations are exemplified by one site in which a swimming pool was dug into the Jewish cemetery leaving no visible trace of its former use, and another in which the fragments of headstones were recovered and returned to the town’s physical and contemplative space in a commemorative stone garden. I witnessed the profound efforts many Poles, most of whom are not Jewish, have made to discover, uncover, celebrate, and reanimate the fragments of once thriving Jewish communities. These efforts hint at the possibility of redefining the often contentious relations between Poles and Jews and offer a pathway toward reconciliation.

Visiting my cousins in Israel, February 2015 (descendants of my grandmother's sister) (Photo: M.Galbraith).
Visiting my cousins in Israel, February 2015 (descendants of my grandmother's sister) (Photo: M.Galbraith).

My more personal journey has led me to archival records of my ancestors, but more importantly to my living relatives, descendants of my grandmother’s siblings, and the possibility of another level of reconciliation. Significantly, I have no relatives left in Poland itself. I can’t even visit my family’s graves, or look at the houses where they used to live or the places where they used to worship. Nearly everything was destroyed. But I have reunited branches of the family that were lost to each other when my grandmother converted to Catholicism, and then were further dispersed in the US, Israel, and elsewhere after evading death in World War II.

This is not easy research because I am perpetually confronted with unimaginable acts of destruction and mass murder. What used to be will never return; there are no more Jews in most communities in Poland. And yet finally, 70 years after the worst offenses were committed, new life is emerging out of the ashes. I have been documenting this process of reassembly of the fragments of Jewish life in Poland.

Find out more about my research on my blog Uncovering Jewish Heritage ( and in a video of a lecture I gave in September 2015: “Memory in Fragments: Reassembling Jewish Life in Poland” (

Blair, EH.“Glass Beads and Global Itineraries.” In Things in Motion: Object Itineraries in Archaeological Practice, edited by R Joyce and S Gillespie, pp. 81-99. School for Advanced Research Press, Santa Fe.

Blitz, JH and LE Downs*, eds. Graveline: A Late Woodland Platform Mound on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Archaeological Report No. 34. Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Jackson, Mississippi. 39 figures, 27 tables, 156 pages. ISBN-13: 978-0-938896-00-5.

Brown, IW. Plaquemine Culture Pottery from the Great Ravine at the Anna Site (22AD500), Adams County, Mississippi. In Exploring Southeastern Archaeology, edited by P Galloway and E Peacock. Oxford, MS: University Press of Mississippi.

DeCaro, J. Beyond catecholamines: Measuring autonomic responses to psychosocial context. American Journal of Human Biology. Epub ahead of print, doi/10.1002/ajhb.22815/.

DeCaro, J, M Manyama, and W Wilson. Household-level predictors of maternal mental health and systemic inflammation among infants in Mwanza, Tanzania. American Journal of Human Biology Epub ahead of print, doi/10.1002/ajhb.22807/.

Eubanks, P, and IW Brown. Certain Trends in Eastern Woodlands Salt Production Technology. Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology, 40(3):231–256.

James, HR*, Y Manresa*, RL Metts*, CD Lynn, and B Brinkman. The Effects of Performance-Based Education on Evolutionary Attitudes and Literacy EvoS Journal: The Journal of Evolutionary Studies Consortium 71:44-56,

Lynn, CD. Family diversity. Anthropology News (online),

Lynn, CD. Cheap thrills and elementary anthropology. Anthropology News 56 (9-10):29.

Meek, D. Taking research with its roots: restructuring schools in the Brazilian landless workers' movement upon the principles of a political ecology of education. Journal of Political Ecology 22: 410-428.

Burns, R, and D Meek. The politics of knowledge production in the geoweb. ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies, 14(3):786-790.

Meek, D, and R Tarlau. Critical food systems education and the question of race. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development. Advance online publication,

Murphy, MD, and JC Gonzalez Faraco. El Rocio del Baron de Davillier y Gustave Dore.  Exvoto 5 (4): 161-182.

Panakhyo, M* and K Jacobi. Limited Circumstances: Creating a Better Understanding of Prehistoric Peoples through the Reanalysis of Collections of Commingled Human Remains.  In Theoretical Approaches to Analysis and Interpretation of Commingled Human Remains, edited by A Osterholtz, pp. 75-96.  Springer, New York.

Simova, B*, DW Mixter, and LJ LeCount.  The Social Lives of Structures: Ritual Resignification of the Cultural Landscape at Actuncan, Belize.  Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology 12:193-204.

Weaver, LJ, SV Madhu. Type 2 diabetes and anxiety symptoms among women in New Delhi, India. American Journal of Public Health, 105(11):2335-2340.

Weaver, LJ. Challenges of mixed methods research. Anthropology News 56 (7-8):14. doi/10.1111/j.1556-3502.2015.560705_s.x/.

Weaver, LJ. Talking about race with "white person bias." Anthropology News (online),

*UA graduate or former student.

Dr. Oths conducting fieldwork in the Peruvian highlands.
Kathy Oths conducting fieldwork in the Peruvian highlands.

In our ongoing effort to bring more depth to our play (name that ethnographic reference), we bring you 10 things you may not know about Professor Kathy Oths. Dr. Oths is Professor of Anthropology in our Biocultural Medical track, specializing in medical anthropology in Latin America. In addition:

  1. "I was raised in a small Appalachian coal mining town in Southeastern Ohio.
  2. The first record I bought as a kid was a 45 rpm single by Johnny Cash for 83 cents.
  3. As a Wellston High School sophomore, I was elected queen of the First Annual Sweetheart Dance by the student body.
  4. I was a VISTA volunteer on the Navajo Reservation in 1980 doing carpentry, solar energy, and weatherization.
  5. I lived for 6 months in a Spanish nunnery.
  6. I was scrum half for the Stanford Women’s Rugby team.
  7. Of all the manual labor jobs I’ve done, the slime line (pulling roe and milt out of salmon guts) for an Alaska fish factory was the most ‘exotic’… and smelly.
  8. I was a food carnie in a past life---part of my grad school education was financed by selling fry bread tacos at fairs and festivals from a traveling booth I built.
  9. During my second year of college, psychologist Ernest Hilgard hired me as a research assistant to hypnotize subjects.
  10. I was the occasional roadie for The Vivians, an alt grrrl band from Cleveland."

The Department of Anthropology is pleased to be able to announce the hiring of two new faculty members. Dr. Sonya Pritzker and Elliot Blair have been hired in tenure-track positions beginning in August to fulfill the Department's needs in Linguistics and Archaeology, respectively.

pritzker headshotDr. Sonya Pritzker is a medical and linguistic anthropologist whose research focuses on the management and expression of emotion in China, the development of Chinese medical psychology in the U.S. and China, and the translation of Chinese medicine in the U.S. Her book, Living Translation: Language and the Search for Resonance in U.S. Chinese Medicine, was published in 2014. Since completing her Ph.D. at UCLA in 2011, she has worked as a faculty researcher in the UCLA Department of Medicine, where she has received further training in clinical translational science and has participated in team science projects examining the neuroanthropology of IBS, the treatment of obesity with Chinese medicine, and the development of innovative research methods in integrative medicine. Prior to her doctoral studies in anthropology, she completed her masters training in Chinese medicine and has been a licensed acupuncturist and practitioner of Chinese herbal medicine since 2002. She is involved in several national and international organizations focused on the development of integrative medicine in the U.S. and beyond, including the Academic Consortium for Integrative Medicine and Health and the International Society for Complementary Medicine Research. She is also Co-Chair of the Society of Medical Anthropology's special interest group on complementary/alternative medicine and integrative medicine, and is affiliated faculty at Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, Helfgott Research Institute at the National College of Natural Medicine, and the UCLA Center for East-West Medicine. She has received research funding from the U.S. Department. of State, the U.S. Department of Education, the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, and the UCLA Office of the Vice Chancellor of Research.

Elliot BlairDr. Elliot Blair is an anthropological archaeologist whose research focuses on the early colonial and Late Mississippian periods in the American Southeast. His current research focuses on population aggregation and identity at Mission Santa Catalina de Guale, a 16th and 17th century Spanish mission located in coastal Georgia. Drawing upon practice-based approaches to the archaeology of colonialism and exploring identity through situated learning theory, he examines the persistence of social identities as diverse populations formed new communities under the pressures of missionization. In his work he uses social network analysis to explore the structure of past social relationships at multiple scales. His interests sit at the intersection of empirical, archaeometric analyses and a social archaeology of materiality and identity. In addition to archaeological survey and excavation, he draws upon a diverse suite of methodologies and materials, incorporating shallow geophysics, artifact compositional analysis (e.g., glass trade beads), and ceramic analysis in his research. Prior to completing his doctorate, he worked for the American Museum of Natural History. He has also worked on archaeological projects in Alaska, California, Mongolia, Mexico, Costa Rica, and the British Virgin Islands.

Additionally, we are pleased to announce that Dr. Christopher Lynn received tenure this spring and was promoted to Associate Professor as of August. Dr. Lynn was hired as an Assistant Professor in 2009 and was recognized for his past six years of academic achievement, teaching proficiency, and record of service. Dr. Lynn has published numerous articles outlining his research in the cognitive science of religion, cognitive evolution, and the development of the Evolutionary Studies program and Human Behavioral Ecology Research Group at Alabama. Dr. Lynn is a biological anthropologist and part of our Biocultural Medical Anthropology focus and has developed and teaches numerous courses at the undergraduate and graduate level, including "Evolution for Everyone," "Monkeys, Apes and Other Primates," and "Anthropology of Sex." Finally, Dr. Lynn's services extends from establishing our Department Facebook page and Bama Anthro Blog Network to chairing the Tech Committee and editing our newsletter to serving on the University's steering committee for the ALLELE series and establishing courses in elementary-level Anthropology as part of our Department's outreach efforts. We are pleased that Dr. Lynn will be with us for the foreseeable future!

Several of our faculty were invited to give lectures:

Dr. Bill Dressler, Invited Lecture, East Carolina University, April 10, 2015.
Dr. Bill Dressler, Invited Lecture, East Carolina University, April 10, 2015.

Dr. Bill Dressler was invited to the Departments of Anthropology and Public Health at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC on April 10 to give a lecture entitled "Cultural Consonance: Linking  Culture, the Individual, and Health."

Dr. Chris Lynn was invited to speak to the EvoS program at SUNY New Paltz in New Paltz, NY on April 13 and gave a lectured called "Transcendental Medication: Defraying the Costs of Analysis Paralysis." Dr. Lynn also collaborated with colleagues Dr. Michaela Howells and Katherine Cully at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, who were invited to conduct a workshop called "Understanding Humans: Using an Anthropological Approach in STEM Classrooms" at the 1st Annual K-12 STEM Education Conference in Wilmington, NC on January 9.

Additionally, our Department was well-represented by undergraduate and graduate students and faculty at spring conferences, workshops, and events:

Alabama Archaeological Society Winter Meeting, Florence, AL, January 24

Eubanks, Paul N. Salt production technology in Southern Alabama and the Greater Southeast.

Alabama Science Teachers Association conference, Birmingham, AL, March 3-4

Lynn, Christopher D., and Greg Batchelder. Anthropology is Elementary: Translating the Science of Humanness through Hands-On Activities.

Caddo Conference Organization Annual Meeting, Arkadelphia, AK, March 27-28

Eubanks, Paul N. Salt production trends in the Caddo homeland and in the Southeastern United States.

Ashley Daugherty and Melinda Carr explaining their NEEPS poster, Boston,  MA.
Ashley Daugherty and Melinda Carr explaining their NEEPS poster, Boston, MA.

Darwin Day Colloquium, Tuscaloosa, AL, February 12

Daugherty, Ashley, and Melinda Carr. Fireside Relaxation: A Burning Question.

Friel, Juliann. Reflections on Being Human.

Human Biology Association Annual Scientific Meeting, St. Louis, MO, March 25-27

Dominguez, Johnna T., Jason A. DeCaro, and Christopher D. Lynn. Tattooing as Protection against Enemy Arrows: Enhanced Immune Response among the Heavily Tattooed as an Allostatic Stress Response.

Lynn, Christopher D., Juliann Friel, William Evans, and Baba Brinkman. Evolution Education through Excitement and Anger: “Rap Guide to Evolution” Influences on Skin Conductance..

Louisiana Archaeological Society Annual Meeting, Leesville, LA, February 20-22

Eubanks, Paul N. A summary of the 20-14 excavations at Drake's Salt Works.

Mississippi Archaeological Association annual meeting, Greenwood, MS, April 11

Funkhouser, Lynn and Daniel LaDu. The faunal record at Mazique (22Ad502): Initial impressions from the 2013 field season.

Kowalski, Jessica A. and H. Edwin Jackson. On the Mound trail: Mississippian polities in the Lower Yazoo Basin.

Malischke, LisaMarie. Watercolor ideal versus architectural reality: New interpretations of Fort St. Pierre, Vicksburg, Mississippi.

Northeastern Evolutionary Psychology Society, Boston, MA, April 9-11

Carr, Melinda, Ashley Daugherty, and Christopher Lynn. A Burning Question: Fireside Relaxation.

Lynn, Christopher D., and Max J. Stein. Religious Collectivity and the Behavioral Immune System in Limón Province, Costa Rica.

Society for American Archaeology Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA, April 15-19

Eubanks, Paul N. and Ian W. Brown. Salt production and economic specialization at Drake's Salt Works.

LeCount, Lisa J. and David W. Mixter.  Organized symposium Lowland Maya Territories: Local Dynamics in Regional Landscapes

LeCount, Lisa J. and David W. Mixter.  Between Earth and Sky: The Social and Political Construction of Ancient Lowland Maya Territories.

Lessye DeMoss at SfAA, Pittsburgh Photo: K.Oths)
Lessye DeMoss at SfAA, Pittsburgh (Photo: K.Oths)

Society for Applied Anthropology, Pittsburgh, PA, March 24-28

DeMoss, Lessye. Cultural models for life preparation: An exploration of young American men's shared understandings of this developmental task.

Dressler, William W. What is generalized cultural consonance?

Morrow, Sarah Elizabeth. Shared beliefs without shared consensus: A look at experiential model development in food insecure women.

Oths, Kathryn and Hannah Smith. Rapid ecological, social, and cultural change in the Northern Peruvian Andes and its effects on child growth.

Read-Wahidi, Mary Rebecca. Continuity and change in Guadalupan devotion.

Weaver, Lesley Jo, Bonnie Kaiser, and Craig Hadley. Food insecurity and mental health in three settings: Preliminary results and future directions.

Southern Anthropological Society Annual Meeting, Athens, GA, March 9

González-Faraco, Juan Carlos,  Inmaculada Iglesias-Villarán, and Michael D. Murphy. Youth Culture and HIV/AIDS in Spain.

Undergraduate Research and Creativity Conference, Tuscaloosa, AL, April 7

Becerra, Fatima. Herbal medicine use in the Peruvian highlands.

Carr, Melinda, and Ashley Daugherty. A burning question: Fireside relaxation.

Forrister, Anna. 50 years of all deliberate speed.

Hallquist, Sommer and Madeline Anscombe. Dealing with death. A study of children's changing grave themes and what they reveal about American society.

Lawhon, Taylor. An investigation of Caddo salt production at Drake's Salt Works.

ECU anthropology professor Dr. Blakely Brooks leads an ECU Global Understanding class.
ECU anthropology professor Dr. Blakely Brooks leads an ECU Global Understanding class.

Dr. Blakely Brooks, Teaching Assistant Professor at East Carolina University, who received his Ph.D. from UA in 2011, is in the news ( shattering stereotypes and promoting global understanding. Says Brooks, “The stereotypes our students have, they find out they just aren’t correct. And the foreign students find out their ideas of Americans often aren’t correct.”

Jonathan Belanich, who received his BA in 2014 in Anthropology and Biology and is currently enrolled in the MA program at Mississippi State, received Honorable Mention for his National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program application. This program is highly competitive, and our faculty wrote letters of recommendation for his proposal, so we consider this an honor that reflects on our preparation of him.

Dr. Chris Lynn was considered "Worth Quoting" in the January and February UA Dialog. From January ( “Stress can kill you, literally, and having means of reducing stress is going to be critical for the survival of species,” as quoted in Men’s Health. Lynn is the author of a study that suggests that sitting by a fire can lower people’s blood pressure and help them relax. From February ( “When we aren’t used to having down time, it results in anxiety … (a)nd we reach for the smartphone. It’s our omnipresent relief from that,” as quoted in the Aberdeen (South Dakota) News. The March UA Dialog ( recognized Dr. Lisa LeCount for being awarded a National Geographic Research and Exploration grant and Dr. Jason DeCaro ( for being selected for the President's Faculty Research Award. In April, the UA Dialog ( also recognized Achsah Dorsey and her adviser Jason DeCaro for her receipt of the University's Outstanding Research by a Master's Student award. In May, recent Anthropology BA Maryanne Mobley was recognized with 13 other UA graduates in UA Dialog ( for being honored with a Fulbright Award. Maryanne will be traveling to teach in South Korea.

The Biocultural Medical Anthropology faculty were asked to contribute a guest column for the Anthropology News online this year based on their "Biocultural Systematics" blog. Three columns have appeared so far by Bill Dressler, Jason DeCaro (, and Jo Weaver (; and Dr. Dressler's column "'Culture'...Again" ( enough page views to merit publication in the May print edition of Anthropology News.

Our colleague, Dr. John Blitz, is cited heavily in this recent American Archaeology article (, vol. 19, No. 1, 2015), "From Atlatls to Arrows." Congratulations John---Good stuff!

The Crimson White profiled Dr. Chris Lynn's efforts to develop the Evolutionary Studies program this semester ( Congrats to Dr. Lynn for his hard work on the EvoS program, and please contact him at to enroll or for more information. The Crimson White also published a piece ( on Dr. Lynn Fireside Relaxation Study, the Evolutionary Psychology article that came out at the end of 2014, and the efforts of students like Melinda Carr and Lauren Pratt and alumnus Meghan Steel in this ongoing study.

Finally, Dr. Lynn provided ideas for UA News' "UA Matters" column in February for an atypical Valentine's Day ( and in April for those considering online dating (

Chris Lynn, Jeff Lozier, Wendi Schnauffer, Lynn Funkhouser, Pat McGovern, Cassie Medeiros
Chris Lynn, Jeff Lozier, Wendi Schnauffer, Lynn Funkhouser, Pat McGovern, Cassie Medeiros dining before ALLELE talk.

The Department of Anthropology is one of the regular sponsors of the Alabama Lectures on Life's Evolution, organized by the University's Evolution Working Group (EVOWOG). This past academic year, EVOWOG hosted lectures by paleontologist Anthony Martin, journalist Chris Mooney, archaeologist Patrick McGovern, and biologists Michael Antolin and Sean Carroll. Although they were all special events, the Anthropology Department's contribution this year was Patrick McGovern. "Dr. Pat" has been called "the Indiana Jones of beer archaeology" for his work in deciphering the codes of ancient beverages to understand humanity's long history with intoxication and domestication. Several years ago, Dr. Pat teamed up with Dogfish Head Brewery in Delaware, which won a contest among several craft breweries, to recreate the ancient ales for which McGovern has identified the recipes. Dr. McGovern gave a talk for the ALLELE series on January 29 and, while here, was kind enough to meet with our students and attend an Ancient Ales tasting, organized by the Evolutionary Studies Club and at one of our local craft breweries, Druid City.

In addition to Dr. Pat and the Master's Colloquia presentations discussed in a previous article, the Anthro Club also brought guest lectures our way by hosting four FABBLs (Friday Anthropology Brown Bag Lunch lectures) during the spring.

February 20, doctoral student Sarah Morrow presented "PowerPATHS in West Central Alabama: Updates on Program, Process, and Pedagogy."

March 6, doctoral candidate Mitch Childress presented "Cox Mound Gorgets: Distributions, Chronology, and Style."

March 27, doctoral candidate Rachel Briggs presented "An Introduction to Residue Analysis and the Mississippian Standard Jar."

April 10, doctoral candidate Jessica Kowalski presented "Results from the Alabama Anthropology Club Surface Collection at the Arcola Mounds."


Luke Donohue and Kelsey Herndon with advisors John Blitz and Keith Jacobi.
Luke Donohue and Kelsey Herndon with advisors John Blitz and Keith Jacobi.

This past spring, five students came closer to completing their journeys to master's degrees by presenting the results of their thesis research at our March and April colloquiums.

On March 6, archaeology student Luke Donohue presented "Group Mobility and Lithic Resource Use in the Archaic to Woodland Transition at the Morrow Site." Bioarchaeology student Kelsey Herndon gave her talk on "The Embodiment of Status in the Mississippian Component of the Perry Site." Both students graduated in May. Luke and Kelsey are currently working for Environmental Corporation of American as Project Archaeologists, based in Alpharetta, GA. They are responsible for visiting sites all over the Southeast and the rest of the U.S. and performing archaeological and environmental surveys.

Lessye DeMoss and advisor Bill Dressler.
Lessye DeMoss and advisor Bill Dressler.
Johnna Dominguez and advisor Chris Lynn.
Johnna Dominguez and advisor Chris Lynn.
Kareen Hawsey and advisor Ian Brown.
Kareen Hawsey and advisor Ian Brown.

At our April 24 colloquium, Kareen Hawsey, another archaeology student, presented "Vessel Morphology and Function in the West Jefferson Phase of the Black Warrior River Valley, Alabama." Lessye DeMoss and Johnna Dominguez are biocultural medical students. Lessye presented "A Cultural Model of Life Goals for Young Men in the Roanoke Valley," while Johnna gave her talk called "'Nice Ink, Man': A Biocultural, Mixed Methods Approach to Tattooing as Costly Honest Signaling Among Southern Women."

Kareen and Lessye plan on sticking around for a while and have been admitted to our Ph.D. program. Kareen will be working with Dr. Brown to study the terminal Woodland in central Alabama. Lessye will continue her studies in the Biocultural Medical track with Dr. Dressler, studying cultural models of life goals in Alabama, how life goals are to be achieved, and affects on health when unable to manifest evidence of achieving widely shared goals (for example, not being able to buy a home or have nice clothes). Johnna is the Administrative Assistant at Seeds of Hope, the food justice ministry at the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles in California where she is working to turn unused church yards into community gardens and improve community access to fresh vegetables. She aspires to continue to integrate her training in medical anthropology with the outreach ministry of the Episcopal Church.

Check out the display cases at the ground floor entryway of ten Hoor and adjacent to ten Hoor's room 30. There are three brand new exhibits on the topics of “Anthropology in the News,” “Anthropology in the Movies,” and “Jobs in Anthropology.” There is a lot of important information in these exhibits, which I am sure will be of interest to many---especially to students interested in jobs available to Anthropology majors and minors. Thanks to graduate students Brass Bralley, Angelica Callery, Camille Morgan, Clay Nelson, Cynthia Snead, and Ashley Stewart for putting together these terrific displays.

And speaking of exhibits, does anyone recognize the curator in the lower right?

Harvard's Hall of the North American Indian exhibit at the Peabody Museum celebrated its 25th anniversary this month. Still up and running.
Harvard's Hall of the North American Indian exhibit at the Peabody Museum celebrated its 25th anniversary this month. Still up and running.

The Department of Anthropology continued to publish consistently in the spring semester, with one book and several peer-reviewed articles becoming available.dressler book coverDavis, J.R., C.P. Walker, and J.H. Blitz. Remote sensing as community settlement analysis at Moundville. American Antiquity 80(1):161-169. DOI:

Dressler, W.W. The five things you need to know about statistics: Quantification in ethnographic research. Walnut Creek, CA: Left Coast Press.

Dressler, W.W., M.C. Balieiro, and J.E. dos Santos. Finding culture in the second factor: Stability and change in cultural consensus and residual agreement. Field Methods 27: 22-38.

Eubanks, Paul N. A reconstruction of the Caddo salt making process at Drake's Salt Works. Caddo Archaeology 25:145-166.

Hadley, C. and DeCaro, J. A. Does moderate iron deficiency protect against childhood illness? A test of the optimal iron hypothesis in Tanzania. American Journal of Physical Anthropology. [Epub Apr 25 ahead of print] doi: 10.1002/ajpa.22756

Meek, D. Towards a political ecology of education: The educational politics of scale in southern Pará, Brazil. Environmental Education Research 21(3):447-459. DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2014.993932

Meek, D. The cultural politics of the agroecological transition. Agriculture and Human Values. [ePub ahead of print 01 April 2015] DOI 10.1007/s10460-015-9605-z

Meek, D. Counter-summitry: La Via Campesina, the People's Summit, and Rio+20. Global Environmental Politics 15(2):11-18. doi:10.1162/GLEP_a_00295

Murphy, M.D., and J.C.González Faraco. El Rocío de Gerald Brenan, una autoetnografía epistolary (Gerald Brenan’s Rocío, an epistolary autoethnography). Gazeta de Antropología 31(1), artículo 07.

Weaver, L.J., C.M. Worthman, J.A. DeCaro, and S.V. Madhu. The signs of stress: Embodiments of biosocial stress among type 2 diabetic women in New Delhi, India. Social Science and Medicine. 131:122-130. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.03.002


Juliann Friel and Taylor Burch teaching the Anthropology of Madagascar at Arcadia Elementary.
Juliann Friel and Taylor Burch teaching the Anthropology of Madagascar at Arcadia Elementary.

The Department of Anthropology expanded its community outreach activities this past spring. The Department began participating in the Tuscaloosa Magnet School Elementary (TMSE)-UA Partnership in 2010 by offering a 12-week course in "Anthropology" in the fall. This past year, we offered "Anthropology of Costa Rica" in the fall and "Anthropology of Madagascar" in the spring. Anthropology of Costa Rica was led by doctoral student Greg Batchelder and capitalized on his research experience there and complemented the Magnet School's ethos as an International Baccalaureate Program. Anthropology of Madagascar was led by doctoral candidate Lynn Funkhouser and was chosen because of the  Evolutionary Studies program's sister relationship with an EvoS program in Madagascar.

In addition to teaching Anthropology of Madagascar at TMSE, Arcadia Elementary started a similar partnership program, and we offered the course there as well. In all cases, courses are led by graduate students and taught by upper-level Anthropology undergraduates who have excelled in the program. Instructors draw from a workbook of lessons we have developed over the past several years but are also responsible for developing one lesson and activity from scratch. Thanks to Taylor Burbach, Meghan Steel, Andrea Roulaine, Erica Schumann, and Juliann Friel for teaching our elementary students this year. Imagine what our discipline will be like when undergraduates arrive who have been exposed to the anthropological perspective since 3rd grade!

LisaMarie Malischke leading a garbology activity with kids at Woodland Forrest Elementary School (Photo: Nirmala Erevelles)
LisaMarie Malischke leading a garbology activity with kids at Woodland Forrest Elementary School (Photo: Nirmala Erevelles)

For the fall 2015, we have established a formal service-learning course called "Anthropology is Elementary" that will be taught by Lynn Funkhouser and can be taken for 3 credits by undergraduates who have completed the introductory courses in all four subdisciplines. Students will be placed at TMSE, Arcadia, or---a new location---Tuscaloosa Magnet School Middle. Spots are still open, so contact Lynn for more information at

But that's not all! We have participated annually in Woodland Forrest Elementary School's DiscoverFest as part of their Earth Day celebration. This year, several of our graduate students spent the day teaching elementary students about archaeology via "garbology," or using simple household trash as a means of understanding the cultures of the people who left it behind. Thanks to Lynn Funkhouser, Sarah Morrow, and LisaMarie Malischke for their efforts on behalf of our community children!

Photos by C. Lynn and I. Brown

Numerous students and faculty were recognized for achievements and commitment this spring. Several undergraduates mentored by Anthropology faculty were recognized at the annual Undergraduate Research and Creativity Conference as follows: Mark Ortiz, Honorable Mention for Oral Presentations in the Fine Arts and Humanities division (David Meek, faculty mentor); Taylor Lawhon, 4th Place for Oral Presentations in the Social Sciences division (Ian Brown, faculty mentor); Rachel Madey, 1st Place for in Emerging Scholars Fine Arts and Humanities Division and International Focus (Kathy Oths, faculty mentor), and Sommer Hallquist and Madeline Anscombe, 2nd Place in Emerging Scholars Fine Arts and Humanities division (Ian Brown, faculty mentor).

Lynn Funkhouser accepts her award from Ian Brown.
Lynn Funkhouser accepts her award from Ian Brown.
Jessica Kowalski accepts a DeJarnette Scholarship.
Jessica Kowalski accepts a DeJarnette Scholarship.
Greg Batchelder accepts the 2015 Maxwell Scholarship from Dr. Brown.
Greg Batchelder accepts the 2015 Maxwell Scholarship from Dr. Brown.

This year's recipients of David and Elizabeth DeJarnette Endowed Scholarships in Anthropology are doctoral candidates Lynn Funkhouser and Jessica Kowalski. Doctoral student Greg Batchelder received the Allen R. Maxwell Endowed Anthropology Scholarship. The competitions were extremely tough, as always, so these honors are indeed great. For this year, each awardees will be receiving scholarships of $8,000 each to be used toward their research.

Achsah Dorsey, who received her M.A. in Anthropology in 2014, received the University of Alabama Outstanding Research by a Master's Student Award for her thesis "Food Insecurity, Maternal Mental Health, and Child Well-Being in NW Tanzania." This follows receipt of the same award in the Arts & Sciences in the fall 2014.

Katelyn Moss receives undergraduate honor from Dean Olin.
Katelyn Moss receives undergraduate honor from Dean Olin.
Taylor Lawhon, Jessi Mays, and Melinda Carr receive undergraduate honors from Cameron Lacquement.
Taylor Lawhon, Jessi Mays, and Melinda Carr receive undergraduate honors from Cameron Lacquement.

This year's Honors Day allowed three of our outstanding undergraduates to be recognized. Katelyn Moss received a Dean's Award of Merit, while Taylor Lawhon, Jessi Mays, and Melinda Carr were acknowledged as recipients of the "Smitty" and Hughes Awards. Taylor received the C. Earl Smith Award, which is given to the graduating senior with the highest GPA in Anthropology. Jessi and Melinda were co-recipients of the Lynn Hughes Award, which is given to students in Anthropology or Economics who capture the imagination of the faculty through potential, intransigence, inventiveness, perseverance, or a combination of qualities.

The following students received funding from the Graduate School for their proposals to the Graduate Student Research and Travel Fund: Mirjam HollemanLynn FunkhouserLessye DeMossDaniel LaDuRachel BriggsLisaMarie Malischke, and Paul Eubanks.

The Research Advisory Committee (RAC) selected Jason DeCaro as the 2015 recipient of the President’s Faculty Research Award for Arts & Sciences---Social Sciences. These awards, organized by the RAC and sponsored by our President and by the Vice President for Research and Economic Development, recognize select University of Alabama faculty members whose research or scholarship represents excellence in their field.

Chris Lynn receiving AS Outstanding Commitment to Teaching Award from Dean Olin.
Chris Lynn receiving AS Outstanding Commitment to Teaching Award from Dean Olin.
Jason DeCaro with co-recipients of an Award for Outstanding Faculty/Staff-Initiated Engagement Effort, John Lochman, Ansley Gilpin, and Qshequilla Mitchell.
Jason DeCaro with co-recipients of an Award for Outstanding Faculty/Staff-Initiated Engagement Effort, John Lochman, Ansley Gilpin, and Qshequilla Mitchell.

Dr. DeCaro and his collaborators Ansley Gilpin, Caroline Boxmeyer, and John Lochman were also recipients of the 2015 Center for Community-Based Partnerships Awards for Outstanding Faculty/Staff-Initiated Engagement Effort. In addition, David Meek and Sarah Morrow were recognized at the same event with a Community Engagement Fellowship Award.

Dr. Lisa LeCount was awarded a National Geographic Society's Committee for Research and Exploration grant for $21,412 and a College Academy for Research, Scholarship and Creativity Activity grant ($5,000). These grants were to support another season of the Actuncan Project---"Archaeological Research at Actuncan's E-Group: Testing the Political Significance of Preclassic Lowland Maya Public Architecture." E-groups are the earliest known public architecture on ancient Maya sites.  Multiple models have been proposed to explain their significance, the most recent of which suggests that Middle Preclassic (1000 to 400 B.C.) E-groups served as high-points on the geopolitical landscape to claim territory visible from them.  The proposed research seeks to test this model by excavating Actuncan’s E-group to discover the heights of early architectural stages and performing ArcGIS geospatial analyses (least-cost path and radial line-of-sight) to determine the territorial boundaries visible or walkable from contemporaneous E-groups within the upper Belize River valley.

Finally, Chris Lynn received the Outstanding Commitment to Teaching Award at the Undergraduate Honor's Day celebration. This highly coveted award is issued each year by the Leadership Board of the College of Arts and Sciences and recognizes a single faculty member for his or her superior teaching ability and absolute dedication to students. This is a most deserving award for Dr. Lynn and a great honor for our Department.

The past year marked the beginning of data collection for Dr. Jason DeCaro’s multiyear Head Start research project. This interdisciplinary project focuses on child development during the transitions from prekindergarten through first grade. Dr. DeCaro joins Drs. Ansley Gilpin and John Lochman of the Psychology Department and Dr. Caroline Boxmeyer of the Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, as well as community partners from the Community Service Programs of West Alabama.

Students Ashley Daugherty, Caitlin Baggett, and Linnea Moran conduct an assessment on hat day at Head Start.
Students Ashley Daugherty, Caitlin Baggett, and Linnea Moran conduct an assessment on hat day at Head Start.

Funded by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Power PATH is an intervention program designed to improve emotional, behavioral, social, and cognitive wellbeing. Included in Power PATH is PATHS, a supplemental preschool curriculum that offers children techniques for dealing with difficult emotions and processing emotions in appropriate ways in the classroom. The addition of parent intervention meetings, adapted from the Coping Power program, is a novel contribution of the UA project. Parents learn about the PATHS curriculum and can reinforce the lessons from PATHS at home, receive resources related to managing stress and improving their own wellbeing, and have an opportunity to network with other parents.

As one of only four grants funded by the ACF to study “dual-generation” approaches in Head Start that address the needs of the entire family, this is a fantastic opportunity to evaluate programs that could affect Head Start programs across the county. Children learning the curriculum are being compared to a control group of children not learning the curriculum to determine any differences between the two groups. Dr. DeCaro leads the portion of the project that evaluates physiological responses to stress in four-year-olds during their first exposure to the PATHS curriculum and again at the end of the study in first grade. Physiological assessments include ECG, skin conductance, saliva samples for the stress-related hormone cortisol, and basic anthropometric measurements. During the fall 2014 semester alone, the physiological teams were in contact with more than 100 four-year-olds.

This project has created many exciting opportunities for students. Graduate students Sarah Elizabeth Morrow and Edward Quinn of the Anthropology Department and Allie Nancarrow of the Psychology Department have led field research teams at nine different Head Start centers across West Alabama. This project has also afforded our Department the opportunity to expose an unprecedented number of undergraduates to real biocultural research. Forty-four undergraduate students were involved on the physiological side of the project in fall 2014 alone. Students majoring in a broad range of disciplines, including anthropology, biology, chemistry, premedical studies, environmental engineering, international relations, and computer science found roles within this study.

Students Steven Beall, Lauren Pratt, and Tiffini Taylor observe a child as he watches videos for his assessment.
Students Steven Beall, Lauren Pratt, and Tiffini Taylor observe a child as he watches videos for his assessment.

Student field teams work in groups of two or three, dividing up duties of interviewing, collecting ECG and skin conductance data, and keeping the study protocols on task and organized. Other students conduct lab work, analyzing ECG data, organizing and analyzing written data sheets, and checking video recordings to identify key events in the interview protocol. The third major aspect of student involvement is with lab management. Students work closely with graduate students and Lab Manager, Shanta Hardrick Burrell, to learn about informed consent management, file keeping, and how to maintain records in order to protect respondents.

One of the most exciting aspects for many students has been to simply interact with the children. From drawing pictures together to discussing their favorite birthday presents, assessments are special times when each child feels listened to and attended to by the field team. As a complex and important research project, Power PATH will continue to expand over the next few years. We look forward to continuing to work with a diverse and broad range of students (and community volunteers) in order to make this program a success. If you are interested in joining this project in some capacity, please contact Sarah Elizabeth Morrow, lead physiological graduate student at Students are eligible for either ANT or PY credits; volunteers are also always welcome!

2014-09-12 12.18.03
Doctoral student Erik Porth

The Department's Friday Afternoon Brown Bag Lunch (FABBL) talks commenced September 12 with PhD student Erik Porth's presentation, "Some Preliminary Results from the 2012 Fall Field School Mound P Excavations." Erik presented an overview of excavations at Mound P from the Moundville III phase, 1400-1520 AD. Some of Erik's preliminary results include identification of several different ceramics found at the west flank trench and an analysis of the bucket auger assemblages.

Eileen Anderson-Fye rolling tide with l-r) Chris Fye, Kathy Oths,  Bill Dressler after her visit to the department
Eileen Anderson-Fye with (l-r) Chris Fye, Kathy Oths, & Bill Dressler.

Thanks to the Anthropology club and Dr. Oths, we were able to welcome Dr. Eileen Anderson-Fye on September 18 to discuss some of her research with the faculty and students. Dr. Anderson-Fye gave an informal talk titled “Education, Well-being and Rapid Socio-cultural Change: A Longitudinal Mixed-Methods Investigation of Girls’ Secondary Education in Belize” to students in the department, which gave them the opportunity to discuss issues around ethnographic research. Later in the day, Dr. Anderson-Fye gave a talk titled, “How Fat is Too Fat?: Obesity Stigma, Upward Mobility, and Symbolic Body Capital in Four Countries.” She discussed how, through cross-cultural research in Jamaica, Belize, Nepal, and Korea, she has found that obesity stigma can alter a person’s view on body image and cause harm.

2014-09-26 12.16.14
Doctoral student Greg Batchelder

Our Fall FABBL series continued September 26 with PhD student Greg Batchelder's presentation "Estibrawpa: Ecotourism in the Bribri Village of Yorkin. Celebrating Tradition and Improving Health." Greg's presentation focused on his summer 2014 research in Costa Rica, where he learned about Estibrawpa, an ecotourism program created by the women of Yorkin, a village of about 200-250 people. Greg traveled to Yorkin by canoe and stayed for a week in the home of the Morales family. Greg was able to observe many of the benefits from the creation of Estibrawpa, including the resurgence in the community of an interest in traditions from the younger generations. He plans to return next summer and to continue to collaborate with the community in Yorkin and study their ecotourism project.

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University of Memphis anthropologist Dr. David Dye

Our third FABBL on October 10 was by PhD student Jessica Kowalski, who presented "On the Mississippi Mound Trail: A Report on Two Field Seasons of Excavations." Jessica's research focuses on Arcola, which has 3 of 6 original mounds still standing. The first season they cored and augured Mound A and excavated a test unit in which they found mound erosion, Late George phase and Protohistoric ceramics, and Winterville phase ceramics. During the second season they excavated Mound C and found a burn floor surface and radiocarbon dated it to between 1435 and 1490 AD.

On November 7, PhD candidate Paul Eubanks presented "Saline on the Bayou: An Exploration of Caddo Salt Making at Drake's Salt Works." Paul has found that salt production in Northwestern Louisiana during the protohistoric and early historic periods developed largely in response to increased salt demand following European contact. Several salt licks were available to the Caddo natives of the area, but the proximity to Europeans, as well as availability of liquid brine, resistance to flooding, and fuel availability influence the preference for production at Drake's Salt Works.

On November 21, Dr. David Dye from the Department of Anthropology at Memphis University visited and gave a talk on "Lighting Boy War Bundles in the Lower Mississippi Valley." Dr. Dye is a renowned authority on the subject of Mississippian warfare. He has authored numerous books and articles on the subject including War Paths, Peace Paths: An Archaeology of Cooperation and Conflict in Native North America and The Taking and Displaying of Human Body Parts as Trophies by Amerindians (coedited with Richard J. Chacon). In his various studies he uses the Eastern Woodlands as an arena to explore the relationship of conflict and cooperation throughout prehistory. By virtue of an approach to archaeology that is multidisciplinary, he draws on cultural anthropology, folklore, iconography, and ethnohistory to offer new insights into the political and religious nature of warfare. His research orientation is the material culture and political history of the Midsouth, focusing on Mississippian elites and he is also interested in documenting symbolic weaponry and ceramic iconography from the Midsouth through photography. Through these efforts, he has to recognized the diffusion and symbolic importance of "Lightning Boy," one of the Twins of Mississippian cosmology whose ritual appearance was critical for organization of warfare.



Missy SartainMissy Sartain joined the department on March 22, 2010 as an Office Associate II (we prefer Demi-Goddess) and is the beautiful face at the front desk in the Anthropology Department Office. Before joining us, Missy spent 6 years as a legal secretary, the last 2 years in domestic law. As the proud mother of three boys, she found all the domestic law conflicts around children unpleasant. She finds life in the Anthropology Department much calmer. Since we all regularly stop to chat with Missy, you might think you know a lot about her, but we recently asked her to share 10 things you may not know:

  1. "I was born in Anchorage, Alaska.
  2. I've lived in Germany.
  3. I'm about to celebrate my 50th birthday.
  4. I want to visit San Diego before I die.
  5. I am a huge NASCAR (Go, Dale, Jr.!) and Alabama softball and football fan (well, you probably all know that).
  6. I like to fish and sit out in the sun.
  7. I once won a Valentine's Day poetry contest on the radio, which won me a prime rib dinner for me and my fella.
  8. At one point, I wanted to be a teacher when I grew up.
  9. I like to grill out and eat BBQ and Mexican.
  10. I am excited to be going to see Def Leopard's reunion show (I was a headbanger in the 80s)."

Since the mid-1980s, Dr. William Dressler and colleagues have been examining the influence of culture on individual well-being through pioneering the cultural consonance approach. Cultural consonance measures how successful people are in achieving the broad goals that are collectively valued in their society, especially goals across the life-span (for example, creating a satisfying family life). Dr. Dressler recently completed research funded by the National Science Foundation aimed to replicate and extend research on gene-environment interactions and subjective well-being among persons of diverse socioeconomic backgrounds in an urban center in Brazil.

Research in the past decade has shown that individuals with different genetic profiles are variably influenced by stressful environmental events and
circumstances in terms of their sense of subjective well-being, including feelings of depression. While intriguing results have been observed, the range of environmental events and circumstances that have been investigated has been relatively narrow. A major goal of Dr. Dressler's recent research was to understand how different kinds of environmental experience may—or may not—be modified by genes.

Dressler NSF Public Final Report Fig 1The project focused on two genetic polymorphisms thought to influence well-being. One, brain-derived neurotrophic factor, affects the health and development of nerve cells. The other, a receptor for the neurotransmitter serotonin, is related to the transmission of nerve impulses in the brain. In addition to cultural consonance, three indicators of experience in the social environment were studied. Childhood adversity refers to stressful events in childhood, such as the death or serious illness of a parent or a history of maltreatment. Stressful life events refer to current events such as divorce, death of a spouse or child, and unemployment. Frustration tolerance is a psychological disposition in which small and large setbacks can be accepted.

Data were collected in a survey of over 400 adults from diverse socioeconomic groups. Genotypes were determined from samples of cells from the cheek. Other data were collected in face-to-face interviews. Subjective well-being was measured as the number of symptoms of depression, isolation, and hopelessness the respondent had experienced in the two weeks prior to the interview.Dressler NSF Public Final Report Fig. 2

Major results were as follows: Childhood adversity was moderated by genotype, especially by the serotonin receptor gene. Persons with a specific variant for the gene were at much higher risk of reporting high levels of depressive symptoms if they had experienced childhood adversity (Fig. 1). The moderation of genotype-by-childhood adversity in relation to depressive symptoms was especially strong among persons from a low socioeconomic background (Fig. 2). Persons with this serotonin receptor variant and who experienced childhood adversity also had lower frustration tolerance. Cultural consonance proved to be the strongest influence on subjective well-being---risk of high levels of depressive symptoms was strongest for people with low cultural consonance (Fig. 3).

Dressler NSF Public Final Report Fig. 3The results of this research present a more nuanced view of the influence of genes, the environment, and the interaction of genes and environment on subjective well-being. Persons who experience high adversity in childhood are more likely to experience lower well-being as adults, especially if they have a particular genetic background. On the other hand, if those individuals are able to achieve the kinds of goals in life that are widely valued in their society, they are less likely to experience depression, isolation, and hopelessness as adults. Additionally, their genetic background does not alter the experience of cultural consonance.

Subjective well-being has been shown to have a powerful influence on physical health and social and economic productivity over the life-span. This well-being matters to individuals and to society. The influences on well-being are complex, ranging from the molecular biology of individual genetic differences to the collective goals and values called culture that help to hold a society together. Understanding and enhancing well-being for individuals and society depends on the analysis of these diverse influences, and this research contributes to that end.

We are grateful to the many former students, colleagues, and other donors who made possible the establishment of our newest scholarship opportunity for our students, the "Jim Knight." According to the resolution, they "contributed $13,687.36 to The Board of Trustees of The University of Alabama to honor Dr. Knight and to promote the education of students in the College of Arts and Sciences at The University of Alabama." This was matched by $12,500 in Capstone Foundation funds as directed by the College of Arts and Sciences to be used for the same purpose. To ensure the continuity of this and other efforts to fund our students and programs, we humbly welcome tax-free donations toward the Knight Endowed Scholarship or any of the following initiatives:

The Allen R. Maxwell Endowed Anthropology Scholarship is awarded to support graduate student research in the areas of ethnography or linguistic anthropology. Established through a bequest from Dr. Maxwell's estate, it is our first award specifically dedicated to ethnographic or linguistic field research.

The Anthropology Club Fund supports the activities of the Anthropology Club, which includes camping trips, workshops, and guest speakers each semester. The opportunity to participate in Club activities is critical in fostering the ethic of collegiality and professionalism so import to our Department.

The Anthropology Field School Gift Fund goes to the support of our undergraduate field schools in archaeology. Our field schools receive no budget from the University and depend heavily on these gifts for supplies and operating expenses. Our annual field schools for undergraduates date back to 1956, and, traditionally, they are among the most memorable experiences of our alumni.

The Anthropology Lectureship Fund goes to support distinguished guest speakers from outside the University. We try to have at least four guest speakers per year. These speakers greatly enrich our undergraduate and graduate programs by exposing our students to prominent ideas by the leading lights in our discipline.

The C. Earle Smith Award is given for academic excellence at the undergraduate level in anthropology. The annual award goes to the graduate senior in anthropology having the highest overall grade point average. Names of former "Smitty" Award winners are prominently displayed on a plaque in the Department.

The David and Elizabeth DeJarnette Endowed Scholarship in Anthropology is awarded to support graduate student research on Moundville or Mesoamerica-related topics. Each spring, the award is made during the popular DeJarnette BBQ, held at Moundville Archaeoligical Park on the Saturday of Honors Week. Since it was founded in 1993 by Sarah and James Caldwell, the endowment has steadily grown. In recent years, our DeJarnette Scholars have received awards of as much as $6,000.

The Evolution Education Fund (EEF) supports evolution education activities organized by and in conjunction with the University of Alabama. EEF supports evolution education broadly construed and across academic and professional disciplines. Funded activities include the Alabama Lectures on Life’s Evolution (ALLELE,, organized and hosted by the Evolution Working Group; Darwin Day activities hosted by the Evolutionary Studies (EvoS) minor and Club, which are housed in the Department of Anthropology (; Speaking Evolution TV series and teacher resource site (; and other evolution education-related programs and opportunities.

The Hughes Prize recognizes students who have captured the imagination of the faculty by potential, intransigence, inventiveness, perserverance, insight, or a combination of those traits.

The Panamerican Consultants, Inc. Award (formerly The Bob Work Award) is a graduate student paper competition with a monetary prize. Archaeology graduate students submit papers for review by a faculty, and the winner receives recognition at our annual Holiday party.

The Richard A. Krause Award is given for academic excellence at the graduate level in anthropology. The recipient of this annual award is chosen by the Graduate Studies Committee of the Department based on classroom performance and the promise of the student's proposed thesis or dissertation research project.

The Vernon James Knight Endowed Scholarship in Anthropology will be awarded to students enrolled in the Anthropology graduate program who are conducting research on the anthropology of art and design, with a preference for iconography projects. Secondary consideration shall be given to undergraduate majors with the same research interests.

Checks directed to any of these initiatives should be made out to the UA College of Arts and Sciences and mailed to the Department at the address below. If you would like to discuss a contribution, please contact Department Chair Ian Brown ( or College of Arts & Sciences Director of Development Kathy Yarbrough (

Dr. Steve Kosiba & his archaeology crew in the Peruvian Andes
Dr. Steve Kosiba & his archaeology crew in the Peruvian Andes
Huanacauri ruins & Cuzco (S. Kosiba)
Huanacauri ruins & Cuzco (S. Kosiba)

Archaeologist Dr. Steve Kosiba was especially busy throughout the spring and summer 2014. Dr. Kosiba started a new archaeological project at Huanacauri, one of the earliest and most important religious complexes of the Inca Empire. The research received funding from the National Geographic Society, the Brennan Foundation, and the University of Alabama. The goal of the research was to understand the religious practices that first supported Inca regional authority in Cuzco, their sacred capital city. Perched on a 4,120m summit overlooking Cuzco, Huanacauri was essential to Inca ceremonies and beliefs. According to legend, one of the first Incas became a god at Huanacauri. Here, in ceremonies held during the height of Inca rule, young boys became elites and Inca emperors affirmed their rule (2, 12, 22). Preliminary research, however, indicates that this site was established long before Inca ascendancy (11). In light of these findings, Kosiba directed intensive archaeological excavations to test whether the Incas adopted, transformed, or invented traditional ritual practices as they converted this mountaintop into an emblem of their authority.

Cold morning (S. Kosiba)
Cold morning (S. Kosiba)

The excavations offered an unprecedented glimpse of the ritual practices through which the Incas established their divine authority in Cuzco. Kosiba and the excavation team---including Katherine Lazzara, a UA Anthropology graduate student---assiduously worked on the mountaintop, enduring frigid conditions, hail, blistering sun, and high winds to recover and document the remains of this important Inca shrine. In particular, they uncovered intact buildings that were used for corn beer (chicha) production, suggesting that alcohol and intoxication were essential to the most solemn and sacred Inca rituals. In essence, they may have discovered the highest and holiest brewery in the indigenous Americas! What is more, the excavations demonstrated that Huanacauri was most likely built long after the Incas consolidated their state in Cuzco, overturning theories which hold that the Incas grounded their religion of mountaintop shrine worship in earlier cultural traditions. Finally, the excavations revealed that the Incas destroyed and interred the shrines of Huanacauri as they relinquished their power in the face of Spanish conquest in 1532 AD. The project is now conducting a comprehensive analysis of the materials, soils, and building materials from Huanacuari.

Hanacauri & Cuzco (S. Kosiba)
Huanacauri & Cuzco (S. Kosiba)

In addition to the fieldwork, Dr. Kosiba also presented his research to academic and public audiences on a “world tour” of lectures in Baton Rouge, LA (Louisiana State University); Providence, RI (Brown University); Stuttgart, Germany (Linden Museum); Austin, TX (Meetings of the Society for American Archaeology); Leipzig, Germany (Max Planck Institute); Lima, Peru (Proyecto Qhapaq Ñan and Ministerio de Cultura); and Pisac, Peru (Pontificia Universidad Católica del Peru). In these talks, Kosiba presented archaeological, ethnohistorical, and Geographic Information Systems data to offer insights into how indigenous American perceptions of history and nature. Many of the lectures focused on how the Incas came to know and understand their past when they walked ritual pathways on which they encountered and communicated with mythological beings and culture heroes embedded in the stones and shrines of Cuzco.

Article an adaptation of introduction to SEAC symposium in honor of Jim Knight by Amanda Regnier

After over 24 years of the service to the Department, Dr. Vernon James "Jim" Knight, Jr. became Professor Emeritus in May 2014. Jim Knight's history with UA is much more extensive, however, as his legacy stretches over the past 40+ years.

Working with Mr. DeJarnette (on far right) in 1975 at LaGrange bluff shelter
Figure 1. Working with Mr. DeJarnette (on far right) in 1975 at LaGrange bluff shelter

Dr. Knight’s first field experience in Alabama occurred working alongside the father of Alabama Archaeology, David DeJarnette, north of Mound R at Moundville in 1973 (Figure 1). After graduating from the University of Alabama in 1975, he went to work for the early incarnation of the Office of Archaeological Research at Moundville (OAR). In that same year, Dr. Knight published “Some Observations Concerning Plant Materials and Aboriginal Smoking in Eastern North America” in the Journal of Alabama Archaeology. We wonder how many archaeologists can say that an article they wrote just might have inspired numerous unofficial experimental studies among the archaeologists of the 1970s, and probably beyond? Or more seriously, how many archaeologists can say that their first published work in a state journal is still being cited?

Figure 2

In 1977, Dr. Knight completed his MA at the University of Toronto. His thesis was based on materials from survey work done in the Rother L. Harris reservoir (Figure 2) along the Tallapoosa River of east central Alabama in 1974, where he worked with John O’Hear. His thesis resulted in an initial culture historical sequence for this portion of the Alabama Piedmont. Dr. Knight continued to work in the Coosa and Tallapoosa drainages of eastern Alabama in the 1980s and authored a number of reports detailing surveys in east Alabama.

Figure 3
Figure 3

Dr. Knight’s long tradition of research into Mississippian ritual dates back at least as far as his work along the Lower Chattahoochee, particularly at Cemochechobee, where he worked alongside Frank and Gail Schnell for the Columbus Museum of Arts and Sciences. (Figure 3) Whispered graduate student legends state that he may have been thrown from the mound by an angry crewmember during that field project. Dr. Knight’s work in the Chattahoochee followed in the footsteps of Mr. DeJarnette, who worked in the Lower Chattahoochee in the mid-20th century. Anyone who has worked in that region has consulted his work on chronology at Cemochechobee and Singer-Moye, as well as his later Walter F. George survey and excavation reports to familiarize him/herself with the lower Chattahoochee culture historical sequence.  In the past several years, he has worked with Karen Smith, who received her MA with Dr. Knight in 1999, on Swift Creek paddle designs and Woodland period chronology in the Chattahoochee and Lower Appalachicola.

Figure 4
Figure 4

Dr. Knight returned to OAR in 1981 after completing his doctoral research at the University of Florida in just three years and rose to the level of Senior Research Archaeologist. Dr. Knight directed or contributed to several studies of Woodland ceremonialism in Florida and Alabama during this time, (Figure 4) including his dissertation advisor Jerry Milanich’s work on McKeithen Weeden Island culture in north Florida and the OAR excavations of the Copena mound at the Walling site in the Tennessee Valley of northern Alabama. Based on these and other excavations at Woodland sites, Dr. Knight created a model of Woodland platform mound symbolism focused on feasting and gift exchange with an emphasis on world renewal ceremonialism. These are intriguingly linked to historic Green Corn ceremonialism.

Figure 5
Figure 5

Dr. Knight’s work on Upper Creek archaeology goes back to his MA work in the Tallapoosa (Figure 5). His first Creek publication was in conjunction with Marvin Smith in 1980 and focused on ceramic changes at the Big Tallassee site between A.D. 1550-1800. His mid-1980s report of excavations at the Tukabatchee site in Elmore County established a chronology of Late Mississippian through Removal-period occupation in the lower Tallapoosa. His study of the importance of European goods and political leadership during the Early Historic period laid the groundwork for subsequent research on leadership in the Creek confederacy. Dr. Knight continued his work on the emergence of the historic Creeks, Creek ceramics, and the role of Creek clanship and political organization into the 1990s.

Figure 6
Figure 6

In the mid-1980s, as the 450th anniversary of the Hernando de Soto expedition approached, Dr. Knight served as the Secretary/Treasurer of the Alabama De Soto Commission (Figure 6). The goal of the commission was to evaluate new evidence for the route of the expedition through Alabama in 1540 and revise Swanton’s map created for the 400th anniversary. Working closely with geographical, historic, and archaeological scholars, notably Alabama geologist Douglas Jones and esteemed southeastern ethnohistorian Charles Hudson, the Commission tackled the thorny issue of the location of major Alabama sites along the route. The central focus in Alabama was the location of Chief Tascalusa’s attack at Mabila; arguments over its location proved as heated as the battle itself. The work of the commission ultimately resulted in the publication of the updated translations of the expedition narratives, a pair of volumes that sit on the shelves of countless archaeologists, historians, and amateur enthusiasts. In 2006, working with Dr. Jones, Dr. Knight once again convened a group of archaeologists, historians, and geographers to evaluate new evidence and reconsider old evidence. The end result was an edited volume that synthesizes the work of scholars from multiple disciplines and narrows down a location for Mabila.

Figure 7
Figure 7

Dr. Knight is probably best known for his work on Mississippian cultures, where he has published seminal works on Mississippian religion and ritual, symbolism and iconography, and social hierarchy. His dissertation and resulting publications explored Mississippian ritual, religion, and symbolism via structural theory, Muskogean ethnographic data, and archaeological evidence. This study described the symbolism in the Mississippian platform mound and identified three distinct branches of Mississippian religion.

In 1988, Dr. Knight joined the Department of Anthropology at the University of Alabama. He promptly set to work developing a research plan to work at Moundville (Figure 7). His decade-long NSF-funded excavations at Moundville began in 1993. In the 1990s and 2000s, his work researchers from other institutions and numerous projects by his graduate students turned the previous interpretation of the site onto its head (Figure 8). Working with Vin Steponaitis, Dr. Knight created a new site history that demonstrated the site reached peak population early in its history and later became a vacant center used for burials. His work comparing Moundville to a Chickasaw camp square provided a new way of looking at the arrangement of mounds around the plaza. The mound excavations at Moundville trained a decade’s worth of UA undergraduates in basic field methodology and resulted in an award-winning monograph (Figure 9).

Figure 8
Figure 8

Dr. Knight’s research into Mississippian iconography and the methodology of iconographic research has led to some a series discoveries on the nature of Mississippian religion. In 2001, along with James Brown, George Lankford, and the rest of the Iconography Working Group, Dr. Knight put forth the notion that so-called “Southeastern Ceremonial Complex art” depicted mythological heroes engaged in acts detailed in legends, many of which can be attributed via ethnographic research (Figure 10). Dr. Knight bade the term “Southeastern Ceremonial Complex” farewell a few years later and then proclaimed we shouldn’t refer to these representational images as “art” either. Regardless of what you call this corpus of representational images found on artifacts from southeastern Mississippian sites, this realization about southeastern iconography opened up a whole new world of iconographic studies, and allowed archaeologists to tie motifs to particular site histories (Figure 11). Dr. Knight’s work with Vin Steponaitis on the iconographic style of Moundville demonstrated a preponderance of death or Beneath World images, according well with the use of the site as a burial place for residents of the surrounding Black Warrior Valley for much of its history. After years of teaching the intense graduate Iconography seminar at the University of Alabama, Dr. Knight really did write the book on New World iconographic methodology (Figure 12). It is a clear, concise summary of how to go about this research with the most rigorous methodology and avoid traps into which many other researchers have fallen.

Figure 9
Figure 9

In the early 2000s, Dr. Knight began branching into the Caribbean, working in Cuba (Figure 13). At the El Convento site, a large Late Ceramic Age village with a post-contact component, he reinterpreted ceramic chronologies and provided a basic occupational sequence. He then correlated the revised site history with existing ethnohistoric accounts to provide evidence that El Convento was the site of the encomienda of Bartolomé de Las Casas. Las Casas was the first person to argue on behalf of the rights of the indigenous peoples of the New World. In multiple years of fieldwork at El Chorro de Maíta, Dr. Knight and his research team sought to identify correlates of sociopolitical complexity in residential contexts at a large Late Ceramic Age chiefly center. These excavations provided new data regarding the production of highly crafted ritual items, the extent of post-contact material throughout the site, and offered a new model for the occupational history of the site. Artifacts and dates indicate the site had no early component and was very likely to have been established as a chiefly center. These data have implications for emergent complexity in Eastern Cuba and for the archaeology of the Late Ceramic Age. Knight has also conducted a formal analysis of ceramics from Chorro, resulting in a new interpretation of ceramic vessel shape and data regarding potential foodways of the peoples who lived in the Caribbean.

Figure 10
Figure 10

More recently, Dr. Knight has started an iconographic analysis of ceremonial gear from Cuba, including engraved shell gorgets, carved stone idols, and engraved shell beads. When this study is completed, this will be the first time someone has assembled the corpus of such items from Cuba. This will be critical for understanding the relationship of Late Ceramic Age Cuba to contemporaneous peoples throughout the Caribbean, addressing questions of rapidly adopted religious constructs, population movement, and new cultural practices.

Figure 11
Figure 11

Dr. Knight has influenced many careers in archaeology. His attention to the details of training students extends to lessons not evident in his publications but is obvious in the ways other working archaeologists now conduct fieldwork.

Lessons Learned from Dr. Knight

Figure 12
Figure 12

When working in the field:

  1. Keep your field equipment clean, organized, and in working order at ALL times!
  1.  Seriously, no, I mean it.  Keep your field equipment clean, organized, and in working order at ALL times!
  1.  Don't be the guy with a trowel holster.  In fact, why do you even need to have your own trowel?  Just use one from the field desk.
  1. Keep your field skills sharp, so when you occasionally jump into a unit to show your students how it’s done, they are in awe of your ability to flatten a floor or straighten a wall.
Figure 13
Figure 13

When working in the lab:

  1.  Field rules 1 & 2 also apply to the lab.
  1. Leaving a tray of anything out on the lab table and walking away is asking for a disaster.

When dealing with students:

  1.  Never underestimate the power of a raised eyebrow and uncomfortable silence to bring a wayward graduate student into line.
  1.  If that doesn't get the message across, lean back in your chair and press your fingertips together.
  1.  If that fails, take off your glasses.Hawsey quote
  1. When a graduate student is hiding from you, call them and ominously say, "This is your conscience calling," whenever they answer the phone. Maintain an uncomfortable silence while they inform you of their progress. Repeat on a weekly basis until they finally turn something in.

Knight’s rules for writing:

  1. If it is obvious, then you should never have to state it.Wix quote
  1. Be intentional and decisive in your writing, and choose sides. Remind your students, following Marvin Harris, YOU HAVE TO CHOOSE!!!
  1. Don't worry about following theoretical trends. Do what you are interested in, and do it well. Regardless of whether someone notices down the line, you will still have made a good effort doing what interests you.
  1. “In regards” is NOT to be used. There is always something else you can use.
  1. Good writers do not use the phrase “in terms of…”.
  1. Avoid words like “important” and “valuable.” One assumes so.
  1. Nothing is ever unique—so don’t use that word!
  1. Never say “interesting” in formal writing.
  1. “Great” is a word widely used by sportscasters. Please discard it forever.
  1. “As well” is never a good way to start a sentence.
  1. “Drastically” is a word much misused. Means an extreme or radical effect, almost violent, not simply unsuitable. Make sure this is what you mean.
  2. For emphasis, use italics. All caps is shouting in prose.
  3. Good writers never say “looked at,” as in someone looked at something in their research. Instead, good writers use words that are not as vague.

A total of $32,134 was donated to the Department of Anthropology from 19 different organizations or private individuals in 2013-14. We received one donation since the last newsletter from Roberta S. Largin. We are grateful for the support. These gifts helped support faculty research ($21,000), graduate student research ($8900), or student scholarship ($2234) during this past year. In-kind donations were also made to provide books for the Anthropology Reading Room Library and benches for the ground floor in ten Hoor.

The Department distributed $12,200 in student awards and scholarships during the academic year. The majority of these funds went to two graduate student recipients of the DeJarnette Scholarship (Clay Nelson and Rachel Briggs, $5,000 each), but a number of undergraduates also benefited from scholarship aid as well (Maryanne Mobley and Meghan Steel, and Katie Moss—$500 each). The Alan Maxwell Scholarship is now an endowed fund, awarded this year to Max Stein, and will be reported upon in next year’s annual report.

We welcome contributions and have several funds to which donations can be made, including the DeJarnette, Maxwell, Smith, and Krause awards, the Anthropology Club, and the Archaeology Field School at Moundville. Please contact Teri Kirkendoll ( for more information or to make a contribution.

Mr. Daniel Turner (UA Anthropology BA, 2010) is currently Field Director for Panamerican Consultants, Inc. His senior year research at UA resulted in a publication, "Palisade Construction and Labor Costs in the Moundville Chiefdom," Journal of Alabama Archaeology 65(2):66-77. Daniel continued his study of labor costs and ancient architecture with a study of Viking earthworks while enrolled at Cambridge University, where he received his MPhil degree in Archaeological Research in 2012.

Ms. LeeAnne Wendt (UA Anthropology BA, 2006) was named the Tribal Archaeologist for the Muskogee Nation of Oklahoma beginning in September. After graduating from UA, she worked for Panamerican Consultants, Inc. in various capacities as an archaeologist. She received her MA degree in Anthropology from the University of Mississippi this year.

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id="4" gal_title="DeJarnette BBQ 2014"]

Photos by Erin Phillips (CC BY-NC-ND).

This past fall, we welcomed three new faculty members. Drs. Lesley Jo Weaver and Cameron Lacquement joined our faculty as Assistant Professors. In addition, Dr. David Meek, spouse of Dr. Weaver, joined as an Adjunct Faculty member in our department and taught a course for us in the fall 2014.

Dr. Lesley Jo Weaver
Lesley Jo Weaver

Jo Weaver received her Ph.D. and M.P.H from Emory University. She does research around the topics of chronic diseases, mental health, and nutrition in Brazil and India. Her doctoral work focused on social and family roles among women with type 2 diabetes in urban North India. Here she found that although women’s family roles in this cultural context can be extremely demanding and may detract from women’s ability to take care of their diabetes, these roles provide a source of social cohesion that appears to protect them from the mental ill health that often accompanies diabetes. Dr. Weaver is currently developing a new project on food insecurity and mental health in rural Brazil. As a response to public health and development initiatives that tend to examine only the nutritional aspects of food insecurity, this project is designed to test the relative contribution of both nutritional and social pathways in the established link between food insecurity and mental ill health. This is one arm of a larger global comparative study she is conducting with colleagues who work in Ethiopia, Haiti, and Malawi. Pilot work she conducted in 2013 suggested that in this community, social aspects of food insecurity, such as eating foods that carry the stigma of being “poor people’s foods,” may be just as damaging to mental health as the nutritional insufficiency that is sometimes also associated with food insecurity.

Dr. Cameron Lacquement
Cameron Lacquement

Cameron Lacquement received his undergraduate degree from Western Carolina University in anthropology focusing on forensics and criminal justice in 2002.  He received his masters from UA under the supervision of Dr. Jim Knight in 2004 by examining domestic architecture in the Black Warrior and Tombigbee River valleys.  The project required examining the archaeological evidence in the area but also had a experimental component, which involved the building and burning of a full-sized early Mississippian flexed pole house. During this time, he started branching out to other disciplines to support his research including wood science technology and structural engineering. His master's research has been published as a book through the University of Alabama Press and an article in the Journal Of Primitive Technology. In 2009, Dr. Lacquement received his Ph.D from UA.  His dissertation research examined prehistoric monumental structures and landscapes and quantified the amount of labor necessary to create them in order to address the sociopolitical organization of labor involved in the construction of prehistoric monuments in the Southeast US. Portions of his research have been published and presented at SEAC. Since completing his degree, Dr. Lacquement has served as a instructor and now Assistant Professor in the department.  He teaches many of the introduction classes, creates and maintains online classes, and serves as the Director of Undergraduate Studies.  In his off-time, Dr. Lacquementenjoys woodworking and carpentry, bowling, and playing softball for the department's team, the Argonauts.

Dr. David Meek
David Meek

David Meek (PhD University of Georgia, 2014) is an environmental anthropologist, critical geographer, and education scholar with an area specialization in Brazil. Dr. Meek theoretically grounds his research in a synthesis of political ecology, critical pedagogy, and place-based education. His interests include sustainable agriculture, social movements, and environmental education. Dr. Meek’s work has been conducted using a combination of traditional anthropological and cartographic methods, such as GIS, remote sensing, and historic aerial photography. Dr. Meek has carried out research on sustainable agriculture education within Brazil’s Landless Workers’ Movement. This research explored how people learn about sustainable agriculture through political participation and the potential impact this learning has on agricultural practices and landscape changes. Dr. Meek’s past research focused on the relationships between public policies, economic incentives, and educational processes within an agrarian reform settlement in the Brazilian Amazon. Dr. Meek is currently collaborating on a research project with UA's Dr. Caroline Boxmeyer looking at the relationship between K-5 students' participation in the Druid City Garden project and academic performance, environmental knowledge, and nutritional choices. Dr. Meek has also been appointed a co-coordinator for a UNESCO-funded project that is bringing twenty MST activists from Brazil to various locations in the United States to work on agroecological community organizing. As part of a larger applied anthropological research project, he is exploring how this transnational solidarity exchange program influences US grassroots organizations’ knowledge about strategies of social mobilization, and agroecological techniques. While scholarship on transnational solidarity movements is growing, this research focuses on the unexplored element of non-formal learning that happens within these networks.  In a series of publications currently under review, Dr. Meek has begun advancing a theoretical framework of the political ecology of education. This perspective illuminates how the reciprocal relations between political economic forces and pedagogical opportunities—from tacit to formal learning—affect the production, dissemination, and contestation of environmental knowledge at various interconnected scales. The various research projects that Dr. Meek is involved with provide empirical data to support the advancement of the political ecology of education framework.

New fall 2014 anthropology students (C. Lynn).
New fall 2014 anthropology students (C. Lynn).

In addition to faculty, eight new graduate students joined the department in the fall, and three of our previous MA students were accepted to continue working with us as doctoral students. Clay Nelson is an archaeologist who received his BA and MA from UA and will continue at the doctoral level focusing on Southeastern U.S. archaeology and Mississippian societies. Ashley Stewart received her BA from Auburn in 2010 and a master's degree from our department this past spring and will continue her focus in bioarchaeology here at the doctoral level. Mirjam Holleman joins us as a doctoral student in the Biocultural Medical program. She completed her BA and MA in the Netherlands and will focus on disabilities research in Poland.

Several new master's students also joined us. Shannon Edsall (BA, Auburn) and Allyson Harrison (BA, University of Michigan-Dearborn) joined us to study bioarchaeology. Katie Lazzara (BS/BA, University of Iowa), Cassie Medeiros (BA, William & Mary), and Gracie Riehm (BA, University of Georgia) are archaeology students. Katie is here to study Andean archaeology, Cassie joined us to study the archaeology of alcohol, and Gracie is interested in Southeastern archaeology and the Late Mississippian and Contact periods. Nikki Henderson (BS, Emory) and Edward Quinn (BA, University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse) are biocultural medical students. Nikki joined us to study mental health and addiction, while Edward is focused on social rank and chronic stress.

Professor Emeritus Jim Knight with presenters honoring his retirement in session" From Mound Ritual to Iconography to Spanish Conquistadors: Papers in Honor of Vernon  James Knight, Jr." at the 71st Annual Southeastern Archaeology Conference, Greenville, South Carolina.
Professor Emeritus Jim Knight with presenters honoring his retirement in session" From Mound Ritual to Iconography to Spanish Conquistadors: Papers in Honor of Vernon James Knight, Jr." at the 71st Annual Southeastern Archaeology Conference, Greenville, South Carolina.

Briggs, Rachel V.
The Hominy Foodway in the Historic Native Eastern Woodlands. Presented at the 71st Annual Southeastern Archaeology Conference, Greenville, South Carolina, November 12-15.

Dressler, William W.
Cultural consonance as a mediator of health disparities. Abstracts of the 113th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association. Washington, DC, December 3-7.

Galbraith, Marysia H.
Przeszłość, teraźniejszość i pryszłość: zmienne orientacje czasowe w Polsce od 1989 (Past, Present, and Future: Changing Temporal Orientations in Poland since 1989), University of Rzeszów,Rzeszów, Poland, November 4.

Galbraith, Marysia H.
Being and Becoming European in Poland: European Integration and Self-Identity, at the conference Political Culture: European Norms and Polish Reality, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznan, Poland, December 17.

Herndon, Kelsey E., B.A. Houk, and D.S. Sandrock
The 2014 Excavations at Chan Chich, Belize. Presented at the 2014 Belize Anthropology and Archaeology Symposium; San Ignacio, Belize, July 4.

Knight, Vernon James
The Archaeology of Moundville’s Sociogram. Invited lecture for the Department of Anthropology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. September 29.

Lynn, Christopher D., Virgil Roy Beasley, III, Kelsey E. Herndon, H. Francois Dengah, II, A. Brooke Persons
Anthropology is Elementary and can be Taught There: Teaching Four-Field Anthropology to 3rd and 4th Grade Students. Talk at presented at the 113th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, Washington, DC, December 3­-7.

Lynn, Christopher D., and Baba Brinkman
“Rap Guide to Evolution” Influences on Knowledge, Attitudes, and Emotions. Talk at the Association for Politics and the Life Sciences Annual Conference, Atlanta, GA, October 17-18.

Meek, David
Producing Places: Politics of Mapping Technologies and Cartographic Production. American Anthropological Association annual conference. Washington, D.C., December 3rd-7th.

Nelson, Ted Clay
Mortuary Practices, Social Status, and Wealth at the Rhodes Site in Moundville, Alabama. Paper presented at the 71st annual meeting of the Southeastern Archaeological Conference, Greenville, SC, November 13.

Oths, Kathryn
Global Health Policy toward Traditional Healers: A 21st Century Update (poster).  American Anthropological Association, Abstracts of the 113th Annual Meetings, Washington, DC, Dec. 3-7.

Regnier, Amanda, Erin Phillips, and Rachel V. Briggs
From Mound Ritual to Iconography to Spanish Conquistadors: Papers in Honor of Vernon  James Knight, Jr. 71st Annual Southeastern Archaeology Conference, Greenville, South Carolina, November 12-15.

Simova, Borislava, David W. Mixter, and Lisa J. LeCount
The Social Lives of Structures: Veneration Rituals and Changing Cultural Landscapes at Actuncan, Belize. A paper presented at the 12th annual Belize Archaeology symposium, San Ignacio, Belize, July 2.

Weaver, Lesley Jo
“My mind is a little different": Suffering and Resilience among Women with Type 2 Diabetes in North India. American Anthropological Association annual conference, Washington, DC, December 3-7.

Becky Read-Wahidi and her committee: Dr. Bill Dressler, Dr. Jason DeCaro, Dr. Michael Murphy, Dr. Kathy Oths, and Dr. Mariana Gabarrot, who skyped in from Mexico
Bill Dressler, Becky Read-Wahidi, Jason DeCaro, Michael Murphy, Kathy Oths (l-r), and Mariana Gabarro (via Skype).

Rebecca Read-Wahidi and Jera R. Davis received the PhD in Anthropology in December. Read-Wahidi defended her dissertation, "A Model Guadalupan: Devotion to the Virgin of Guadalupe and Psychosocial Stress Among Mexican Immigrants to the South." Her dissertation committee included Jason DeCaro (advisor), William Dressler, Michael Murphy, Kathryn Oths, and Mariana Gabarrot.

Jera Davis and her committee: Drs. Jim Knight, Kathy Oths, John Blitz, and Lisa Lecount.
Jera Davis and her committee: Drs. Jim Knight, Kathy Oths, John Blitz, and Lisa Lecount (l-r).

Davis defended her dissertation on October 17. The title of her dissertation is “On Common Ground: Social Memory and the Plaza at Early Moundville.” Her dissertation committee members were John H. Blitz (advisor), Vernon J. Knight, Lisa J. LeCount, Kathryn Oths, and F. Kent Reilly III. An article on her dissertation research will appear in the January 2015 American Antiquity.

Peruvian bonesetter Don Felipe Llaro with Dr. Kathy Oths
Peruvian bonesetter Don Felipe Llaro with Dr. Kathy Oths

On October 10, the University of West Alabama at Livingston hosted an "Afternoon of Anthropology" with Dr. Kathy Oths, who gave two talks on her work for our department. She gave a talk about her study of Tuscaloosa farmers markets entitled “Farmers Markets and Foodies: Conflict, Change, and Resolution” and another regarding her project in Peru called "Medical Tradition in the Peruvian Highlands: What Time and Climate Change Have Wrought."

Chris Lynn on Fox 6 News.
Chris Lynn on Fox 6 News.

Just in time for the holidays, Dr. Chris Lynn published initial results of his study of fireside relaxation in the open access journal Evolutionary Psychology, which has received attention from Huffington Post, Discover Magazine, Men's Health, Fox 4/WBRC in Birmingham, Mail Online, Paleo (in Spanish), and UA A&S Desktop News. In the experimental study, Lynn found that even watching a fire simulation (e.g., a Yule log DVD) for as little as 15 minutes can reduce blood pressure when it simulates some of the naturalistic conditions of a real fire, such as the crackling sounds. He speculates that this capacity may have played an important role in human cognitive evolution, given the long history of humans and controlled fire.

Dr. David Meek and students in his "Anthropology of Food" course enjoy the pleasant weather outside recently.Several students have been involved in Dr. Lynn's fireside relaxation study over the past few years, and last year undergraduate Meghan Steel gave a presentation about it at the American Anthropological Association annual meeting that was blogged about by Sydney Yeager for the Anthropology of Consciousness. Meghan introduced a prosociality measure to the third iteration of the project, and Lynn found that participants who scored higher on the prosociality scale achieved greater relaxation benefits.

The Fall 2014 issue of the College of Arts and Sciences Collegian (Vol. 23, No. 1) features three articles on research in our department. Dr. Marysia Galbraith is recognized for the receipt of a third Fulbright Grant to extend her study of Polish identity. Along with collaborators in the Department of Psychology, Dr. Jason DeCaro is recognized as a recipient of a $2.2 million grant to assess the efficacy of local Head Start programs. The Collegian also details doctoral student Paul Eubanks' NSF-supported study of Caddo Indian salt production in what is today Northwest Louisiana.

Eubanks was also a finalist for the "Three-Minute Thesis" competition hosted by the UA Graduate School, as highlighted in the UA News.

Dr. DeCaro presents Krause Award to Paul Eubanks (Photo: C.Lynn).
Dr. DeCaro presents Krause Award to Paul Eubanks (Photo: C.Lynn).

Dr. David Meek was awarded a $700 SECU Faculty travel grant from the Office of Academic Affairs to travel to the University of Mississippi and collaborate with scholars at the Southern Foodways Alliance.

At the annual Department Holiday party on December 18, doctoral students Rachel Briggs and Paul Eubanks were presented with the Panamerican and Richard A. Krause Prizes, respectively. Professor Emeritus Richard Krause is an archaeologist and cultural anthropologist who served the Department of Anthropology at UA for 31 years during a crucial period of development. Because of his commitment to graduate student training, the Krause Prize was established to recognize students who display academic excellence at the graduate level based on the promise of the student's proposed thesis or dissertation. The Panamerican Award for Scholarly Excellence in Archaeology

Paul Eubanks was also a finalist in the “Three-Minute Thesis” that was sponsored by the UA Graduate School in November.

Achsah Dorsey (MA 2014) received the College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Research by a Masters Student award for her biocultural work in Tanzania on maternal and child health. She is now a finalist for the University-wide honor. Achsah recently began PhD studies at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Dr. Blitz presents Panamerican Award to Rachel Briggs Photo: C.Lynn).
Dr. Blitz presents Panamerican Award to Rachel Briggs Photo: C.Lynn).

An outstanding group of Graduate School Research and Travel Award applications were received in the fall. The Anthropology Department can only nominate a limited number because of a requirement to provide matching funds. Nine applications were received, and five were nominated. The graduate school awarded funding as follows:

  • Erik Porth, $300 from the graduate school, $100 from the department
  • Lynn Funkhouser, $300 from the graduate school, $100 from the department
  • Jessica Kowalski, $300 from the graduate school, $100 from the department
  • Greg Batchelder, $100 from the graduate school, $100 from the department
  • Ashley Stewart, $100 from the graduate school, $100 from the department

Greg Batchelder was also the recipient of a $200 Research and Travel Grant from the UA College of Arts and Sciences toward traveling to Washington, DC to present ?? at the American Anthropological Association annual meeting.

Blitz, John
Skeuomorphs and the Construction of Object Value in the Ancient Eastern Woodlands. Paper presented at the 79th Annual Meeting, Society for American Archaeology, Austin, TX, April 23-27.

Drs. Juan Carlos González Faraco & Michael Murphy conducting fieldwork in Spain, 2014.
Drs. Juan Carlos González Faraco & Michael Murphy conducting fieldwork in Spain.

Briggs, Rachel V.
Evidence for Nixtamalizaton in the Southeastern United States. Poster presented at the 79th Annual Society for American Archaeology Conference, Austin, TX, April 23-27.

Briggs, Rachel V.
The Ethnohistory of Nixtamalization in the Southeastern United States. Paper presented at the 37th Annual Society for Ethnobiology Conference, Cherokee, NC, May 11-14.

Brinkman, Baba and Christopher Lynn
Quantifying Impacts of Peer-Reviewed Rap. Eighth Annual Conference of the NorthEastern Evolutionary Psychology Society, New Paltz, NY, April 10-13.

Brown, Richard A., II, and William W. Dressler
Cultural consonance and the course of diabetes. Abstracts of the 2014 Annual Meeting of the Society for Applied Anthropology, March 19-23, Albuquerque, NM.

Dressler, William W.
Who's culturally consonant, and why? Abstracts of the 2014 Annual Meeting of the Society for Applied Anthropology, March 19-23, Albuquerque, NM.

Dressler, William W.
Cultural Consonance: Linking the Cultural, the Individual, and the Biological. Invited lecture for the Department of Anthropology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, Jan. 31.

Dressler, William W.
Culture: Consensus, Contention, Distribution, and Consonance. Invited lecture for the Department of Global Environmental Health Sciences, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, LA, March 14.

Eubanks, Paul
A Reconstruction of the Caddo Salt Making Process at Drake's Salt Works. Paper Presented at the 55th Annual Meeting of the Caddo Conference, Tyler Texas.

Herndon, Kelsey E., BA Houk, M Willis, and CP Walker.
The Structure from Motion Solution: Mapping Structure A-5 at Chan Chich, Belize. Presented at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology; Austin, Texas.

Kosiba, Steve
“The Cultural Landscape of Cusco before the Inkas” and “Wari Influence on Inka State Development.” Invited Lectures. Papers presented at the special symposium “The Inkas and their Origins,” Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig, Germany.

Kosiba, Steve
“By this Standard: The Materiality of Social Difference in the Inka Heartland.” Paper presented at the 79th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Austin, TX.

Kosiba, Steve
“Feeding Time: Human-Animal Sacrifices and the Making of Ontological Boundaries in the Inka Empire.” Invited Lecture. Paper presented at the special symposium “Animal Magnetism: The Push and Pull of Consocial Life,” Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology, Brown University, Providence, RI.

Kosiba, Steve
“Assembling an Inka Landscape: The Construction of Land and Subjects at Inka Imperial Ollantaytambo (Cusco, Peru).” Invited Lecture. Paper presented at the Linden Museum, Stuttgart, Germany.

Kosiba, Steve
“Cultivating a Sacred Environment: Politics, Ecology, and the Production of Landscape in the Early Inka Empire.” Invited Lecture. Paper presented to the Department of Anthropology and Geography, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA.

Kosiba, Steve
“La percepción del espacio en el mundo andino.” Invited Lecture. Paper presented at the special conference of the Programa de Estudios Andinos, Pontificia Universidad Católica del Peru. Pisac, Peru.

Kosiba, Steve
“The Nature of the Inka City: Labor Coordination and Road Networks in Imperial Ollantaytambo and Cusco.” Invited Lecture. Paper presented at the special symposium “Nuevas Tendencias en el estudio del Camino Inka,” Proyecto Qhapaq Ñan and Ministerio de Cultura. Lima, Peru.

Lawhon, Taylor, Karl Bennett, and Paul Eubanks
Preliminary Interpretations from Two Potential Habitation Zones at Drake's Salt Works. Paper Presented at the 71st Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Archaeological Conference, Greenville, S.C.

Undergraduates Sophia Fazal and Lauren Pratt at NorthEastern Evolutionary Psychology Society conference in New Paltz, NY in April.
Undergraduates Sophia Fazal and Lauren Pratt (center) at NorthEastern Evolutionary Psychology Society conference in New Paltz, NY in April.

Lynn, Christopher
Hard-to-Fake Signaling of Religious Commitment Reduces Biological Stress where Just Trying to Manage Impressions Does Not. Eighth Annual Conference of the NorthEastern Evolutionary Psychology Society, New Paltz, NY, April 10-13.

Murphy, Michael Dean
Diversidad y contrastes en la cultura universitaria norteamericana (Diversity and Contrastes in American University Culture” presented at  the Universidad de Huelva (Spain). February 14.

Murphy, Michael Dean
Lo público y lo privado en la cultura universitaria norteamericana: el caso de la Universidad de Alabama (The Public and the Private in American University Culture: the Case of the University of Alabama) presented at the Universidad de Granada (Spain). February 25.

Oths, Kathryn S., Adam Booher, Rodrigo Lazo, and Max Stein
Biomedicine Meets a Highland Bonesetter: A Workshop Inspired by Systematic Discovery. Society for Applied Anthropology, Albuquerque, NM, Mar. 18-22.

Pratt, Lauren V. and Christopher Lynn
Human Evolution at the Hearth: The Influence of Fire on Relaxation and Psychophysiology. Eighth Annual Conference of the NorthEastern Evolutionary Psychology Society, New Paltz, NY, April 10-13.

Stein, Max J.
Culture, Social Networks and Health among Andean Migrants in Northern Peru.  Paper presented to Department of Anthropology, Mississippi State University, Starkville, MS.

Wells, E. Christian, Lisa J. LeCount, Thomas R. Jamison, Kara A. Rothenberg, and David W. Mixter
Ancient Maya Urban Soilscapes as Geochemical Reservoirs: Characterization of Lime-plaster Surfaces from the Palace Complex at Actuncan, Belize. A paper presented at the Association of American Geographers in the Special Session Geoarchaeology: Soils, Sediments, Cultural Stone, and Paleoenvironments, organized by Timothy Beach, Tampa, Florida, April 8-12.



Blitz, John H., C. Fred Andrus, and Lauren E. Downs
Schlerochronological Detection of Seasonality at a Late Woodland Mound. American Antiquity 79(4):697-711.

Brown, Ian W.
Time Travelers in England: Americans in Search of Salt. Tuscaloosa, AL: Borgo Publishing.

Dressler, William W. and Kathryn S. Oths
Social Survey Methods in Anthropological Fieldwork. In: Handbook of Methods in Cultural Anthropology. 2nd Ed., H. Russell Bernard and Clarence C. Gravlee, Eds., Altamira Press.

González Faraco, Juan Carlos and Michael D. Murphy
El Rocío de Antoine de Latour. Exvoto 4(3): 253-281.

Herndon, Kelsey E., G. Zaro, B.A. Houk, S. Mitchell, and E. Gallis
The 2014 Excavations of the Chan Chich Dynastic Architecture Project. In The 2014 Season of the Chan Chich Archaeological Project, edited by B.A. Houk, pp. 31-68. Papers of the Chan Chich Archaeological Project, Number 8. Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work, Texas Tech University, Lubbock.

Knight, Vernon James
Taking Stock of Social Theory in Southeastern Archaeology. Southeastern Archaeology 33(2):206-207.

Kosiba, Steve and Andrew M. Bauer
Mapeando el paisaje politico: hacia una análisis SIG de las diferencias medioambientales y sociales. Cuadernos de Qhapaq Ñan 2(1):120-160.

Lynn, Christopher D.
Hearth and Campfire Influences on Arterial Blood Pressure: Defraying the Costs of the Social Brain through Fireside Relaxation. Evolutionary Psychology 12(5):983-1003,

Meek, David
Sustainability Education: What’s Politics Got to Do With It? Journal of Sustainability Education 7(December):

Meek, David
Agroecology and Rural Grassroots Movements’ Evolving Moral Economies. Environment and Society: Advances in Research. 5: 47–65

Meek, David
Climate change and the political ecology of education. Anthropology News. August 11th.

Mixter, David, Kara Fulton, Lauren Bussiere, and Lisa LeCount
Living through Collapse: An Analysis of Maya Residential Modifications during the Terminal Classic Period at Actuncan, Belize. Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology 11:55-66.

Weaver, Lesley Jo and Bonnie Kaiser.
Developing Locally-Validated Mental Health Measurement Tools: Examples from India and Haiti. Field Methods epub ahead of print, 25 Sept 2014, DOI: 10.1177/1525822X14547191.

Weaver, Lesley Jo
Review of Reconstructing Obesity: The Meaning of Measures and the Measure of Meanings. Medical Anthropology Quarterly epub ahead of print, 31 July 2014, DOI: 10.1111/maq.12133.

Willis, M.D., B.A. Houk, Kelsey E. Herndon, and C. Walker
Structure from Motion Mapping of Structure A-15 at Chan Chich. In The 2014 Season of the Chan Chich Archaeological Project, edited by B.A. Houk, pp. 21-30. Papers of the Chan Chich Archaeological Project, Number 8, Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work, Texas Tech University, Lubbock.

vBookz screenshotAfter many years of loyal service, the database built in the Stone Age of the internet (the '80s) by our own esteemed technology advance guardsman, Professor Emeritus Jim Bindon, was retired by necessity. It was built in ColdFusion, essentially the Beta of databases, and was no longer supported. Fortunately, we were able to have it transferred to another server and service and are now up and running again with institutional support. Thank you, Jim, for your technological innovations and many years of maintaining them for our behalf.

In addition to tried and true wonders of technology to streamline our workflow are new innovations. One I've become fond of in 2014 is the vBookz PDF Voice Reader app. This app reads PDFs that have been processed with OCR text recognition software. It comes at a cost of $4.99 from the Apple Store and can be used with a female or male voice. While the voices are a bit robotic and mispronounced some words, it is good enough to make plowing through a pile of papers that need grading, theses and dissertations that need evaluating, or the numerous readings per week for our various classes much easier. I even scan in books to make better use of the time I'm walking the dog, driving to campus, or even so I can walk around campus and enjoy the weather while reading. Listening goes much faster than reading because you don't slow down when your mind wanders (though you may have to rewind occasionally).


Dr. Mark Moberg, University of Southern Alabama
Dr. Mark Moberg, University of Southern Alabama

The Department of Anthropology was lucky to have several visitors who gave planned and extemporaneous talks in the spring 2014. On February 21, the Anthropology Club co-hosted a FABBL (Friday Afternoon Brown Bag Lunch) talk with Dr. Mark Moberg from the University of Southern Alabama entitled "How 'Fair' is Fair Trade: Contrasting Views of Economic Morality among Caribbean Banana Farmers." Dr. Moberg is the editor-in-chief of Human Organization, the research journal for the Society for Applied Anthropology. His work focuses on trade, globalization, and political economy in the Caribbean and Latin America.

As part of our Extemporaneous Talks series (ET #3), Dr. Jim Hall, formerly of UA's New College and now of Rochester Institute of Technology, gave a talk on February 24, 2014 about UA anthropologist Solon Kimball and the Talladega Study. Kimball, who was a founding member of the American Ethnological Association and Council on Anthropology and Education,  was instrumental in developing and administering the Talladega Study, which led to the establishment of the town's public health program. The Study highlighted a painful aspect of academia at that period time with regard to segregation. Dr. Hall spoke of how Kimball and his collaborators appear to have been anti-segregationists but could not convince the Talladega community to allow African-Americans, who constituted 1/3 of the town's population, to participate in the study. In 1978, Kimball helped establish the Zora Neale Hurston Fellowship Award Fund to honor outstanding African-American graduates in anthropology, and the Kimball Award is issued every other year by the American Anthropological Association to an anthropologist who effects change in public policy. Though Kimball's presence in our department is not part of the living memory of any current faculty members, Dr. Jim Knight, who grew up in the Talladega area, recalled taking an undergraduate course with Kimball when he had moved on from UA and was a professor at the University of Florida.

Fellow Mayanist Lisa LeCount poses with ET#5 speaker Elizabeth Paris (Photo by C. Lynn).
Fellow Mayanist Lisa LeCount poses with ET#5 speaker Elizabeth Paris (Photo by C. Lynn).

ET #4 was presented on March 9 by Dr. Deborah Keene, a Senior Fellow for the Blount Undergraduate Initiative, Assistant Professor in Geological Sciences, and an Adjunct Faculty member of the Department of Anthropology. Her talk, "How Should You Prepare Pro-Evolution Students for an Anti-Evolution Reality?" dealt with her experience with investigating anti-evolution rhetoric in teaching students to examine sources critically.

On March 7, 2014, the Department of Anthropology and Lambda Alpha hosted a guest lecture ""Joara and Fort San Juan: Eventful Archaeology at the Berry Site") and workshop ("Structure and the Problem with Macrosociality") with Dr. Robin Beck. Dr. Beck is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Assistant Curator of North American Archaeology at the Museum of Anthropology at the University of Michigan. He has worked in the Andes and in eastern North America, including NSF-supported research along the Catawba River at the Berry site in North Carolina. Dr. Beck received his master's degree from UA in 1997 and his PhD from Northwestern University in 2004, both in anthropology.

Dr. Elizabeth Paris gave ET #5 on April 2 entitled "Form and Function in Small Maya Cities: A View from Highland Chiapas." Dr. Paris is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology at St. Lawrence University and previously an Adjunct Instructor and Research Associate of Anthropology at the University of Southern Mississippi. Dr. Paris is a Mesoamerican archaeologist who talked about her work investigating smaller and less complex sites than those usually studied in the Maya region to distinguish between diversification and specialization in urban structural organization.

Greg Batchelder's World of Warcraft avatar.
Greg Batchelder's World of Warcraft avatar.

Our final lecture of the semester was a FABBL by PhD student Greg Batchelder on April 11 (“Batchhunder’s Travels: Participatory Aesthetic Experience in World of Warcraft: Effects on Mood and Mental Wellness”). Greg earned his master's degree at Colorado State University, where he also participated in team research under Dr. Jeffrey Snodgrass on a psychological anthropological study of World of Warcraft play.

Galbraith book coverAs covered in The Crimson White and A&S Desktop News, Dr. Marysia Galbraith has received a third Fulbright award to continue her longitudinal study of identity in Poland. Dr. Galbraith, who has worked in Poland for over 20 years, was awarded the Fulbright to investigate whether Jews in Poland self-identify as Jewish and Polish. This study expands on ideas outlined in her recent book, Being and Becoming European in Poland: European Integration and Self-Identity, which examines Polish self-identity as part of the European Union.

As highlighted in the Tuscaloosa News and UA News, PhD student Clay Nelson has received a graduate research assistantship from the Office of Archaeological Research (OAR) and the Muscogee (Creek) Nation to look at Creek homeland sites. The goal of the project is to finds links between the archaeological record of the Tennessee Valley and sites in Alabama and Georgia. Nelson will be advised by Dr. Ian Brown and Eugene Futato, deputy director of OAR. Nelson's goal is to better understand what was happening in the Southeastern U.S. after European contact.

We're very proud of our students, who continue to earn numerous accolades for their efforts in advancing anthropology. In the spring 2014, there were numerous award winners.

Paul Eubanks was the winner of the 2014 Bob Work Award for Scholarly Excellence in Archaeology for a paper entitled "The Timing and Distribution of Caddo Salt Production in Northwestern Louisiana."

Dr. Jason DeCaro with Honors Day 2014 awardees Francois Dengah, Paul Eubanks, Clay Nelson, Erik Porth, and Rachel Briggs
Dr. Jason DeCaro with Honors Day 2014 awardees Francois Dengah, Paul Eubanks, Clay Nelson, Erik Porth, and Rachel Briggs

Kareen Hawsey and Paul Eubanks were the 2014-15 co-winners of the David and Elizabeth DeJarnette Endowed Scholarship, which is awarded at the annual spring DeJarnette barbecue at Moundville Archaeological Park. David DeJarnette, a southeast archaeologist, was the first anthropologist at the University of Alabama. The DeJarnette Scholarship is awarded each year to support graduate research about Moundville or Moundville-related topics.

Adviser Bill Dressler with Best Dissertation Award winner Francois Dengah
Adviser Bill Dressler with Best Dissertation Award winner Francois Dengah

Lauren Marsh, a 2014 graduate in anthropology, won a Fulbright Award from the U.S. State Department to serve in Sichuan Province, China as an English Teaching Assistant and conduct research on the Nutrition Literacy of Infant Caregivers during 2014-2015.

Max Stein, a PhD student currently conducting fieldwork in Peru, was the 2014 winner of the Allen R. Maxwell Endowed Anthropology Scholarship. This scholarship honors the late Professor Allen Maxwell, who was a pioneer anthropology of Southeast Asia and a longtime and much admired faculty member of our department. Professor Maxwell dedicated his career to the kinds of ethnographic and linguistic research that this scholarship is designed to support.

During Honors Week (March 31 - April 4), numerous Anthropology students were recognized for excellence. A committee of faculty emeriti selected Dr. Francois Dengah for Outstanding Doctoral Thesis. Elizabeth Wix, Lessye Demoss, Luke Donohue, and Paul Eubanks were recognized as Graduate Council Fellows. Kareen Hawsey was awarded a National Alumni Association License Tag Graduate Fellow, which is given to a resident of Alabama with potential to make an outstanding contribution to the people of the state. Brass Bralley was recognized as a McNair Graduate Fellow, which are awarded to low income, first-generation college students, or members of a group traditionally underrepresented in graduate education.

Finally, the January 2014 round of the Graduate School Research and Travel Awards, which is available several times a year, was particularly tough, with 16 submissions. This is testimony to the efforts students and professors are giving to producing excellent proposals. We are delighted that all proposals submitted by the Department to the Graduate School received some funding. January 2014 awardees include doctoral students Rachel Briggs and Lynn Funkhouser and master's students Achsah DorseyEmma Koenig, and Elizabeth Wix.


Lisa LeCount, Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Department of Anthropology, honoring Katelyn Moss, recipient of the Hughes Prize, and Meghan Steel (on right), co-winner of the C. Earle Smith Jr. Award (Photo by I. Brown).
Lisa LeCount, Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Department of Anthropology, honoring Katelyn Moss, recipient of the Hughes Prize, and Meghan Steel (on right), co-winner of the C. Earle Smith Jr. Award (Photo by I. Brown).

At the Spring Undergraduate Honors Day, Katelyn Moss and Meghan Steel were presented awards for their standings as the top Anthropology majors in the 2014 graduating class. Dr. Lisa LeCount presented Steel with the C. Earle Smith Jr. Award and Moss with the Hughes Prize.

Francois Dengah judging 2014 Anthropology Undergraduate Research Poster Competition entries (Photo by I. Brown).
Francois Dengah judging 2014 Anthropology Undergraduate Research Poster Competition entries (Photo by I. Brown).

Trever Chidester placed 3rd for Oral Presentations in the Social Sciences at the 2014 Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity (URCA) conference. URCA presenters from the Department of Anthropology also competed in the first annual Anthropology Undergraduate  Research Poster Competition. Emerging Scholar Hannah Smith (Kathy Oths, faculty mentor) won first prize for "A Decade of Change: The Effects of Cultural and Environmental Change on Child Growth in Peru" (award $200). There was a tie for second prize between Trever Chidester (Keith Jacobi, faculty mentor) for "Denisovans: From a Pinky to a People" ($100) and Lauren Nolan and Nathaniel Graham (Chris Lynn, faculty mentor) for "Religious Signaling and Commitment in the Central Church of Christ in Tuscaloosa" ($100 split between the co-authors). All three winning posters have been mounted and displayed in the hollowed halls of the ten Hoor ground floor.

Becky Read-Wahidi and her committee: Dr. Bill Dressler, Dr. Jason DeCaro, Dr. Michael Murphy, Dr. Kathy Oths, and Dr. Mariana Gabarrot, who skyped in from Mexico
Becky Read-Wahidi and her committee: Dr. Bill Dressler, Dr. Jason DeCaro, Dr. Michael Murphy, Dr. Kathy Oths, and Dr. Mariana Gabarrot, who skyped in from Mexico

On Tuesday, October 7, Becky Read-Wahidi successfully presented and defended her dissertation, titled "A Model Guadalupan: Devotion to the Virgin of Guadalupe and Psychosocial Stress Among Mexican Immigrants to the South." This was the first Anthropology Department Defense this academic year.

Becky began her presentation with some historical background on the Virgin of Guadalupe, who appeared to Indian peasant Juan Diego in 1531 with instructions to build a church in her honor. The Virgin of Guadalupe has been officially recognized by the Catholic Church, and has her own festival occurring on December 12. She is indigenous to Mexico, and is seen as a resistance to social injustice. Becky focused on the idea that the Virgin of Guadalupe could be a Mexican master symbol.

Becky then presented her cultural research in Scott County, Mississippi. She performed a cultural domain analysis, which included a consensus analysis and a consonance analysis, to place the idea of the master symbol within the context of immigration and to determine if the Virgin of Guadalupe is a "collective representation." She focused on the biocultural aspects of the immigration experience, particularly the physical and psychological effects of stress, in order to evaluate the Virgin of Guadalupe as a coping mechanism. She developed her own scale for the consonance analysis, which included variables such as years in the US and Mississippi, comfort speaking English, and birthplace of children. The effects of stress were measured by participants' reported health and life satisfaction, illness in the past month, and a comparison of life satisfaction now and before arrival in the US.

Becky's research and analysis demonstrated that devotion to the Virgin of Guadalupe was not buffering stresses. She did determine that there was a higher consonance with the more children a participant had, as well as higher perceived stress scores, which could potentially be linked to the Virgin of Guadalupe being seen as a mother figure and a complex family model, respectively.

Congratulations to Becky Read-Wahidi on her successful defense!

Photo by C. Madeiros
Jessica Kowalski presented FABBL #3. Photo by C. Madeiros.

Our third FABBL of the Fall 2014 semester occurred on October 10 with Jessica Kowalski's presentation "On the Mississippi Mound Trail: A Report on Two Field Seasons of Excavations."

Jessica discussed her work under the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, which contracted three different universities to perform excavations over two summers for a public highway project, with the intent of building tourist signs. Her particular area included 9 sites with 14 mounds over 13 weeks of field work. The historical period covered ca. 1200-1500 AD; and her presentation focused on research issues, political economy, mortuary practices, and changes in iconography during this period. The largest problem encountered during field work was how to formulate a research design for testing about 30 mound sites.

Their design looked at the project goals, time, and resources to determine chronology and construction techniques. The methods included LiDAR, mapping with GPS, exploratory testing through split spoon cores and bucket augers, and test unit excavation. The methods were updated slightly during the second season. Jessica then presented some sites that worked well with these methods, and some that yielded disappointing results with these methods, before focusing on the site that is the main focus of her dissertation research. The overall project yielded a chronology for dating mounds: Coles Creek Settlement 900-1200 AD, Winterville phase ca. 1200 AD, Late George Phase ca. 1400 AD. The Late George Phase sees a mound building explosion.

Jessica's dissertation research focuses on Arcola, which has 3 of the 6 original mounds still standing. The first season encountered some problems relating to identification. They cored and augured Mound A, and excavated a test unit in which they found mound erosion, Late George phase and Protohistoric ceramics, and Winterville phase ceramics. During the second season they excavated Mound C, with a cut face on the summit. They found a burn floor surface and radiocarbon dated it to between 1435 and 1490 AD. Mound C has the potential for intact mound surfaces, and is a Late George phase site. During the presentation, she also discussed how to date a mound, including problems with balanced testing of mound fill and finding surfaces and the differences in the materials mounds are built on. Mississippi mounds are built of levee silts and sands for expedience, while Coles Creek mounds had a core and finish - the focus is on whether the mounds are built up or out and the sociopolitical implications of how the mounds were built. Jessica plans to continue research within the Arcola site.

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Greg Batchelder presenting FABBL #2. Photo by C. Lynn

Our Fall FABBL series continued September 26 with Greg Batchelder's presentation "Estibrawpa: Ecotourism in the Bribri Village of Yorkin. Celebrating Tradition and Improving Health."

Greg's presentation focused on his summer 2014 research in Costa Rica, where he learned about Estibrawpa, an ecotourism program created by the women of Yorkin, a village of about 200-250 people. Most of the men there worked on banana plantations, and therefore had to travel and remain away from home for long periods of time. This caused depression and lower health in the community, and the women in the village decided to organize an ecotourism company, in coordination with ATEC,  to create an alternative to wage labor on plantations. Men now work as guides, construction workers, organic farmers, and canoe captains to facilitate tourist visits to the village. The community has also been able to build schools in order to teach these trades, native language, and the Bribri historia---their own collection of creation myths and legends. The village also has a medical clinic, but it was closed during Greg's visit.

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Photo by C. Lynn

Greg traveled to Yorkin by canoe and stayed for a week in the home of the Morales family. Houses in the village typically house many generations---8 members of the Morales family lived in the house---and the Bribri are a matrilineal/matrilocal society. The houses are on stilts with storage area underneath for chickens, ducks, pigs, and horses. There is also a communal area in the house, which includes the kitchen/dining area, where they have spring gravity fed water and some solar paneled electricity---although there can be a lack of sunlight at times. Families also usually grow their own corn, and there was possibly a shared community garden. The women also focused on organic coacoa production, which they sell in the village of Bambu. Family life is very important, and a more permissive and communal style of parenting seems to be practiced.

Greg was able to observe many of the benefits from the creation of Estibrawpa, including the resurgence in the community of an interest in traditions from the younger generations. While there is not much outside influence---the village is currently trying to get internet---the younger generations are becoming more interested in learning the native language and historia in order to be more successful in the ecotourism opportunities they have. He was also able to discern a perceived improvement in health from all members of the community, and intends to study this further. He plans to use blood pressure as a biomarker and potentially gain access to past health records in the clinic. The CESD depression scale will also be used. He plans to return next summer and to continue to collaborate with the community in Yorkin and possibly find a natural control group in order to provide further evidence of the improved health benefits of the ecotourism project.