New Research into Religious Practices Supporting Inca Authority of Cuzco

Huanacauri (S. Kosiba)
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.

Archaeologist Dr. Vernon James “Jim” Knight, Jr. Retires

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

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?

RegnierIntro_Page_03
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. NO POSTAL ABBREVIATIONS.
  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.

Thanks to Our Generous Supporters

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 (tkirkendoll@ua.edu) for more information or to make a contribution.

Spring 2014 Alumni News

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.

Spring 2014 Conferences and Presentations by UA Anthropologists

Undergraduates Sophia Fazal and Lauren Pratt with Dr. Chris Lynn at NEEPS 2014 conference in New Paltz, NY. Photo by C. Lynn.

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.

 

Hi, Tech! Updates and Apps to Enhance Workflow

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).

 

Extemporanous Talks and Other Exciting Guest Lectures

Elizabeth Paris presenting at spring Extemporaneous Talk (Photo: C.Lynn).
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.

Marysia Galbraith and Clay Nelson in the News

Dr. Marysia Galbraith

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.

Graduate Students Receive Awards

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

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.

Undergraduate Honors and First Annual Department Poster Competition

 

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.

Oths, Knight, Persons, Lynn, DeCaro, and Galbraith Receive Awards

Department of Anthropology promotional video
Dr. Kathryn Oths
Dr. Kathryn Oths

Dr. Kathy Oths has been selected by the College of Arts and Sciences as an A&S Distinguished Teaching Fellow for 2014-2017. This is such a wonderful honor and so richly deserved. It serves as a fabulous bookend for Prof. Oths having recently been selected as an NAA 2014 Outstanding Commitment to Teaching Award recipient.

Drs. Jim Knight and Brooke Persons were part of a multi-national team recognized by a National Award of the Academy of Sciences of Cuba 2013. The team interpreted excavations at El Chorro de Maita in Cuba and identified it as a post-colonial contact indigenous community and cemetery. It is the first site of this type and has been recognized as one of the most important Cuban social sciences achievements of 2013.

Dr. Christopher Lynn was the recipient of an Arts and Sciences CARSCA (College Academy for Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity) grant for a project entitled “Retention and Emotional Salience of Evolution Education via Comedy and Hip Hop.” In collaboration with Dr. William Evans of Telecommunication and Film, this project will use survey and skin conductance methods to test the impact of evolution education when delivered via hip hop playwright Baba Brinkman’s award-winning “Rap Guide to Evolution” show versus a stand lecture format.

Dr. Marysia Galbraith
Dr. Marysia Galbraith

Drs. Jason DeCaro and Marysia Galbraith were awarded Research Grants Committee support for their projects “The Culture of Child Caregiving in Mwanza, Tanzania” and “Jewish Heritage in Poland: Remembered Pasts and Imagined Futures,” respectively.

Dr. Galbraith also has the rare honor of receiving a third Fulbright award to conduct her Jewish-Polish heritage project, which will also involve documenting and recovering her own Polish heritage. There is little precedent in anthropology for projects like Dr. Galbraith’s, which document changes in self-identity and views of life from teen to adult. As a Fulbright Scholar, Dr. Galbraith will also be affiliated with Adam Mickiewicz University, which will enable her to connect and collaborate with Polish scholars.

Spring 2014 Publications

Alibali, Martha, Mitchell Nathan, Matthew Wolfgram, Breckie Church, Steve Jacobs, Chelsea Johnson, and Eric Knuth
How Teachers Link Representations in Mathematics Instruction Using Speech and Gesture: A Corpus Analysis. Cognition and Instruction 32(1):65-100.

Dressler, William W.
Race and Public Health. In: The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Health, Illness, Behavior, and Society. William W. Cockerham, Robert Dingall, and Stella Quah, Eds., Pp. 2017-2021. New York: Wiley-Blackwell.

Galbraith book coverGalbraith, Marysia
Being and Becoming European: Self-Identity and European Integration in Poland. London: Anthem Press.

Galbraith, Marysia
Review of Patrons of History: Nobility, Capital and Political Transitions in Poland by Longina Jakubowska. American Ethnologist. 41 (1):204-5.

Houk, B.A., K. Kelley, D. Sandrock, and Kelsey E. Herndon
The Chan Chich Archaeological Project and the Belize Estates Archaeological Survey Team, 2013 Season. Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology 11.

Lynn, Christopher D., R. Nathan Pipitone, and Julian P. Keenan
To Thine Own Self Be False: Self-Deceptive Enhancement and Sexual Awareness Influences on Mating Success. Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences 8(2):109-122, DOI: 10.1037/h0097255.

Lynn, Christopher D., Max J. Stein, Andrew P.C. Bishop
Engaging Undergraduates through Neuroanthropological Research. Anthropology Now 6(1):92-103.

Lynn, Christopher D., Virgil R. Beasley, III, Anna S. Cohen, H. Francois Dengah, II, J. Lynn Funkhouser, Kelsey Herndon, and A. Brooke Persons. Anthropology is Elementary and can be Taught There: Teaching Four-Field Anthropology to 3rd and 4th Grade Students. Anthropology News. June/July. http://www.anthropology-news.org/index.php/2014/05/29/anthropology-is-elementary-and-can-be-taught-there/

Murphy, Michael D.
Review of Looking for Mary Magdalene, by Anna Fedele. Journal of Anthropological Research 70:330-331.

Smith, Karen Y., and Vernon J. Knight, Jr.
Core Elements and Layout Classes in Swift Creek Paddle Art. Southeastern Archaeology 33(1):42-54.

Spaulding, Kristina, Rebecca Burch, and Christopher D. Lynn 
Evolutionary Studies Reproductive Successes and Failures: Knowing Your Institutional Ecology. EvoS Journal: The Journal of the Evolutionary Studies Consortium 6(1):18-38.