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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.

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.

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 (


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.

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

Photos by C. Lynn and I. Brown

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.

Figure 1: The 2013 Crew of the Actuncan Archaeological Project
Figure 1: The 2013 Crew of the Actuncan Archaeological Project

The Actuncan Archaeological Project directed by Dr. Lisa LeCount conducted summer excavations funded by the National Science Foundation and National Geographic Society Committee for Research and Exploration at the ancient Maya site of Actuncan in Belize, Central America.  Using the corporate-network leadership model, the Project evaluated material and symbolic resources found in two elite households and an E-Group (a commemorative astronomical civic complex) to determine if corporate leadership persisted into the Classic period (AD 250 to 1000) at the site after network-based leadership arose in other polities, such as Tikal.  The 2013 field season was one of the largest so far with six graduate students and four Ph.D. researchers supervising 26 Belizean men and women in the field and lab.  University of Alabama personal included Dr. John Blitz, Luke Donohue, Borislava (Bobbie) Simova (now in the Ph.D. program at Tulane), and Emma Koenig, as well as others from Washington University in St. Louis, University of South Florida, and University of Mississippi (Figure 1).

Figure 3: Emma Koenig & Amirto Uck excavating the apron molding of Str. 23-1st.
Figure 2: Emma Koenig and Amirto Uck excavating the apron molding of Str. 23-1st.

To test the nature of early Maya leadership, the Project conducted excavations at two elite households, Strs. 29 and 73 that, based on their size and location, are likely candidates for an early ruler's residence at Actuncan.  Investigations at the site’s E-Group also examined the nature of early Maya leadership.  Studies have shown that the onset of dynastic kingship, and accompanying transition to network-based authority, was marked by a shift in caching and burial practices at civic monuments. Initially, ritual practices revolved around the placement of caches in sacred monuments, but later, rulers' ancestors were interred in them to fuse human and divine realms allowing living kings to claim descent from divine ancestors.  However, the timing of these practices is site dependent, presumably tied to the timing of the shift from corporate to network-based authority. 

Figure 3: Bobbie Simova excavating the apron modling of Str. 73a.
Figure 3: Bobbie Simova excavating the apron molding of Str. 73a.

Excavations at the two elite structures found that occupants of these houses occupied a similar social status, conformed to an architectural style canon, and displayed a uniform identity.  During the height of the center’s authority, each house sported an apron molding (Figure 2).  This façade style has pronounced top and bottom edges that frame a central register made by stacking and tenoning limestone blocks, which were ultimately covered in stucco and painted red.  Apron moldings are not unusual in the Maya lowlands, but they have not been reported for this area.  At Str. 73, the apron molding is substantially larger than that at Str. 29 or any other elite house at Actuncan, measuring at least 2 m high (Figure 3).  The amount of labor required to build Str. 73 would have far exceeded that of other elite houses indicating its construction required extra-household labor.  Structure 73 also is auspiciously located given that it is the closest house to the Triadic Temple Complex.  For these reasons, Dr. LeCount suggests that Structure 73 is likely the early king’s house.  Nonetheless, this house does not display a significantly different layout nor does it appear to be substantially wealthier in material possessions than other elite households.  These findings confirm that early leadership strategies at Actuncan were corporate in nature.

Figure 4: Four eccentrics from Structure 26.
Figure 4: Four eccentrics from Structure 26.

E-Groups are monumental complexes containing an eastern platform and a western radial pyramid, which are thought to function as solar observatories and locations for Preclassic agricultural rituals.  Excavations at Actuncan’s E-Group, directed by Luke Donohue, began in front of the central pyramid on top of the eastern platform.  After locating the central staircase, he discovered caches and artifacts associated with rituals performed on these stairs.  Staircases were the location of many activities including feasting, dancing, performances, presentations, offerings and sacrifices.  At Actuncan, Donohue found features associated with many of these, including a staircase cache, a termination deposit, a staircase block burial, and chert eccentrics.  Eccentrics are large formally shaped lithics used as offerings to ancestors, deities and sacred places (figure 4). Their position on top of the collapse suggests that they were placed there after the building had fallen apart.  These practices are consistent with other instances of revisitation and veneration of sacred houses and monuments found at the site.  On the summit of the pyramid, stacked stone represents the remains of a late altar. The pyramid itself was built of alternating cobble and sterile sand fill, and in one layer, many large bifaces interpreted as agricultural hoes were found.  These ritually cached hoes indicate that the construction of this pyramid was tied to agriculture or annual cycles.  

This summer’s excavations lend evidence to suggest that early kingship at Actuncan was more corporate than exclusive in nature.  Research in the summer 2014 will continue excavating to date the earliest levels of the E-Group, and also be directed at completing two Ph.D. research projects.

Red Forge Productions & the College of Arts & Sciences were kind enough to help us create a great new promotional video that highlights our department strengths! All true!! Please share far & wide!!!!

Alibali, Martha W., Nathan, Mitchell J., Church, R. Breckie, Wolfgram, Matthew S., Kim, S., & Knuth, Eric J. (2013). Gesture and speech in mathematics lessons: Forging common ground by resolving trouble spots. ZDM – International Journal on Mathematics Education, 45, 425-440.

Bingham, Paul M., Joanne Souza, and John H. Blitz (2013) Introduction: Social Complexity and the Bow in the Prehistoric North American Record. Evolutionary Anthropology 22(3):81-88. DOI: 10.1002/evan.21353.Above & Beyond the Pale by Ian Brown

Blitz, John H., and Erik S. Porth (2013) Social Complexity and the Bow in the Eastern  Woodlands. Evolutionary Anthropology 22(3):89-95. DOI: 10.1002/evan.21349.

Blitz, John H., and Lauren E. Downs (2013) An Integrated Geoarchaeology of a Late Woodland Sand Mound. American Antiquity 78(2):344-358. DOI: 10.7183/0002-7316.78.2.344.

Brown, Ian W. (2013) Above and Beyond the Pale: A Portrait of Life and Death in Ireland. Tuscaloosa, AL: Borgo.

Brown, Ian W. (2013) The Red Hills of Essex: Studying Salt in England. Tuscaloosa, AL: Borgo.

Dengah II, H.J.François (2013). The Contract with God: Patterns of Cultural Consensus across Two Brazilian Religious Communities. Journal of Anthropological Research 69(3):347-372.

Dressler, William W., H.J. François Dengah II, Mauro C. Balieiro, and José Ernesto dos Santos. (2013) Cultural Consonance, Religion, and Psychological The Red Hills of Essex by Ian BrownDistress in Urban Brazil. Paidéia: Cadernos de Psicologia e Educação 23: 151-160.

Knight, Vernon James, Jr. (2013) Iconographic Method in New World Prehistory. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, U.K.

Knight, Vernon James, Jr. (2013) Style and Configuration in Prehistoric Iconography. In The Art of Anthropology/The Anthropology of Art. Southern Anthropological Society Proceedings, No. 42, edited by Brandon D. Lundy, pp. 223-238. Newfound Press, Knoxville, TN.

Lynn, Christopher D. (2013) “The Wrong Holy Ghost”: Discerning the Apostolic Gift of Discernment. Ethos 41(2):223-247.

Mixter, David W., Thomas R. Jamison, and Lisa J. LeCount (2013) Actuncan’s Noble Court: New Insights into Political Strategies of an Enduring Center in the Upper Belize River Valley. Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology 10:91-104. PDF.Iconographic Method in New World Prehistory by Jim Knight

Murphy, Michael D., and J. Carlos González Faraco (2013) Intensificación cultural en El Rocío: una breve aproximación comparada a la devoción rociera. ExVoto 3(2):99-119.

Nathan, Mitchell J. Srisurichan, R., Walkington, C., Wolfgram, Matthew S., Williams, C. & Alibali, Martha W. (2013) “Building Cohesion Across Representations: A Mechanism for STEM Integration.”Journal of Engineering Education 102(1):77–116.

Shults, Sara C., and Lisa J. LeCount (2013) Obsidian Form and Distribution at Actuncan, Belize. Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology 10:115-126. PDF.

Snodgrass, J.G., H.J. François Dengah II, M.G. Lacy, and J. Fagan (2013). A Formal Anthropological View of ‘‘Motivation’’ Models of Problematic MMO Play: Achievement, Social, and Immersion Factors in the Context of Culture. Transcultural Psychiatry 50(2):235-262. DOI: 10.1177/1363461513487666.

Blitz, John H., and Erik S. Porth (2013) Social Complexity and the Bow in the Eastern  Woodlands. Evolutionary Anthropology 22(3):89-95. DOI: 10.1002/evan.21349.

Davis, CB, KA Shuler, ME Danforth, and KE Herndon (2013) Patterns of Interobserver Error in the Scoring of Entheseal Changes. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology 23:147-151. DOI: 10.1002/oa.2277.

Eubanks, Paul N. (2013) Late Middle Woodland Settlement and Ritual at the Armory Site. In Early and Middle Woodland Landscapes of the Southeast, edited by Alice P. Wright and Edward R. Henry, pp.167-180. University of Florida Press, Gainesville.

Herndon, KE, A Booher, and BA Houk (2013) The 2013 Excavations of Structure A-5, Chan Chich, Belize. In The 2013 Season of the Chan Chich Archaeological Project, edited by Brett A. Houk. Papers of the Chan Chich Archaeological Project, Number 7. Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work, Texas Tech University, Lubbock.

Houk, BA, CP Walker, M Willis, and KE Herndon (2013) Structure from Motion Mapping and Remote Sensing at Structure A-5, Chan Chich, Belize.In The 2013 Season of the Chan Chich Archaeological Project, edited by Brett A. Houk. Papers of the Chan Chich Archaeological Project, Number 7. Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work, Texas Tech University, Lubbock.

The UA Anthropology Department kicks off the academic year and welcomes new members to the department with an annual potlatch. A potlatch involves, ideally, the garnering of prestige thru the gifting of valued objects. These objects obtain their values through the histories of their transfers through the years. Following are some of the highlights of the 2013 potlatch, held in Smith Hall on Friday, August 30.

Dr. John Blitz, Master of Ceremony
Dr. John Blitz, Master of Ceremony
New grad students
Our new meat--er, grad students! Welcome!
The old gang
The old gang
More of our high-achieving grad students
More of our high-achieving grad students


Front office goddess, Missy Sartain
Front office goddess, Missy Sartain
Our new front office finance goddess, Teri Kirkendoll
Our new front office finance goddess, Teri Kirkendoll & her husband
It means nothing to me
It means nothing to me
Our new fearless leader & chair, Dr. Ian Brown
Our new fearless leader & chair, Dr. Ian Brown
Dr. Marysia Galbraith
Dr. Marysia Galbraith


Loretta Lynn passing the ritual armadillo on to Dr. Steve Kosiba
Loretta Lynn passing the ritual armadillo on to Dr. Steve Kosiba
The valuable "shot-ski" relic has entered the ring
The valuable "shot-ski" relic enters the ring
This lunchbox is a very fine thing
This lunchbox is a very fine thing



Thank you for the two-year-old cheese puffs, Elizabeth. They are a very fine thing & apparently still edible.
Thank you for the two-year-old cheese puffs, Elizabeth. They are a very fine thing & apparently still edible.



Steve passes on the ceremonial shin guards on to newly minted Dr. Francois Dengah
Steve passes on the ceremonial shin guards on to newly minted Dr. Francois Dengah
Greg Batchelder thanks LisaMarie Malischke for her warm welcome to the department
Greg Batchelder thanks LisaMarie Malischke for her warm welcome to the department


Dr. Dick Diehl passes on the booty of a long & exciting career!
Dr. Dick Diehl passes on the booty of a long & exciting career!
Who will receive the ceremonial ____ shoveler? Hmm...
Who will receive the ceremonial ____ shoveler? Hmm...
Rebecca Bria upset that she didn't get the deity statue or bag of Zapps
Rebecca Bria upset that she didn't get the deity statue or bag of Zapps