Recent Posts

2015 DeJarnette BBQ
Published 4/15/2015 in The UA Anthropology Club
Author jlfunkhouser
The David and Elizabeth DeJarnette Endowed Scholarship is awarded annually by the Department of Anthropology. As per the eclectic interests of David L. DeJarnette, priority of consideration is given to graduate students who are conducting archaeological research at Moundville Archaeological Park, the southeastern United States more generally, or in Latin America. Recipients of this prestigious award are announced publicly at the annual DeJarnette Barbecue.  read more ❯
Arcola Wash Day on the Black Warrior River
Published 4/15/2015 in The UA Anthropology Club
Author jlfunkhouser
It was a cold day in late February - but our awesome Anthropology Club members still made it out to the river to help wash artifacts from the surface collection field trip to Arcola Mounds. read more ❯
Darwin’s Borrowed Allegory and the Apocryphal Six Races of Buffon
When I was in the process of developing my course on race I decided to assign chapter VII of Darwin’s 1871 Descent of Man, the chapter entitled “On the Races of Man”, where among many 19th century racial anachronisms Darwin makes a case for the unity of the human species.  Graves (2001) summarizes the critical paragraph from The Descent of Man in table form (2001:66).  This is the same paragraph that many introductory anthropological texts reference when discussing race.  In this paragraph, Darwin makes a statement about the lack of clear boundaries between races and that therefore there is only a single human species with a single origin: But the most weighty of all the arguments against treating the races of man as distinct species, is that they graduate into each other, independently in many cases, as far as we can judge, of their having intercrossed. Man has been studied more... read more ❯
Spring 2015 Camping Trip
Published 1/26/2015 in The UA Anthropology Club
Author jlfunkhouser
This January the UAAC had the pleasure of camping for two nights at Leroy Percy State Park (in cabins!) and assisting one of our fellow students with her dissertation research at Arcola Mounds in the Mississippi Delta. Students and volunteers participated in a controlled surface collection of the site and toured the nearby Winterville Mounds. Another wonderful trip and a fantastic way to bring in the new semester! Thank you Ashley and Jessica (and Angelica!) for organizing this for us!         read more ❯
"Culture"...again
Published 1/23/2015 in Biocultural Systematics
Author Bill Dressler
  2014 was an interesting year for the concept of culture. Merriam-Webster declared ‘culture’ the most important word of the year, in that more people looked up its definition online than any other. Then, on the website edge.org, the question was posed: what scientific idea should be retired? No less luminaries than Pascal Boyer and John Tooby responded: culture. Hmmm…EB Tylor - author (arguably) of the first true anthropological definition of 'culture' I will declare first that I belong to the ‘culture-is-too-important-a-concept-to-be-jettisoned’ wing of anthropology. And, I think a useful concept of culture is well within reach. My perspective is that the concept of culture ought to do something. Concepts are tools, after all, and a tool needs to be useful. It has work to do. Culture must be put to work in the service of research and explanation. Culture as a concept must function both in a network of theoretical constructs to... read more ❯
New Research into Religious Practices Supporting Inca Authority of Cuzco
Published 1/12/2015 in Bama Anthro Blog Network
Author Christopher Lynn
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... read more ❯
Archaeologist Dr. Vernon James "Jim" Knight, Jr. Retires
Published 1/10/2015 in Bama Anthro Blog Network
Author Christopher Lynn
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. 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... read more ❯
Jim Knight's Retirement Party
Published 1/9/2015 in Bama Anthro Blog Network
Author Christopher Lynn
[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id="5" gal_title="Jim Knights Retirement Party"] Photos by Ian Brown, May 31, 2014 (CC BY-NC-ND). read more ❯
Human Osteology
Hi everyone, I hope you have enjoyed reading the lesson plans. This concludes the work we did during the fall semester of 2014. See you in the spring! Week 9: Human Osteology Activity: Smithsonian’s Skeleton in the Cellar Topic: Human Osteology As we learned last week, our bones can tell a story about our lives. In addition to providing key information regarding health, diet, and overall similarity to other species, our bones are provide specific information regarding an individual’s life history. For example, an osteologist can determine whether a particular specimen belongs to a male or female, or adult or child, based on specific features on an individual bone. Helpful hints for osteological analysis: Orient your specimen so that you are seeing the same bone as the picture. ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS use both hands to pick up the castes or keep them on the table. Activity: For today’s activity, we will learn how to determine whether a skeleton belongs to... read more ❯
Comparative Osteology
Activity: Cranial Comparison Topic: Comparative Osteology Physical anthropologists rely on osteology, or the scientific study of bones, to identify individual species, learn about the lives of an individual, or even to identify ancient illnesses (aka paleopathology). The skeletal features of bones reflect the life histories of individuals, and trained osteologists can use those features to identify the age, sex, diet, and, at times, even the cause of death of a particular specimen. However, analyzing and comparing the bones from different species can also tell us about the evolutionary history of those species and the degree to which different species are related. For example, the overall organization of dog skeletons would be very similar to those of wolves. The same could be said for different species of fish, reptiles, turtles, etc. In anthropology, osteologists often compare human skeletons with those of other primates so that we can learn about our ancient human past. In today’s... read more ❯

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