Title: Assistant Professor
Office: PH 0403A
NEW: 2011 Field School in Archaeology
I will teach SIUE's Summer Field School in Archaeology this coming summer (May 16 - July 8). For application information, and to learn more about past field schools, visit the Field School Home Page
I have enjoyed teaching in both formal and informal settings since 1999. Each course I have taught has involved a slightly different strategy, depending upon the content, the goals of the course, and the academic level and number of students enrolled.
Although most of the courses I teach are focused on archaeology, prehistory, geoarchaeology, GIS, and spatial analysis, I am a true believer in the "four-field" approach to anthropology, so I try to teach classes from a broad view and stress connections to disciplines both within and outside of anthropology. I also try to make courses fun. They're certainly fun for me. What the heck is raster spatial statistics for, anyway, if not for fun?
Education and research both benefit greatly from one another, and I combine the two whenever possible. I have led several cemetery documentation projects involving students, for example, including at Evergreen Cemetery in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and Schumann Cemetery in Kampsville, Illinois. Cemetery projects are great fun because they combine information from many different sub-disciplines of anthropology, they benefit a local community by documenting important historical resources, and they're simply fascinating places to spend time.
Beginning in summer 2010, I will teach SIUE's Archaeological Field School on campus. Field schools are a perfect mix of education and research, and a great source for student senior projects. You can see a video from the 2009 field school here.
My research within archaeology has primarily focused on the dynamics of human/environment interactions through time, aided by geoarchaeology, GIS, and spatial analysis. The specific research topics I have pursued have been broad ranging, and include geoarchaeological studies of small-order streams in the Missouri Ozarks, the environmental and experiential dimensions of late prehistoric mound sites in the Arkansas Basin, spatial and social dimensions of early historic cemeteries, and the overall dynamics of how humans have altered and adapted to the environment.
I am an active contributor to Project Past, a web platform for a loose network of anthropologists, archaeologists and historians interested in the past and historical memory. You can find several of my projects and papers on-line at Project Past here.
Much of my research in the past involved the environmental and landscape context of large mound centers within the Arkansas Basin of northwest Arkansas, eastern Oklahoma, and southwest Missouri. I have studied how the mound centers relate to locally available bottomland and potential viewsheds, and the implications of these relationships for prehistoric societies. I particularly appreciate that there has been a great deal of interest and encouragement in this research by tribal elders and other members of the Caddo Nation – descendent communities of those who constructed the mounds.
From 2006 to 2009 I was Director of Research at the Center for American Archeology in Kampsville, Illinois, during which time I began exploring ways to model human/environment interactions in the Lower Illinois River Valley. I plan to extend this research into the American Bottom as I begin to teach the SIUE Archaeological Field School, starting in the summer of 2010.
Along with Michelle Berg Vogel, Director of the McCully Heritage Project in Kampsville, Illinois, I initiated the Lower Illinois Valley Historic Images Database Project, which seeks to document local environmental changes through early photographs and illustrations. In the summer of 2009, Michelle and I supervised SIUE anthropology undergraduate student James Powers, who scanned and cataloged hundreds of historic images for this database as part of an internship through the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center.
I believe that by studying prehistoric and historic environmental dynamics we may better be able to frame modern human/environment relationships in a way that gives the long-term perspective and insight necessary to understand current issues in deep ways: the better we understand how we have interacted with our environments in the past, the better we can devise strategies for interacting with it today. Because of the long and well-preserved archaeological and environmental record of the confluence area of the Mississippi, Missouri, and Illinois Rivers, and the incredibly swift and nearly complete alteration of the floodplain environments in historic times, this region is ideal for these types of studies.
Professional Memberships and other Activities
Society for American Archaeology
Register of Professional Archaeologists
Midwestern Archaeological Conference
Southeastern Archaeological Conference
Illinois Archaeological Survey
Arkansas Archeological Society
I also write an occasional newspaper column and give a monthly radio interview concerning archaeology: This Month in Archaeology
I have been interested in experimental archaeology for some time, and in the spring of 2010 will form an SIUE atlatl team. Not sure what an atlatl is? Take a look here. If you're interested, send me an e-mail: email@example.com.
I have sponsored student internships through the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center in the past, and hope to do so in the future. If you're interested in pursuing studies relating to natural resources and the river, take a look at their web site and let me know!
More to come here soon...