Archaeology Department Research
Check out our museum archaeology blog, with entries forthcoming by our Spring 2013 undergraduate interns!
IMLS Grant Awarded
Congratulations! Janet Braun and Elizabeth Leith (former Collection Manager) were awarded $149,956 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services for "Collections Stewardship: Inventory and Databasing of Archaeology" over three years to inventory, catalog, and database artifacts and associated archives from the Spiro Mounds Group and sites excavated by the Works Progress Administration from 1934-1942.
Emily Turriff working on the IMLS grant, repackaging artifacts from 34Lf46
Our new curator, Dr. Marc Levine, focuses primarily on the archaeology of Mesoamerica. His interests include political economy, social inequality, household and community archaeology, museum anthropology, and materiality. Many of his publications are available on his academia.edu page. More forthcoming on his current research projects and new book on obsidian!
Mounds Along the Mountain Fork
Last spring (May 2012), Elsbeth Dowd finished her dissertation on ancestral Caddo societies in southeastern Oklahoma. These dispersed, sedentary communities lived along the Mountain Fork River between approximately A.D. 1000-1600. They shared much in common with other southeastern societies, including maize production and the construction of earthen mounds. Unlike some southeastern societies - and some other Caddo societies - little evidence for status differentiation of a strongly hierarchical sociopolitical structure was present among the Mountain Fork communities.
Excavations at the Biggham Creek mound site in the 1960s
Through detailed examination of the historical dynamics of the Mountain Fork Caddo, Dowd shows that the two ceremonial sites along the river were characterized by distinctly different social practices and shifting regional connections over time. She demonstrates that understanding the development of local archaeological histories is critical for understanding variation in small-scale societies and how those societies articulated with the broader world. Dr. Dowd's dissertation is open access and available online.