IUP ANthropology Newsletter We Need a Better Title

Fall 2022, Vol. 1

Message from the Department Chair

Welcome to the first edition of the IUP Anthropology Alumni Newsletter! And sorry for the giant photo of my face.

You are among hundreds of IUP Anthropology Alumni and we want to keep in touch with you. The purpose of this newsletter is to let you know what is going on in the department and offer a way for you to stay in touch with us and other alums. The plan is to put out one newsletter each fall. We are already collecting items for next edition, so please drop me a line at ben.ford@iup.edu with any news you'd like to share. News can be updates, new jobs, births, marriages, fun facts, whatever you want others to know.

But first, we are going to need a better title for this newsletter. Please email suggestions to ben.ford@iup.edu. If you'd like to receive future newsletters directly in your inbox, you can also email me and I'll put you on the list.

The following pages contain a variety of stories and blurbs about your favorite anthropology department, but this newsletter is still a work in progress. If there are types of information or features you'd like to see more (or less) of, please let us know.

Lastly, Anthropology now has a new home. As a result of IUP's restructuring, we are now in the Kopchick College of Science (formerly the College of Natural Sciences and Math). This has been a largely administrative change, though we did combine the Applied Anthropology and the General Anthropology BA tracks a few years earlier. We continue to offer both the Applied Anthropology and Archaeology track BA degrees and the Applied Archaeology MA degree. This fall we are welcoming approximately 20 new students to the department. It has been a turbulent few years at IUP, but we are persevering, and occasionally finding opportunity in the chaos.

Student Spotlight

Applied Anthropology, BA: Olivia Dove

Olivia is a great example of the transformative power of Anthropology, and Anthropology professors. She graduated from Bloomsburg, PA high school in 2018 with no plans to go to college. A few months later she changed her mind and because she had friends at IUP decided to come here as a Criminal Justice major. She took a class with Dr. Adams her first semester and immediately changed her major to Anthropology

I realized that this [Anthropology] was what I would want to do for the rest of my life, what I was passionate about, it was one of those moments where you realize you've finally found what you've been looking for. I changed my major in the middle of my first semester, this decision would change my entire outlook on life, and life itself.

Olivia is currently interning with Dr. Douglas Roblin (’75) at Kaiser Permanente (this is her favorite Anthropology experience so far) and has added minors in Global Health and International Relations to her Anthropology Major. After IUP she plans to earn a graduate degree in Medical Anthropology, specializing in policy, women's rights, and human rights, and hopes to someday give a TED Talk. When asked about her Anthropology role models, Olvia said, “Paul Farmer and Seth Holmes are two of my biggest role models, but the two most inspirational people that have single-handedly changed my life are Doctor Poole and Doctor Adams, without them, I don't think I would be the person I am today.”

Student Spotlight

Archaeology, BA: Lindsay Gruesu

Lindsay has been the student face of IUP Anthropology for the past few years. She served as the department ambassador attending various events on behalf of the department and providing valuable feedback on department initiatives. Originally from Greensburg, PA she chose IUP because it had the best archaeology program in the area. Lindsay loves both history and science and found that archaeology is a wonderful way to combine both of those passions into one mission. She’s finishing her Department Honors thesis on Polynesian seafaring this semester but has already started work as a Cultural Resource Database Tech for Florida DOT. In this position she’ll be helping inventory and manage artifacts from DOT projects statewide over the last 30 years.

At the risk of sounding corny, I really admire AP [Dr. Andrea Palmiotto]. She has not only made her name in the field but has done such meaningful and honorable work in her missions to recover missing persons [see more on this work below in Department News and the photo in Student News].

Lindsay participated in both the 2020 Forensic Archaeology Field School in Germany and the Archaeology Field School at the Newport Site. She notes that teamwork and inclusiveness are an important part of archaeology (and IUP Anthropology): “Even though I have struggled with physical limitations at times, there is always a way to contribute to archaeological work and research… Field School was such an incredible way not only to practice archaeology but to really see how everyone on the crew matters and becomes an integral part of the process.”

Student Spotlight

Applied Archaeology, MA: Luke Nicosia

Luke is originally from Rochester, NY and started at IUP in 2021 after completing an undergraduate degree at Dickinson College. He says, “I’ve always loved history, and I’ve always loved doing stuff with my hands. So a good way to combine those things, to me, was archaeology. Also, as my mom was a former volunteer historian, and my dad a dentist, I think doing historical work with dental tools is not only a good way to follow in both of my parents’ footsteps, it pretty much summarizes archaeology in a nutshell.” Luke participated in the 2021 archaeology field school at Newport Village near Blairsville, PA and made an important connection between historical and classical archaeology: thoroughness. He says, “One of my former professors told us this story about being sure to crumble up every ball of dirt, as one time he found a Mycenaean seal ring in a clump of clay on his screen, one that someone didn’t sift all the way before abandoning. Sure enough, on my first excavation unit ever, Shannon and I crumbled up a ball of dirt, and out came a beautiful ring.” His cat, Fritz (R. Crumb reference, anyone), is also an aspiring archaeologist. Fritz is a regular attendee in Zoom classes, and was recognized as Luke’s “desk assistant” during his Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission internship. Luke plans to go into CRM after graduation…we’ll see if Fritz makes the cut.

I chose IUP because not only did it provide an opportunity to further my professional development in archaeology in both theoretical and practical senses, throughout my graduate school selection process I felt unbelievably welcome and supported. Pretty much everything indicated to me that this was a perfect fit for me and my interests.

2022 Field School

Updated Findings at the Monongahela Squirrel Hill Site

The Squirrel Hill Site (36Wm0035), located in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, is a National Register listed Johnston Phase (ca. 1450-1590 AD) Monongahela village. Although the site had been intensively collected for several decades prior to The Archaeological Conservancy’s acquisition in 2005, subsurface deposits retain excellent integrity and have the potential to yield significant data regarding Monongahela village organization, cooking technologies, and regional trade networks. The Department of Anthropology at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) conducted preliminary fieldwork in summer 2016 as part of their 6-week archaeological field school to train undergraduate and graduate-level archaeology students. Excavations confirmed the presence of a Johnston-phase occupation, showed that at least one earlier component also existed, and identified a large rectangular feature during a ground penetrating radar survey, a structure significantly different in both size and shape from typical Monongahela domestic structures. In 2022, partnering with the Seneca Nation of Indians (SNI), we returned to the site. This year’s work confirmed that occupation of the site was more complex than initially believed. Of particular interest, shovel testing beyond the Conservancy’s boundaries demonstrated that the site is almost double the size we initially believed it to be, making it one of the largest known Monongahela sties in western Pennsylvania. Even more importantly, there appear to be multiple occupations spanning from ca. 900 AD through the late 16th century. Although we have not yet had the opportunity to radiocarbon date the rectangular structure, the find indicates the potential for trade, interaction, and even possible co-habitation with non-Monongahela groups such as McFate and Iroquoian cultures.

IUP Anthropology offers an archaeological field school every summer, alternating between pre-contact and historic period sites. The archaeology field school includes basic training for both undergraduate and graduate students, as well as an advanced field school that allows graduate students to obtain supervisory experience and work towards meeting the Secretary of the Interior's standards for a professional archaeologist.

IUP Anthropology has a long-term commitment to the Squirrel Hill site and archaeological preservation. Later this year, IUP Anthropology will become the official Archaeological Conservancy Stewards for the Squirrel Hill site, and other Conservancy-owned sites in the region. As Stewards of the site, Dr. Lara Homsey-Messer and her students will regularly visit the sites, meet with interested constituents, and advocate for the sites' protection.

Photo at right is a drone view of excavation units 15-18, placed to ground-truth the large rectangular structure identified in the 2016 ground penetrating radar survey. Imagery courtesy of Chris Schaney, IUP Department of Geography, Geology, Environment and Planning.

Department News

The Anthropology Department recently adopted a statement on race and diversity: "The Anthropology Department is committed to combating racism through fostering inclusive and welcoming spaces for diverse students, and fostering student learning outcomes that expand the understanding of race: particularly, that race is not a biological reality, but that race and racism are cultural and social constructs that intersect with social class and other forms of social positionality to produce harm for people of color in our society and globally."

The Cultural Competencies Certificate was launched in 2019. This certificate includes two core Anthropology classes supplemented by a wide range of courses from across campus. The intent is for students in any major to gain cultural competency perspectives that are applicable to their future work plans.

Anthropology will launch an open educational resource (OER) for introductory anthropology courses this fall. The Anthropology faculty wrote the OER, which is an online, free textbook with embedded videos and other resources. The OER is designed specifically for Contemporary Anthropology (ANTH 110) but is appropriate for any four-field anthropology course. We adopted OERs for ANTH 110 two years ago to reduce the cost for students (using an OER in all ANTH 110 classes saves IUP students a combined $50K/year) but did not find a single OER that met our needs, so we made our own.

Anthropology is leading a proposed Interdisciplinary Forensic Sciences major in partnership with Criminology, Biology, Computer Science, Chemistry, Geology, and Geography. We have also proposed to develop a decomposition studies facility. This facility will allow forensic and zooarchaeology research. It will also keep some of the rotting animal smell out of the department (remember that?). The forensics folks have recently hosted two field schools (2021 and 2022) in partnership with the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA) to excavate World War II plane crash sites in Germany.

SoilHub opened on the IUP campus right before the pandemic. This hands-on facility is operated as a partnership between Anthropology and SoilHub to provide soil and geoarchaeology training.

Applied Archaeology MA program was the third highest producer of Registered Professional Archaeologists in 2021.

Student News

Nikki Wilcox, Marissa Willson, and Gage Huey won awards at the 2021 IUP Scholars Forum. Ava Pinkham (Writing Center Award), Amanda Filmeyer, Jiahan Liu, Raeann Motacek and Lillian Gonzales, and Robert Szczotka won awards at the 2022 Scholars Forum. Raeann and Lillian actually won three awards for their collaborative project.

Students attended the American Cultural Resource Association Conference, Appalachian Teaching Project Symposium where seven students presented on COVID and Rural Appalachia, the Society for Applied Anthropology Conference where a panel of four students presented their original ethnographic research, the Middle Atlantic Archaeology Conference, the Society for American Archaeology, and the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology.

Rachael Smith won the 2021 Society for American Archaeology Paul Goldberg Geoarchaeology Award.

Stephanie Zellers won the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology W. Fred Kinsey Scholarship for her paper "Protecting the Unknown in Watershed 18B: The Kiskiminetas River and Beaver Run."

Seventeen undergraduates and five graduate students graduated during the 2021-22 academic year.

Alumni News

Carina Heckert ('06, Sociology MA '09) earned a 2022 IUP Young Alumni Achievement Award. Dr. Heckert is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at University of Texas at El Paso where she specializes in medical anthropology.

Douglas Roblin ('75) was a 2020 IUP Distinguished Alumni Award winner. Dr. Roblin also joined the IUP College of Sciences Advancement Council in 2021. He is a Health Services Research at Kaiser Permanente and recently facilitated a student internship with Kaiser Permanente.

Taylor Napoleon ('16) became the Pennsylvania Archaeological Site Survey Coordinator for the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission

Katherine Fox ('13) and Victor Garcia published on Latino and diasporic communities experiences during COVID. Katie is a PhD candidate at Southern Methodist University and adjunct faculty at Baylor University and Texas Christian University

Rachael Wasilko ('19) published an article on gamification and interactive health technology. Rachael is in the Master of Public Health program at University of Pittsburgh focusing on behavior and community health sciences.

Angela Jaillet-Wentling (MA '11) and Samantha Taylor (MA '18) co-published an article on the antebellum, free African American settlement of Pandenarium/Indian Run.

We were saddened to learn of the passing of Richard "Rick" Michael ('76). Rick was a friend of the department and made several substantial donations to support archaeology students.

We'd like to include your news in future newsletters. Please email ben.ford@iup with any updates.

Faculty News

Victor Garcia retired Fall 2021. Phil and Sarah Neusius retired winter 2017/18. Sarah continues her research on the Late Prehistoric Period as a research associate of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, while Phil fights the good fight as a member of his local historic preservation board. Victor now has more time for his research and continues to work with the Kennett Square community. Andrea Palmiotto joined the faculty in 2018. In addition to leading the departments zooarchaology and forensics research, Palmiotto is the IUP Director of Undergraduate Research.

Amanda Poole published on migrations in and from the Horn of Africa and has a book coming out on the topic later this year.

Anthropology faculty have been well-represented in IUP Research Awards. Victor Garcia won the 2021 Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice Award. Andrea Palmiotto was the 2021 New Investigator awardee. Bill Chadwick received the 2021 College of Humanities and Social Science Research Award. Anthropology has had an unprecedented run of High Impact Teaching awards with Andrea Palmiotto and Bill Chadwick (2022), Abbie Adams (2021), and Ben Ford (2020) winning this award. The High Impact Award recognizes a faculty member who engages undergraduate students in meaningful research.

Francis Allard is the Editor-in-Chief of Asian Perspectives. Allard also published an article on the chemical characterization of northern Vietnamese copper alloy artifacts.

Ben Ford received the J. Alden Mason Awarded from the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology. This award is given to a professional archaeologist based on their contribution to the education and encouragement of SPA members in the proper pursuit of archaeology over an appreciable number of years. Ford also became the Society for Historical Archaeology Co-Publications Editor overseeing SHA book publications with five academic presses.

Andrea Palmiotto became a Diplomate of the American Board of Forensic Anthropology. This is the highest professional certification for forensic anthropologists. She is one of only two people in Pennsylvania with this credential.

Abbie Adams continues her work to eliminate implicit bias in policing. Her work with the Indiana Borough Police has received national attention among police departments. Dr. Adams recently participated in a study abroad experience in Honduras where she hopes to develop a field experience for Anthropology students.

Book Review

The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity by David Graeber and David Wengrow

Over the pasty year we had a bit of an Anthropology book club and several us read The Dawn of Everything. Massively overwrought title, and exorbitant page count, aside, this book is likely of interest to anyone with an Anthropology degree. Graeber was anthropology's preeminent public intellectual of the early 21st century (his Bullshit Jobs is a personal favorite) and Wengrow is an equally broad-thinking archaeologist. Together they argue that pretty much everything you learned about the development of social hierarchy was wrong.

Drawing from global archaeological and ethnographic examples, Graeber and Wengrow demonstrate that the development of hierarchy was in noway linear and was not all that closely tied to population density. In their examples, societies flirt with, adopt, and reject social hierarchy over hundreds or thousands of years. They also show examples of large groups of people living closely together without subjecting themselves to rigid hierarchies. Graeber, as self-described anarchist, takes particular pleasure in making the second point. The book also highlights the the variety of ways in which groups of humans determine how to organize themselves. One of the more interesting points is the idea of schismogenesis - defining your group in opposition to neighboring groups. The authors suggest that schismogenesis is an explanation for why non-hierarchical, fiercely independent societies sometimes occur adjacent to very hierarchical, slave-owning societies.

From the perspective of North American archaeology, one of the most compelling arguments of the book is that North American Indigenous societies had experience with significant hierarchy prior to the arrival of Europeans. Indigenous peoples had adopted, or lived adjacent to, hierarchical societies and decided to reject them. So, when Europeans arrived, the Indigenous peoples were making an informed decision about whether to accept or reject European claims about social organization. This argument re-frames much of the argument about colonial processes in the New World.

There are parts of the book that are questionable such as the interpretations of 17th and 18th philosophy or the clan structure of Native American cultures, but the overall work is remarkable. The results and interpretations of this study bear serious consideration. In fact, many of the ideas from this book have already begun to filter (uncited) into popular archaeological reporting such as Archaeology magazine. Future students will also likely see aspects of The Dawn of Everything appearing in their IUP Anthropology classes.

If you are looking for more anthropology reading, IUP Anthropology faculty recently published these books.

Stay in Touch

We'd love to hear from you, or, better yet, see you. We'll be at the Society for American Archaeology, Society for Applied Anthropology, Society for Historical Archaeology, and Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology conferences this coming year. We might also put in an appearance at other conferences. If you are going to any of these please let us know.

Please also reach out by email (ben.ford@iup.edu) to let us know if you have any news for the next newsletter or would like to visit us on campus.

You can also keep up with us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and by reading the graduate student blog: Trowels and Tribulations.

If you'd like to support the department financially you can do so through the Online Gift Form (specify Anthropology Enhancement Fund # 4703 or Anthropology Scholarship #5350) or through Charitable Giving.