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College of Arts and Sciences Anthropology

Archeology: days of future past

HousesRapid global cooling 13,000 years ago challenged early occupants of Alaska to adapt. People used to hunting mammoths and other megafauna with big stone tools suddenly found their weapons shattering in the cold. Access to the stone they used to make them got buried under snow.

As with any climactic change, the cold resulted in a shift in fauna, requiring new tools. Early Alaskans turned to microblade technology, a technique they’d kept alive for » More …

Undergraduate students’ research opens doors to the future

Collage showing a mineral, institutional icons, a student with latex gloves inspecting what looks to be a bat wing, and a woman leaning up against a stack of books.Alyssa Sperry’s research for her University Scholars Honors thesis on the history of salt in Jamaica earned her the Library Research Excellence Award for 2018. It also changed her life.

The library research award is designed to recognize students who excel in using the library and its rich resources. Sperry, who graduated from WSU Vancouver in May with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and a minor in history, used the library exceptionally well—and went far beyond it. » More …

The curation crisis

The Marmes RockshelterMore than 8,500 years ago, a group of people used a rock shelter at the confluence of the Palouse and Snake Rivers as a base camp. When rediscovered in the early 1950s, the shelter amazed scientists, including Washington State University archeologist Richard Daugherty, with its wealth of artifacts—and the age of its human remains. Named after the property owner at the time, the Marmes Rockshelter was soon inundated by waters from the recently closed Lower Monumental Dam on the Snake. Although a levee had been built by the Army Corps of Engineers to keep the shelter dry, the Corps neglected to take into account the layer of permeable gravel beneath the site. Within three days, it was all under water. » More …

Northwest Indians used tobacco long before European contact

David Gang, left, and Shannon Tushingham holding ancient tobacco pipes WSU researchers have determined that Nez Perce Indians grew and smoked tobacco at least 1,200 years ago, long before the arrival of traders and settlers from the eastern United States. Their finding upends a long-held view that indigenous people in this area of the interior Pacific Northwest smoked only kinnikinnick or bearberry before traders brought tobacco starting around 1790.

Shannon Tushingham, a WSU assistant professor and director of its Museum of Anthropology, made the discovery after teaming up with David Gang, a professor in the Institute of Biological Chemistry, to analyze pipes and » More …

Vancouver junior awarded National Udall Scholarship

student with WSU flag on a suspension footbridgeWSU Vancouver cultural anthropology major Emma Johnson has received a prestigious and nationally competitive Udall Undergraduate Scholarship in its tribal public policy category.

“The Udall (Scholarship) is incredibly important to me,” said Johnson. “Completing all the work to apply and then being successful, it’s a really huge deal. It is helping me complete my education.”

Johnson, 22 years old, is WSU’s fifth Udall recipient since 2015. The Udall Foundation, a federal agency, works both to strengthen » More …

Researcher named to Washington State Academy of Sciences

Professor in officeTimothy Kohler, Regents professor in anthropology, has been elected to the Washington State Academy of Sciences

He is an eminent archaeologist and evolutionary anthropologist specializing in quantitative analyses of prehistoric behavior set in climatically accurate paleoenvironments. He is well known for his work on cooperative behaviors, wealth inequalities and their consequences, and models of pre-Hispanic agricultural » More …

Arts & humanities faculty awarded 2018 fellowships

green background with WSU shieldSeven College of Arts and Sciences faculty received WSU Arts and Humanities Fellowship awards through a program funded by the Office of Research.

“These grants showcase the range and innovation of creative and humanistic work at WSU,” said Todd Butler, chair of the fellowship review committee. “These faculty are taking on challenging questions and demonstrating the vital contributions the arts and humanities » More …

2018 CAS awards honor faculty, staff, grad students

Fourteen faculty, three staff, and five graduate students were honored for outstanding achievement at the 2018 College of Arts and Sciences Appreciation and Recognition Social last week.

Regents Professor Kerry W. Hipps, an international leader in chemistry, and Barry Hewlett, a veteran anthropologist with a global reputation, received the top two faculty awards. Patricia Thorsten-Mickelson, a financial and personnel manager with more than three decades of experience at WSU, was honored with the outstanding staff career award.

“Our annual awards recognize individual achievement and are a wonderful opportunity to bring the college community together to celebrate » More …

Grad student selected as AAAS Congressional Science Fellow

Kathryn Harris Kathryn Harris, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Anthropology, has received an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science & Technology Policy Fellowship for the 2018-19 year.

Fellows are provided a transformative career opportunity within the federal policy arena that includes not only hands-on work with policymaking, but also a series of trainings and » More …