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Richard Daugherty, professor emeritus of anthropology, dies

Richard Daugherty
In this undated WSU photo, Daugherty stands by the effigy of a whale fin unearthed at the Ozette site.

Widely known for unearthing Makah Tribe artifacts

Richard Daugherty expected to spend a few months excavating Makah Tribe artifacts uncovered by a storm in 1970. Instead, he spent 11 years helping the Makah uncover their history at the Ozette village site, leading one of the most well-known and nationally significant archaeological discoveries of the last century.

“Doc” Daugherty, as he was known by many of the Makah, died Feb. 22 in Pullman of bone cancer, at age 91.

The artifacts he helped to unearth — which were buried in a landslide and preserved for hundreds of years in wet clay — are on display at Neah Bay, on the Makah Reservation on the Olympic Peninsula. An additional 50,000 artifacts are in storage, in the tribe’s possession.

“He did a beautiful job of bringing ancestors to life for the people of today,” said state archaeologist Allyson Brooks. “His work was also foundational as far as our understanding of Pacific Northwest Native American history.”

Read more about Daugherty’s life and work

Computer models help unravel mystery of Puebloans’ disappearance

Timothy Kohler
Timothy Kohler

Remember playing “The Oregon Trail” computer game in middle school? As a pioneer leading your family westward in a covered wagon, you hunted virtual deer, rabbits and bison—but not too many. You had to leave enough game animals alive to sustain your party until you reached Oregon. And along the way, you were subject to chance events such as snowstorms and snakebites, and the most dreaded fate: “You have died of dysentery.”

Yes, the game was delightfully unrealistic. But controlling the use of finite natural resources and adapting to changing conditions have been central to human survival in the American West for ages. In fact, WSU archaeologist Timothy Kohler and his partners in the Village Ecodynamics Project are using computer models to better understand the processes that affected prehistoric societies in the Southwest.

Learn more about VEP and “the elephant in the room”

Saving babies: first international collaboration to study infant health, culture, lactation connection

Michelle McGuire, left, and Courtney Meehan lead an international study to help babies thrive
Michelle McGuire, left, and Courtney Meehan lead an international study to help babies thrive

Working with colleagues from 12 institutions around the globe, two Washington State University researchers are leading the first comprehensive international study of human lactation and milk composition.

“It’s all about saving babies,” said Michelle McGuire, associate professor of biology at WSU and principal investigator (PI) for a three-year $950,000 National Science Foundation grant funding the project.

Biological and anthropological data will be collected at 11 sites in eight countries across Europe, Africa and North and South America to better understand how diet, hygiene and cultural practices relate to human milk composition and infant health.

Despite six years of working on the same campus and their common research interest in infant health and breastfeeding, Michelle McGuire and co=PI Courtney Meehan, an assistant professor in anthropology at WSU, only learned about each other when a colleague suggested they have lunch together.

Read more about McGuire, Meehan, and the international project.

Anthropology Student to Direct V-Day Play

Randi Beardslee, a sophomore studying anthropology, will direct the 2013 benefit production of “The Vagina Monologues,” on Feb. 21-23 in the Jones Theater in Daggy Hall.

The award-winning play dives into the mystery, heartbreak, wisdom and outrage of women’s experiences with issues such as menstruation, rape, incest and battery. Based on interviews with more than 200 women, the end result has been described as “hilarious” and “empowering.”

“The show has many funny, light-hearted monologues,” said Randi Beardslee, WSU sophomore anthropology major and director of the production. “It brings women together to sympathize, empathize, mourn and, most importantly, celebrate.”

The show is sponsored by V-Day WSU, a registered student organization affiliated with Health and Wellness Services that raises awareness to end violence against women and girls. The production contributes to the average of $8,000 V-Day WSU raises each year. The majority of the proceeds are donated to Alternatives to Violence of the Palouse.

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