College Contingent Presents Research at Anthropology Meeting

Six students make presentations in Normal, Illinois

29 May, 2014 by John Finn

WOOSTER, Ohio — Six students from The College of Wooster presented papers at the annual meeting of the Central States Anthropological Society (CSAS) last month in Normal, Ill.

"The CSAS is the oldest of the regional groups in the American Anthropological Association," said Nick Kardulias, professor of sociology, anthropology, and archaeology at Wooster and outgoing president of the organization. "Presentations at this meeting cover all the sub-areas of anthropology (archaeology, biological anthropology, cultural anthropology, linguistics, and applied anthropology)."

The student presenters included recent graduate Jensen Buchanan, an archaeology and anthropology double major from Zanesville, Ohio. She used forensic analysis of skeletal remains and archaeological data from other sites in the Mississippi Valley to determine the accuracy of La Page Du Pratz's ethnohistoric account of the Natchez.

Allison Ham, an archaeology major from Arlington, Va., looked at the role of archaeology as a tool of reconciliation in post-conflict societies, using case studies from Spain and the former Yugoslavia as instances in which archaeological excavation is critical to the identification of victims of violence. Her focus was on the methods used in those locations and how effective they were; the broader implications of exhumation; and the role of archaeologists helping societies reconcile and heal after instances of violence.

Kathryn Libby, an archaeology and history double major from Mount Vernon, N.Y., researched Scandinavian influence of Anglo-Saxon mortuary practices using a combination of processual and post processual approaches to look for markers of Viking culture in Anglo-Saxon burials. In each of three sites, she examined the layout of the graves, the orientation of the body, and the quality and quantity of the associated burial goods in an effort to determine the degree to which political authority influenced cultural borrowing and assimilation as reflected in funerary customs.

Martha Oster-Beal, an anthropology major from Littleton, Colo., focused on the Tibetan immigrant population living in the Twin Cities of Minnesota in an attempt to understand what it means to be a Tibetan living in the United States, what resources are available for these individuals to foster their conceptualization of "Tibetanness," and how American culture may have either diluted or reinforced this identity.

Owen Yeazell, an archaeology major from Los Angeles, observed the way in which the Roman army affected the Roman economy over a period of five centuries in terms of the production of the vast quantities of military hardware required by the legions and the volume of treasure the armies brought back.

The final student presenter and the only underclassman in the group was James Torpy, a junior archaeology major from Chicago. He looked at the dramatic transformation of the island of Cyprus during the Archaic period when new city kingdoms arose to dominate the political landscape of the island in an effort to investigate a correlation between this social change and the funerary culture of the people.