Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

This Is Anthropology   Leave a comment

As a graduate of two Florida institutions of higher education holding a BA, MA, and PhD in Anthropology, the grassroots This Is Anthropology movement caught my attention early on. I congratulate Jason Miller, Charlotte Noble, and Janelle Christensen for starting this project, but more importantly for turning passionate disbelief and at times, I imagine, anger, into something positive and educational. I am also pleased that the American Anthropological Association understands the importance of sharing the good work of Anthropologists to a public that does not always know what Anthropologists “do,” much less why Anthropology is an integral part of our society.

If you are an Anthropologist, please add your profile to the “Find an Anthropologist” map. Help spread the word via Twitter #thisisanthro.


The website is quickly becoming the go-to place for information related to the field of Anthropology. If you are interested in becoming an Anthropologist, or just want to read more about the many different ways we practice Anthropology, you can search the interactive Google map of Anthropologists and projects from around the world, read about the skills necessary to perform fieldwork, the kinds of jobs we are hired for, and find advice on beginning a career in Anthropology.

With that being said, the blog post below is re-posted from Neuroanthropology on the PLOS Blogroll.

This Is Anthropology.

Posted January 23, 2013 by drtmperes in archaeologist, Media, public outreach

Meet the Archaeologists, Part V   Leave a comment

Theresa recording data during excavations of the Mound House site, Ft. Myers Beach, Florida.


MCAP is very fortunate to have Theresa Schober as a consultant. Theresa is a seasoned veteran of shell mound/midden archaeology and has a decade or more of experience with public outreach and education. Read on to learn more about Theresa Schober, MCAP Archaeology and Public Outreach Consultant.




Theresa shares the wonders of archaeology with students from the Ft. Myers Beach, Florida, community.



Theresa received her master’s degree in anthropology from University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign in 1998 and is currently a PhD candidate at University of Florida. Her primary research interests include the use of skeletal biology and bone chemistry to assess patterns of diet and nutritional status of prehistoric societies. Her research has included the evaluation of human bone collagen and bone apatite carbonate from Archaic through Mississippian populations in the lower Illinois River Valley to assess the timing and pattern of maize introduction in Woodland diets and more recent investigations of maritime resource consumption by prehistoric hunting and gathering populations of Baja California.

Working in south Florida since 1998, Theresa has also documented and conducted archaeological excavations at a variety of south Florida shell mound, midden, and mortuary sites. Much of this research focuses on the settlement and use of the Estero Bay estuarine system by the Calusa Indians including extensive investigations into how and how quickly mound sites were constructed. Her research focuses on understanding how local social development is connected to broader patterns in the southeastern United States.
To support enhanced public access to archaeological education, Theresa directed research, restoration and interpretive development to provide a public museum at historic Mound House on Fort Myers Beach from 2002 to 2011, authoring numerous grant proposals that secured over $3.5 million for various preservation initiatives. Two projects she directed were honored in 2010 with meritorious achievement awards from the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation in the areas of education/preservation media and adaptive reuse.
An active member of the preservation community, Theresa serves as second Vice President of the Florida Anthropological Society and is a member of the Lee County Historic Preservation Board. She recently served as chair of the 2010 Florida Anthropological Society conference and workshop chair for the 2010 Florida Trust for Historic Preservation conference, both held in Fort Myers. Theresa has also consulted on interpretive signage at other Florida sites and served as Project Director for the development of materials supporting 2010 Florida Archaeology Month, funded through the Florida Division of Historical Resources.

Meet the Archaeologists, Part III   Leave a comment

The MTSU Middle Cumberland Archaeology Project welcomes the newest member of the MTSU Anthropology Faculty to its ranks.

Dr. Andrew Wyatt is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Middle Tennessee State University. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2008. His interests include human-environment interactions, agriculture and land use, and archaeobotanical studies of plant use in ancient societies. He has conducted archaeological and archaeobotanical research in Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Belgium, and the Midwestern U.S. His research at the ancient Maya site of Chan in the Belize River Valley investigated the process of agricultural intensification and the role of farmers in the political economy. He is currently conducting ethnographic and ethnohistoric studies of Lacandon Maya household agricultural practices at Lake Mensabak in Chiapas, Mexico, and he is also conducting archaeological and paleoenvironmental research at the ancient Maya settlement of Lake Mendoza in Guatemala.

Dr. Wyatt will use his expertise and experience working with archaeological plant remains to help answer questions of seasonality, settlement patterns, environmental change, and early horticulture and agriculture along the banks of the Cumberland River in Middle Tennessee.

Meet the Archaeologists, Part II   1 comment


Aaron Deter-Wolf

Aaron Deter-Wolf (red hat, center) discusses an important lithic find with fellow archaeologists.

Aaron Deter-Wolf has been an important part of the MTSU Middle Cumberland Archaeology Project since 2010. Today we learn more about Aaron’s background and research interests.

Aaron earned his BA from Duke University in 1998 and his MA from Tulane University in 2000, where he studied Mesoamerican archaeology. From 1995 – 1999 he conducted fieldwork in Central America with teams from Williams College and the Belize Valley Archaeological Project, including excavations designed to reconstruct preliminary chronologies and delineate major occupations at two previously uninvestigated late Classic Maya sites in Guatemala. Aaron’s MA thesis examined the Late Classic ceramic figurine assemblage from the site of Motul de San José in Guatemala’s Department of Petén.

After completing his MA, Aaron entered the Cultural Resource Management industry, and from 2001 – 2007 designed and supervised CRM projects throughout the southeastern United States. His work during that time included numerous archaeological surveys, data recovery projects, cemetery delineations, and burial removals conducted on behalf of federal agencies and both private and commercial developers. In 2003 he directed excavations and burial removal at the Ensworth High School site (40DV184), a major late-Middle Archaic occupation along the Harpeth River near Nashville.

In 2007, Aaron joined the Tennessee Division of Archaeology as a Prehistoric Archaeologist. In this capacity he is responsible for managing prehistoric sites on State-owned lands, investigating disturbances to prehistoric human remains, conducting archaeological excavations and research, and informing the public about archaeology.  He regularly gives presentations on Tennessee’s prehistoric past and other archaeological topics for university, school, community, and avocational interest groups throughout the state. His recent projects have ranged from investigating looted rockshelters with the Tennessee Methamphetamine Taskforce to conducting excavations at a Late Pleistocene mastodon butchering site in Middle Tennessee. He has worked closely with archaeologists and students from MTSU conducting reanalysis of several old collections, and since 2009 has taught at MTSU as an adjunct professor.

Aaron Deter-Wolf speaks to members of the local media about the renewed looting efforts of the Cumblerand River shell middens post-May 2010 floods.

Aaron has recently been involved in various research collaborations with Dr. Peres, including serving as co-director for the 2010 National ScienceFoundation-funded emergency assessment of prehistoric sites along the Cumberland River, co-authoring a series of conference papers, journal articles, and book chapters on shell symbolism and shell-bearing sites, and acting as guest co-editors for the forthcoming issue of Tennessee Archaeology. In 2011, Aaron and Dr. Peres received a grant from the Tennessee Historical Commission to refine the radiocarbon chronology of shell-bearing sites along the Middle Cumberland in support of a National Register of Historic Places nomination for the site where the 2012 MTSU Field School is taking place.

Aaron’s individual research has recently focused on examining the archaeological evidence for prehistoric tattooing. He organized a symposium on ancient tattooing and body modification for the 2009 meeting of the Southeastern Archaeological Conference, and subsequently participated in several international symposia devoted to that topic. He has contributed chapters on the material culture of ancient tattooing and experimental testing of prehistoric tattoo technologies to a forthcoming  European publication, and is presently editing a volume on ancient tattooing in North America’s Eastern Woodlands, to be published in 2013 by the University of Texas Press.

  Leave a comment

I realize I have nothing new to add that has not already been stated. Clearly Ric Savage and his family run looting operation (doesn’t that in itself raise a red flag?) suffer from a lack of ethics, a lack of national pride and community, and an understanding of how history and prehistory are preserved and documented. I am sure there would be huge uproar from the non-archaeology/history community if they wanted to metal detect at Ground Zero or the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum. The fact that he has to talk landowners into allowing his thugs to dig in their backyards, likely by promising untold riches, fame, and glory, speaks volumes.

Shame on Ric Savage. Shame on Spike TV. Shame on National Geographic (for airing a similar show). Shame on the uneducated and disinterested American public for creating a market for such a show.

Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.

H.G. WELLS, The Outline of History

Digs and Docs

There have been and will be many casualties of this new era of unquestioned austerity: clean water and air, safe food, access to education and opportunity, and so on. Not surprisingly, archaeologists, historians and museum professionals are on the list as well. We’re constantly forced to justify our very existence, to do more with less. Without a dollar sign attached, the sentiment goes, what’s the value in studying our heritage?

Which is why it’s so discouraging, yet not so surprising, to read about the latest offering coming to your TV screen: “American Digger,” on the Spike network (the folks who also bring you “Rat Bastards” and “Tattoo Nightmares.”)

Spike has enlisted former pro wrestler Ric Savage, a history buff and relic-hunter looter-for-money, to present the program, which (surprise!) features his wife’s relic hunting looting-for-money business. The premise: Travel the country, talk property-owners into letting the team dig on…

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Posted February 29, 2012 by drtmperes in looting, Media, Uncategorized

Read the MTSU Magazine Story on-line!   Leave a comment

The feature story is now available on-line, with the entire magazine in digital format to be posted soon.

You can now read the story about our efforts to document these important and little understood sites along the middle Cumberland River.

Posted January 30, 2012 by drtmperes in Media, Middle Cumberland, shell midden

MTSU Magazine features the Middle Cumberland Archaeology Project   2 comments

The Winter 2012 (Vol. 16, No. 4) edition of “MTSU Magazine” features “Shell Shocked” — a story about the erosion and looting of the Middle Cumberland River shell midden sites after the May 2012 floods. The article’s author, Allison Gorman, is to be congratulated on conveying the seriousness and urgency of the situation. Archaeologists, government agencies, affected descendant groups, and concerned citizens need to raise the public awareness for the drastic loss of our shared history — this article, with the widespread distribution of the magazine and diverse readership, is an amazing start.

The next step for the project is to focus on fundraising. We need to better document several of the shell midden sites so we can understand exactly what is there — both horizontally and vertically — so we can better protect it. We will begin processing radiocarbon samples over the next few weeks, and collecting further information over the next few months. Our ultimate goal is to have as many of these sites as possible listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This gives them one more added layer of protection and places them into the national memory.

If you would like to know more about our on-going efforts towards education and preservation, please sign up for “Research Updates.”
If you would like to donate to the project, please contact me at

Posted January 23, 2012 by drtmperes in Media, Middle Cumberland, shell midden