Listen: Indigenous people hunted bison using fire – and clever manipulation of the landscape

CBC Radio Originally Posted: July 27, 2018 For centuries, the Indigenous peoples of the Great Plains hunted the bison that once roamed across much of the continent in enormous numbers. But hunting these huge animals takes an enormous amount of skill and planning. New research has shown that First Nations people actively altered their landscape — including with the strategic use of fire — to manage and control large herds of bison. Funnelling bison into 'drivelines' A bison hunt required an enormous amount of planning. These early hunters built cairns out of rock to force the bison onto narrow paths, or "drivelines," allowing the hunters to more easily move in for the kill. Archeological evidence suggests that some of the drivelines were as much as a kilometre long. This hunting strategy, which involved actively manipulating [...]

By | 2018-08-01T10:27:48+00:00 August 3rd, 2018|Anthropology, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, Dedman College Research, Faculty News|Comments Off on Listen: Indigenous people hunted bison using fire – and clever manipulation of the landscape

SMU Study Explores How Native Americans Managed Land With Strategic Fires

KERA Originally Posted: August 1, 2018 Christopher Roos is an archaeologist at Southern Methodist University and lead author of a new study that looks into how that use of fire affected the ecosystem. LISTEN Interview Highlights On how the land was managed by Native Americans One of the primary uses of fire on the landscape was to refresh the prairie. Bison was one of their prime prey and the center point for their economy, in terms of food, clothing, shelter and tools. Bison prefer to graze recently burned patches of prairie — it's tastier, it's more nutritious. And so they manipulated the location of bison herds by selectively burning patches of prairie, and one of the things they did for most of the last millennium is burn patches of prairie to [...]

By | 2018-08-02T08:51:19+00:00 August 2nd, 2018|Anthropology, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, Dedman College Research, Faculty News|Comments Off on SMU Study Explores How Native Americans Managed Land With Strategic Fires

Newsweek: Bodies of 95 Forced Labors Uncovered During Texas School District Construction Project

Newsweek Originally Posted: July 19, 2018 Dr. Catrina Whitley, Gwen Bakke, and Abigail Fisher are working on a historic African American cemetery in Houston. Dr. Whitley is a Dedman College alumna and a former adjunct lecturer in the Department of Anthropology. Gwen Bakke and Abigail Fisher are SMU anthropology Ph.D. students. A school district in Texas unearthed a long-forgotten cemetery, during a construction project, which archaeologists now believe contains the bodies of black forced-labor prisoners. The remains of 95 people were discovered in February in the city Sugar Land, just southwest of Houston. This week, researchers announced the bodies likely belonged to black people who were working in forced-labor camps, at a moment in history, between 1878 and 1910, when slavery had already been abolished. The discovery was made [...]

By | 2018-07-27T07:55:19+00:00 July 27th, 2018|Anthropology, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, Dedman College Research, Faculty News, Graduate News|Comments Off on Newsweek: Bodies of 95 Forced Labors Uncovered During Texas School District Construction Project

Native Americans shaped prairie by hunting bison with fire

Earth and Environment Originally Posted: July 26, 2018 Native American communities actively managed North American prairies for centuries before Christopher Columbus and his ilk arrived in the New World, according to a new study. Fire was an important indigenous tool for shaping North American ecosystems, but the relative importance of indigenous burning versus climate on fire patterns remains controversial in scientific communities, researchers say. As reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers found that, contrary to popular thinking, burning by indigenous hunters combined with climate variability to amplify the effects of climate on prairie fire patterns. Human dimension “The important contribution of this research to paleoenvironmental science is a demonstration of the impact that relatively small groups of mobile hunter-gatherers could have [...]

By | 2018-07-27T07:36:43+00:00 July 27th, 2018|Anthropology, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, Dedman College Research, Faculty News|Comments Off on Native Americans shaped prairie by hunting bison with fire

Ancient American farmers supplemented poor diet through fungus infection

COSMOS Originally Posted: July 18, 2018 A mystery concerning how some of North America’s first farmers survived on a diet that appears manifestly inadequate may have been solved. The ancestral Pueblo people who lived in what is now known as the Four Corners region of the southwestern United States shifted from a nomadic to a settled lifestyle centred on crop-growing around 400BCE. The primary crop cultivated was maize (known in the US as corn), which accounted for an estimated 80% of calorific intake. During the ensuing 800 years – a stretch known as the Basketmaker II period – the settlers’ diet contained very little meat. This was perhaps a cultural choice. Basketmaker II people became efficient turkey farmers, but the birds were raised primarily for [...]

By | 2018-07-24T08:24:12+00:00 July 24th, 2018|Anthropology, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, Dedman College Research, Graduate News|Comments Off on Ancient American farmers supplemented poor diet through fungus infection

Native bison hunters amplified climate impacts on North American prairie fires

Eureka Alert Originally Posted: July 23, 2018 Study shows hunter-gatherers used active burning to improve grazing, drive bison, long before arrival of Columbus DALLAS (SMU) - Native American communities actively managed North American prairies for centuries before Christopher Columbus' arrival in the New World, according to a new study led by Southern Methodist University (SMU) archaeologist Christopher I. Roos. Fire was an important indigenous tool for shaping North American ecosystems, but the relative importance of indigenous burning versus climate on fire patterns remains controversial in scientific communities. The new study, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), documents the use of fire to manipulate bison herds in the northern Great Plains. Contrary to popular thinking, burning by indigenous hunters combined with climate variability to [...]

By | 2018-07-23T19:20:53+00:00 July 23rd, 2018|Anthropology, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, Dedman College Research, Faculty News, Graduate News|Comments Off on Native bison hunters amplified climate impacts on North American prairie fires

Bodies exhumed from unmarked cemetery in Texas

CBS News Originally Posted: July 18, 2018 Dr. Catrina Whitley, Gwen Bakke, and Abigail Fisher are working on a historic African American cemetery in Houston. Dr. Whitley is a Dedman College alumna and a former adjunct lecturer in the Department of Anthropology. Gwen Bakke and Abigail Fisher are SMU anthropology Ph.D. students. Ninety-five sets of remains found have been found at a site in Texas. Dr. Catrina Banks Whitley says the remains she studied were all African-American, and it is believed they were prison inmates leased by the state to plantation owners after the emancipation of slaves. KHOU-TV reports from Sugar Land, Texas. WATCH https://youtu.be/jUznbz1YmrI  

By | 2018-07-20T07:35:20+00:00 July 19th, 2018|Anthropology, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, Dedman College Research, Faculty News, Graduate News|Comments Off on Bodies exhumed from unmarked cemetery in Texas

Remains of Black People Forced Into Labor After Slavery Are Discovered in Texas

New York Times Originally Posted: July 18, 2018 Dr. Catrina Whitley, Gwen Bakke, and Abigail Fisher are working on a historic African American cemetery in Houston. Dr. Whitley is a Dedman College  alumna and a former adjunct lecturer in the Department of Anthropology. Gwen Bakke and Abigail Fisher are SMU anthropology Ph.D. students. Below is an article describing their findings in the July 18th issue of the New York Times. More information about their research can be found in the Washington Post. ------------------------------------------------------------------------- The remains of dozens of people found at a construction site in Texas this year are mostly likely those of African-Americans who were forced to work on a plantation there around the turn of the 20th century, officials said this week. That finding, [...]

By | 2018-07-20T07:36:09+00:00 July 18th, 2018|Anthropology, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, Dedman College Research, Faculty News, Graduate News|Comments Off on Remains of Black People Forced Into Labor After Slavery Are Discovered in Texas

Mark McCoy, Anthropology, rising seas are threatening historical sites around the world

Salon Originally Posted: June 11, 2018 The famous moai of Rapa Nui (also known as Easter Island) are, to many people, the face of archaeology. These massive statues made of dark, weathered stone, occasionally speckled with pale lichen, stare out across their island in the blue waters of the south Pacific. Their heads are oversized compared to their bodies, which gives them a dignity appropriate to their age; the oldest were crafted around 1200 CE. But the moai may not stand on Rapa Nui for much longer. They’re in danger from a very 21st century threat: climate change. Warmer temperatures will lead to a rise in the level of the oceans, with some researchers predicting we might see them climb by more than three feet by 2100. [...]

By | 2018-06-12T09:24:26+00:00 June 12th, 2018|Anthropology, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, Dedman College Research, Faculty News|Comments Off on Mark McCoy, Anthropology, rising seas are threatening historical sites around the world

Looking for a Faculty Expert?

SMU News Originally Posted: May 30, 2018 Did you know that Dedman College has a wide range of experts that can lend expertise on subjects ranging from anthropology to volcanos? To view the full list of SMU experts CLICK HERE. To reach an SMU expert, please call SMU News & Communications at 214-768-7650 or e-mail news@smu.edu.    

By | 2018-05-29T10:30:30+00:00 May 31st, 2018|Anthropology|Comments Off on Looking for a Faculty Expert?
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