Wildfire Archaeology and the Burning American West

Sapiens Originally Posted: September 9, 2020 As I type, the American West is ablaze with more than 100 devastating wildfires. Many of these are record-setting in both size and intensity. Several, including one in my home state of Colorado, have been so intense they’ve created their own thunderstorms. Science shows that wildfires have been getting more destructive over the last several decades. The question is: Why? Are they getting worse due to climate change? Or is it due to human encroachment on once remote forests? Or, counterintuitive as it may seem, are federal wildfire suppression policies to blame? In the U.S., forest fire management policies date back to the 1880s, shortly after Yellowstone National Park was established in 1872. After a roughly 50-year period in which some [...]

By | 2020-09-10T10:26:14-07:00 September 10th, 2020|Anthropology, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, Dedman College Research, Faculty News|Comments Off on Wildfire Archaeology and the Burning American West

When SMU anthropologist Maryann Cairns joined an environmental research team dedicated to keeping Costa Rican beaches safe from wastewater, no one anticipated the research would help monitor COVID-19

Mirage News Originally Posted: July 30, 2020 At the end of last year, scientists from USF and Southern Methodist University (SMU) wrapped up an intense two-year field season on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica with colleagues at the Costa Rican Water and Sewage Authority’s Water Laboratory. With more than 5,000 beach surveys, 500 behavioral observations and 80 interviews to digest, and water quality data to crunch, it was time to celebrate this phase of their NSF-funded coastal health study called MERA, which included several trainings by the USF team to help their colleagues get up to speed on a suite of environmental monitoring techniques. It was December 2019, a time when working side-by-side was a fine thing to do and facial expressions – like [...]

By | 2020-08-17T13:42:56-07:00 August 17th, 2020|Anthropology, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences|Comments Off on When SMU anthropologist Maryann Cairns joined an environmental research team dedicated to keeping Costa Rican beaches safe from wastewater, no one anticipated the research would help monitor COVID-19

Were humans living in a Mexican cave during the last ice age?

Science Magazine Originally Posted: July 22, 2020 In Science magazine, SMU archeologist David Meltzer questions if stone tools found in a Mexico cave indicate that humans were there 26,000 years ago, more than 10,000 years before any other known human occupation in the region. At first glance, Chiquihuite Cave in Mexico’s Zacatecas state is an unlikely place to find signs of early humans, let alone evidence that might change the story of the peopling of the Americas. It sits a daunting 1000 meters above a valley, overlooking a desert landscape in the mountains north of Zacatecas. Getting there requires a 4- or 5-hour uphill scramble over a moonscape of jagged boulders. But in the soil below the cave’s floor, a team led by archaeologist Ciprian [...]

By | 2020-08-10T07:27:35-07:00 August 10th, 2020|Anthropology, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences|Comments Off on Were humans living in a Mexican cave during the last ice age?

The professor and the dancer: How an unlikely duo is guiding the reopening of two local cultural institutions

The Dallas Morning News Originally Posted: July 31, 2020 Dr. Eric Bing, a global health expert, and Khris Beeson, an SMU graduate in dance, may make an unlikely duo. But together they are helping Dallas Theater and SMU Meadows create plans for safe performances in the face of the coronavirus. READ MORE

By | 2020-07-31T08:49:26-07:00 August 7th, 2020|Anthropology, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences|Comments Off on The professor and the dancer: How an unlikely duo is guiding the reopening of two local cultural institutions

SMU’s Caroline Brettell receives faculty career achievement award

SMU News Originally Posted: July 20, 2020 Caroline Brettell, University Distinguished Professor of Anthropology, has been named the 2020 recipient of the SMU Faculty Career Achievement Award for her contributions to the teaching, scholarship, and service missions of the University. READ MORE  

By | 2020-07-20T10:27:05-07:00 July 20th, 2020|Anthropology, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, Dedman College Research, Faculty News|Comments Off on SMU’s Caroline Brettell receives faculty career achievement award

A local archaeologist wants you to understand how the field really works.

D Magazine Originally Posted: July 2020 Mark D. McCoy is a geospatial archaeologist and professor at SMU. Prior to our first meeting on campus, I had envisioned a dark office crowded with high-tech equipment and stacks of technical manuals. Instead, I walked into a light, airy space with a low-tech chalkboard and an approachable person who carries with him the sensibility of the sea. Raised in Delaware and educated in the States and New Zealand, McCoy focuses his efforts on Oceania. He has worked in the Hawaiian Islands, New Zealand, Pohnpei, and Palau. His new book, Maps for Time Travelers: How Archaeologists Use Technology to Bring Us Closer to the Past, is like the author: accessible. While the book takes on the esoteric subject of how [...]

By | 2020-07-13T06:26:52-07:00 July 13th, 2020|Anthropology, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, Dedman College Research, Faculty News|Comments Off on A local archaeologist wants you to understand how the field really works.

I Was Arrested for the Same Reason as George Floyd, and Lived. That’s White Privilege | Opinion

Newsweek Originally Posted: June, 4, 2020 By Mark D. McCoy, an Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Southern Methodist University and expert in the application of geospatial technology in archaeology. At Sunday family dinner, the conversation turned to the killing of George Floyd and the ensuing protests. It is not unusual for my wife and me to talk to our 12-year-old daughter about the news and this kind of tragedy has come up again and again. My wife filled us in on some of the heart wrenching and terrifying details that we had missed. Then, while our toddler busied himself pushing around the food on his plate, our daughter pointed out something that we had missed. Mr. Floyd died while being arrested for [...]

By | 2020-06-08T09:37:38-07:00 June 8th, 2020|Anthropology, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences|Comments Off on I Was Arrested for the Same Reason as George Floyd, and Lived. That’s White Privilege | Opinion

Congratulations 2020 Anthropology Graduates!

Department of Anthropology  Originally Posted: May 15, 2020 The Department of Anthropology congratulates the class of 2020 with video messages from the Department Chair, Director of Undergraduate Studies, Director of Graduate Studies and the Co-Director of Health and Society. Click the link below to watch the videos and download the graduation presentation: https://www.smu.edu/Dedman/Academics/Departments/Anthropology/About/Graduation  

By | 2020-05-15T09:27:50-07:00 May 15th, 2020|Anthropology|Comments Off on Congratulations 2020 Anthropology Graduates!

VR is making medical training cheaper, better, and more accessible than ever

Digital Trends Originally Posted: March 1, 2020 Sometimes, location is everything. When Dr. Eric Bing started working at Dallas’ Southern Methodist University (SMU), the person in the office next to his would give him a new perspective on how virtual reality can be instrumental in teaching medical students. SMU happens to have one of the world’s best graduate schools for video game design and Bing’s office neighbor, Professor Anthony Cuevas, helps create the curriculum for it. Surgery and first person shooters may seem worlds apart, but over the course of several months, the professors’ neighborly chitchat gave rise to a low-cost VR training system that can be implemented in locations where medical schools are limited, such as sub-saharan Africa. READ MORE

By | 2020-03-03T08:24:57-08:00 March 3rd, 2020|Anthropology, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, Dedman College Research, Faculty News|Comments Off on VR is making medical training cheaper, better, and more accessible than ever

Ancient African genomes offer glimpse into early human history

Nature Originally Posted: Jan. 23, 2020 Ann Horsburgh, a molecular anthropologist at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, says the study adds little to our understanding of African prehistory. READ MORE The ancient-genomics revolution is finally reaching the cradle of humanity: Africa. Researchers have sequenced the genomes of four children who lived in what is now Cameroon several thousand years ago. Their genomes — the first to be collected from any ancient human in West Africa — raise questions about the origins of a migration that carried languages and agriculture across the continent, and hint at older events in human history, such as the emergence of Homo sapiens and its spread out of Africa. But the findings underscore the yawning gap in scientists’ understanding of African population [...]

By | 2020-01-27T10:24:43-08:00 January 25th, 2020|Anthropology, Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences|Comments Off on Ancient African genomes offer glimpse into early human history
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