Past research projects

Get a sense of the type of research we do and how it applies anthropology.

The Moche Foodways Archaeological Project

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This multi-year project in northern coastal Peru is funded by NSF and the National Geographic Society, and directed by Dr. George Gumerman IV. The primary research objective of this multi-phase project is to understand the role of food in the development and organization of the Moche in particu­lar and complex societies in general.

A focus on the food system—the manner in which food is prepared, distributed, consumed, and discarded—provides an innovative avenue that leads to a detailed understanding of Moche culture. Food and cooking are intrinsically social and the study of foodways provides valuable insights into a culture.

Student research (both undergraduate and graduate) has been integral to the project. Eight MA theses and one internship have resulted from the project. In addition several undergraduate students have received funding to conduct analyses and fieldwork. Take a look at the Saveur Magazine article.

The Interactive Archaeology of the Grand Canyon: Multicultural Perspectives

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George Gumerman IV, Joelle Clark, Linda Neff, and Geraldine Hongeva have designed an educational CD-ROM that uses the archaeology of the Grand Canyon and the Colorado Plateau to educate a variety of learners, including 4-6th grade students, undergraduate students, and life long learners.

For thousands of years Native Americans have lived in and traversed the Colorado Plateau and Grand Canyon. Today, many Native American nations hold the Grand Canyon as a sacred place for various religious and historical reasons.  These Native American groups and abundant archaeological sites provide a stimulating arena for teaching scientific principles and cultivating an appreciation of diverse cultural perspectives.

The project, with the assistance of Hopi, Zuni, and Hualapai partners, utilizes the Grand Canyon’s magnificent archaeological and cultural resources as the basis for the development of a technology-based teaching tool. The primary goal of the Interactive Archaeology of the Colorado Plateau and Grand Canyon project is to develop an educational, interactive, multimedia CD-ROM and web site that focus on the archaeology of the Grand Canyon and Colorado Plateau.

Learners will use the hands on, problem-based CD-ROM and accompanying web site to explore archaeology as a science, while conducting virtual archaeological research and learning Hopi, Zuni, and Hualapai views of their ancestral sites. Their mission is to create a virtual museum exhibit by exploring who lived in the Grand Canyon and how they existed.

The student-centered, interactive, multimedia lessons allow students to interpret and quantify data from real sites and develop an understanding of the culture history of the Colorado Plateau and Grand Canyon. Digital videotaped interviews with archaeologists and Native Americans provide multicultural voices that create an environment that is receptive to the needs of a diverse student population that learn in different ways.

The project exposes students to different knowledge systems while also developing their respect for cultural diversity, values, and a sense of stewardship for archaeological resources. Learners become competent at understanding the prehistory of the Colorado Plateau and Grand Canyon. In the process, they develop important, lifelong science, mathematics, technology, and cultural diversity skills necessary for students of the new millennium.

Pueblo Farming Project

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Near Crow Canyon, researchers are finding out how ancient farmers grow their food deep in canyons, where there was “cold-air drainage” where cold air drifted off canyon rims and cliffs and down into canyons.

Monitoring the character of cold-air drainage at Goodman Point and on the Crow Canyon will help us understand how people responded to and viewed climatic shifts through time across the Mesa Verde region and beyond.