Prior projects involving the Anthropology Department at NAU
Find out about projects that Northern Arizona University and students pursuing degrees in archaeology have been involved in.
Cerro Jazmin Archaeological Project
The Cerro Jazmin Archaeological Project integrates archaeological and geomorphological methods to map and study the site of Cerro Jazmin, a top-tier Prehispanic urban center that was inhabited between 300 B.C. and A.D. 1400. The project, which takes place in the Mixteca Alta region of Oaxaca, Mexico seeks to expand our understanding of urbanism and how Prehispanic urban centers functioned and impacted their surrounding landscape.
The Hopi Footprints Project
Across the Colorado Plateau, abundant archaeological sites provide a stimulating arena for cultivating an understanding of past cultural traditions that are linked to today’s Hopi people. Hopi oral history discusses these archaeological sites telling the story of Hopi migrations across much of the Colorado Plateau.
Referred to as their footprints, the archaeological sites and the oral history surrounding them connect the past to the present. Interaction of elders and archaeologists provide a powerful force for teachers to bring together knowledge that surprisingly corroborate each other. Our culturally-appropriate professional development and curriculum will enable Hopi youth to connect to their cultural history and thereby facilitate student learning.
The goal of this project is to improve classroom teaching practice while creating a standards-based Hopi culture curriculum in CD-ROM and web site formats. The project is a collaboration among the Hopi Cultural Preservation Office, educators, elders, tribal cultural professionals, anthropologists, and archaeologists, who worked together to develop a curriculum focusing on culture education, technology integration, and action research in classrooms.
The key components of the project include summer institutes, intensive school site visits throughout the academic year, and follow-up Saturday sessions for project participants. The CD-ROM and web site provide resources for teachers and students, including digital video, audio, maps, and lesson plans.
The project recently was awarded a three-year National Endowment for the Humanities Grant to expand the project to Hopi high school students. Footprints of the Ancestors, The National Endowment for the Humanities provides a grant to the Anthropology Department to expand its recently completed project, Hopi Footprints: Building Better Teachers with a Community-based Culture Curriculum.
The Interactive Archaeology of the Grand Canyon: Multicultural Perspectives
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.
The Moche Foodways Archaeological Project
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.
Pueblo farming project
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.
Linguistics in Finland
Dr. Wilce’s current research project focuses on the “revival” (more accurately a “reinvention”) of lament (improvised crying songs), sung in a very particular linguistic register, and currently contextualized as a form of self-help therapy. The project centers on the revival of lament in Finland, spearheaded by Äänellä Itkijät, ry (the Finnish Lament Society).
Finland’s “Lament Revival: Healing with Lament”
This ongoing linguistic and ethnographic investigation has led to rich collaboration with scholars and activists in Finland, as well as a stream of articles under preparation. The project extends Professor Emeritus Dr. James Wilce’s longterm interest in language and emotion, performance, semiotics, power, and healing. The current Finland project will contribute to our theories of culture, change, and revival, offering a vision of culture as something conscious and intentionally manipulable rather than unconsciously inherited. The Lament Society sees its task as helping the (putatively) emotionally challenged Finnish majority by offering them linguistic/poetic/musical/cultural techniques associated with lament and fostered traditionally by ethnic minorities in Finland and neighboring countries—Finnic peoples such as Karelians. The next stage of the project will examine “emotion pedagogies” more broadly in Finland, from a curriculum for K-6 students that teaches them to talk about their own feelings and empathize with others, to New Age courses that combine lessons in expressing feelings more assertively with shamanistic elements.
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