Wednesday, October 21, 2009

UAB students participate in FBI Forensic training session

Dr. Bruce Wheatley of UAB coordinated a a field excursion with a group of UAB students to attend the FBI's annual emergency response team training program at Oak Mountain State Park.
There were about 3 burial sites in the woods that search teams eventually found, a booby-trapped cabin and car that was blown up. Some students searched for timers and batteries used to blow up the car. Others helped with the excavation of skeletal remains, finding shovel prints and other tool marks used by perpetrators. Dr. Wheatley directed the UAB team, who found a pistol in the cabin and de-fused a light sensitive timer rigged in a tool box in the house.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Our National Science Foundation REU Fiji Program website is up!

NSF REU Student Fellows and faculty preparing seaweed salad and fishing with Fijians, Salia village, Nayau (Photos by S.Jones).

Check-out our new NSF REU (Research Experiences for Undergraduates) Fiji Program website at:

The Fiji REU program engages students in interdisciplinary problem based research, exploring long-term dynamics in human interaction with the environment. Project participants learn about anthropology (the study of humans and culture) as well as historical ecology, a discipline focused on the relationships between people and both physical and biological environments. In the context of various study areas in Fiji’s Lau Island Group, students and faculty engage in meaningful scientific research incorporating the methods of anthropology and ecology.

Mallory Messersmith filming a fishing expedition on Nayau (Photo by S.Jones)

Students’ activities and projects include: archaeological surveys, mapping, and excavations; collecting and analyzing ethnographic data on resource exploitation and foodways; conducting lab analysis of archaeological materials; working with database systems and computer software; and interpreting data in written, digital, and oral presentations for the academic and general public.

Checkout the new website for more information on this interdisciplinary fieldschool and research program (plus more photos!):

Monday, May 25, 2009

Anthropology of Slavery Course at UAB in the Birmingham News

Dr. Jack Bergstresser, Director of the Tannehill Ironworks Museum and the Slave Quarters Dig at Tannehill Sate Park, talks to UAB students enrolled in the Anthropology of Slavery Course about excavation at the slave quarters. Photo by S. Jones.

The Birmingham News and UAB Media visited our Anthropology of Slavery course at Tannehill State Park on Thursday May 21. Here is the link to the news article and webcast:

UAB students engrossed in excavations.

Bass Cemetery Fieldtrip-
View of the east side of Bass Cemetery, a fascinating cultural and historical resource in Irondale. Photos by S. Jones.

Students and instructors, Dr. Cormier, Dr. Mumford, and Dr. Jones visited the Bass Cemetery in Irondale for a fieldtrip and discussion of the Archaeology of Slavery and Burial.
Anthropology of Slavery students with Dr.s Mumford and Cormier.

Early 18th century burials at Bass Cemetery.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Alabama Academy of Science Meetings, University of West Alabama, March 27, 2009

Dr. Jones talks with anthro students Anna McCown, Mallory Messersmith, and Anne Sorrell at the anthropology session

Sharyn presented a paper at the anthro session, Cannibalism in Fiji?

UAB faculty, students, and friends at the Science Education session. James Cormier presented a paper, Supersize It! A Look at Large-Scale Anatomy Exhibits in Informal Science Education.

Karen Utz (UAB history faculty and Sloss Furnaces museum curator) chaired the Science Education session. Lori Cormier later gave a paper in the anthropology session, The Historical Ecology of Human and Wild Primate Vivax-type Malarias in Amazonia.

Professor Wheatley talks with UA graduate student Erika Steele after he presented his paper at the Science Education session, Teaching Science and Evolution in Anthropology

Professor Wheatley sported his monkey tie for the occasion

Dr. Jones talks with UAB history graduate student Heather Guy. Sharyn and Lori presented a poster at the Science Education session, ANTHRO-TEACH: Developing Scholar-Teachers and Student Scientists using Alabama Native American Collections

Sunday, March 15, 2009

SAS: Southern Anthropological Society Meetings -- March 13, 2009

Caitlin Aamodt (left) just before she presents her first professional paper, "Cultural Divergence and Convergence in North and South Louisiana: Social Change from the Early Settlement of Caddo Parish to the aftermath of Hurricance Katrina" at the Southern Anthropological Society meetings in Wilmington, North Carolina

Sharyn and Lori's ANTHRO-TEACH poster at the SAS meetings. UAB undergrad students Caitlin Aamodt, Mallory Messersmith and Anna McCown participated in the meetings as well.

Sharyn and Mallory at the SAS session "Theory and Ethnography"

On the Road Home from the SAS Meetings...

Drs. Jones and Cormier discover a new gorilla species in South Carolina

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Cross-Cultural Food and Film Series -- March 2, 2009

The second film of our Spring ANTHRO-TEACH Food and Film Series featured the Brazilian national dish of feijoada with the film "Cidade de Deus."

Mallory Messersmith

Mallory Messersmith, UAB Undergrad Student with Alabama Time Capsule: an archaeology exhibit she designed under the mentorship of Dr. Sharyn Jones. Currently on display in SBS Heritage Hall, Ground Floor

Catherine S. Wright

Grad Student Catherine S. Wright,
2nd Place Winner, February 25, 2009
UAB Graduate Research Day Arts and Science Award BRAVO!!

Tannehill Slave Quarters Dig -- Feb 21, 2009

Friday, February 27, 2009


The authors of this blog seek to create a dialogue about anthropology and science education with the community in Birmingham, Alabama and beyond.

Navala Village, Fiji (photo by S. Jones).

The goal of ANTHRO-TEACH is to enhance science education in anthropology at all levels of learning and in all four subfields of anthropology (cultural anthropology, archaeology, linguistics, and biological anthropology). The three key aims are:
1. To develop curriculum enhancement materials, hands-on research opportunities, and other extra-curricular educational opportunities in anthropology in both formal and informal science education settings
2. To promote interaction and collaboration among GK-12 students and teachers; university students and faculty; and informal science educators and the general public.
3. To increase recruitment of future anthropologists from GK-12 settings; make research experiences for university students more relevant for 21st century careers; and to improve communication of anthropological research to the general public.


NSF-REU Interdisciplinary Summer Field School in Fiji
The ANTHRO-TEACH project directors were awarded a two-year grant from the National Science Foundation REU program “Research Experiences for Undergraduates. ” Full expenses and a stipend are paid for 18 students to participate in hands-on research in archaeology (year one, 2009) and cultural anthropology (year two, 2010) in the Lau Island Group, Fiji.

ANTHRO-TEACH / TAP (Tapping Academic Potential) Collaboration
The collaboration involves anthropology science education presentations to Birmingham city school high school students involved in TAP (Tapping Academic Potential). The aim of TAP is to offer a variety of programs to improve the college readiness of Birmingham city high school students.

TEACHING ANTHROPOLOGY: Developing Scholar-Teachers and Student-Scientists
Teaching Anthropology is a project to be taught as an undergraduate course, “Senior Seminar and Practicuum in Anthropology,” (ANTH 500), beginning Fall 2009. The course is designed for students to synthesize and apply knowledge used in previous anthropology courses and to provide research-driven experiences in public and academic communication and outreach.

The ANTHRO-TEACH Cross-Cultural Food and Film Discussion Series
The film series involves a faculty intro lecture on the culture and critical anthropological themes addressed in the film followed by a faculty-led moderated discussion after the film screening. The series is designed to be university anthropology student enrichment, but will be open to all interested students. Refreshments will be foods representative of the culture.

Collaboration with the Tannehill Slave Quarters Project
Jack Bergstresser, head archeologist at Tannehill State Park has offered opportunities for students and faculty to participate in excavations of Antebellum slave quarters on site. The ANTHRO-TEACH program directors are involved in development of a team-taught course to be offered during UAB’s May miniterm, “The Anthropology of Slavery.” UAB students are also being mentored in ethnohistory projects related to the Slave Quarter’s Project.

The ANTHRO-TEACH Alabama Native American Project
The Alabama Native American project provides student research opportunities related to prehistory, ethnohistory, and contemporary Alabama Native Americans. A particular focus is hands-on research with the Josselyn archaeological collection, housed in UAB’s anthropology department with consists of over 100,000 artifacts including stone tools, pottery, ornaments, and arrowheads from excavations at 100 sites from all of Alabama’s counties.

The Titusville African American Cemetery Project
The ANTHRO-TEACH faculty are currently consulting on the ethnohistory and archaeology of a recently discovered early 1900s African American cemetery in the Titusville community. We are developing plans for a collaborative project with Titusville high school student/UAB undergraduate students to delineate, map, and preserve the cemetery.

ANTHRO-TEACH Advisory Board

Carolyn Conley, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair, Department of History
University of Alabama at Birmingham

Shawanda R. Thomas, Ph.D.
Project Director, TAP (Tapping Academic Potential)
Birmingham City Schools

Marilyn J. Kurata, Ph.D.
Director, Office of Core Curriculum Enhancement
University of Alabama at Birmingham

Jack Bergstresser, Ph.D.
Director of the Alabama Historic Iron Works Museum
Director of the Tannehill Slave Quarters Archaeology Project
Tannehill Historical State Park, Alabama

Michael Murphy, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair Department of Anthropology
University of Alabama

Bruce Wheatley, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Anthropology
University of Alabama at Birmingham

Mark LaGory, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair, Department of Sociology
University of Alabama at Birmingham

Nikolaos Zahariadis, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Government
Director, International Studies
University of Alabama at Birmingham