The Departments of Anthropology and Earth Sciences at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) and the Indiana Geological Survey and Department of Geological Sciences at Indiana University-Bloomington are pleased to offer the third year of a National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program titled “Multidisciplinary Training for Students in Environmental and Social Sciences through Archaeological Research” (NSF Award No. 1262530). This eight-week program in June and July of 2015 will include four weeks of fieldwork that will examine the archaeological correlates of warfare and demographic change at a Mississippian-era (AD 1050-1450) village located in the central Illinois River valley. Building upon the research conducted by REU Fellows during Years 1 and 2 of the REU, Year 3 participants can anticipate examining the spatial and temporal relationships of demographic change and warfare on the Prairie Plains of west-central Illinois with, for example, climate and environmental factors, regional settlement patterns and site histories, subsistence practices and diversity, and the ecological impacts of horticulture and agriculture to landscapes over the past 2,000 years. The fieldwork from June 1st to 26th will be followed by four weeks of laboratory training and analysis at IUPUI (Indianapolis, IN) between July 6th and 31st. A one-week break in the educational programming and research will occur between June 27th and July 5th.
The goal of this project is to foster a new generation of scholars that can work across disciplinary boundaries to craft cogent, meaningful and empirically-sound interpretations about research questions that transcend the social, natural and behavioral sciences and capture public interest (e.g., climate change, warfare’s impact on the daily lives of individuals). Nationally recruited undergraduates from the environmental and social sciences and humanities, as well as other science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines, will be provided with field and laboratory training in archaeology, geomorphology, geophysics, and geoarchaeology. Over the program’s three years, REU participants will conduct original research on the Native peoples that inhabited the lower Midwest through investigation of earthwork construction and anthropogenic change (Year 1  at Angel Mounds), reconstruction of the paleoenvironment (Year 2  in the Illinois & Ohio River valleys), and exploration of the timing and relationship between fortification construction, settlement development and subsequent site abandonment (Year 3  at Lawrenz Gun Club [11Cs4]). Examples of the student-driven research projects and outcomes from Years 1 and 2 of this NSF REU program can be found here.
The educational programming provided during the Multidisciplinary Training for Students in Environmental and Social Sciences through Archaeological Research NSF REU will promote undergraduate professionalization and enhance students’ skills by providing training in multidisciplinary field methods and hands-on use of sophisticated instruments. In the laboratory settings, students will learn to process, analyze and curate sediment cores, artifacts, ecofacts and other data collected. Analytical techniques taught in the laboratory will include basic identification and quantification of artifacts and other field data, as well as advanced methods of geochemical and isotopic detection and estimation. The training provided to analyze geophysical data, sedimentology, pedology, and archaeological results, including GIS development and database management, will enhance many important 21st century skills such as digital literacy, database implementation and management, inventive thinking, and the understanding of complex interrelationships. Through this diverse and multidisciplinary training, students will gain a solid foundation in field and laboratory research and begin to form peer and professional relationships that will serve them for the rest of their careers.
The 2015 program will run from June 1st through July 31st. The four-week field component at the Lawrenz Gun Club archaeological site in the Illinois River valley will occur between June 1st and June 26th. The site and associated lodging for the NSF REU program are located approximately one hour west of Springfield, IL. A one-week break for July 4th and prepping of the labs and materials will occur between June 27th and July 5th. The four-week lab component at IUPUI will run from July 6th through July 31st. During the final four weeks, Fellows will be housed in the recently renovated dormitories on IUPUI’s campus downtown Indianapolis.
Recruitment & Prerequisites
The broader impacts of our NSF REU program include 1) increasing disciplinary connections among undergraduates through peer-to-peer relationships, 2) providing students with the vocabulary to communicate with peers from other disciplines, 3) creating a greater awareness of the importance of multidisciplinary research, and 4) increasing overall diversity in archaeological research environments. We explicitly seek a diverse set of students, which will allow them to bridge existing disciplinary boundaries and build a broad network of professional relationships. Participation in Years 1 and 2 of our NSF REU program has resulted in former Fellows enrolling in graduate programs in Anthropology and the Earth Sciences around the country.
Sophomores and juniors in their respective programs with an interest in interdisciplinary science and archaeology are strongly encouraged to apply to this NSF REU program. While the research questions revolve around Pre-Columbian archaeological sites, regions and time periods, we encourage talented undergraduates with diverse majors and programs of study ranging from biochemistry, geology, environmental studies and biology to anthropology, geography and Native American studies to apply to our program. Members of groups underrepresented in the social sciences, humanities, and STEM disciplines are strongly encouraged to apply. This includes Native students currently enrolled at higher-education institutions. Preference will also be given to applicants from colleges and universities that do not have substantial research opportunities or the STEM disciplines at the graduate level. A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 (out of 4.0) is preferred of all applicants. Per federal guidelines, students graduating in the spring or summer of 2015 are ineligible for our NSF REU program.
Participants in our NSF REU program will receive a $500/week stipend (i.e., $4,000 for eight weeks). The program will also cover all housing in the field and at IUPUI, as well as the requisite field and laboratory equipment. Selected participants can anticipate spending some of their weekly stipend on food and incidentals in the field (e.g., sunscreen, bug spray, etc…). A $300 allowance will be provided to participants for travel to the REU field site from their institution or home. In addition, a $500 allowance has been budgeted for student presentations of research findings at a regional archaeological conference in the fall subsequent to project participation and completion.
Week 1 of the program will begin with a project orientation and description of the research design, as well as lectures and a site tour of Lawrenz Gun Club that review previous and ongoing research. Demonstrations on field methodology, artifact identification, sampling strategies, data recording protocols, and paperwork will also be provided with considerable time and attention given to effectively illustrating how the variable, multidisciplinary sources of data will be collected, analyzed, and interpreted by the participants. At the end of Week 1, the students will be ready to actively participate in the research projects. Student teams will be created and each team will be provided with a schedule for their rotation through the research projects on site.
During Weeks 2-4, Fellows will have sustained interaction and collaboration with our REU project staff and graduate student mentors as they rotate between different research areas on site and learn the methods employed by the NSF REU program (e.g., solid-earth coring, geophysics, micromorphology, etc…). The ensuing rotation will provide roughly eight to nine field days for each research team to rotate through three projects across the site. In general, students will devote about two weeks to geophysical and geoarchaeological research projects and the remainder to excavation projects. Evenings in the field will provide an ideal time to reflect on the daily and cumulative progress and informally discuss potential research projects with the staff.
Weeks 5 through 8 will be devoted to laboratory analyses at IUPUI. Students will spend Week 5 in the laboratory learning about curation and artifactual analyses while processing and preliminarily sorting the assemblage excavated during the field season. They will also begin working on their research projects and focus on some specialized analytical topics, including processing and modeling the geophysical data, geochemistry/core analysis, archival research, and developing a GIS framework. The laboratory research experience will include traditional quantitative and qualitative methods (e.g., types, counts, weights), database development (e.g., Access, Excel), quantitative analyses and modeling in SPSS and R, and spatial analysis with GIS. Laboratory work will also include sediment core analysis via spectroscopic and core-scanning XRF, as well as selected interval sampling and analysis for other geochemical and isotopic signals related to human activity and environmental change. While at IUPUI, guest lectures and workshops will be provided by Larry Zimmerman (IUPUI) on ethics in archaeological research, Paul Mullins (IUPUI) on engagement with descendant communities, and Holly Cusack-McVeigh (IUPUI) on collections management and curation, among others. In addition, Fellows will be expected to attend a series of professionalization workshops offered by IUPUI’s Center for Research and Learning in the month of July.
As part of the training and REU experience, students will be required to present their original research at the annual Midwest Archaeological Conference (MAC). These meetings will be hosted by the Department of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee from November 5th to 8th, 2015.
Credit Hours for REU Participants
REU participants can earn credit hours for the field and laboratory experiences through the Department of Anthropology at IUPUI. Undergraduates from colleges and universities outside of the IU-system will need to enroll as non-degree seeking students for the summer. If interested, contact Dr. Wilson about registering for ANTH-P 405: Field Work in Archaeology.
Program Faculty & Staff
Jeremy J. Wilson (Program Director & Faculty Mentor, Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at IUPUI); Research interests: late Pre-Columbian societies of the Midwestern and Southeastern U.S., archaeological demography, bioarchaeology, and quantitative modeling
G. William Monaghan (Co-Program Director & Faculty Mentor, Research Scientist in the Indiana Geological Survey at IU-Bloomington; Research interests: geoarchaeology, earthwork construction, site formation processes, and sedimentology
Edward Herrmann (Faculty Mentor & Research Scientist in the Department of Geological Sciences at IU-Bloomington); Research interests: geoarchaeology, subsistence & lithic technologies, landscape utilization, site taphonomy, and predictive modeling of site detection
Matthew D. Pike (Graduate Research Assistant & Geophysicist in the Department of Anthropology at Purdue University); Research interests: North American archaeology, archaeological geophysics, spatial analysis, GIS
Mark R. Schurr (Faculty Mentor & Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Notre Dame); Research interests: archaeology of Eastern Woodlands, geophysical survey techniques, analytical chemistry, stable isotope analysis and fluoride dating
Gabriel M. Filippelli (Faculty Mentor & Professor in the Department of Earth Sciences at IUPUI); Research interests: biogeochemical cycling, geochemistry, paleoclimatology, and sedimentology
Broxton Bird (Faculty Mentor & Assistant Professor in the Department of Earth Sciences at IUPUI); Research interests: stable isotope and elemental geochemistry, geophysics, hydrologic modeling, paleoclimatology, and sedimentology
Judith A. Ouimet (Educational Outcomes Evaluator & Assistant Vice-Provost for Undergraduate Education [Curricular Development and Assessment] at IU-Bloomington)
Disclaimer: The NSF REU: Multidisciplinary Training for Students in Environmental and Social Sciences through Archaeological Research is a National Science Foundation REU Site and receives major funding from the National Science Foundation under NSF Award No. 1262530. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.