Thursday, January 20, 2011

Jan. 26 Talk on Swartkrans by Dr. TravisPickering

Dr. Travis R. Pickering of The University of Wisconsin - Madison will present a talk entitled "Life and Death in the Stone Age: Continued Paleoanthropological Investigations at Swartkrans Cave (and beyond)" as part of the Department of Anthropology Seminar Series on Hominin Ecology.

The talk will be held on Wednesday, January 26 2011 at 11:00 AM at 2114 G St. NW, Room 308.

Dr. Pickering, after providing an overview of the paleoanthropological importance of the Swartkrans Cave (South Africa) early hominin site, will discuss the paleobiological focus on his current research program there. The major emphasis of that program is to establish a paleoecological context for the large assemblage of early hominin fossils from the site's Hanging Remnant geological unit. Dr. Pickering will also briefly summarize several other early hominin paleobiological projects in which he is involved, including other fieldwork in South Africa (Goldsmith's Cave), and actualistic work and paleoanthropological survey and excavation in Namibia (Namib-Naukluft) and Tanzania (Olduvai Gorge).

Dr. Eric Cline & Anthony Sutter (B.A.2009) publish military history article

Prof. Eric Cline of the Classics, Anthropology, and History Departments, and recent alumnus Anthony Sutter published an article in the current issue of the Journal of Military History:

"Battlefield Archaeology at Armageddon: Cartridge Cases and the 1948 Battle for Megiddo, Israel"

During 2008 and 2010 at Megiddo (biblical Armageddon) in Israel, archaeologists excavating a stratigraphical layer that should have been filled solely with artifacts almost 3,000 years old unexpectedly recovered more than 213 spent cartridge cases, most likely dating from the 1948 Israeli War of Independence. Finding themselves unintentionally involved in the relatively new field of "battlefield archaeology" more usually conducted in the United States and Europe, the archaeologists analyzed the cartridge cases, attempted to reconstruct what had happened, and contributed additional information to historical accounts of the modern battle and of the Czechoslovakian arms deals with the Israelis in early 1948.

Sutter wrote his 2009 undergraduate thesis, "The Shots Heard 'Round the Tel," on the same excavation. He graduated with special honors in Archaeology and a B.S. in Chemistry. For more, see

Eric Cline is Chair of the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations and Director of the GWU Capitol Archaeological Institute. For more, see

Upcoming Lecture by Dr. Robert Shepherd: Tourism, Heritage, and Sacred Space in China

Dr. Robert Shepherd, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Honors, will give a lecture entitled "Tourism, Heritage, and Sacred Space in China" as part of the Sigur Center Faculty Lecture Series.

Monday, February 7, 2011
12:30 - 1:45 PM
The Elliott School of International Affairs
1957 E Street, NW, Room 505

Although the Chinese government has become one of the most prominent supporters of the UNESCO-led World Heritage movement, the economic, political and bureaucratic reasons for this are often at cross-purposes with the preservationist goals of UNESCO. This presentation will examine the relationship between heritage projects, tourism, and economic development in China by focusing on the Buddhist pilgrimage destination of Mount Wutai, Shanxi Province, which was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2009.

Dr. Shepherd's work on tourism, cultural heritage issues, and the side effects of market changes in China has appeared in Southeast Asia Research, Consumption, Markets, and Culture, the International Journal of Cultural Studies, and the Journal of Contemporary Asia, among other publications. His book, When Culture Goes to the Market: The Politics of Space, Place and Identity in an Urban Marketplace (Peter Lang) was published in 2008.

Please RSVP at by Friday, February 4, 2011.

Habibia Chirchir Doctoral Dissertation Proposal Defense

The Center for the Advanced Study of Hominid Paleobiology and The George Washington University Department of Anthropology present:

"Why do humans have unusually low trabecular density? A comparative and experimental study on the factors influencing trabecular bone density"

Doctoral Dissertation Proposal Defense by:

Habiba Chirchir
Hominid Paleobiology Doctoral Program
January 28, 2011 1:00 PM
2114 G St NW
Room 308

J. Tyler Faith Doctoral Dissertation Defense

The Center for the Advanced Study of Hominid Paleobiology and The George Washington University Department of Anthropology present:

"Late Quaternary megafaunal extinctions in southern Africa's Cape Floral Region"

A Doctoral Dissertation Defense by J. Tyler Faith

Friday, January 21, 2:30 PM
2114 G. St. NW
Room 308

Research Summary:

The fossil record of southern Africa's Cape Floral Region documents the extinction of numerous grassland ungulates since the end of the Last Glacial Maximum. There is reason to believe that both human impacts and environmental processes contributed to the losses. This dissertation examines faunal remains from late Quaternary archaeological and paleontological sites to test environmental and anthropogenic extinction mechanisms. Temporal changes in herbivore dietary habits, ungulate community structure, and human predation pressure on terrestrial herbivore populations are explored using zooarchaeological and paleoecological methodologies.

Upcoming Talk by Dr. Carson M. Murray

Dr. Carson M. Murray of The Lincoln Park Zoo, University of Chicago will give a talk entitled "The Nuances of Female Chimpanzee Social Status" as part of the Department of Anthropology Seminar Series on Hominin Ecology.

Dr. Murray will present evidence that low-ranking females suffer in terms of foraging and ranging patterns, and suggests behavioral adaptations during reproductive efforts that may help mitigate these negative rank effects. Dr. Murray will pair her behavioral studies with physiological data to yield a more holistic story of female behavior. These results are considered in light of other chimpanzee populations, other primates, and human evolution.

The talk will be held on Monday, January 24, 2011 at 11:00 A.M. in 2114 G. Street Room 308.

Dr. Brian Richmond Speaks at Upcoming Paleoanthropology Seminar

National Museum of Natural History Paleoanthropology Seminar

Prof. Brian Richmond speaks on:

"The Evolution of Human Adaptations in the Pleistocene:
New Discoveries from Kenya and Tanzania"

January 26, 2011
4 p.m.
Rose Seminar Room
National Museum of Natural History
Smithsonian Institution

Those interested in attending are asked to please meet by the Constitution Ave. entrance security office at 3:45 p.m. for escort to the seminar room. Contact Robin Teague, (202) 633-1922, for further information.

Prof. Richmond is chair of the GW Anthropology Department and a research fellow in the Human Origins Program at the Natural History Museum.