Five Students Named 2016 Trout Scholars

April 27, 2016
B. Thomas Trout

B. Thomas Trout

Five New Hampshire students have been awarded B. Thomas Trout Scholarships from the College of Liberal Arts to support their study abroad experiences in the 2016-17 academic year.

The scholarship recipients are Jessica Gero, an English teaching and classics double major from Milton; Jess Hesse, a German major from Derry; Andrew Jablonski, a French major from Newmarket; RoseAlaina Leone, a psychology and anthropology double major from Walpole; and Carlos Martens, an English Journalism major from Newmarket.

The B. Thomas Trout Scholars Fund supports academically outstanding College of Liberal Arts undergraduates, allowing them to participate in UNH-managed study abroad programs in the College.

Learn more about the recipients.

Anthropologist Meghan Howey Named Next Hayes Chair

January 26, 2016

Meghan Howey

UNH anthropologist Meghan Howey has been named the The James H. Hayes and Claire Short Hayes Professor of the Humanities by the UNH Center for the Humanities. Carrying a five-year term, the Hayes Chair was established by James H. Hayes to be a focal point for research and teaching on New Hampshire’s history, culture and government.

Howey’s research will focus on the Great Bay Estuary in the Gulf of Maine where she will explore the intertwining of natural and social processes in the history of the landscape. She hopes her work will help other scientists understand the social, economic and ideological processes that have led to our current state of potentially catastrophic human impact on the earth.

Read a Q&A with Howey about her Hayes Chair project.

Unearthing World History at Oyster River Middle School

December 16, 2015
students participating in mock dig

UNH student Joe Thibeault leads a group of seventh graders at Oyster River Middle School through a mock dig.

Earlier this month, UNH anthropology students, led by lecturer Marieka Brouwer Burg, created a mock excavation for seventh graders at Oyster River Middle School as part of the school’s world civilizations unit. The outreach program was “a big hit,” says Brouwer Burg.

Ninety Oyster River students participated in six teams. Each team had an excavation box, excavating tools and worksheets with which to explore, analyze and record artifacts using proper methods and techniques. The teams had to figure out which world culture they had unearthed in their boxes, based on what they had already learned about the artifacts of various early civilizations in their classes.

The activity was meant to be hands-on fun. Along the way, students learned quite a bit about the study of archaeology as well as the process of archaeological field and lab work.

“Students also learned about some of the misconceptions of archaeology – namely that archaeologists study people not dinosaurs, that we excavate to answer research questions and that we never sell artifacts,” says Brouwer Burg.

UNH students Maddy Moison, Chaya Sophon, Ashley Blum and Joe Thibeault prepared the materials for the dig and led the Oyster River students through the process. They also gave a presentation about the field of anthropology.

More pics here.

Professor Harrison-Buck’s Paper Recognized by American Anthropological Association

December 1, 2015

photo of Eleanor Harrison-Buck

Associate Professor of Anthropology Eleanor Harrison-Buck won the 2015 Gordon R. Willey Award for her article “Architecture as Animate Landscape: Circular Shrines in the Ancient Maya Lowlands” published in American Anthropologist 114(1):64-80. The award recognizes the best archaeology paper published in American Anthropologist over the last three years. The winning paper is selected by the Archaeology Division of the American Anthropological Association based on archaeological research that intersects with topics of broad anthropological interest. Harrison-Buck received the award at the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association in Denver, Colorado, in late November.

In the winning article, Harrison-Buck examines the distribution of marine shells and cave formations that appear incorporated as architectural elements on ancient Maya circular shrine architecture. More than just “symbols” of sacred geography, she argues that these materials represent living entities that animate shrine buildings through their ongoing relationships with human and other-than-human agents in the world. Her work incorporates archaeology, ethnographic comparison and indigenous theory to gain a deeper understanding of Maya perspectives of landscape and sacred geography.

Anthropology Student Receives NSF Research Funding

April 28, 2015

photo of Dylan Kelly

Dylan Kelly, a junior anthropology major, has been accepted to the National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates program for summer 2015. He will conduct field work and independent research at the Bronze Age Körös Off-Tell Archaeological (BAKOTA) field school in eastern Hungary. The BAKOTA project examines a Bronze Age cemetery population to understand how farming, craft production, and trade were intensified in the region without corresponding increases in social inequality. The competitive program fully funds student research, including travel to Hungary. Kelly will spend 6 weeks on site.

“It is really great that one of our majors rose to the top of a very competitive application pool,” says Meghan Howey, chair and associate professor of anthropology. “It is a nice sign that the archaeology training we are doing here for undergraduates is really spot-on.”

To learn more about the BAKOTA project, visit their project website.

New Issue of Spectrum, the Undergraduate Journal of Anthropology

March 16, 2015

spectrum of light

The Department of Anthropology is pleased to announce the publication of their newest edition of Spectrum: An Undergraduate Journal. In this fourth issue, students present research articles and book reviews that cover topics in religion and gender, medical anthropology, and archaeology and historical anthropology. The journal is a showcase for the kinds of research and inquiry that students and faculty engage in each year in the Department.

Student researchers featured in this issue are Molly Foye, Samantha Cotellessa, Holly Linseman, Benjamin Rideout, and Alecia Bassett. Providing book reviews are Christian Kapstad, James Naas, Emily Belanus, and Samantha Flecchia. The issue is edited by Professors Natalie Porter and Svetlana Peshkova.

“Students in our department mobilize everything from myth to material culture, oral history to ecological indicators, primary to secondary sources, firsthand experiences to media accounts, in order to explore the continuities and changes affecting various social and cultural groups worldwide,” note Porter and Peshkova in their introduction to the issue. “This holistic approach to academic research that builds on convergences between socio-cultural anthropology and archaeology is at the core of our identity as an undergraduate only Department of Anthropology.”

Read the journal at

My Mayan Valentine: Anthropologist Examines the Roots of Chocolate in Mesoamerica

February 13, 2015

cacao bean heart
In a Smithsonian Magazine article published this month, associate professor of anthropology Eleanor Harrison-Buck discusses her current research on cacao and the ancient Maya, a project she is working on with Serita Frey, a UNH soil scientist in the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment.

A Spanish account from 1618 describes the Belize River town of Lucu: “[It had] much thick cacao that turns reddish-brown and tastes good by itself.” Harrison-Buck contends that cacao was a staple in ritual feasts for many Mesoamerican cultures for thousands of years and is thus particularly important to study and understand. But because the remains of this crop do not preserve well in soil, archaeologists know little about the ancient methods of cacao bean production. Harrison-Buck and Frey are working in Belize and elsewhere, collecting soil samples and analyzing them to see if cacao orchards leave a distinct biological footprint. Eventually, they hope to determine where cacao was produced in the Belize Valley in historic or prehistoric times.

Read the full article in Smithsonian Magazine.

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