Explore Archaeology at the Durham!

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Have a future Archaeologist or Egyptologist in the making? Don’t miss the last two weeks of the Durham Museum’s Lost Egypt: Ancient Secrets, Modern Science exhibit in Omaha! This exhibit, open until September 6th, allows visitors to learn about archaeology and the work of archaeologists, including how science changes over time as new techniques are developed and new information is uncovered. Visitors will have the chance to explore how mummies, artifacts and other material remains contribute to our scientific understanding of past cultures. Using hands-on challenges, authentic artifacts and guidance from archaeologists, Lost Egypt shows how modern science and technology can reveal the mysteries of Egypt, its culture and its people.

While Nebraska isn’t known for mummies or pyramids, archaeologists here use many of the same tools and techniques that an archaeologist in Egypt may use as they explore the past. This exhibit is a great way to begin celebrating Archaeology Month!

To learn more about the Lost Egypt exhibit and programming, visit the exhibit page at www.durhammuseum.org/experience/exhibits/!

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Donna C. Roper Receives the William Duncan Strong Award

The Nebraska Association of Professional Archaeologists is pleased to announce that Donna C. Roper has been presented with the William Duncan Strong Memorial Award in honor of her outstanding contributions to the field of Nebraska Archaeology.

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From the award nomination:
“At the 2013 Plains Conference in Colorado, banquet speaker Doug Bamforth was discussing some idiosyncratic aspect of Plains Village chronology and remarked “and if Donna is right, and Donna is always right…” Bamforth’s quip is clear testimony to just how important Donna Roper has been to Central Great Plains archeology.

Donna is from Oneonta, NY (no, that’s not Oneota) where she received her BA in History followed by an MA in Anthropology from the University of Indiana and a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1975. She stayed on in Columbia until 1980 before working for Gilbert-Commonwealth out of Michigan until 1991. Since 1992, Donna has been in Manhattan, Kansas as Research Associate Professor with Kansas State University and also working as a private consultant and independent researcher. She has been a member of NAPA since its early days and served in various capacities on the Board of Directors and as long time co-editor of Central Plains Archeology. Most recently, Roper has been instrumental in forging closer ties between NAPA and PAK (Professional Archaeologists of Kansas).

Roper’s depth and breadth of archeological research in Kansas, Nebraska, and surrounding states is impressive and her publication record far exceeds any of our colleagues in the region. An estimate of Donna’s publications to date include: 2 edited books, 8 book chapters, 62 articles in professional journals (including American Antiquity, American Anthropologist, Plains Anthropologist, Central Plains Archeology, Kansas Anthropologist, and Current Archaeology in Kansas), 8 book reviews, 27 major CRM contract monographs, and nearly 200 shorter compliance reports. Much of her compliance work over the years has been in the Republican River basin for the Kansas-Nebraska Office of the US Bureau of Reclamation. The extent of her publication record, in addition to her involvement with public programs including the Kansas Archeology Training Program, Becoming an Outdoors Woman, and public presentations throughout the region, clearly demonstrate the importance she has placed on sharing her knowledge and passion for archeology with her colleagues and the public alike.

Although she is known for work in many facets of archeology, her efforts with the Plains Village period is particularly notable. Her contributions stem from new excavations conducted under her direction, examination of many curated museum collections, rigorous attendance and participation at conferences, keeping abreast of the literature, and perhaps most importantly engaging in serious thinking outside the box. Her most outstanding achievements are a sharper understanding of the Central Plains tradition and post-contact Caddoan (Pawnee in particular) villagers. Specifically, Donna has contributed great detail and understanding of Pawnee ancestry, Central Plains tradition origins and demise, earthlodge construction and use, hunting expeditions and hunting camps, use of ethnohistorical information, and pots and potters. Her most recent research passion has been mass re-analysis of radiocarbon dates and development of dating criteria for building a more accurate Central Plains tradition chronology.

The NAPA community owes a great deal to Donna Roper’s passion for central Great Plains archeological method, theory, practice, interpretation, and dissemination of information. No other archeologist working today is more deserving of the William Duncan Strong Award than Donna Roper.”

-Submitted by Rob Bozell and Courtney Ziska, Nebraska State Historical Society with CV and bibliographic information provided by Lauren Ritterbush and Brad Logan, Kansas State University

On behalf of NAPA, thank you Donna for everything you have contributed to Nebraska Archaeology, and the field of Archaeology as a whole!

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Governor Pete Ricketts proclaims September 2015 as Nebraska Archaeology Month!

On Wednesday, August 10, Governor Pete Ricketts officially proclaimed the month of September 2015 as Celebrate Nebraska Archaeology Month! Archaeologists from the Midwest Archeological Center and the Nebraska State Historical Society attended the proclamation signing ceremony, and were able to distribute Nebraska Archaeology Month posters to the Governor and to each of our state senator’s offices in the Capitol Building.

As the proclamation states, we encourage everyone to promote preservation of our heritage and increase awareness of the state’s history by participating in activities planned for the month! Check out the 2015 Events page to find events happening in your area!

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Sold Out Crowd for Nebraska POW Camp Archaeology Tour

Last weekend, NAPA member and archaeologist Allison Young presented her graduate research on Nebraska’s Indianola Prisoner of War Camp to a sold out crowd as part of the Buffalo Commons Storytelling weekend. The event, which featured a ‘History’s Mystery’ bus tour to the POW Camp site, proved to be a highlight of the weekend, with a second bus added to accommodate the interested and engaged audience.

The Indianola POW camp was established in 1943 as one of four base internment camps located in Nebraska. In 1944 it became one of the few designated camps in the country that would house pro-Nazi noncommissioned officers. It functioned as such until 1945 when the camp was shut down and the prisoners were repatriated. The camp was later used by the Bureau of Reclamation for employee housing through the 1950s, at which time the land was sold and has since been used for farming and ranching. Young’s investigation of the site focused on exploring the camp’s adherence to the Geneva Convention of 1929, and included metal detection survey and traditional excavation techniques. The completed thesis research is available to be read here.

Allison Young graduated with her master’s degree in anthropology with an emphasis on professional archaeology from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln in 2013. She is currently the park archaeologist of Ozark National Scenic Riverways in southeastern Missouri, where she resides with her dog Hank.

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