President Skorton op-ed: social science research in the balance

The FIRST Act has two flaws that could limit future discoveries

By David J. Skorton, Published: May 20

Congress soon will make an important set of decisions that could significantly impact our nation’s global technological and economic edge now and for years to come. The House Science, Space and Technology Committee is about to mark up legislation — the Frontiers in Innovation, Research, Science and Technology Act (FIRST Act) — to reauthorize a number of agencies and programs, including the National Science Foundation, charged with enabling the United States to uphold a position of world leadership in research and education. Read more in the Washington Post…

Manning and international team date climate change and collapse ca. 2200 BCE

Egyptian coffinClimate change caused empire’s fall, tree rings reveal
By Linda B. Glaser (photo:  Ipi-ha-ishutef’s coffin, S. Cristanetti, A. Whyte/Oriental Institute)
A handful of tree ring samples stored in an old cigar box have shed unexpected light on the ancient world, thanks to research by archaeologist Sturt Manning and collaborators at Cornell, Arizona, Chicago, Oxford and Vienna, forthcoming in the June issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science. Read more in the Cornell Chronicle…

In pursuit of ‘the Cappy’: CIAMS photo contest commences

Carter sees TutCIAMS students are invited to submit images from their summer projects for the first annual, highly coveted CIAMS Award for Archaeological Photography, known to insiders as ‘the Cappy’. A modest but substantial book voucher will be awarded for the image that best captures something quintessential about archaeological research and fieldwork, whether it’s the thrill of discovery, drudgery of pottery-washing, a satisfying sampling, or the camaraderie of a shade-cloth well raised. Please send your images (in jpg or other common format) to Assistant Director Chris Monroe via email any time during the summer before the judging begins in early September. Good luck, and may the best shooter win!

CIAMS and Museum Practice

HFJ-Graduate-AlexMellon courses are curating interest in museum practice

[from the Cornell Chronicle] By Daniel Aloi

Students are learning the ins and outs of museum practice from a range of disciplinary perspectives in courses using Cornell resources in collaboration with the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art. “Connecting Research with Practice,” an initiative funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, will ultimately spawn eight collection-based courses co-taught by Cornell faculty members and museum curators and educators. The courses feature class sessions in the museum, visits to campus laboratories, study trips and guest lecturers from Cornell and beyond. Read more in the Cornell Chronicle…

Uthara Suvrathan joins CIAMS as Hirsch Postdoctoral Associate in Archaeology

UtharaWe are pleased to announce the appointment of Uthara Suvrathan, Ph.D. (Anthroplogy 2012, University of Michigan) as the 2014-15 Hirsch Postdoctoral Associate in Archaeology.

Uthara’s research draws on both archaeological and textual material to examine the organization of polities and places on the margins of large socio-political systems and empires in South Asia. She is especially interested in the interaction between political and elite authority and religious institutions and structures in early south India. At Cornell, Uthara will be working on converting her dissertation into a monograph that examines the long term archaeological history of a regional capital in South India and investigates the persistence of places and people on the margins.

Uthara is also involved in collaborative projects aimed at preserving the archaeological heritage in south India and the sharing of archaeological data between scholars working in the region. Working with colleagues in India and the United States, these projects involve the documentation and preservation of previously un-recorded historic inscriptions, as well as the creation of a shareable database recording archaeological site information collected by scholars working across South Asia.

In Fall 2014 – date to be advised - Uthara will give a seminar, ‘Complexity on the Periphery: Regional centres and local elite in south Asia’, as part of the CIAMS Seminar series. We look forward to this, her arrival, and her presence in the CIAMS community. Welcome!

Chronicle: Smith’s Civilization Class Digs into Cornell Future

SmithClass4-28aClass examines Cornell past and future
By Linda B. Glaser (photo by Jason Koski/University Photography)

Anthropology professor Adam Smith instructs students during his “Rise and Fall of ‘Civilization’” class.
“Welcome to Cornell Ruins National Park,” Adam T. Smith tells his students. “We’re lucky today. We have a cache of objects to examine discovered in the ruins of McGraw Hall.” This “Rise and Fall of ‘Civilization’” class examines traditional archaeological topics, like kingship and the origins of cities, partly by looking at our current civilization through the lens of a single site – the Cornell campus as it would look 1,000 years from now. Read more…


CIAMS leadership developments

[from CIAMS Director Sturt Manning's mail of 4/25/14]:

Kurt Jordan has agreed to be the next Director of CIAMS (and of the Archaeology Program) from July 1, 2015.
Sturt Manning has agreed to continue as Director until that time.
Chris Monroe will continue as Assistant Director of CIAMS.
Tom Volman is on leave during next year, and Annetta Alexandridis has kindly agreed to become Chair of the Hirsch and CIAMS Research Grants Committee from this summer.

AIA Lecture: James Kus, ‘What’s New at Machu Picchu’

james_kus_4AIA Lecture: James Kus (Emeritus Professor, California State University), “What’s New at Machu Picchu,”  Wed Apr 30, 6 pm, G22 Goldwin Smith Hall.  Since its discovery a century ago Machu Picchu has become the premier tourist attraction in Peru.  It was recently ranked as one the “Seven Wonders of the World” and is listed as a UNESCO “World Heritage Site.” Prof. Kus discusses two unresolved issues: 1) the future status of artifacts removed from Peru by Explorer and Yale Professor Hiram Bingham and 2) how best to protect the site in the face of ever increasing tourist numbers and competing commercial interests. Read more at AIA website…