2021 CfAS Candidate Statements - Coalition for Archaeological Synthesis

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Coalition for Archaeological Synthesis
   2021 Board of Directors Election

Secretary Candidate Statements

Sara Ayers-Rigsby (MA; RPA; Florida Public Archaeology Network) Archaeology has the power to change the world. As a community archaeologist for the Florida Public Archaeology Network, I spend many of my days at work chatting with people about the archaeology all around them. I am passionate about CfAS's vision "to expand knowledge of the past to shape a more secure and just future." I am interested in running for Secretary to help the Coalition achieve that vision.  

Prior to my role as Director for the Southeast and Southwest Regions of the Florida Public Archaeology Network, I spent ten years working in cultural resource management. I have recently served on boards for the Florida Archaeological Council, and as co-chair for the Public Education and Interpretation Committee for the Society for Historical Archaeology. I would be delighted to have your vote for the position of Secretary for CfAS.

Sarah Herr (AB Bryn Mawr College; MA, PhD University of Arizona; RPA; President, Desert Archaeology, Inc.). Professional service: Chair Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society publications committee (2003- to present); American Cultural Resources Association board (2005-2008) and continuing education committee (2014-present); Society for American Archaeology board (2012-2015), Ethics Task Force 2 (2019-2021) and editor of Advances in Archaeological Practice (2016-present).

As someone with a career in cultural resource management, the prolific data producers of North American archaeology, I see synthesis as the aggregating of scientifically collected interdisciplinary data while inviting interpretations from the many people who participate in the understanding of the past. More specifically, I am interested in how to keep data alive and accessible, and how to get beyond rote data collection practices to sustainable methods that serve the act of syntheses.  Further, I support a conversation about how to financially support expansive visions of archaeological potential.
Treasurer Candidate Statements

Alemseged Beldados (Ph.D;  Associate Professor of Environmental Archaeology, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia; Adjunct Professor of Environmental Archaeology, Simon Fraser University, Canada.)  Alemseged Beldados has over 15 years of experience in Palaeoenvironmental reconstruction and the study of cultural transition from hunting-gathering way of life to early food production. His research focuses on the Pleistocene and Holocene epochs along the Nile Valley and the Horn of Africa. He has published 21 articles (including a joint publication in Journal Science), 3 book chapters, a monograph and edited a book with two other colleagues on palaeoenvironment, climate change and human adaptation. He has participated in field researches (both as a PI and research associate) in Ethiopia, the Sudan, Malawi, South Africa, Bahrain, Norway and Italy. He is a founding member of Ethiopian Archaeologists’ Association (EAA), member and current Central Executive Committee member of Society of Africanist Archaeologists’ (SAFA) representing Africa at large and member of Society for American Archaeology (SAA). Together with fellow scientists, Alemseged has secured very competitive research grants in his country and internationally (European Research Council, German Research Foundation Grant, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Grant, Canada).  

I recently learned that I am nominated to compete for the Position of Treasurer, Coalition for Archaeological Synthesis Board. I have gone through the objectives and activities of the Coalition in the web site, which I found it to be very interesting. I, therefore, would like to express my willingness to run for the position.

Christine R. Szuter (PhD University of Arizona) I serve as treasurer of CfAS and have been involved with the new partnership with UC-Boulder. As an archaeologist my research has focused on human-animal interactions, digital humanities, and legacy collections. As past President & CEO of the Amerind Foundation, an Indigenous museum, art gallery, and research center, we hosted the CfAS design workshop on human migration. Prior to Amerind I directed a graduate publishing program at ASU and was director of the University of Arizona Press overseeing a $2 million budget. I have served on the finance committee of Western National Parks Association and treasurer at Arizona Humanities. Now I am on the boards of the Amerind Foundation, Alexandria Archive Institute, Southwestern Foundation, and Tucson Botanical Gardens. CfAS is truly a visionary organization that is seeking ways to advance science and human understanding through deep archaeological history and interdisciplinary research. As treasurer, I would work with others to advance that mission.
Director Candidate Statements, Academic Units

Stefani A. Crabtree (PhD; Assistant Professor of Socio-Environmental Modeling, Department of Environment and Society, Utah State University; ASU-SFI Center for Biosocial Complex Systems Fellow at The Santa Fe Institute). She holds three additional external affiliations: Research Associate at Crow Canyon Archaeological Center, Fellow at the Centre de Recherches Interdisciplinaires Paris, and Research Associate at the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage. Her research applies complex systems science modeling methodologies (such as agent-based modeling and network science) to problems in archaeology and ecology. Current research topics include the human place in ecosystems worldwide, the ability to use the archaeological past to calibrate our understanding of human resilience, and the feedbacks between ecosystem health and human health. Dr. Crabtree holds two PhDs, one from Washington State University (Anthropology, 2016) and one from the Université de Franche-Comté (Maison des Sciences de l’Homme et l’Environnement, 2017).  

Interdisciplinary research is critical for solving the world's problems, and archaeology especially as a field can teach us much about the long-term trajectory of the ways that humans impact the planet. However, to be able to leverage this rich dataset, we need people to work together, to work across disciplines, and to work to bring disparate and often poorly curated datasets together to approach these problems. The mission of the Coalition for Archaeological Synthesis, to bring together scientists working on cross-cutting problems who aim to bring data together to address them, approaches these challenges with alacrity. We need more scientists working together, more data readily accessible, and more archaeological approaches to be used outside of just archaeology. I believe CfAS is poised to help with these challenges, and would be interested to help guide CfAS to address them.

Enrico Crema.  (PhD in Archaeology 2013 UCL Institute of Archaeology; Senior Lecturer [Associate Professor] in Computational Analysis of Long-Term Human Cultural and Biological Dynamics, Department of Archaeology, University of Cambridge). Before my current position, I worked as a research associate at UCL, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, and the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research. I have recently been awarded a Philip Leverhulme Prize in Archaeology, and I am currently a PI of an European Research Council-funded project that investigates demic and diffusion events in prehistoric Japan during the 1st millennium BC. My research is primarily focused on the application and development of computational and quantitative methods with a strong commitment to open science and reproducible research. I am interested in being actively engaged with CfAS, particularly from the standpoint of the unique methodological challenges required for pursuing synthetic research, especially those pertaining to the collation and the re-use of legacy datasets.

Barbara J. Mills, (PhD 1989 University of New Mexico; RPA; Regents Professor of Anthropology, University of Arizona; Curator of Archaeology in the Arizona State Museum; member, American Indian Studies Graduate Interdisciplinary Program. I am a strong proponent of archaeological synthesis and the CfAS’s emphasis on making archaeological research relevant to society. Geographically, my research is in the U.S. Southwest, where I have directed a number of team-based collaborative projects aimed at macroregional data collection, analysis, and preservation including the Southwest Social Networks Project, the Chaco Social Networks Project, and cyberSW. Topically, I am interested in how social networks promote/impede successful migrations, and especially how climate change, inequality, and migration intersect to create/dismantle social institutions. Future climate change will affect millions of people who practice subsistence farming, fishing, and foraging around the world and archaeology’s ‘deep time’ perspective can be marshalled to demonstrate the importance of social networks in counteracting such change. As a board member of the CfAS I would work across partner organizations to ensure that the coalition continues to be a strong proponent of synthesis to affect contemporary and future social well-being.

Mathew Peeples (Associate Professor, Arizona State University) I am an archaeologist working primarily in the U.S. Southwest. Most of my research has been team-based and focused on regional-scale synthesis. This has involved efforts to compile, reuse, and increase the accessibility of legacy data to address questions centered on the long-term evolution of social networks (Southwest Social Networks and CyberSW projects). I strongly believe that archaeology has the potential to make major contributions to ongoing debates in the broader social and behavioral sciences and that data synthesis and comparative research are important paths toward connecting with interdisciplinary conversations on issues that impact people’s lives today. I am excited about the possibility of working with CfAS to develop strategies to materially support new projects and teams and to help develop approaches towards an archaeology that is widely seen as relevant and useful beyond disciplinary boundaries and to society at large.  

Alessandro Sebastiani (PhD;  Assistant Professor in Roman Archaeology and Board Member, Institute for European and Mediterranean Archaeology, University at Buffalo [SUNY]). I am the   Before joining Buffalo, I was a Visiting Professor in Archaeology at Charles University in Prague, and between 2012 and 2014 I was awarded a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Intra European Fellowship at the University of Sheffield.

I am interested in joining the Board of Directors of CfAS as I strongly believe that our discipline plays a crucial role in the preservation and transmission of cultural heritage. As we are educating the next generation of archaeologists and anthropologists, our task is to deliver new crucial directions in addressing the knowledge that archaeological data can provide to society. The projects I direct have a strong component of placemaking, where communities are the direct targets of our research; in order to transmit the historical authenticity of our common past, I am engaged with developing digital techniques and tools to make the cultural heritage available to everyone. I am determined to bring and develop this approach by joining the CfAS, and ready to commit my time and research to the purposes of the Coalition.
Director Candidate Statements, Cultural Heritage Services Providers

Stefan Brannan (PhD U of Georgia; New South Associates) I am the Associate Director of Archaeology at New South Associates, Inc., a Cultural Resource Management firm headquartered in Stone Mountain, Georgia.  In my current role, I collaborate with a wide swath of academic, public and private sector, and community stakeholders to evaluate, preserve, and manage important cultural and heritage resources through the southeastern United States.  I value the roles of big data and comprehensive synthetic research in expanding our understanding of the human past and informing society into the future.  My own research reflects those values through a multiscalar engagement with the archaeological record articulated with big picture issues including climate change, balancing heritage preservation against development needs, and amplifying under-represented histories and current perspectives.  If elected, it would be my honor to serve the members of the CfAS and further the mission and vision of the organization.

Daron Duke (PhD; RPA; Far Western Anthropological Research Group, Inc.). I am thankful for the opportunity to serve on the CfAS Board as Cultural Heritage Service Provider Director. I am a Principal at Far Western Anthropological Research Group, a California-based CRM firm. I currently serve on the CfAS Board, where I represent the CRM industry via the American Cultural Resources Association, at which I am also a Board member. I recently completed service on the SAA’s Excellence in Archaeological Analysis Award Committee and will begin in 2021 on its Crabtree Award Committee. I have a diverse background in CRM of 25 years and hold the strong belief that the law is best interpreted and the archaeological resources are best served by scientific research-based approaches. My published efforts are based mainly on CRM-generated data. CfAS is uniquely suited to extend the reach of CRM data through its mission, and I would be honored, if elected, to help see this forward.

Shawn Fehrenbach (PaleoWest) has been with PaleoWest since 2010. In that time, he’s served as Archaeologist, Project Director, Director of Graphics and GIS, Chief Information Officer, Chief Operating Officer, and was appointed PaleoWest’s CEO in February of 2019. As the original database developer for the PaleoWay digital data recording system, he helped make PaleoWest the first fully-digital cultural resources consulting firm in the US in 2011. Shawn has provided strategic leadership by guiding bold investments in developing technology to benefit both the firm and the industry more broadly. As the CEO, Shawn now provides leadership and vision throughout PaleoWest, overseeing all operations, fiscal activity, and business strategy. Shawn’s strong technical background in database development and innovative technologies, combined with his reach and perspectives as CEO of one of the largest archaeological consulting firms in the world, make him an ideal addition to the Board of the CfAS.

Michael Heilen, (PhD; RPA; Director/Principal Investigator, Center for the Study of Cultural Landscapes, Statistical Research, Inc.; Principal Data Scientist / Senior Geospatial Analyst, Federal Contractor Staff for Arizona Army National Guard) As a current member of the CfAS Board of Directors, I believe that archaeological synthesis can help guide our global future and that cultural resource management (CRM) data will play a vital role. Synthesis of CRM data is critical to managing the effects of climate change, encroachment, and social upheaval on modern societies and ecosystems. Synthesis is also critical to preserving heritage. Since 2005, I have focused as a CRM practitioner on refining CRM data collection and management practices and have directed multiple regional synthesis and modeling projects. If elected, I will champion the improved quality, standardization, accessibility, and integration of CRM data. I will support synthetic studies that extend beyond our professional preferences and focus instead on contemporary societal issues that are relevant to policy makers, indigenous communities, other disciplines, and the public.
Director Candidate Statements, Informatics Providers

Eric Kansa (OpenContext) leads development for Open Context (https://opencontext.org), a data publishing and curation service for archaeology. He manages the technical aspects of data publishing and archiving, including systems interoperability, data integration, and indexing. His research explores research data informatics, research data policy, ethics, and the social and professional context of the digital humanities. Eric joins CfAS to help promote intellectual and professional engagement with, and reuse of, shared archaeological data.  

Nadezhda Kecheva. (Assistant Professor, National Archaeological Institute with Museum at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia, Bulgaria). I am an archaeologist working in the fields of non-destructive survey methods and GIS applications in archaeology. I am also part of the team working on the “Archaeological Map of Bulgaria” project – an information system collecting recorded data for archaeological sites in a standardized format. I have been participating in ARIADNE project since 2013. Sharing metadata, data and knowledge in a simple and FAIR way is quite common and necessary in the world of archaeological investigations. The Coalition for Archaeological Synthesis work focused on fostering synthesis in archaeology to expand knowledge and benefit society arouses my interest in sharing ideas and knowledge gathered in my archaeological work and in both ARIADNE and ARIADNEplus projects.

Chris Nicholson (Executive Director, Center for Digital Antiquity and tDAR [the Digital Archaeological Record], School for Human Evolution and Social Change, Arizona State University).  In this capacity, I work to promote digital data preservation, open access platforms, and data reuse.  I am also interested in implementing and promoting the FAIR-CARE principles (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable—Collective Benefit, Authority to Control, Responsible, and Ethical) in archaeological research and cultural heritage management.  Aside from this work, my collaborative research projects focus on data synthesis using paleoclimatological data and proxies for paleodemography to understand the impacts of climate on past population dynamics.  I believe that CfAS is well positioned nationally to lead the discussion and promote synthetic research, and in my role at Digital Antiquity I can contribute to those efforts by promoting best management practices in data access, sharing, and reuse.

Holly Wright (Archaeology Data Service, University of York).  Dr. Wright combine a prior career in the arts and community building through the arts, with a current career in archaeology and digital methods, specializing in visualization in archaeology and Semantic Web technologies, open data management, and equity of data access. She is currently International Projects Manager for the Archaeology Data Service (ADS), managing a range of research projects where ADS is a partner, contributing to the sector at large as well as ADS policy direction. Primary projects currently include ARIADNEplus, the aggregation infrastructure for archaeological data for Europe, and Saving European Archaeology from the Digital Dark Age (SEADDA) an international networking project to expand the stewardship, management and re-use of archaeological data. Both projects include over 40 partners representing over 20 countries. She currently serves on the Scientific Advisory Board for the Austrian Centre for Digital Humanities and Cultural Heritage.
Director Candidate Statements, Non-governmental Organizations

Gary Feinman (Field Museum of Natural History). As an archaeologist and museum professional, I have been inspired to marshal what we learn about the past to inform the present and help create more equitable futures. My privilege has been to carry out extensive field research in Oaxaca, Mexico, and Shandong, China, where I have forged enduring ties with local people, scholars, and institutions. My history reflects strong, sustained commitments to synthetic, comparative research on a range of themes, many of which dovetail with the contemporary challenges of sustainability, governance, and economic equity; the lion’s share of the research has been enacted in collaborative teams. The alignment of my archaeological experience with the mission of the Coalition for Archaeological Synthesis affords a welcome opportunity as a Board member to help lock-in and further the Coalition’s goals and to elicit archaeologically informed dialogues and communications with scholarly communities and a diversity of publics.   

Ndukuyakhe Ndlovu (Manager, Archaeology, South African National Parks). He was most recently a Senior Lecturer (Archaeology) within the Department of Anthropology and Archaeology at the University of Pretoria and the Editor-in-Chief of the South African Archaeological Bulletin. Previously, NDUKUYAKHE served as a Council member for the Association of Southern African Professional Archaeologists (ASAPA) and the South African Archaeological Society (SAAS), and is currently the Secretary for the World Archaeological Congress (WAC). His research focuses on southern African rock art, the management of heritage resources, and transformation in archaeology. Ndukuyakhe strongly believes in collaborative approach to archaeological research, making use of various skill-sets to answer the various questions we come up with in our discipline. More importantly, it is about giving communities meaningful roles to play within our research activities.

Felix Riede (Aarhus University [Denmark]). I am an anthropological archaeologist with a strong interest in human-environment relations and quantitative methods. Born and raised in Germany, I am trained in the UK with a PhD from Cambridge. For the last ten-odd years, I have been at Aarhus University, first as Assistant, then Associate and now Full Professor. I’m also currently PI of a major European Research Council-funded project applying cultural evolutionary and eco-informatic methods to the Pleistocene-Holocene transition in Europe, but I also have an interest in cognitive archaeology and the Anthropocene. My interest in synthesis is backed by an awareness of the biases introduced by research history and study design traditions, which my group seeks to explore and overcome using computational methods. We are currently working on protocols for systematic literature reviews and meta-analyses of lithic data (Hussain et al. 2021).

Ibrahima Thiaw (PhD in Anthropology Rice University, Houston, Texas;  Professor of Archaeology, Institut Fondamental d'Afrique Noire [IFAN], University Cheikh Anta Anta Diop of Dakar, Senegal) My past and current research interests include, the Atlantic slave trade, colonial archaeology, Euro-African interactions in the making of the modern world, museums, culture heritage management and, the politics of memory and identity. I am a strong advocate for decoloniality in research practices, reflexivity and community engagement. For many communities around the globe, exclusion, inequality and social justice have deep roots in the past and continue to underlie our modern living together. For more than 20 years, I have been committed to problem solving archaeology and, through alternative field practices, student training, heritage management and community engagement, I have worked at mitigating the legacies of colonial science to liberate and advance all human genius to enhance our present and future living together. I will bring that capital to the Coalition for Archaeological Synthesis and relentlessly work with the rest of the Board “to foster synthesis in archaeology to expand knowledge and benefit society”.

Willeke Wendrich  (PhD 1999 Leiden University;  RPA; University of California, Los Angeles) Wendrich is co-chair of the Board of Governors of the Institute for Field Research, a non profit organization specialized in the organization of academically rigorous, peer-reviewed field schools, ensuring top quality of both research and field training. The projects offering their field schools through IFR generate archaeological data and IFR stimulates its participants to adhere to FAIR data standards (Findability, Accessibility, Interoperability, and Reusability). Wendrich holds the Joan Silsbee Chair in African Cultural Archaeology, is professor of Egyptian Archaeology and Digital Humanities in the NELC Department at UCLA and the director of the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at UCLA. She has worked for 30 years in Egypt and currently directs a project in Ethiopia, with a strong focus on ethnoarchaeology and community archaeology.
Director Candidate Statements, Professional Associations

Felipe Criado-Boado (Professor of Research at the CSIC [Spanish National Research Council]; Director of Incipit [CSIC Institute of Heritage Sciences, based in Santiago de Compostela, Spain]; President of the European Association of Archaeologists until September 2021). Major areas of expertise are: Landscape Archaeology (mostly dealing with cognition of space, Megalithism and origins of monumental architecture); Rock art; formation of peasant landscapes; and Archaeological theory (with special interest on interpretive theory, critical heritage studies and public science). I am trying to join archaeological knowledge and interpretations about Heritage with the production and social use of cultural values through an Applied Archaeology. Synthesis and Global thinking are not an option but a must if we want to use the privileged field of Archaeology to think about reality from a unique perspective that is engaged with materiality, heritage, history, memory, and identity. Therein lies my deep interest in CfAS and the reason that I endorsed this initiative before its official beginning.

Chris Fennell (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign) I am an anthropologist specializing in historical archaeology, diaspora studies, and legal anthropology as a Professor of Anthropology and Law. My empirical research addresses subjects in trans-Atlantic historical archaeology and the dynamics of social group affiliations and lifeways among Europeans, Africans, and various social groups within the Americas. These research initiatives include interpretative frameworks focusing on social group identities, diaspora studies, regional systems and commodity chains, consumption patterns, and analysis of craft and industrial enterprises. I am the founding editor of the Journal of African Diaspora Archaeology and Heritage, past board member of the Society for Historical Archaeology, editorial board member of the International Journal of Historical Archaeology, and past president of the Illinois Archaeological Survey. My work entails integrating my research results with my synthetic evaluations of the findings from comparative sites and topics. I greatly appreciate the Coalition’s dedication to advancing broad and impactful syntheses of archaeological research

John Kantner (Professor of Anthropology, Interim Associate Provost, Associate Vice President for Research & Dean of the Graduate School, University of North Florida).  I am honored to have been nominated to serve on the CfAS’s Board of Directors, in the position of Professional Association Director. CfAS is one of the most important archaeological organizations to emerge in recent years, and I was happy to support it as a Vice President at the School for Advanced Research when CfAS was first established. I advocated for the American Anthropological Association’s Archaeology Division (AD) to become a Coalition Partner when I served as the AD’s Treasurer. I continue to support the organization as an Associate.  Synthesis and collaboration have been fundamental to my career. From my participation in the Chaco Synthesis Project in the early 2000s, to developing an NSF-funded seminar series at the School for Advanced Research in the 2010s, to my current responsibilities as a VP for Research, I have regarded interdisciplinary synthesis as critical for developing actionable knowledge to address the world’s most intractable problems. But this type of discovery is challenging because it requires financial resources and large-scale multi-institutional collaboration that is difficult to manage. Promoting this important work requires the kind of focused effort that has been demonstrated by the programs and initiative of the CfAS. I welcome the opportunity to assist the organization in expanding its impact.

Jen Parker Wooding (PhD; MCIfA; Senior Professional Standards & Practice Coordinator, Chartered Institute for Archaeologists [CIfA]), I am an accredited historic environment professional with wide ranging skills and competence in professional standards and guidance, academic research, fieldwork, post-excavation and zooarchaeology. I completed my undergraduate (BSc) and postgraduate (MSc & PhD) degrees in archaeological science at the University of Bradford, UK where I am also an Honorary Research Fellow. My PhD focused on palaeopathology, specifically the identification of bovine tuberculosis in zooarchaeological assemblages from the UK and Iceland, which involved study visits to Hunter College (CUNY) and the University of Bergen. My current role at CIfA focuses on supporting the management, review and implementation of the Institute’s professional practice initiatives which promote high professional standards and ethics in archaeological practice, maximising the benefits that archaeologists bring to society. This involves representing CIfA at meetings, managing/collaborating on multi-disciplinary projects and facilitating the development of guidance and resources.

If elected I am confident that I could contribute a useful mix of skills, knowledge, and expertise to the role. My experience in archaeology (both research and commercial) has served to emphasise the importance of knowledge exchange, the promotion of archaeological synthesis and the importance of collective impact, therefore, I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to support CfAS in the delivery of its goals and initiatives.

Latifa Sari (PhD in Prehistory with Honors, University of Paris X, France; Director of Research in Prehistory Centre National de Recherches Préhistoriques, Anthropologiques et Historiques, Algeria; Executive Board, PanAfrican Archaeological Association [PAA]). My research interests focus on lithic technology and social organization of Late Pleistocene-Early Holocene Hunter-Gatherers. I am author and co-author of several peer-reviewed scientific papers published in international journals and I have done several stays in different research centers such as CNRS (France). I will be honored and deeply touched if I will be elected to serve as Professional Association Director on the Board of Directors of the Coalition for Archaeological Synthesis (CfAS). I really intend to use my expertise to advance as individual the mission and vision of the Coalition without representing the interests of the organization to which I belong.
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