Dr. J. Daniel Rogers started working at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in 1989. He earned a Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Chicago. He is currently a Curator of Archaeology in the Department of Anthropology. He is well known for his archaeological work with the Spiro Mounds in Oklahoma and other sites in the southeastern United States, and has studied the rise of chiefdoms and empires across the world.
His work has often focused on households as a bridge to understanding the structure of complex societies and the interrelatedness of settlement, subsistence and political structures on a macroscopic scale. He has also done significant research on interpreting the processes of culture contact and colonization at the edges of empires by comparing data from a variety of areas, including the Great Plains, Central Mexico, the Caribbean, and Inner Asia.
His recent work explores the human impact on the environment as evidenced by archaeology. Through National Science Foundation grants, Dr. Rogers and collaborators at George Mason University are using agent-based simulations to model the rise and fall of Inner Asian empires. Eventually, the team will explore long-term human impacts on the environment, especially sustainability and resilience of different social systems.
In addition to his position at the National Museum of Natural History, Dr. Rogers currently teaches anthropology and museum studies at The George Washington University, where he has been an Adjunct Professor since 2003. His courses focus on museum anthropology and the interaction between museums and the public. His course Anthropology in the Museum underscores the rich archaeological and ethnographic resources in museum collections, and each student undertakes a major collections-based research project.
Currently, Rogers is the Co-PI on a multi-year National Science Foundation (NSF) grant, Cyber-Enabled Understanding of Complexity in Socio-Ecological Systems Using Computational Thinking with his colleagues, Claudio Cioffi-Revilla, (PI), Sean Luke (Co-PI), and Paul Schopf (Co-PI), which follows their work on a previous NSF grant, Agent-Based Dynamics of Social Complexity: Modeling Adaptive Behavior and Long-Term Change in Inner Asia, from 2006-2010.
Dr. Rogers' research interests include: Analysis of social change using ethnohistorical, archaeological, and computational methodologies; the social and community role of museums; theories of meaning and the role of the individual; analysis of human interactions with the environment; the rise of states and empires; Inner Asian history and archaeology; analysis of culture contact in the North America Great Plains, the Caribbean, and Central Mexico; technical analysis of ceramics; agent-based computational simulations.
Meghan S. Mulkerin is a Collections Specialist Contractor working for Dr. Rogers, who manages collections related activities for his office. She catalogs, researches, and processes any objects or collections that Dr. Rogers acquires, as well as other collections that fall under his curatorial purview. Ms. Mulkerin has also been responsible for the upgrade and migration of our bibliographic citation database to newer software, called Zotero, and has used that program to support research for Dr. Rogers' current NSF grant. Meghan is the innovator behind our jump into social media, and has developed this blog to reach out to the public with the work we do here at the Smithsonian. In addition, Meghan has been coordinating the activities of our interns and Federal Work Study students to aid in collections upgrades and the processing of large collections from the River Basin Survey into EMu, our electronic database software. She continues to support Dr. Rogers' research with editorial assistance for his upcoming publications.
Ms. Mulkerin has an M.A. in Museum Studies from The George Washington University, where she focused on collections management, preventive conservation, anthropology, and historic preservation. The Museum Studies Program recently recognized her work with the Marie C. Malaro Award for Excellence in Research and Writing for her article, “Says Who?: Objects and Attribution in Museum Records.” She presented additional research on this topic at the American Association of Museums’ (AAM) 2012 Annual Meeting at the Marketplace of Ideas, and was awarded an Emerging Museum Professionals COMPT Fellowship to attend the conference.
Ms. Mulkerin has worked and been an intern at a number of institutions, including the Grand Rapids Public Museum, the National Museum of African American History and Culture, GWU's Gelman Library Special Collections Research Center, and the National Gallery of Art.
Ms. Mulkerin has a Bachelor of Science degree in Anthropology from Grand Valley State University with a minor in Classical Studies, and a focus area in Geology. While at GVSU, she also earned a Bachelor of Arts in German. Her research interests include collections management strategies, collectors and collecting, public outreach and education, conservation of museum artifacts, historic preservation, sociology, genealogy, modern craft and the handmade movement, fiber arts, European and American decorative arts, the classical world, children’s literature, folklore, the Bavarian dialect, and animal welfare.
Madeline Shaffer is a research contractor working on Dr. Rogers' NSF grant, Cyber-Enabled Understanding of Complexity in Socio-Ecological Systems Using Computational Thinking. She was formerly one of the Federal Work-Study students who assisted our office with inventorying and cataloging archaeological collections from the River Basin Survey, as well as cataloging Dr. Rogers' research library into Zotero.
She recently graduated from The George Washington University, with a B.A. in Archaeology and a minor in Geology. Future goals include pursuing a career in Mesoamerican (specifically Mayan) archaeology and geoarchaeology, while also working in artifact conservation. Ms. Shaffer has lived in Maryland for the past eleven years, and first developed her love for archaeology as a volunteer at the Port Tobacco Courthouse excavation with the Archaeological Society of Maryland.
While at GWU, Maddy continued to gain hands-on experience in archaeology, participating in both local CRM work and Mesoamerican excavations. She worked with Dr. Phil Hill during the CRM excavation of the yard of the Woodhull House in Washington D.C.’s Foggy Bottom area, in which they discovered and documented several historic structures that surrounded the house, as well as personal items of the Woodhull family. The Woodhull House is soon to be incorporated into a textile museum, where several of the artifacts found will be on display. Maddy also traveled to Belize with Professor Linda Brown (GWU) to excavate the Classic Period, Secondary Maya site of Say Kah under the Three Rivers Archaeological Project, located in the Rio Bravo Conservation and Management Area. While there, her research focused on the relationship of Say Kah to the nearby Maya city-state of La Milpa, and its complex structure of political hierarchies. She excavated and documented a food and tool processing site, a retainment wall for the site’s largest temple, and the main midden area, while also organizing and processing artifacts in the lab.
Maddy has been an enthusiastic part of our team here, and is quickly gaining experience in collections management. At home, Maddy enjoys spending time with her two older siblings and family pets, which include three dogs, a calico cat, and a pearl cockatiel.
Maddy’s research interests include Mayan archaeology, the geoarchaeology of Mesoamerica, and Paleoindian archaeology.
Former Interns and Staff
Kathryn Leonard is a Federal Work-Study student who has been assisting our office with inventorying and cataloging archaeological collections from the River Basin Survey, as well as cataloging the documents and books in Dr. Rogers' research library into Zotero.
She is currently a sophomore at The George Washington University intending to graduate with a B.A. in Archaeology and a B.S. in Biological Anthropology. Possible career goals include a degree in Forensic Anthropology. Through The George Washington University and Tel Aviv University, she participated in the Tel Meggido Expedition in Israel, excavating and documenting a Late Bronze Age/Early Iron Age site. This included excavating what was most likely an Iron Age city drainage system and a Bronze Age staircase, as well as learning to document site finds and keep detailed site records.
Ms. Leonard’s research interests include forensic anthropology, osteology, museum conservation, human ancestors, human morphology and function, debunking archaeological myths, Celtic archaeology, Near-East archaeology and linguistics. Her personal interests include the culinary arts, hiking, science-fiction literature, and Japanese language and culture.
Samantha Jo Linford is an intern participating in the UCDC program through her home campus, the University of California Santa Cruz. She is a senior at the University of California Santa Cruz and intends to graduate with a B.A. in both Anthropology and History of Art and Visual Culture. Her emphasis is on North American Archaeology, specifically in the Southwest United States and California. Her future goals include pursuing a career in North American archaeology, museum curation, and artifact conservation.
While attending UCSC Samantha has assisted Professor Judith Habicht-Mauche with ceramic analysis regarding the Tijeras Pueblo in New Mexico. Samantha has worked both in the ceramics lab on campus as well as assisting Linda Cordell and Judith Habicht-Mauche in the field in New Mexico. Samantha has also gained hands on work in California archaeology through participation in a Mission San Antonio field school as well as local CRM contract work in the Santa Cruz County area.
Incorporating both History of Art and Anthropology she is currently working on a senior thesis analyzing the visual components of two Salado polychromes, Gila and Escondida. Escondida is termed a “knock-off” of Gila, but as of yet there has been no conclusive analysis of both ceramic types.
Samantha grew up along the California coast and very much enjoys spending time at the beach paddle boarding, as well as hiking in the Santa Barbara mountains with her three younger brothers.
Margaret Mariani is a research contractor who is supporting Dr. Rogers in his research efforts related to societal collapse and social adaptations as they relate to climate change. She is also a participant in the current NSF grant, and is learning how to run agent-based simulations.
She is currently a graduate student in the Museum Studies program at The George Washington University, where she is concentrating in Collections Management and Anthropology. Ms. Mariani holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and Anthropology from Colgate University with a minor in Spanish. While there, Ms. Mariani co-authored an archaeological report on an Oneida Nation site in the Mohawk Valley of New York. She also researched and curated an exhibit of Mexican artifacts titled "West Mexican 'Jades' from the deHoyos ’41 Collection” for the Longyear Museum of Anthropology.
More recently, Ms. Mariani served as a laboratory intern at the Crow Canyon Archaeological Center in Cortez, Colorado. Her work there focused on processing, analyzing, and cataloguing archaeological artifacts using various laboratory methods while instructing program participants in the same skills. Ms. Mariani also has participated in fieldwork in Belize as a Welker Scholar in the Maya Research Program. While there she excavated a collapsed tomb with associated floor level, exterior staircase, and a termination deposit of pottery.
Ms. Mariani’s research interests include community outreach, education opportunities outside the classroom, the collapse of empires, Mayan hieroglyph decipherment and archaeology, collections management techniques, ceramic analysis, regionalism, architecture, literature, the role of media in modern culture, pre-historic and historic trade patterns, fiber arts, astronomy, archaeology of the southwest United States, and the creation of collections.
Jennifer Pietarila is a Directed Research student working for Dr. Rogers, who is responsible for documenting and cataloging Middle Missouri Plains archaeological sites. She is currently working on researching and cataloging artifacts from the H.P. Thomas site (39ST12) located in Stanley County, South Dakota. Ms. Pietarila is primarily focusing on the chronology of Middle Missouri village sites and looking into material culture variation from native and Euro-American trade. The goal of the research is to develop a publishable manuscript to be sent to the Plains Anthropologist journal, which aims to promote the role of collections, note their accessibility, and provide a larger cultural context within anthropology.
Ms. Pietarila received a B.A. in Anthropology and Classical Studies from the University of Florida, where she focused on biological anthropology, archaeology, and classics. While at the University of Florida, she participated in the St. Johns Archaeological Field School near Silver Glenn Springs, Florida surveying and excavating prehistoric shell mounds. After graduation, she worked for a Cultural Resource Management firm, R.C. Goodwin, surveying pipeline construction projects throughout the Southeastern United States. Continuing her career in archaeology, Ms. Pietarila then took a position as a Data Analyst for the Seminole Tribe of Florida’s Historic Preservation Office, which involved analyzing archaeological reports from federally funded projects for compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.
She is currently a Museum Studies Masters degree candidate at The George Washington University focusing on collections management and anthropology. Her research interests are collections management, policy and procedures, accessibility and care of artifacts, NAGPRA, cultural heritage, archaeology, Native American prehistoric and post-contact periods, and the classical world.
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