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 and Research 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. She graduated with honors from the Frederik Meijer Honors College at GVSU. Her archaeological experience includes studying with the College Year in Athens' archaeological field school on Palaikastro, Crete, under the direction of Dr. Alexander MacGillivray. At GVSU she also participated in a geological field school on the Big Island of Hawaii, lead by Dr. Steven Mattox.
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, women's studies 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.
Kathryn Leonard is a part-time contractor who is assisting our office with inventorying and cataloging archaeological collections from the River Basin Survey. She was formerly our Federal Work-Study student in the 2012-2013 school year.
She is currently a junior 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.
Current Interns, Federal Work-Study Students and Volunteers
Lotte Govaerts, is a Volunteer who is assisting our office with inventorying and cataloging archaeological collections from the River Basin Survey. She is a graduate student at the Free University of Brussels (VUB) pursuing a PhD. Her dissertation research involves mass-produced 19th century objects. In line with this work, she is currently examining 19th century artifacts in the NMNH’s River Basin Survey collections.
Lotte has master’s and undergraduate degrees in Archaeology and Art History from the Free University of Brussels (VUB), where she focused on antiquity/classics. Lotte started working as an archaeologist in the U.S. in 2004, and since that time has specialized in North American archaeology.
From 2004 to 2013, Lotte lived and worked in North Carolina where she was involved in all stages of field and laboratory work, artifact analysis, document research, mapping and illustration, and report preparation while working for various institutions. She worked as a contract archaeologist for both Warren Wilson College and Appalachian State University. As an academic contractor, she conducted field work in various interesting locations around the region and supervised students and volunteers in the field and in the lab. Lotte was also senior archaeologist for Blue Ridge Archaeological Consultants, a private archaeology contract company. During her time in North Carolina, Lotte authored over 20 technical reports and was listed as a contributor on many others. She also built several archaeology-related websites. Her research interests include industrialization, urbanization, transportation and communication systems, interactions between people and environment, gender issues, and feminist archaeology.
As a newcomer to the DC area, Lotte very much enjoys the museums and restaurants greater DC has to offer. Other non-archaeology interests include languages (dead or alive), travel, technology, science fiction and fantasy, and gaming.
Former Interns, Federal Work-Study Students and Staff
Hollis Miller is a Natural History Research Experience (NHRE) intern for Summer 2014. She is working on a research project that utilizes the agent-based model, HouseholdsWorld, to study human-environmental interactions. Specifically, she is exploring how social connectivity, such as kinship, economic dependence and communication, affect the ability of a society to recover after severe weather events. Hollis is also assisting the office with inventorying and cataloguing artifacts from the Sommers Collection.
Hollis is currently an undergraduate at Lafayette College in Easton, PA pursuing a B.A. in Anthropology and Geology with a minor in Spanish. During the past year, she has been involved with climatology research at Lafayette that seeks to understand modern climate change by studying the Pliocene epoch (5.3 to 2.7 Ma), which was a period of global warmth relative to the present. Hollis attended the conference of the Northeastern section of the Geological Society of America in March 2014 to present her work on this project.
After graduating from Lafayette, Hollis hopes to pursue a PhD in Anthropology with a focus on the dynamics of human-environmental interactions – how humans adapt to, but also alter, the environments in which they live. Her research interests include climate change, archaeology, paleoclimatology, social-ecological systems and gender and sexuality studies.
Mr. Brennan is currently an undergraduate at the George Washington University and is pursuing a B.S. in biological anthropology. He first became interested in a career in anthropology and archaeology after taking Introduction to Archaeology at GWU, though he says we may have had an influence! His primary interests are forensic anthropology and anatomy.
Here in our office, when he is not labeling a myriad of pot sherds, animals bones, and other artifacts from the Cattle Oiler site (39ST224), he assists us with mailing out copies of the Handbook of the North American Indians to researchers who have requested copies; no small feat! Patrick also recently attended a talk on climate change at the Woodrow Wilson Center with us to better understand our current NSF grant.
Mr. Brennan is originally from Massachusetts. In his free time, he enjoys playing rugby, reading, and playing guitar.
Julia Grasso is an intern working with our team to catalog, process, and research archaeological remains from the Missouri River Basin, excavated during the River Basin Survey from 1945-1969. Ms. Grasso is conducting research on the cultural interaction between the Initial Middle Missouri and Extended Middle Missouri peoples who occupied the Cattle Oiler site (39ST224), one of the several Initial Middle Missouri settlements. As her research progresses, she contributes to our Zotero bibliographic database of literature on the River Basin Survey. Throughout her internship, she is learning collections management strategies, including artifact handling, labeling, and cataloging procedures.
Ms. Grasso is currently a Master’s Candidate at the George Washington University, studying anthropology with a concentration in museum training. Ms. Grasso also holds dual Bachelor of Arts degrees in anthropology and art history from the University of South Carolina (USC). In 2011, she received a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship, and taught English in a German elementary school, the Miriam Lundner Grundschule, in Halberstadt, Germany. She gained experience working with archaeological collections while volunteering in the USC archaeology lab, processing archaeological materials collected from the Topper Site in Allendale County, South Carolina. She also served as the committee chair for the USC Student Gallery and Jo Holladay Funchess Gallery Committee, overseeing the management of on-campus student galleries.
Ms. Grasso’s research and personal interests include collections management, exhibition development, Plains archaeology, and visual anthropology, in particular visual representations of our human ancestors, knitting, the German language, and cycling. She is also an intern in the Invertebrate Zoology department at NMNH, assisting in the reorganization and preparation of the dry invertebrate collections for rehousing. Her future goals include pursuing a career in museums and managing anthropological collections.
Nicole Coscolluela was a Summer 2013 intern who contributed to research on the Missouri River Basin, in particular on the River Basin Survey site, Cattle Oiler (39ST224). During the research process, she contributed to our Zotero bibliographic database of literature on the River Basin Survey. Additionally, she gained experience in archaeological collections management by assisting in labeling and re-housing the artifacts from the River Basin Survey.
Ms. Coscolluela recently graduated from The Johns Hopkins University with a dual Bachelor of Arts degree in Classics and Archaeology. In the fall of 2013, she will commence studies towards a Master’s of Science degree in Human Osteoarchaeology at the University of Edinburgh, the same institution where she spent her junior year abroad. At Edinburgh, she volunteered to catalog the new archaeology book collection and was an active member in the Archaeology Society. Upon returning to Johns Hopkins, she worked at the Alan Mason Chesney Medical Archives as an Undergraduate Archival Assistant, inventorying and cataloging the ever-growing and changing collection, while also working to research and write biographies on prominent figures from the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in preparation for the Archives’ new portrait website.
Primarily trained as a classical archaeologist, Ms. Coscolluela has done fieldwork in Sveti Nikole, Macedonia, excavating the projected site of the capital of the Paionians, Bylazora. Working with an international team of archaeologists and archaeology students under the direction of Dr. William Neidinger and Eulah Matthews of the Texas Foundation for Archaeological and Historical Research, Ms. Coscolluela uncovered Iron Age and Classical Period features, ceramics, stonework, and organic remains lending credence to the initial hypothesis that the acropolis is, in fact, Bylazora.
Ms. Coscolluela’s research interests include Etruscan, Iron Age Italian, and Roman art and archaeology; mortuary archaeology; human osteology; anthropological and archaeological theory; gender and identity; memory; space; age and reproduction in the ancient world; and the public’s engagement with museums and material culture.
Samantha Jo Linford was an intern in Winter 2013 who participated 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 was a research contractor who supported Dr. Rogers in his research efforts related to societal collapse and social adaptations as they relate to climate change. She was 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 was a Directed Research student working for Dr. Rogers in Fall 2012, who was responsible for documenting and cataloging Middle Missouri Plains archaeological sites. She worked 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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