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 and adaptation to extreme weather. The team also explores long-term human impacts on the environment, especially the 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. He is also an Affiliate Professor at George Mason University and has taught the Origins of Social Complexity in the Department of Computational Social Science.
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.
Current Team 2016-2017
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.
Kendra Young joined Rogers Archaeology Lab in 2015 as a research assistant. Along with cataloging and processing collections from the River Basin Survey, she supports the Lab with editorial work on current manuscripts and grant proposals and data collection for the joint Mason-Smithsonian NSF/CDI-funded project. Her research foci are North American archaeology, culture contact, Agent-Based Modelling, climate change, and climate-society dynamics.
She has a master's degree in Museum Studies from George Washington University with concentrations in museum management, collections management, and historic preservation. She also holds a Bachelor’s of Science in anthropology, classical archaeology, and museum studies from The Florida State University, and a graduate certificate in non-profit management from The University of North Florida. In 2010, Kendra traveled to Tuscany, Italy to excavate the Etruscan sanctuary Cetamura del Chianti. While in Italy, she also studied Etruscan material culture in museum exhibitions, and conducted an extensive sampling of gelato.
Kendra’s interest in North American archaeology stems from growing up in Florida amongst fossil-filled sinkholes, pre-Columbian burial mounds, and the nation’s oldest continually occupied city, St. Augustine. She gained work experience in both collections and guest relations management at The Museum of Science and History in Jacksonville, Florida. Here she was able to work with a variety of prehistoric, historic, and archival materials, while more importantly, engaging with visitors and the public.
Currently, Kendra is exploring the many museums and cultural activities both the Smithsonian and D.C. offer. Her favorite pastimes are the Jazz in the Garden summer concert series in the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden and taking selfies with the cherry blossoms around the Tidal Basin.
Nicole Marron is a volunteer assisting in cataloging artifacts from the River Basin Survey. She is currently a junior undergraduate student at American University, pursuing a BA in Anthropology with a minor in Environmental Science. She also volunteers at the American University Archaeology Lab, and there she assists in washing, sorting, cataloging, and labelling artifacts from the Biggs-Ford Native American site in Maryland. She has taken an artifact analysis class focusing on this particular site and has done research on the variability of rim sherd decoration.
Nicole is excitedly preparing to attend the Turkana Basin Institute Field School in Kenya for the Spring of 2017. While in Kenya, she will study ecology, geology, paleontology, paleoanthropology, and archaeology. Her aspirations while abroad are to find a hominin fossil and to determine whether zebras are white with black stripes or black with white stripes.
Nicole’s interest in archaeology stems from a genuine curiosity about how people lived in the past. She believes it fascinating how archaeological artifacts and remains can be so informative about people’s past lives. Her interest in North American archaeology stems from living near Leni-Lenape sites while growing up in New Jersey.
Nicole is thoroughly enjoying her current residence in Washington, D.C. She spends her free time exploring the many museums, restaurants, and cultural resources the city has to offer. She aspires to attend graduate school in the future.
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