ISAS Welcomes New Staff
ISAS is pleased to announce the hire of four individuals for the Research Archaeologist position at our American Bottom Field Station (ABFS). The position required individuals with extensive field and supervisory experience, as well as experience in Mississippian archaeology. It entails supervising excavation crews presently working at the East St. Louis Mound Center (ESTL) as part of the New Mississippi River Bridge Project. ABFS Research Archaeologists are part of the Special Projects’ staff under the direction of Dr. Andrew Fortier, Associate Director – Special Projects. The ESTL site is one of the most complex archaeological sites in North America and, to date, has yielded over 500 prehistoric structures with 1,700 pit features—most dating to the early Mississippian period (circa A.D. 1050–1200). It is presently the largest archaeological undertaking in North America.
We welcome Brent Lansdell, Tamira Brennan (Christensen), Dr. Alleen Betzenhauser, and H. Blaine Ensor. Brennan and Betzenhauster have previous and present work experience with ISAS and at the ESTL site. Lansdel and Ensor come from outside our organization, but bring strong interests in Mississippian archaeology, including perspectives from outside the American Bottom. All four hires have extensive supervisory and leadership experience. ISAS looks forward to their contributions to the ESTL excavation and projects beyond this!
Brent Lansdell has completed an M.A. in archaeology in 2009 from the University of Mississippi. He has experience supervising and digging at the Carson Mound Group in northwest Mississippi, at a plantation and Early Contact period Native American habitation site on Daniel Island, South Carolina and at Townsend, Tennessee a large multi-cultural occupation in the Little River Valley. His primary area of interest is in Mississippian period studies. His M.A. thesis was entitled: “A Chronological Assessment of the Carson Mound Group, Stovall, Mississippi.” He currently holds professional memberships with the Council of South Carolina Professional Archaeologists, Southeastern Archaeology Conference, and the Society for American Archaeology. He was employed by a Cultural Resource Management firm—
PBS & J—located in Austin, Texas, but the allure of working at ESTL overrode the smaller survey jobs offered by his company.
Tamira Brennan is a Ph.D. candidate at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, where she received her M.A. Degree in 2005. She is currently working on her dissertation, entitled: “Community and Identity in the Mississippian Period Midsouth.” She has extensive experience supervising large crews and has served as site director, principal investigator, and instructor at sites in southern Illinois, the American Bottom, and southeastern Missouri. She was previously employed by ISAS and was a field crew chief at the Janey B. Goode site; this site has yielded over 7,000 features and is only several kilometers north of the ESTL site. Her research specialties are in Mississippian architecture, ceramics, and lithics, but she has also worked with human remains in Peoria, Illinois and Gravina in Puglia (Italy), as well as with faunal remains from an Archaic site in southwestern Indiana. Her dissertation is centered around the community structure at the Kincaid site in southern Illinois—a large Mississippian town and mound center. Tamira is a member of the Illinois Archaeological Survey, Missouri Association of Professional Archaeologists, Missouri Archaeological Society, Southeastern Archeological Conference, and is a part of the committee on curriculum for the Society for American Archaeology.
Alleen Betzenhauser completed her Ph.D. in Anthropology in the spring of 2011 at the Department of Anthropology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The title of her dissertation is: “Creating the Cahokian Community: The Power of Place in Early Mississippian Sociopolitical Dynamics.” She has strong interests in Mississippian archaeology, geophysical prospection, ceramic and lithic analysis, GIS, urbanism and rurality, and public outreach. She has been a site supervisor at various American Bottom sites, including Fish Lake, Fingers, Janey B. Goode, Pfeffer, Auburn Sky, Brennan-Hynd, Washausen, and East St. Louis. In addition, she has assisted Dr. Michael Hargrave (CERL) with geophysical prospecting at various sites—including Cahokia, Fox Fort, New Philadelphia, and Poverty Point in Louisiana and co-directed surveys with Hargrave at the Washausen and Divers sites as part of her doctoral research. In 2010, she received first place for best student paper at the 56th Annual Meeting of the Midwest Archaeological Conference. She has publications dating back to 2003. She has professional affiliations with the Society for American Archaeology, Illinois Archaeological Survey, Midwestern Archaeology Conference, Missouri Archaeological Society, and Southeastern Archaeological Conference. For the past two years Betzenhauser had been working at the ESTL site as a supervisor/crew chief and a long history with ISAS as a student Research Associate and hourly employee.
H. Blaine Ensor has an M.A. from the University of Alabama (1981) and comes to us with an extensive background in field excavation (31 years) in the Eastern Woodlands, including Southeastern United States (Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee, South Carolina, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Louisiana), Southern Plains (Texas), and central Midwest (Iowa, Indiana, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Nebraska), and more recently in southern Illinois. He had been working with a private consulting firm, Historic Properties Consultants, located in Murphysboro, Illinois. He has technical skills in both lithic and ceramic analyses, artifact taxonomy, and method and theory. He has a strong interest in PaleoIndian lithic technology (Clovis) and is currently conducting research into the earliest Americans (pre-Clovis). He has published over 150 technical reports and delivered over 35 papers at professional archaeological conferences. Ensor is on the Register of Professional Archaeologists and belongs to the Society for American Archaeology, Illinois Archaeological Survey, Southeastern Archaeological Conference, Alabama Association of Professional Archaeologists, and the Alabama Archaeological Society. Ensor is also an accomplished musician, writing lyrics for new songs, which he plays and sings in his own music studio in Murphysboro and occasionally at public venues.
The ISAS Bioarchaeology Lab would like to announce the hire of Ms. Lenna Nash for a Bioarchaeology Specialist position at our American Bottom Field Station (ABFS). The Bioarchaeology Specialist position at the ABFS involves assisting in the field identification and excavation of human remains encountered on ISAS projects, as well as assisting and supervising laboratory processing of recovered human remains, completing osteological inventories and analyses, and preparing technical compliance reports related to mortuary features and human skeletal remains.
Lenna Nash completed her M.A. in Anthropology at the University of Mississippi in 2010. Her M.A. thesis was entitled: “Osteology of the Chalillo Dam Archaeology Salvage Project, Upper Macal River Valley, Belize.” Lenna has several years experience in archaeological survey, excavation, and lab processing of archaeological materials and osteological remains, including the excavation and analysis of Mayan skeletal remains in Belize. Nash also has experience with several large cemetery relocation projects in Atlanta, Georgia and Charleston, South Carolina. Nash served as the company osteological consultant for Brockington and Associates, a Cultural Resource Management firm in Charleston, South Carolina, and was most recently employed by PBS & J, a CRM firm located in Austin, Texas. Lenna’s excavation experience—and her appreciation for dental morphology—are a very welcome addition to the ISAS Bioarchaeology Division.
Photos by Mera Hertel
[posted October 4, 2011]