News and Events

Photo of Haagen KlausAnthropology Alumnus Haagen Klaus Rescues History

Haagen Klaus sees dead people. Lots and lots of dead people.

The bioarchaeologist — and assistant professor in both anthropology and biology at Utah Valley University — studies the excavated bodies of ancient Andeans in the Lambayeque Valley, Peru. Through the bones, teeth and other bits of evidence found at the South American site, Klaus has been able to uncover a wide range of data that shows how these people lived and died. Many were killed in ritual sacrifice a thousand years ago.

Seeds Planted Here

Klaus discussed his work — and life since graduating in 2000 — during Homecoming Weekend in October when he returned to campus as a distinguished visiting alumnus. Klaus praised the foundation of his anthropological career, cemented under the tutelage of Drs. Gordon Pollard and Mark Cohen, professors of anthropology. Read more.

Professor Changed How Anthropologists, Archeologists and Scientists View History

Photo of Mark Cohen holding a skullSUNY Distinguished Professor of Anthropology Mark Cohen often tells his students a story about how, as a graduate student working on archeological sites for Louis and Mary Leakey, he met up with Jane Goodall and her husband at the time, Hugo van Lawick. Goodall and van Lawick taught Cohen some tough lessons about how to live in the wild. Their teachings saved him from an all-too-close encounter with a pride of lions 24 hours later.

'Civilization is clearly not good for people...'

For most of written history, people have taken for granted that the transition from food-gathering to food-cultivating and from "primitive" to "civilized" were purely positive things. They were seen as involving clever inventions and giant steps forward for humankind. As Cohen puts it, "An older theory had it that people just invented new things and life got better and better."

Controversial at the time, Cohen's work introduced the idea that this view was incorrect and that, in Cohen's words, "civilization is clearly not good for people." Read more.

Dr. Gordon Pollard Named SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor

Photo of Gordon Pollard"In the classroom, the field and the lab; in formal and informal student advising and support; and in his scholarship and service activities, Dr. Pollard has consistently maintained high standards of performance for himself and his students," said SUNY Plattsburgh President John Ettling. "He is richly deserving of this promotion."

Pollard has made many contributions to the SUNY Plattsburgh community since he came to the campus in 1970, but his "most distinctive contribution as a teacher has been in the design and execution of archaeological field experiences for SUNY Plattsburgh students," said Ettling. "Dr. Pollard redirected his energies in the early 1980s toward local historical archeology so that many more students ... could learn archeology by doing it -- at local field sites, in local archives and museums and in local labs."

Beyond his work in the field, Pollard has been recognized for his work with students in the classroom. Pollard said that he is humbled by the outpouring of support for this honor. One of his biggest thrills, however, is seeing students discover a love of anthropology. "It's been great seeing them get hooked and stay in the field," he said. Read more.

Anthropology Graduation Reception, 2006

Anthropology Picnic -- April 29, 2006

Alaska Internship on Disability & Inclusion

For the summer of 2003, twelve SUNY Plattsburgh students were selected to go to Alaska and participate in the Hope Community Resources, Inc. disability and inclusion program. Learn more about Internship Opportunities in Alaska.

New Summer Internship in New York State

Three SUNY Plattsburgh students participated in a paid internship at Lake Luzerne, New York, in 2003. The program is based at the Double "H" Hole in the Woods Ranch for chronically ill children, and is directed by Plattsburgh State anthropology graduate Peter Carner. Students assist in counseling and conduct ethnographic studies at this unique facility. Learn more about Summer Internship Opportunities.

Local Historical Archaeology

In the summer of 2001, eleven SUNY Plattsburgh undergrads participated in Dr. Pollard's archaeological field course at the 19th century Clintonville iron forge site 25 miles south of Plattsburgh. This was the fourth summer of work at what had been one of the world's largest iron-making facilities that employed "bloomery" forges. Learn more about fieldwork opportunites at the Clintonville Iron Forge site.

Alumnus Receives Masters Degree with Distinction

Congratulations to Haagen Klaus, an anthropology major from SUNY Plattsburgh's class of 2000, who recently received his masters degree in anthropology from the University of Southern Illinois, Carbondale. He passed his oral thesis defense "with distinction." Haagen's bioarchaeology thesis is entitled "Life and Death at Huaca Sialupe: the Mortuary Archaeology of a Middle Sican Community, North Coast of Peru." In October of 2003 Haagen was nominated for, and received, the Southern Illinois University Alumni Association Outstanding Thesis Award. Haagen is continuing his graduate studies, and is now working on his Ph.D. in bioarchaeology at Ohio State University.

Bringing the World to the Classroom

Knowledge of world geography is very useful in the study of other cultures. As an aid in anthropology courses, the department recently installed an 8' x 16' detailed world map on the wall of one of our heavily utilized classrooms in Redcay Hall. Dr. Gordon Pollard, Dept. Chairperson, and Gary Russell from Maintenance & Operations stand beside the new installation.

Student Anthropology Club Activated

After a lapse of several years, the undergraduate Anthropology Club has been reactivated by a group of dedicated students. The recently elected officers include Rachel Scheckman (President), Danny Keeler (Vice-President), Hopeanne Simpson (Secretary), and Karen Flanders (Treasurer). Club meetings are open to all interested persons. Announcement of meeting times and places can be found on SUNY Plattsburgh's Bulletin Board, or on the Club's own internet page:www.geocities.com/rachelscheckman/PSUAnthropologyClub.html

Questions, Comments, Suggestions?

If you would like more information about the Anthropology program at SUNY Plattsburgh, please contact:

Dr. Deborah Altamirano, Chair
Office: Redcay Hall 121
Phone: (518) 564-4010
Email: altamidr@plattsburgh.edu

Laura Collier
Department Secretary
Office: Redcay Hall 103
Phone: (518) 564-3003
Toll-Free Phone: (800) 398-4801
Email: laura.collier@plattsburgh.edu