News and Events

Current Archaeology In and Beyond the North Country

Over the last few years assistant professor, Dr. Christopher Wolff, and adjunct faculty member, Andy Black, have been regularly involving students in field project in the North Country of New York and beyond. Students attending SUNY Plattsburgh can join them on digs that include the investigation of prehistoric and historic sites in the area. Dr. Wolff also brings students to the Arctic and Subarctic to join him on research expeditions to Alaska and Newfoundland.

Students working at the Allen Farm prehistoric site near Peru, NY

Anthropology Alumnus Haagen Klaus Rescues History

Photo of Haagen KlausHaagen 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 (now Emeritus) 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 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.

While Dr. Pollard no longer teaches since his retirement in 2010, h remains engaged on campus, and his work has been archived in the Special Collections Library at SUNY-Plattsburgh.

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