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Department of Anthropology


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Graduate Students

Walter Beckwith
M.S. Quaternary & Climate Studies, Graduate Research Assistant

In conjunction with the multi-disciplinary and mulit-institutional Programme for Belize Archaeological Project, Walter  has conducted a portable XRF spectrometry provenance analysis on over 1,700 obsidian artifacts recovered from a number of ancient Maya sites in the Three Rivers region of northwestern Belize. This allows raw material sourcing and the discovery of ancient trade ways allowing for a glimpse into the ancient Maya political economy. Walter’s analysis is among the largest of its kind ever conducted in the Maya lowlands and forms the core of his masters research. For more information   http://climatechange.umaine.edu/people/profile/walter_beckwith


 Samuel Belknap
Anthropology and Environmental Policy PhD Program – A2C2 IGERT Graduate Fellow

Sam continues his work on the impacts of abrupt changes to the Gulf of Maine on Maine lobstermen. This past summer he worked with lobsterman to understand how they are dealing with environmental changes. Recently he was invited into a multi-state research program tasked with determining how participation by fishermen in research, modeling and outreach can help Atlantic fisheries deal with climate change. Sam has recently presented his research as an invited speaker at Lycoming College in Pennsylvania. He has begun an indepth study of the threat of lobster shell disease on Maine’s lobster fishery with several fellow IGERT students. For more information http://climatechange.umaine.edu/people/profile/samuel_belknap


 Kendra Bird
M.S. Student/Graduate Research Assistant

Kendra is a student in the Climate Change Institute’s Quaternary and Climate Studies MS program. She is working with Dr. Brian Robinson on coastal indigenous archaeology in the Gulf of Maine, particularly the Holmes Point West site in Machiasport, where she has previously spent two field seasons. She is a 2013 UMaine graduate with a BA in Anthropology and minors in Canadian Studies and Franco-American Studies. She is interested in both prehistoric and contact-period historic archaeology in northern New England and eastern Canada, particularly in terms of spatial analysis and site stratigraphy. For more information http://climatechange.umaine.edu/people/profile/kendra_bird


 Kourtney Collum
Anthropology and Environmental Policy PhD Program

Kourtney continues her doctoral research examining the factors that influence adoption of pollinator conservation practices among Maine blueberry growers. She was awarded the 2013 Maine Studies Graduate Student Research and Creativity Award for her paper on issues affecting migrant farmworkers in Maine’s wild blueberry industry. This past summer, Kourtney traveled to Tallahassee, Florida to attend the NSF Ethnographic FieldSchool, a five week immersion program in anthropological methods and community based participatory research (CBPR).


 A. Sky Heller
Anthropology and Environmental Policy PhD Program – A2C2 IGERT Graduate Fellow

Sky was recently accepted into the NSF Funded IGERT program, Adaption to Abrupt Climate Change (A2C2), at the University of Maine. Sky’s dissertation will focus on using information from endangered shell midden sites along the Gulf of Maine to understand past fish ecology. She hopes to use her findings to help form successful conservation and sustainability policies to keep the Gulf of Maine thriving and producative for future generations. Sky received her M.S. in Quaternary Climate Studies with a focus in prehistoric Archaeology from the Climate Change Institute at the University of Maine in 2011. For more information http://climatechange.umaine.edu/people/profile/sky_heller


Ana Cecilia Mauricio
M.S. Student, IPh.D. Student

 On January 13, 2013, Cecilia was an invited participant on a National Geographic Society Live Chat to celebrate the Society’s 125th anniversity. The event featured seven explorers from seven continents including primatologist Jane Goodall and discoverer of the Titanic, Robert Ballard. She is currently excavating the early mound site of Los Morteros on the Peruvian coast. Recently, Cecilia was awarded a National Geographic Society Waitt Foundation grant and a Beca Andina (Andean Fellowship) from the French Institute for Andean Studies. For more information http://climatechange.umaine.edu/people/profile/ana_cecilia_mauricio


Paul Pluta
M.S. Student

 This past summer, along with Dr. Alice Kelley and Dr. Dan Sandweiss, Paul investigated two archaeological sites in the northern costal desert of Peru, in an attempt to reconstruct past El Niño behavior and its relationship to the region’s archaeological record. He also traveled with UMaine researchers Scott Braddock and Dr. Gordon Bromley to Peru’s southern highlands for a project developed with Dr. Kurt Rademaker attempting to date glacial coverage and thus accessibility by prehistoric humans of the Chivay obsidian source. For more information http://climatechange.umaine.edu/people/profile/paul_pluta

Image Description: Walter Beckwith

Image Description: Sam Beckwith

Image Description: Kendra Bird

Image Description: Kourtney Collum

Image Description: Sky Heller

Image Description: Ana Cecilia Mauricio

Image Description: Paul Pluta


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Contact Information

Department of Anthropology
5773 S.Stevens Hall
Orono, Maine 04469-5773
Phone: (207) 581-1894 | Fax: (207) 581-1823E-mail: gail.agrell@umit.maine.edu
The University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469
207.581.1110
A Member of the University of Maine System