Lauren W. Ritterbush, PhD
Associate Professor of Archaeology
17 Waters Hall
Kansas State University
Manhattan, KS 66506
Lauren W. Ritterbush is Associate Professor of Anthropology with the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work. She is an archaeologist and ethnohistorian who focuses on understanding past Native societies in the Great Plains and the dynamics of past human migration. Dr. Ritterbush received her BA in Anthropology at the University of North Dakota where she gained her first training and professional experiences in archaeology before pursuing her graduate education at the University of Kansas (M.A. 1984, Ph.D. 1990). She has worked in North Dakota, Montana, Arizona, Minnesota, Austria, Kansas and neighboring states, linking her research of past Native migrations to societies of the Midwest. Prior to coming to Kansas State University, she served as Research Assistant Professor with the Museum of Anthropology at the University of Kansas where she directed archaeological research and contract projects, curated museum exhibits, and served as interim public education coordinator. She has also provided expertise in archaeology, collections inventory and care, and heritage planning as a private consultant. Dr. Ritterbush has been awarded competitive grants from the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, National Park Service Historic Preservation Fund, Smithsonian Institution, National Science Foundation (EPSCoR), Kansas State University Small Research Grants and Academic Excellence Fund, Nebraska State Historical Society, Kansas Humanities Council, and Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society.
Highly regarded as a teacher and mentor, Dr. Ritterbush has been honored with the William L. Stamey Award for Teaching by K-State's College of Arts and Sciences (2005, 2016). She has taught archaeology and cultural anthropology courses at the University of Kansas, University of Minnesota at Morris, and the University of Missouri at Kansas City. At K-State Professor Ritterbush regularly teaches the introductory course in archaeology and world prehistory as well as advanced courses on North American and European archaeology and prehistory. She also offers courses in critical interpretation of claims about our human past, archaeological field and laboratory methods, and ethnohistory. She has also co-taught archaeological geology, a course developed through the Peer Review of Teaching Project, a nationwide, award-winning faculty-development project to improve undergraduate student learning, and has served as a faculty mentor with the Developing Scholars Program and undergraduate research projects that have resulted in presentations at professional meetings and research publications. In the classroom Dr. Ritterbush works to draw students to learning with intriguing insights into our human past and the methods by which past cultures are revealed and understood. She encourages students to engage with one another, material remains and other primary sources, and critical thinking through evidence-based investigations. Although formally employed with higher education, Dr. Ritterbush also encourages quality K-12 instruction through the use of archaeological inquiry. She is trained as a facilitator and Master Teacher with Project Archaeology, a national educational organization committed to teaching scientific and historical thinking, cultural understanding, and the importance of protecting cultural resources. She has organized and lead teacher workshops and regularly guides pre-service teacher’s in K-State’s College of Education to understand the utility of archaeological inquiry in the classroom to expand understanding of past and present cultures, support social studies and science education, and enhance citizenship.
Dedicated to the mission of the land-grant institution of making research-based information available to all Kansans, Dr. Ritterbush is active with public outreach. She has worked closely with the City of Manhattan’s Flint Hills Discovery Center, Community Development office, Parks and Recreation, and Historic Resources Board to convey the human story of this place over more than 13,000 years, the rich archaeological record of this region, and our community’s role in stewardship. Many civic, avocational, conservation, and preservation organizations have invited Dr. Ritterbush to share her insights based on more than 35 years of archaeological research. Although an expert on ancient technology, she has recently delved into the digital humanities, especially through her work with the Kaw Nation. She and collaborative researchers in various fields seek to document and convey the historical and linguistic legacy of the Kanza Indians in Kansas. Her interactive Kansas River tour “Kanza Language and Landscape – The Kansas River” employs TourBuilder and Google Earth to link modern generations with the historic, cultural, and linguistic legacy of the Kanza and their homeland.
2015 Visit to Blue Earth. Kansas History: A Journal of the Central Plains 38(1):2-12.
2015 Blue Earth Village. Manhattan/Riley County Preservation Alliance Newsletter (Aug) 21(4):2-3.
2015 Prehistoric Sites of Wildcat Creek Watershed, Riley County, Kansas. National Register of Historic Places Multiple Property nomination form. (with B. Logan)
2014 Kanza Language and Landscape – The Kansas River. https://tourbuilder.withgoogle.com/builder#play/ahJzfmd3ZWItdG91cmJ1aWxkZXJyEQsSBFRvdXIYgICAoM78_QgM
2014 Local Archaeological Site Nominated to the National Register. Manhattan/Riley County Preservation Alliance Newsletter (Dec) pp. 4-5. (with B. Logan)
2014 Historic Preservation and Manhattan Area Archaeology. Manhattan/Riley County Preservation Alliance Newsletter (Aug) pp. 2-4.
2012 Tracking the Kansa. Current Archaeology in Kansas 9:3-12.
2012 Metal Detector Survey and Test Excavations at the Blue Earth Village Site (14PO24). Current Archaeology in Kansas 9:3-12. (with J. Tomasic and D. Roper)
2012 Discovering Archeology in the Flint Hills. Kansas Preservation 34(4):18-19. (with B. Burenheide)
2010 Clinker, Pumice, Scoria or Paralava? Vesicular Artifacts of the Lower Missouri Basin. Plains Anthropologist 55(213):67-85. (with Mark Estes & Kirsten Nicolaysen)
2009 Late Prehistoric Bison Processing Camp in the Central Plains: Montana Creek East Site (14JW46). Plains Anthropologist 54(211):217-236. (with Brad Logan)
2009* No Thread of Evidence -White Rock, Western Oneota, and the Kansa: Comments on “A Return to Glen Elder”, by James O. Marshall. The Kansas Anthropologist 30:27-40. (with B Logan) * printed in 2011
2009 Manhattan Archaeological Survey, Phases I and II. Technical report prepared for the City of Manhattan, KS. (197+ pages)
2009 Inventorying Manhattan’s Rich Archaeological Record. Kansas Preservation 31(4):21-23.
2009 Kansas Archaeology and History in the Classroom: Project Archaeology Workshop Exploring Migration to El Cuartelejo. Kansas Preservation 31(3):16-18. (with B. Burenheide)
2008 Learning about Cultures, Past and Present. Kansas Preservation 30(4):14-15.
2007 Oneota Interaction and Impact in the Central Plains. In Plains Village Archaeology: Bison Hunting Farmers in the Central and Northern Plains, edited by Stanley A. Ahler and Marvin Kay, pp. 181-192. The University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City.
2006 Late Prehistoric Oneota in the Central Plains. In Kansas Archaeology, edited by Robert J. Hoard and William E. Banks, pp. 151-164. University Press of Kansas, Lawrence.
2006 Eckles Collection from the Montana Creek Sites, Lovewell Locality, Jewell County, Kansas. Current Archaeology in Kansas 6:5-17.
2006 The Montana Creek Sites: Archaeological Investigations at Lovewell Reservoir, Jewell County, Kansas, 2004. Technical report prepared for the Bureau of Reclamation, Nebraska-Kansas Area Office, Great Plains Region, Grand Island, NE. (105 pp) (with B Logan)
2005 White Rock Oneota Chipped Stone Tools. Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology 30(2):259-297. (with M. Padilla)
2005 Critical Thinking in Geology and Archaeology: Interpreting Scanning Electron Microscope Images of a Lithic Tool. Journal of Geoscience Education 53(2):166-172. (with K.Nicolaysen)
2003 Kansas Archaeological Field School Investigations at the Warne & Johns Creek Sites, Lovewell Reservoir, Jewell County, Kansas. Current Archaeology in Kansas 4:11-16. (with B Logan)
2002 Drawn by the Bison: Late Prehistoric Native Migration in the Central Plains. Great Plains Quarterly 22(4):259-270.
2002 Leary Site Revisited: Western Oneota and Central Plains Tradition Occupation along the Lower Missouri. Plains Anthropologist 47(182):251-264.
2001 Plains Archaic. In Encyclopedia of Prehistory, Volume 6: North America, edited by Peter N. Peregrine and Melvin Ember, pp. 410-431. Human Relations Area Files and Plenum/Kluwar Academic, New York. (with B. Logan)
2000 Late Prehistoric Oneota Population Movement into the Central Plains. Plains Anthropologist 45(173):257-272. (with B. Logan)
1998 Identifying Kansas Archeological Sites. Kansas Preservation 20(6):4.
1998 Douglas County Survey Documents Archeological Sites. Kansas Preservation 20(3):5-7.
1996 Douglas County Archaeological Survey. University of Kansas Museum of Anthropology, Project Report Series No. 97. (with India S. Hesse)
1996 Fur Trade Posts at Pembina. In Centennial Anthology of North Dakota History, edited by Janet Daley Lysengen and Ann Rathje. State Historical Society of North Dakota, Bismarck.
1994 Late Prehistoric Cultural Dynamics in the Lower Kansas River Basin. Central Plains Archaeology 4(1):1-25. (with B. Logan)
1994 Historic Overview for the Missouri River Floodplain Management Assessment. Report prepared for Burns & McDonnell Engineers, Kansas City, M), & U.S. Corps of Engineers, Kansas City District.
1992 Fur Trade Posts at Pembina: An Archeological Perspective of North Dakota's Earliest Fur Trade Center. North Dakota History 59(1):16-29.
1992 Smoky Hill Variant Occupation at Three Sites in North-Central Kansas. University of Kansas Museum of Anthropology, Project Report Series, No. 78.
1991 The Schultz Archaeological Project, Phase I: Survey of Selected Prehistoric Sites in North-Central Kansas. University of Kansas Museum of Anthropology, Project Report Series, No. 73.
1991 The Fur Trade of Northeastern North Dakota: Results of the 1990 Fur Trade Sites Project. University of North Dakota, Department of Anthropology, Contribution 260.
1991 Context Document on the Fur Trade of Northeastern North Dakota (Ecozone #16), 1738-1861. Report on file with the State Historical Society of North Dakota.
1990 Culture Change and Continuity: Ethnohistoric Analysis of Ojibwa and Ottawa Adjustment to the Prairies. Ph.D. dissertation, Department of Anthropology, University of Kansas, Lawrence.