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K-State Today

April 2, 2012

K-State chapter of Sigma Xi to host distinguished anthropologist for series of lectures beginning April 16

Submitted by Keith Miller

The K-State chapter of Sigma Xi, the scientific research society, is host to a visit to campus by Ted Goebel, a national Sigma Xi distinguished lecturer. Goebel is an archaeologist from the anthropology department at Texas A&M University and studies the Ice Age dispersal of modern humans to the Americas.

Goebel will give three presentations during his time in Manhattan. He will present after the annual Sigma Xi banquet at 8 p.m., Monday, April 16, in the Cottonwood Room of the K-State Student Union. The title for his talk is "The Search for the Origins of the First Americans: A New Prehistory of the Bering Land Bridge."

Goebel will also give a seminar presentation co-sponsored by the faculty of the departments of geology and anthropology from 4-5 p.m. Tuesday, April 17, in 213 Thompson Hall. The title of his talk will be "The Ice-Age Dispersal of Humans to the Americas: Do Stones, Bones and Genes Tell the Same Story?" 

He will also give a presentation at the Manhattan Science Café at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 17, at Radina's Coffeehouse in Aggieville. The title of that presentation is "Humans at the End of the Ice Age: Coping with Climate Change, Circa 10,000 BC." 

All three of these talks are open to the public. 

Goebel has completed field work in Siberia, Alaska, and the Intermountain West of the United States, and he has investigated archaeological sites spanning from more than 50,000 years ago to 10,000 years ago. He earned his bachelor of arts degree from Washington and Lee University in 1986, and his doctorate degree from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, in 1993. Goebel's dissertation focused on the emergence of modern humans and the Middle-to-Upper-Paleolithic transition in Siberia. Since then, his research has investigated the peopling of Beringia. He has excavated important archaeological sites containing some of the earliest evidence of humans in Beringia, and most recently directed field research at Serpentine Hot Springs, the Ice Age archaeological site yet found on the Bering Land Bridge itself. This site is significant in that it contains the first dated fluted spearpoints in Alaska, a hallmark of Clovis and other Paleoindian cultures in temperate North America.

In the Great Basin of the western U.S., Goebel's research has focused on the transition from the Pleistocene to the Holocene, a period of significant climate change and human adaptation. Since 2000, he has directed excavations at the multilayered Bonneville Estates Rockshelter (a dry cave in eastern Nevada), which contains a series of well-preserved cultural layers spanning from about 13,000 years ago to historic times.

Goebel's research has been reported in a series of journal articles in Science, Current Anthropology and Journal of Archaeological Science. At Texas A&M University, Goebel holds the endowed professorship in first Americans studies and is associate director of the Center for the Study of the First Americans.