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Department of Anthropology


Equity, Diversity and Inclusion


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Undergraduate Programs

Anthropology Major

Anthropology is the comparative, evolutionary and historical study of human, and nonhuman primates. 


Anthropology Minor

Because we study all aspects of humans, anthropology is holistic and inter-disciplinary and anthropologists work hand-in-hand with other sciences such as biology, physiology, sociology and psychology—just to name a few.


Integrative Human Biology Minor (IHB)

Engage in research in human form and function, human evolution and biological variation, human behavior, and the roles humans play in local and global ecosystems. Students will acquire the broad but rigorous background they will need as professionals in the 21st-century health sciences and many other fields that engage directly with aspects of human adaptation and welfare.



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Upcoming Events


Jess BurnsLeeDissertation Defense

PhD Candidate

Jess L. BurnsLee


"Community Mining in Arang Dak, Nicaragua: Gold, Sustainable Income, and Satisficing"



Wednesday, June 19, 2024


GC 5825

RSVP here for Zoom link

Community Mining in Arang Dak, Nicaragua: Gold, Sustainable Income, and Satisficing


This dissertation explores the motivations and behaviors of indigenous community miners in Arang Dak, Nicaragua, against the backdrop of the growing prevalence of mining among indigenous populations in Latin America. The study addresses three main aims.

First, it assesses whether these miners are primarily motivated by sustainable, reliable income rather than the pursuit of extraordinary windfalls. By analyzing mining returns through foraging theory and comparing them to a Sustainable Income Distribution (SID) model, the research challenges the stereotype of "get-rich-quick" motivations found in the literature.

Second, the dissertation examines the socio-economic factors that influence household participation in community mining. In the context of Small-scale Gold Mining and neo-extractivism, modifications of traditional foraging modeling exploring state dependence are employed to test how socioeconomic status (SES) impacts mining engagement.

Third, the study develops and applies a satisficing model to understand miners' behaviors, focusing on minimum required gains and demographic influences. This model highlights how expected gains, SES, gender, and age influence panning behavior.

Overall, this dissertation provides a nuanced understanding of community mining among Indigenous populations, emphasizing the importance of sustainable income and socio-economic factors in sector participation and behavior and advocating for the broader application of satisficing models in behavioral studies.

This dissertation makes several key contributions to the understanding of indigenous community mining. Firstly, it provides anthropological insights into the motivations of miners in Arang Dak, focusing on the factors driving their participation. Secondly, it examines the socio-economic factors influencing mining participation within the context of Small-scale Gold Mining and neo-extractivism, offering a nuanced perspective on how socio-economic status (SES) impacts engagement in community mining. Lastly, the research introduces and applies satisficing principles to develop a model for understanding miners' behavior, focusing on the interplay of SES, gender, and age in shaping foraging strategies. This approach expands the anthropological toolkit, providing a new framework for analyzing foraging behavior.


Paul AllgaierDissertation Defense

PhD Candidate

Paul Eric Allgaier, Jr.


"Exploring Outside the Box: Investigating Paleoindian Settlement Strategy and Sexual Division of Labor in the Central Great Basin"



Thursday, June 20, 2024


GC 5825

RSVP here for Zoom link

Exploring Outside the Box: Investigating Paleoindian Settlement Strategy and Sexual Division of Labor in the Central Great Basin


This dissertation synthesizes the findings of the 21st Century Grass Valley Archaeological Project (GVAP21c) Class II Inventory. Over 20 years ago, researchers began “thinking outside the box” to understand how Paleoindian (>8,000 years ago) people made a living in the Great Basin by using a framework of behavioral ecology. Ten years ago, with updated perspectives on Paleoindian lifeways, GVAP21c researchers set out with the aim of finding more open-air sites with the potential for intact subsurface artifact assemblages near wetland habitats to answer questions about settlement-subsistence dynamics and the sexual division of labor among the first people to occupy the region.

The GVAP21c approach incorporated modeling strategies drawn from behavioral ecology to examine variation in the patterning of resources found at sites near wetlands and intercept hunting environments. Theoretical models predict that sites exhibiting a convergent division of labor (where women and men may obtain resources from the same location and women provision hunting) will be near marshland habitats with tools associated with hunting (e.g., projectile points) and gathering (e.g., formed flaked tools). Those sites exhibiting a divergent division of labor (where women and men obtain resources at separate locations) should be rare, with hunting-focused sites away from wetland settings and gathering-focused sites near wetlands. This framework informed a geomorphologically targeted survey of relict landforms available during the Pleistocene-Holocene Transition that structured Paleoindian activities around Pluvial Lake Gilbert in Grass Valley, Nevada.

Four components are presented in this talk. First, I present some background on Paleoindian research and the history of the GVAP21c. Next, I provide pertinent project details with a summary focusing on the Paleoindian components. Then, I discuss how the distribution of the sites we identified will help inform the future subsurface testing phase where Paleoindian components were identified. Lastly, I show how the survey findings identify a convergent division of labor amongst Paleoindian people in Grass Valley, Nevada.





Last Updated: 6/19/24