Mission I History I Facilities I Center Staff I Contact
Understanding the process of the peopling of the Americas is one of the most important questions in American archaeology. The mission of the Center for the Study of the First Americans is to pursue research, train students, promote scientific dialogue, and stimulate public interest in the Ice Age peopling of the Americas.
Education:The Center trains students who will go on to continue First Americans research.
Outreach: The Center disseminates the results of academic research about the first Americans to the general public through its publications.
The Center began as the Center for the Study of Early Man at the University of Maine (Orono) in 1981. Dr. Robson Bonnichsen, an associate professor of Anthropology and Quaternary studies created the Center and served as its first Director. The establishment of the Center was made possible through a generous donation by the Bingham Trust. In 1990, the name of the Center was changed to the Center for the Study of the First Americans. In 1991, Dr. Bonnichsen moved the Center from Maine to Oregon State University in Corvallis.
The Center relocated to its permanent home at Texas A&M University in the summer of 2002 to be in a more active academic setting with new education, research, and outreach opportunities. Dr. Bonnichsen served as the Center Director until his death in December 2004. Dr. Michael Waters, who served as Associate Director from 2002-2004, became the Director in January 2005. Dr. Ted Goebel became associate director of the center in September 2006.
Dr. Bonnichsen not only had the vision to establish the Center, but took it to the heights of many accomplishments. Dr. Bonnichsen convened several influential conferences that set new directions in the field, including the 1989 First World Summit Conference at the University of Maine and the 1999 international peopling of the Americas conference called “Clovis and Beyond” in Santa Fe. Dr. Bonnichsen founded the Center’s quarterly news magazine, the Mammoth Trumpet, and the Center’s annual journal, Current Research in the Pleistocene (discontinued in 2011). Dr. Bonnichsen also established the Center’s book series and published 14 books. Also during this time, he was pursuing his own pioneering research. Professor Bonnichsen was known nationally and internationally for his interdisciplinary research projects, for overview syntheses of the field, and as a spokesperson for First American studies.
The Center is located on the second floor of the Anthropology building. The space occupied by the Center includes an office suite and four laboratories. In the office suite, Center faculty, the Center office manager, and Center graduate students have offices. Each faculty member has a separate laboratory under their individual management. A fourth laboratory houses two microscopes used for lithic use-wear analysis, a petrographic microscope, a Bruker P-XRF, and photographic equipment. In addition to these resources, the Center has a large collection of artifact casts for teaching and research, including about 400 individual artifacts. The Center also has a type collection of Texas projectile point types and a teaching collection of lithic specimens and artifacts. The Center also maintains a comprehensive library of more than 3000 volumes related to First Americans archaeology, including many site excavation reports, as well as an archive of reprints and many hard to find articles. The Center also maintains field equipment needed for multiple field projects that are used by Center faculty and students.
Dr. Michael Waters is the Director of the Center and Executive Director of the North Star Archaeological Research Program. He is known for his expertise in First American studies and geoarchaeology. Waters has worked on archaeological field projects in the United States, Mexico, Russia, Jamaica, and Yemen. His current research projects include the Debra Friedkin Site, Texas and the Page-Ladsen site, Florida. He has authored or co-authored numerous journal articles and book chapters and is the author of Principles of Geoarchaeology: A North American Perspective. Waters received the 2003 Kirk Bryan Award and the 2004 Rip Rapp Archaeological Geology Award given by the Geological Society of America. Download c.v.
Center for the Study of the First Americans
Waters, M. R., and Jennings, T. A., 2015, The Hogeye Clovis Cache, Texas. College, Station, Texas A&M University Press.
Waters, M. R., Stafford, T. W., Kooyman, B., and Hills, L. V. (2015) Late Pleistocene horse and camel hunting at the southern margin of the Ice-Free corridor: Reassessing the age of Wally’s Beach, Canada. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, v. 112, p. 4263-4267.
Waters, M. R., Amorosi, T., and Stafford, T. W. (2015) Redating Fell’s Cave, Chile and the chronological placement of the Fishtail projectile point complex. American Antiquity, v. 80, p. 376-386.
Waters, M. R., and Stafford, T. W. (2014) Redating the Mill Iron site, Montana: a reexamination of the Goshen complex chronology. American Antiquity, v. 79, p. 541-548.
Rasmussen, M., Anzick, S. L., Waters, M. R., Skoglund, P., DeGiorgio, M., Stafford, T. W., Rasmussen, S., Moltke, I., Albrechtsen, A., Doyle, S. M., Poznik, G. D., Gudmundsdottir, V., Yadav, R., Malaspinas, A., White, S. S., Allentoft, M. E., Cornejo, O. E., Tambets, K., Eriksson, A., Heintzman, P. D., Karmin, M., Korneliussen, T. S., Meltzer, D. J., Pierre, T. L., Stenderup, J., Saag, L., Warmuth, V., Lopes, M. C., Malhi, R. S., Brunak, S., Sicheritz-Ponten, S., Barnes, I., Collins, M., Orlando, L., Balloux, F., Manica, A., Gupta, R., Metspalu, M., Bustamante, C. D., Jakobsson, M., Nielsen, R., and Willerslev, E. (2014) The geonome of a late Pleistocene human from a Clovis burial site in western Montana. Nature, v. 506, p. 225-229.
Jennings, T. A., and Waters, M. R. (2014) Pre-Clovis lithic technology at the Debra L. Friedkin site, Texas: comparisons to Clovis through site-level behavior, technological trait-list, and cladistics analysis. American Antiquity, v. 79, p. 25-44.
Center Associate Director
Dr. Ted Goebel is the Associate Director of the Center. He is known for his expertise in First American studies and lithic analysis. Goebel has worked on many early sites in Russia and the United States. From 2000-2009 he directed excavations at Bonneville Estates Rockshelter (Nevada) and other Paleoindian sites in the Great Basin, and in 2007 he initiated a new research program investigating the Ice Age colonization of the Bering Land Bridge area – Alaska and northeast Asia. In 2009-2010 the Beringia program has focused on excavation of the Serpentine Hot Springs fluted point site (Alaska), production of the book From the Yenisei to the Yukon: Interpreting Lithic Assemblage Variability in Late Pleistocene/Early Holocene Beringia, and survey for new sites in different area of Alaska. Goebel advised graduate students investigating a wide range of topics including Clovis technology in the American Southeast, the stemmed-point complex of the intermountain west during the terminal Pleistocene, fluted point technology in the north, and human settlement of central Alaska’s uplands. In 2011 and 2012 Goebel is a Sigma Xi distinguished lecturer. Download C.V.
Center for the Study of the First Americans
Goebel, T., and B. A. Potter (2015, in press) First traces: Late Pleistocene human settlement of the Arctic. In Handbook of Arctic Archaeology, edited by O. Mason and M. Friesen. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Goebel, T. (2014) The overland dispersal of modern humans to eastern Asia: an alternative, northern route from Africa. In Emergence and Diversity of Modern Human Behavior in Paleolithic Asia, edited by Y. Kaifu, M. Izuho, T. Goebel, H. Sato, and A. Ono, pp. 437-452. Texas A&M University Press, College Station.
Goebel, T. (2014) Clovis Culture Update. In Clovis: On the Edge of a New Understanding, edited by A. M. Smallwood and T. A. Jennings, pp. 325-352. Texas A&M University Press, College Station.
Kaifu, Y., M. Izuho, T. Goebel, H. Sato, and A. Ono (editors (2014) Emergence and Diversity of Modern Human Behavior in Paleolithic Asia. Texas A&M University Press, College Station
Goebel, T., and J. L. Keene (2014) Are Great Basin stemmed points as old as Clovis in the intermountain west? A review of the geochronological evidence. In: Janetski, J., and N. Parezo (eds.) Archaeology for All Times: Papers in Honor of Don D. Fowler, pp. 35-60. University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City.
Goebel, T., Smith, H. L., DiPietro, L., Waters, M. R., Hockett, B., Graf, K. E., Gal, R., Slobodin, S. B., Speakman, R. J., Driese, S. G., Rhode, D. (2013), Serpentine Hot Springs, Alaska: results of excavations and implications for the age and significance of northern fluted points. Journal of Archaeological Science 40:4222-4233.
Goebel, T. (2013) Global expansion 300,000-8000 years ago, Americas. In: Elias, S., and C. Gamble (eds.) Encyclopedia of Quaternary Science, pp. 119-134 Elsevier, Amsterdam.
Dr. Kelly Graf completed her Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Nevada-Reno in 2008. Currently she is directing and co-directing several research projects in Siberia, Alaska, and the Intermontain West that focus on explaining initial human dispersals in these regions. To date, the National Science Foundation has supported most of her research, including recent excavations at the Owl Ridge site in central Alaska and Bonneville Estates Rockshelter in eastern Nevada as well as collections-based research in Siberia. Graf has authored or co-authored several journal articles and book chapters dealing with the peopling of Siberia and the Americas. In 2007 she, along with co-editor Dave N. Schmitt, published an edited volume titled “Paleoindian or Paleoarchaic? Great Basin Human Ecology at the Pleistocene-Holocene Transition” that is scheduled to be reprinted in paperback in 2010. Chapters from this book cover both the archaeological and paleoecological records in the Great Basin during the Paleoindian period. Download c.v.
Center for the Study of the First Americans
Graf, K. E. L. M. DiPietro, K. Krasinski, A. K. Gore, H. L. Smith, B. J. Culleton, D. J. Kennett, D. Rhode (2015) Dry Creek Revisited: New Excavations, Radiocarbon Dates, and Site Formation Inform on the Peopling of the Eastern Beringia. American Antiquity 80(4):1-24.
Raghavan, M., P. Skoglund, K. E. Graf, M. Metspalu, A. Albrechtsen, I. Moltke, S Rasmussen, T. W. Stafford, L. Orlando, E. Metspalu, M. Karmin, K. Tambets, S. Rootsi, R. Magi, P. F. Campos, E. Balanovska, O. Balanovsky, E. Khusnutdinova, S. Litvinov, L. P. Osipova, S. A. Fedorova, M. I. Voevoda, M. DeGiorgio, T. Sicheritz-Ponten, S. Brunak, S. Demishchenko, T. Kivisild, R. Villems, R. Nielsen, M. Jakobsson, E. Willerslev (2014) Upper Palaeolithic Siberian Geonome Reveals Dual Origins for Native Americans. Nature 505(7481):87-91 (doi:10.1038/nature12736, published Jan. 2, 2014, Epub Nov 20, 2013).
Goebel, T., H. L. Smith, L. DiPietro, M. R. Waters, B. Hockett, K. E. Graf, R. Gal, S. B. Slobodin, R. J. Speakman, S. G. Driese, D. Rhode (2013) Serpentine Hot Springs, Alaska: results of excavations and implications for the age and significance of northern fluted points. Journal of Archaeological Science 40:4222-4233.
Graf, K.E., N. Bigelow (2011) Human Response to Climate during the Younger Dryas Chronozone in Central Alaska. Quaternary International 242:434-451.
Lorenzen, E. D., D. Nogués-Bravo, Orlando, L., Weinstock, J., Binladen, J. K. A. Marske, A. Ugan, M. K. Borregaard, M. T. P. Gilbert, R. Nielsen, S. Y. W. Ho, T. Goebel, K. E. Graf, D. Byers, J. T. Stenderup, M. Rassmussen, P. F. Campos, J. A. Leonard, K-P. Koepfli, D. Froese, G. Zazula, T. W. Stafford, K. Aaris-Sørensen, P. Batra, A. M. Haywood, J. S. Singarayer, P. J. Valdes, G. Boeskorov, J. A. Burns, S. P. Davydov, J. Haile, D. L. Jenkins, P. Kosintsev, T. Kuznetsova, X. Lai, L. D. Martin, H. G. McDonald, D. Mol, M. Meldgaard, K. Munch, E. Stephan, M. Sablin, R. S. Sommer, R. Sipko, E. Scott, M. A. Suchard, A. Tikhonov, R. Willerslev, R. K. Waynes, A. Cooper, M. Hofreiter, A. Sher, B. Shapiro, C. Rahbek, E. Willerslev (2011) Species-specific Responses of Late Quaternary Megafauna to Climate and Humans. Nature 479:359-365.
Center Research Associate
Jim Wiederhold earned his MA from Texas A&M University in 2004. His thesis explored the functions of end scrapers from the Gault Clovis site, through high-power microscopic use-wear analysis. Jim manages the Center’s microscope laboratory, where he has conducted edge-modification studies of materials from Clovis and Pre-Clovis sites like Topper, Saltville, Pedra Furada, Gault, and Buttermilk Creek. He couples his analysis of use-wear with experimental studies including hide working and butchery of large animal carcasses.
Center Office Manager
Christel Cooper is the office manager for the Center for the Study of the First Americans. Christel is a member of the Chickasaw tribe and grew up in College Station, Texas. She graduated from Sam Houston State University with a degree in Mass Communications. Christel has many years of experience in the non-profit field, some of those years spent working for the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico and the Alley Theatre in Houston, Texas.
Editor of the Mammoth Trumpet
Jim and Char Chandler, who together are C&C Wordsmiths, are free-lance desktop publishers and typesetters who have been preparing Mammoth Trumpet for press since August 1990. They have done the pre-press work for every issue of Current Research in the Pleistocene since 1992 and other Center publications over the years. Jim has also been the editor of Mammoth Trumpet since December 1990.
Editor of PaleoAmerica
CSFA Advisory Board Members
|Leslie S. Pfeiffer, Chair||Steve Kohntopp||Roy J. Shlemon|
|Robert Engle, Secretary||Mark H. Mullins||William M. Wheless III|
|Elmer A. Guerri||Greg Moore||Robert Rotstan|
CSFA Advisory Board Emeritus Members
|Marvin Beatty||Donald B. Gimbel||Larry Tradlener|
|David Bobb||JoAnn Harris||Sandy Tradlener|
|Cheryl Bongiovanni||Robert Hogfoss||Joanne C. Turner|
|George L. Cremer||Joyce Pytkowicz||Marshall Payn|
|Gerald M. Fritts||Anne Stanaway|
The Center is located on the second floor of the Anthropology Building. (Map)
Main Phone: 979-845-4046
Office: 210 Anthropology Building
Center for the Study of the First Americans
Department of Anthropology
Texas A&M University
College Station, TX 77843-4352