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© 2002 - 2009
Center for the Study of the First Americans
All Rights Reserved.
About the Center

 

Mission

The Center for the Study of the First Americans explores the questions surrounding the peopling of the Americas. The Center pursues research, education, and public outreach.

Research: The Center develops new knowledge regarding PaleoAmerican origins, human dispersal, settlement, and cultural and biological development that occurred during the late Pleistocene.

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 our publications.

click to become a member of the center
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History of the Center  

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.

photo of the first CFSA building
photo of the Sign of the first CSFA

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.
photo of Rob Bonnichsen at Memmoth Meadow, Montana

Dr. Bonnichsen not only had the vision to establish the Center, but took it to the heights of many accomplishments.  Dr. Bonnichsen convened several conferences that set influential 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.  Dr. Bonnichsen also published 14 Center books.  Also during this time, he was pursuing his own pioneering research and standing up for science in the Kennewick Man case.  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.

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Facilities  

photo of CSFA laboratory facilitiesThe Center offices are located in an office suite in the Anthropology Building.  Within this complex are located the offices of the Director, Associate Director, and Office Manger, a library, conference room, student offices, reprint room, and an archive room.

The Center has three laboratories. One laboratory is equipped with four microscopes: two microscopes that are used to conduct photo of CSFA laboratory facilitiesuse-wear analysis, a petrographic microscope for the analysis of thin-sections, and a light microscope for the analysis of other specimens.  A second laboratory houses the Center cast and artifact collection, and an extensive archive of excavation records and photographs.  Much table space is available for layout of artifact collections and analysis.  The third laboratory is the main laboratory for the Center.  Material from Center-sponsored excavations are processed and analyzed in this lab which has ample layout and analysis space.

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Center Staff  

Center Director

photo of Dr. Mike Waters

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 more than fifty archaeological field projects in the United States, Mexico, Russia, Jamaica, and Yemen.  His current research projects include the Debra Friedkin Site, Texas; Gault Clovis site, Texas; Hogeye Clovis cache site, Texas; Hueyatlaco site, Mexico; and Mud Lake Mammoth site, Wisconsin.  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.  ( CV )

Phone:   979-845-4046
Office:   210 Anthropology Building
Email:   mwaters@tamu.edu
Mailing address:

Center for the Study of the First Americans
Department of Anthropology
Texas A&M University
4352 TAMU
College Station, TX 77843-4352


Waters, M. R., Thomas W. Stafford Jr., H. Gregory McDonald, Carl Gustafson, Morten Rasmussen, Enrico Cappellini, Jesper V. Olsen, Damian Szklarczyk, Lars Juhl Jensen, M. Thomas P. Gilbert, Eske Willerslev (2011) Pre-Clovis Mastodon Hunting 13,800 Years Ago at the Manis Site, Washington. Science 334:351-353. (pdf)

Waters, Michael R., Steven L. Forman, Thomas A. Jennings, Lee C. Nordt, Steven G. Driese, Joshua M. Feinberg, Joshua L. Keene, Jessi Halligan, Anna Lindquist, James Pierson, Charles T. Hallmark, Michael B. Collins, James E. Wiederhold (2011) The Buttermilk Creek Complex and the Origins of Clovis at the Debra L. Friedkin Site, Texas Science 331:1599-1603.
(pdf-article), (pdf-supporting material)

Waters, M. R., S. L. Forman, T. W. Stafford, Jr., J. Foss (2009) Geoarchaeological investigations at the Topper and Big Pine Tree sites, Allendale County, South Carolina. Journal of Archaeological Science 36:1300-1311. (pdf)

Feinberg, J. M., P. R. Renne, J. Arroyo-Cabrales, M. R. Waters, P. Ochoa-Castillo, M. Perez-Campa (2009) Age constraints on alleged "footprints" preserved in the Xalnene Tuff near Puebla, Mexico. Geology 37(3):267-270. (pdf)

Waters, M. R., J. Wiersema, T. W. Stafford, Jr. (2008) A geoarchaeological evaluation of an early human burial from Brazoria County, Texas. Journal of Archaeological Science 35:2425-2433. (pdf)

Waters, M. R., T. W. Stafford, Jr. (2007) Redefining the Age of Clovis: Implications for the Peopling of the Americas. Science 315:1122-1126.
(pdf-article), (pdf-supporting material)

Renne, P. R., J. M. Feinberg, M. R. Waters, J. Arroyo-Cabrales, P. Ochoa-Casillo, M. Perez-Campa, K. B. Knight (2005) Age of Mexican ash with alleged 'footprints'. Nature 438:E7-8. (pdf)


Center Associate Director

photo of Dr. Ted Goebel

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. ( CV )

Phone:   979-845-4046
Office:   210 Anthropology Building
Email:   goebel@tamu.edu
Mailing address:

Center for the Study of the First Americans
Department of Anthropology
Texas A&M University
4352 TAMU
College Station, TX 77843-4352


Goebel, T., Bryan Hockett, Kenneth D. Adams, David Rhode, Kelly Graf (2011) Climate, environment, and humans in North America's Great Basin during the Younger Dryas, 12,900-11,600 calendar years ago Quaternary International 242:479-501. (pdf)

Goebel, T., S. B. Slobodin, M. R. Waters (2010) New Dates from Ushki-1, Kamchatka, confirm 13,000 cal BP age for earliest Paleolithic occupation. Journal of Archaeological Science 37:2640-2649. (pdf)

Graf, K. E., T. Goebel (2009) Upper Paleolithic Toolstone Procurement and Selection at the Sites of Dry Creek, Alaska and Ushki-5, Russia. In Lithic Materials and Paleolithic Societies, edited by B. Blades and B. Adams, pp. 54-77. Blackwell Publishers, London. (pdf)

Goebel, T., M. R. Waters, D. H. O'Rourke (2008) The Late Pleistocene Dispersal of Modern Humans in the Americas. Science 319:1497-1502. (pdf) (pdf)

Adams, K. D., T. Goebel, K. Graf, D. Rhode, G. Smith, A. Camp, R. Briggs (2008) Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene Lake-Level Fluctuations in the Lahontan Basin, Nevada: Implications for the Distribution of Archaeological Sites. Geoarchaeology 23(5):608-643. (pdf)

Hockett, B., T. Goebel, K. Graf (2008) The Early Peopling of the Great Basin. In The Great Basin: People and Places in Ancient Times, edited by C. S. Fowler and D. D. Fowler, pp. 35-43. SAR Press, Santa Fe. (pdf)

Goebel, T. (2007) The Missing Years for Modern Humans. Science 315:194-196. (pdf)

Goebel, T., K. Graf, B. Hockett, D. Rhode (2007) The Paleoindian Occupations at Bonneville Estates Rockshelter, Danger Cave, and Smith Creek Cave (Eastern Great Basin, U.S.A.): Interpreting Their Radiocarbon Chronologies. In: On Shelter’s Ledge: Histories, Theories and Methods of Rockshelter Research, edited by M. Kornfeld, S. Vasil’ev, L. Miotti, pp. 147-161. BAR International Series. (pdf)


Assistant Professor

photo of Dr. Kelly Graf

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.   ( CV )

Phone:   979-845-4046
Office:   210 Anthropology Building
Email:   kgraf@neo.tamu.edu
Mailing address:

Center for the Study of the First Americans
Department of Anthropology
Texas A&M University
4352 TAMU
College Station, TX 77843-4352


Graf, K. E., Nancy H. Bigelow (2011) Human response to climate during the Younger Dryas chronozone in central Alaska Quaternary International 242:434-451. (pdf)

Graf, K. E. (2010) Hunter-Gatherer Dispersals in the Mammoth-Steppe: Technological Provisioning and Land-Use in the Enisei River Valley, South-Central Siberia. Journal of Archaeological Science 37(1):210-233. (pdf)

Graf, K. E. (2009) "The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly": Evaluating the Radiocarbon Chronology of the Middle and Late Upper Paleolithic of the Enisei River Valley, South-central Siberia. Journal of Archaeological Science 36(3):694-707. (pdf)

Graf, K. E. (2009) Human Colonization of the Siberian Mammoth-Steppe: A View from South-Central Siberia. In A Sourcebook of Paleolithic Transitions: Methods, Theories, and Interpretation, edited by M. Camps and P. R. Chauhan, pp, 479-502. Springer, New York . (pdf)

Graf, K. E., T. Goebel (2009) Upper Paleolithic Toolstone Procurement and Selection at the Sites of Dry Creek, Alaska and Ushki-5, Russia. In Lithic Materials and Paleolithic Societies, edited by B. Blades and B. Adams, pp. 54-77. Blackwell Publishers, London. (pdf)

Adams, K. D., T. Goebel, K. Graf, D. Rhode, G. Smith, A. Camp, R. Briggs (2008) Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene Lake-Level Fluctuations in the Lahontan Basin, Nevada: Implications for the Distribution of Archaeological Sites. Geoarchaeology 23(5):608-643. (pdf)

Graf, K. E., D. N. Schmitt, editors (2007) Paleoindian or Paleoarchaic? Great Basin Human Ecology at the Pleistocene-Holocene Transition. University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City.


Center Research Associate

photo of Jim Weiderhold

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.  

Phone:   979-845-4046
Office:   210 Anthropology Building
Mailing address:

Center for the Study of the First Americans
Department of Anthropology
Texas A&M University
4352 TAMU
College Station, TX 77843-4352


Center Office Manager

photo of Christel Cooper

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.

Phone:   979-845-4046
Office:   210 Anthropology Building
Email:   csfa@tamu.edu
Mailing address:

Center for the Study of the First Americans
Department of Anthropology
Texas A&M University
4352 TAMU
College Station, TX 77843-4352

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Center Editors

Editor of the Mammoth Trumpet

photo of Jim & Char Chandler

(Go to the MT Library)

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 occasionally for other Center publications over the years. Jim has also been the editor of Mammoth Trumpet since December 1990.

Email: wordsmiths@touchnc.net


Editor of Current Research in the Pleistocene

 photo of Dr. Ted Goebel

(Go to the CRP Library)

Dr. Ted Goebel has served as the editor of Current Research in the Pleistocene since 2003.

Email: goebel@tamu.edu

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CSFA Advisory Board
photo of teh CSFA Advisory Board

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 Marshall Payn Bob Rotstan
Greg Moore

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
Gerald M. Fritts Anne Stanaway
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Location and Contact Information

The Center is located on the second floor of the Anthropology Building.  (Map)

Main Phone:   979-845-4046
Office:   210 Anthropology Building
Email:   csfa@tamu.edu
Mailing address:

Center for the Study of the First Americans
Department of Anthropology
Texas A&M University
4352 TAMU
College Station, TX 77843-4352

The Center for the Study of the First Americans (CSFA)
at Texas A&M University

photo of the Anthropology Building at Texas A&M University

The companion book to the Paleoamerican Odyssey conference is currently sold out. BUT! We are happy to announce that TAMU Press is currently reprinting the volume. Stay tuned for availability!

Mike Waters and colleagues publish article in Nature and present the genome of a Late Pleistocene human from a Clovis burial! (pdf)

Kelly Graf and colleagues publish article in Nature which shows that Siberians on the Mammoth Steppe were direct ancestors of the First Americans! (pdf)

Upcoming Field School Opportunity!
CSFA Summer Field School on the Bering Land Bridge
June 1-July 5, 2014

Ted Goebel and co-authors publish article in Journal of Archaeological Science on excavations, dating, and analysis of Paleoindian deposits at Serpentine Hot Springs, Alaska, a fluted point site on the Bering Land Bridge. (pdf)

Congratulations to John Blong for receiving a $15,000 Dissertation Fellowship from the Office of Graduate Studies at Texas A&M!


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