2015 Fryxell Award Symposium: Papers in Honor of David Hurst Thomas

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 80th Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA (2015)

David Hurst Thomas is the 2015 recipient of the Fryxell Award for Interdisciplinary Research in archaeology. The Fryxell Award is presented in recognition for interdisciplinary excellence of a scientist who need not be an archaeologist, but whose research has contributed significantly to American archaeology. The award is made possible through the generosity of the family of the late Roald Fryxell, a geologist whose career exemplified the crucial role of multidisciplinary cooperation in archaeology. The 2015 Fryxell Award recognizes the area of general interdisciplinary studies. The fundamental nature of Dr. Thomas' research is, and has been since the beginning of his career, interdisciplinary. For over four decades, he has engaged in pioneering research that has incorporated human biology, history and ethnohistory, experimental archaeology, paleoethnobotny, zooarchaeology, and geoarchaeology. This approach has been at the heart of large-scale, long-term, research projects focused on broad anthropological questions. The scope of this work includes projects in the Great Basin, the Georgia Coast, and the missions of California and the American Southwest, and addresses core questions including inquiries into human mobility and foraging subsistence strategies, the transition to farming, the rise of social inequality, and the impact of colonialism on Native American societies.

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-11 of 11)

  • Documents (11)

  • Coming-for-the-Bison, Going-to-the-Sun – Evolution and Significance of Staging Places on the Northern Rocky Mountain Front (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Maria Zedeño. Jesse Ballenger. Matthew Pailes. Francois Lanoe.

    As early as the terminal Pleistocene, the northern Rockies witnessed human movement across mountain passes and high terraces overlooking expanses of boreal forest, tundra, and melting ice. Applying lessons learned from David H. Thomas’ work in the central Great Basin, we combine the archaeology, geomorphology, and ethnohistory of the St. Mary River Bridge Site (24GL203) and other sites in the vicinity of east Glacier National Park to discuss how mobile groups colonized a landscape characterized...

  • Cubism, History and Narrative in Archaeology: shifting borders and disciplinary boundaries from New Mexico to California (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Michael Wilcox.

    Throughout his career David Hurst Thomas' work has stretched the disciplines of archaeology and history in novel and unexpected directions. Mr. Thomas essay on cubism and archaeology is one such example. This essay traces the shifts in borderlands archaeology using Thomas' powerful metaphor, and demonstrates the unique creativity and flexibility that characterizes Thomas' approach to the past. SAA 2015 abstracts made available in tDAR courtesy of the Society for American Archaeology and Center...

  • David Hurst Thomas and the Guale Problem: Rethinking Late Prehistoric Mobility along the Georgia Sea Islands (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Anna Semon. Victor Thompson.

    In his research along the Georgia Coast, David Hurst Thomas identified the "Guale problem" as one of the key issues for late prehistoric research in the region. The problem centers on the relative degree of Guale mobility and subsistence during the pre- and postcontact eras. One view is that these were highly mobile, moving seasonally as they exhausted resources. Alternatively, others posit a more sedentary existence where the rich estuarine environment supplemented by maize agriculture...

  • David Hurst Thomas: A Retrospective (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Robert Kelly.

    This contribution opens the Fryxell session by providing an overview of the career of David Hurst Thomas. Thomas’ career spans some 50 years and includes contributions to Great Basin, Southeastern and Southwestern archaeology, from the paleoindian to the historic periods. He has produced widely-used textbooks; the first textbook in statistics for anthropologists; and other popular words. Significantly, he served as a founding board member of the National Museum of the American Indian....

  • Lives in Transition: Impacts and Adaptations in the Georgia Bight (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Clark Larsen.

    The St. Catherines Island Archaeological Project, now more than 40 years in duration, has provided a wealth of data for addressing questions and hypotheses about native adaptations in the Georgia bight. Owing to the rich archaeological context and robust research design, the project has provided opportunities to document and interpret key developments and adaptive transitions in ways not dreamed of when fieldwork began in 1975. The bioarchaeological arm of the investigation, viewed in its rich...

  • Pluralistic Communities, Coalescence, and Population Aggregation at Mission Santa Catalina de Guale (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Elliot Blair. Kent Lightfoot.

    Recent ethnohistorical research on the Spanish mission communities of La Florida has done much to document and elucidate complicated patterns of indigenous population relocations. These migrations, aggregations, and dispersals—due to multiple factors such as epidemics, Spanish reducción policies, and flight from antagonistic native groups—resulted in the formation of complex and diverse colonial social networks. At Mission Santa Catalina de Guale (GA), the most pronounced of these was the...

  • Precursors of Missionization: Early European Contact on the Georgia Coast, 1514-1587 (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only John Worth.

    Beginning not long after the Spanish discovery of the Florida peninsula in 1513, indigenous groups along the Georgia coast were increasingly subject to sporadic maritime visits by Spanish and later French ships. By the time Georgia’s coastal chiefdoms were assimilated into the expanding Franciscan mission system of Spanish Florida after 1587, they had already experienced more than seven decades of occasional interaction with European slavers, colonists, soldiers, missionaries, traders, and...

  • Rising Sea Level and Sea Turtle Nesting on St. Catherines Island, GA; What the Present and Past tell about the Future!" (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Gale Bishop. Kelly Vance. Brian Meyer. Fredrick Rich. Mehmet Samiratedu.

    Geologists involved in sea turtle conservation have documented deterioration of sea turtle nesting habitat during sea level rise in The Modern Transgression on a "Sentinel Island," Deterioration of habitat has resulted in rapid erosion of backbeach nesting habitat at ~ 3.0 m per year (declining from 25% to 12% adequate habitat in a decade), including fragmentation of three beaches in 1990 into eight beaches in 2013, formation of washover fans and wash-in fans onto backbeach marsh meadows and...

  • Spanish Mission Archaeology in the Southeast. 1974-2014 A.D. (After Dave) (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Kathleen Deagan-Harris.

    The archaeological study of Spanish missions among the American Indians has been underway in the Southeastern and Western regions of the United States for more than 70 years. This paper considers the directions and contributions of that body of work in the Southeast, with particular attention to the interdisciplinary impacts of the Santa Catalina Mission program, carried out by Dave Thomas between 1974 and today on St. Catherine's Island, Georgia. SAA 2015 abstracts made available in tDAR...

  • The Transect Survey at 30-something (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Elizabeth Reitz.

    In 1977, an American Museum of Natural History team lead by David Hurst Thomas began an ambitious survey of St. Catherines Island, Georgia. The intent was to systematically survey 10% of the island following a series of transect lines using a research design from plant ecology. The survey collected hundreds of small vertebrate samples, none of which met zooarchaeological standards for adequate sample sizes and analysis. These hundreds of small samples, however, proved invaluable because they...

  • Transformation by fire: Human cremation, metalworking, and the transmogrification of bodies by flame in the Late Archaic American Southeast (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Matthew Napolitano. Matthew C. Sanger.

    A copper band recovered from a Late Archaic burial located on St. Catherines Island, Georgia, demonstrates the earliest use of metal objects in the region. This discovery shows that copper usage in the American Southeast, largely thought to relate to Hopewellian and Mississippian influences, has a greater antiquity and distribution than previously assumed. A reassessment of the copper found within the burial dates to the Archaic throughout the Eastern Woodlands; chemical analysis shows the...