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Robert Kelly Named Frison Institute Director

September 13, 2010 — Robert L. Kelly is the new director of the Frison Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology, housed in the University of Wyoming Department of Anthropology.

Named after Professor Emeritus George C. Frison, the Department of Anthropology's first chairman and the first state archaeologist, the Frison Institute promotes the department's research and educational mission in Wyoming and the Rocky Mountains. Kelly succeeds Marcel Kornfeld, who directed the institute since its inception in 1998.

Kelly has worked in archaeology since 1973, when, as a high school student, he participated in an excavation in Nevada directed by New York's American Museum of Natural History.

He previously taught at the University of Louisville in Kentucky, where he directed the department's Program in Archaeology and served as department head. He moved to Wyoming in 1997, taking a position as professor of anthropology. He served as department head from 2005-2008, overseeing the planning, construction and move to the new anthropology building.

A past president of the Society for American Archaeology, Kelly is an internationally-recognized expert on hunting and gathering peoples and has worked on archaeological projects throughout the United States and South America. He conducted ethnographic work with hunter-gatherers in Madagascar for three years; for the past decade he has researched caves and rock shelters in northwestern Wyoming.

This year he begins surveying ice and snow patches in Montana's Glacier National Park for artifacts exposed by global warming. He has received more than $1 million in research funding and has delivered distinguished lectures at several universities in the United States and abroad.

Kelly has written more than 100 articles, books and reviews, including "The Foraging Spectrum: Diversity in Hunter-Gatherer Lifeways," and, with David Hurst Thomas, the widely-used textbooks "Archaeology" and "Archaeology: Down to Earth." A proponent of public education, he created the Explore Wyoming's Cultural Heritage Web site ( to promote tourism to Wyoming's historic and archaeological sites.

More information on the Frison Institute visit

Robert L. Kelly is the new director of the University of Wyoming's Frison Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology

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