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Origins of People in the Americas Topic of Frison Institute Lecture at UW Sept. 23

September 2, 2021
woman with ancient bones on a table in front of her
Jessi Halligan

“Dark Waters and Murky Models: Perspectives on the Peopling of the Americas from Page-Ladson” is the topic of the 23rd annual George C. Frison Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology Lecture Thursday, Sept. 23, at the University of Wyoming.

Jessi Halligan, an assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology at Florida State University, will give the Wyoming Archaeology Awareness Month-sponsored lecture at 4:10 p.m. in the UW College of Education auditorium. A reception will follow in the Anthropology Building foyer. Both the lecture and reception are free and open to the public.

In her lecture, Halligan will discuss the first people who arrived on the American continent.

“For most of the 20th century, archaeologists were sure that we knew nearly everything important about how and when the first people arrived on the American continent,” she says. “Recent excavations at numerous sites in North and South America have been presented as challenges to that model, although many researchers remain unconvinced by these challengers.”

In her talk, Halligan will discuss the archaeological and geoarchaeological context of one of those sites, Page-Ladson, a drowned sinkhole in northwest Florida, to contextualize what this site implies about the colonization of the American continent.

The Frison Institute and the Wyoming State Historic Preservation Office sponsor the annual lecture. It is named in honor of George Frison, a Worland native and UW graduate who achieved international acclaim as an archaeologist during a lengthy career as a UW faculty member. He died last year at age 95.

Frison, who founded UW’s Department of Anthropology and was the first state archaeologist, is the only UW faculty member ever elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

For more information about the lecture, call the UW Department of Anthropology at (307) 766-5136.

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