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Millsaps Expanding Lab Facilities

Department of Sociology/Anthropology News

 

Discovering the past just got a little easier at Millsaps College. After receiving a $400,000 grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation in 2007, the College will soon launch a new research program and will unveil the W.M. Keck Center for Instrumental and BioChemical Comparative Archaeology. It's not quite a time machine, but it will provide a state-of-the-art way to explore complex archaeological questions using bioanalytical and biochemical techniques. In addition, the research conducted at the Center will be interdisciplinary, involving students and faculty from the Anthropology, Biology, Chemistry, and Geology departments. By inventing an interdisciplinary approach, college faculty hope to find answers far greater than the results of individual research.

The W.M. Keck Foundation is one of the leading philanthropic organizations, and awards annual grants in Undergraduate Research, Science & Engineering, and Medical Research. Its vision is to give organizations and educational institutions the resources to make a positive difference in the lives of others through cutting-edge research and unique laboratories.

The W.M. Keck Center will expand the capabilities of laboratories currently used, and add yet another dimension to research done by faculty and students involve d in Millsaps College's field sites in Mexico and in Albania.

Millsaps College works in conjunction with several other colleges and universities to provide a creative "living laboratory" experience at Kaxil Kiuic, a biocultural reserve located in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. Students who participate are granted the opportunity to do first-hand archaeological research, and upon completion of the W.M. Keck Center, they will be able to delve deeper into their findings. Dr. George Bey, Associate Professor of Anthropology, is a director of the reserve. For more information, visit http://www.kiuic.org/.

Another opportunity for field research lies in Albania. The regional studies project is conducted in Shala Valley, located in northern Albania. Research is focused on archaeology, ethnography, ethno-history, and geo-science. The goals of researchers include producing a record of cultural resources and to contribute to discussions regarding cultural isolation. The site is directed by Dr. Michael Galaty, Associate Professor of Anthropology. For more information, visit www.millsaps.edu/svp.

The lab will be installed in three stages and is expected to be fully operational by 2011.