In the News - 2018


New Exhibit at the MPC



This exhibit was made possible by the BYU Museum of Peoples an Cultures in partnership with the Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation (HCEF) and celebrates the historic, archaeological, and cultural identities of Bethlehem.

Traditional Palestinian bridal dresses, olive-wood carvings and mother-of-pearl artifacts will be on display for the first time at BYU. The dresses come from the internationally famous costume collection of Hanan and Farah Munayyer from the Palestinian Heritage Foundation. The olive-wood collection contains replicas of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem and the Church of the Holy Sepelcher in Jerusalem. Finally, the stunning mother-of-pearl artifacts come from the Columbian-Palestinian artist Enrique Daccarett.

“Returning to Bethlehem: A Cultural Pilgrimage” is designed to reflect a visitor’s experience of seeing Bethlehem today, depicting Manger Square and other important religious and archaeological sites. The exhibit also presents how the cultural identity of Bethlehem changes over time and space and is linked to historic events, architecture, geography, landmarks, and community heroes.

This exhibit is the capstone event of a two-year museum training effort that involved BYU students enrolled in museum studies classes taught by Dr. Cynthia Finlayson and Paul Stavast, Director of the MPC. 


Fulbright Fellowship Awarded to BYU Anthropology Faculty Member




Dr. Jacob Hickman has been awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to conduct research with Hmong in China. He will be on sabbatical during the 2018-2019 academic year, and he will be affiliated with Yunnan University, which houses the leading anthropology program in China where much pioneering ethnographic research with Hmong and other minority groups in the region has been conducted. Dr. Hickman will spend the year conducting ethnographic research with Hmong in Yunnan Province and collaborating with Yunnan University faculty to build bridges between Hmong studies and anthropology research networks in China and the United States.

The Fulbright Program offers grants at every level, ranging from Faculty to Graduate Students to recent College Graduates. Students interested in learning more about the Fulbright Student Program can find more information at Dr. Hickman is happy to advise anthropology students who intend to apply in the future (applicants must have a conferred bachelor's degree or the equivalent before the start of the grant).


Northern Ireland Fieldschool


This past summer, BYU Anthropology collaborated with Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland to convene the Northern Ireland Field School Program. The program was co-directed by Drs. Jacob Hickman (BYU) and Joseph Webster (Queen’s), and included thirteen undergraduate students and two PhD students.

The team collaboratively conducted ethnographic fieldwork over three months with various religious communities in the ‘post-conflict’ society of Northern Ireland, including Catholic, Protestant, Seventh-Day Adventist, and Jehovah’s Witness communities.

Students also participated in a lecture series in the Conflict Transformation and Social Justice Summer School at Queen’s University Belfast.


Graduate Student Wins Student Sponsorship Award   


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Joseph Bryce (left) and Spencer Lambert (right) present at UPAC.


Graduate students, alumni and faculty recently shared their expertise at the Utah Professional Archaeologists Council (UPAC). BYU’s presentations were focused on Utah archaeological research and discoveries about the ancient Fremont inhabitants.

At the Council, graduate student Spencer Lambert received the annual Student Sponsorship Award for having the best research abstract. His abstract was on strontium isotopic analysis, and at the Council he presented his thesis research on animal bones and Fremont hunting patterns.

Joseph Bryce, a BYU graduate, makes the powerful statement, “In archaeology, if you never tell anyone about what you’re doing, what good is it?”

Bryce’s commentary highlights the need to not only receive hands-on research experience, but also the pressing need to share what is learned in the process.

Learn what students in the social sciences have discovered in their recent research at the Fulton Mentored Student Research Conference on Thursday, April 12, 2018 from 8:30-11:30 a.m. in the Wilkinson Center Ballroom. The Mary Lou Fulton Endowed Chair in the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences is pleased to host this event that is free and open to the public.


Museum Studies Students Collect Aritfacts in DC




BYU Museum Studies students, accompanied by Dr. Cynthia Finlayson and Paul Stavast, spent five days in Washington DC selecting artifacts for an exhibition on Bethlehem, set to open this fall at the Museum of Peoples and Cultures

“Our primary purpose in going to DC,” said Kelsey Ellis, an anthropology student, “was to look at textile weaving designs from Palestine, as well as objects that were made from mother-of-pearl and olive wood from Palestinian Christians.”

Students received hands-on practice in selecting objects for the exhibit. They evaluated the conservation status of each object and documented artifact measurements for packing and transport to BYU.


BYU Archaeologists Digging up Provo



Dr. Michael Searcy, Scott Ure, and several students excavated in west Provo ahead of a Provo City road construction project which began at the end of January.

Students and faculty dug test trenches by the Provo airport and Hinckley Mounds for Native American architecture, extramural features and artifacts. 

While no archaeological deposits were identified, they discovered features revealing the nature of the prehistoric Provo River Delta. Additionally, students were able to learn techniques like mapping, reading stratigraphy, and recording data associated with test excavations. 


Graduate Students Present at the SAA Meeting



Six graduate students and two faculty members presented original research at the Society for American Archaeology (SAA) Conference in Washington D.C. from April 11-15.

Presentations were given by Dr. James Allison, Dr. Michael Searcy, and grad students Stephanie Lambert, Spencer Lambert, Jaclyn Eckersley, Josie Newbold, Robert Bischoff and Haylie Ferguson.

After the conference, they joined the March for Science outside the White House. According to their website "The March for Science movement, powered by community organizers and individual advocates, is a force for science advocacy. [They] make sure science stays a part of the political conversation and builds a community of advocates who take action year-round." 


Graduate Students Present at the CAA Conference


Graduate students Haylie Ferguson (*197) and Robert Bischoff (*59), along with Dr. James Allison and research archaeologist Scott Ure (*110), presented their research in Tübingen, Germany for the Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology (CAA) international conference in March.

The CAA Annual Conference is one of the major events for scholars, specialists and experts in the field of computing technologies applied to archaeology.

The theme for the conference was “Human History and Digital Future." Through diverse case studies from all over the world, the conference showed new technical approaches and best practices from various archaeological and computer-science disciplines.

*page numbers correspond in the following link:

See abstracts for CAA Presentations


Dr. Zachary Chase Publishes Works



Congratulations to Dr. Chase on the publication of two special issues of the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru’s Boletín de Arqueología journal, with the theme “Historical Archaeology in Peru.” Chase co-edited the issues with colleagues from Peru and the U. S. as the culmination of their 2010 inaugural International Symposium on Historical Archaeology in Peru. The symposium and journal issues united the work of renowned and pioneering archaeologists, historians, ethnographers, and art historians of the Andean region. BYU’s Department of Anthropology contributed funding for translations and other editing work for the issues.


Check out some of Dr. Chase’s other publications since joining our department in 2017:


  • 2018 - The Inca State and Local Ritual Landscapes. In The Oxford Handbook of the Incas, edited by Sonia Alconini and R. Alan Covey, 219-240. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • 2018 -  Past-forward Past making: Late Prehispanic and Early Colonial Andean Archaeology and History. In Constructions of Time and History in the Pre-Columbian Andes, edited by Edward Swenson and Andrew P. Roddick, 133-173. Boulder: University Press of Colorado. Remains in the top 3% of research publications on, based on 30-day views.
  • 2017 -  Pacha y presentación: la conversión Colonial de Huarochirí prehistórico. Boletín de Arqueología de la Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú 21: 13-37. Special volume: Arqueología Histórica en el Perú.
  • 2017 -  Arqueología Histórica en el Perú: posibilidades y perspectivas (with Traslaviña, VanValkenburg, Weaver). Boletín de Arqueología de la Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú 20: 5-24. Special volume: Arqueología Histórica en el Perú.
  • 2017 -  Arqueología Histórica en el Perú: La sociedad andina en la transición económica, política y social (with Traslaviña, VanValkenburg, Weaver). Boletín de Arqueología de la Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú 21: 5-12. Special volume: Arqueología Histórica en el Perú.

Edited Issues

  • 2017 - Special issues co-editor with T.A. Traslaviña Arias, N. VanValkenburg, and B. Weaver, Boletín de Arqueología de la Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú No. 20. Arqueología Histórica en el Perú.
  • 2017 - Special issues co-editor with T.A. Traslaviña Arias, N. VanValkenburg, and B. Weaver, Boletín de Arqueología de la Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú No. 21. Arqueología Histórica en el Perú



MPC ranked in the top 50 Most Impressive College Museums


The Museum of Peoples and Cultures ranked in the top 50 most impressive college museums for 2017-2018 at college values online. Click Here to read more. 


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BYU Field School Wraps up Excavations at the Wolf Site

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Largest Fremont Structure Uncovered by BYU Archaeology Students in Goshen, Utah (video)

Mining on the Swell (Dr. Searcy/OPA)

Video to explore uranium ‘Mining in the Swell’

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Fort Harmony Excavation (OPA) 

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