John Nass, Jr.

California University of Penns... · Department of Justice, Law and Society

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About

Educational background:
Delta Community College, 1970-1972
A.A. in Sociology

Michigan State University, 1972-1974
B.A. in Anthropology

Western Michigan University, 1976-1980
M.A. in Anthropology
Thesis Title: A Description and Quantitative Analysis of Artifacts Recovered from Fort Meigs
(1813-1815), Wood County, Ohio

The Ohio State University, 1982-1987
Ph.D. in Anthropology
Dissertation Title: Use-Wear Analysis and Household Archaeology. A Study of the Activ
Structure of the Incinerator Site, An Anderson Phase Fort Ancient Community
in Southwestern Ohio

Biographical information:
The fall 2009 semester is the beginning of my 20th year at California University of Pennsylvania. My current rank is Professor of Anthropology. My major focus is eastern North American Prehistory, but I also have training and experience in the excavation of 18th and 19th century Euro American military and domestic sites.

My doctorate in Anthropology from The Ohio State University focused on the function of stone tools and the organization of households within the archaeological entity known as Fort Ancient. My of my study focused on a particular village site known as Sun Watch Village, a fortified village near Dayton, Ohio). A portion of this important has been meticulous reconstructed by the Dayton Museum of Natural History and is open to the public (http://www.sunwatch.org).

Prior to joining the faculty at California University, I work at Archaeological Services Consultants, Inc., (ASC) a large Cultural Resource Management (CRM) firm located in Columbus, Ohio. The firm provided archaeological services to clients needing assistance acquiring state and/or federal permits for projects that impacted the environment. While at ASC, I served as the senior staff archaeologist. ASC conducted projects in the form of surveys and excavations over much of the Midwest and the mid-Atlantic regions.

Since joining the faculty at California, I have directed the university’s summer field school in Archaeology. The course is designed to train students in the excavation of archaeological sites. The skill sets acquired in the course can then be applied to any number of archaeological situations.

In addition, students have obtained additional experience and pay by assisting in CRM projects conducted under the Center for Prehistoric and Historic Sites Archaeology. The center was established in the 1970’s for the sole purpose of conducting educational research and for conducting CRM project contracts for the university. The center also serves as a regional curation facility for archaeological collections both donated to the university and those acquired through educational research.

Since the mid-1990’s, I have been an active proponent of undergraduate student research at California. I see this as a vital part of the undergraduate experience. The study of ourselves and the world around us can only proceed by the outcomes of research. While research does not appeal to all students, for many others it is a valuable learning experience that involves using critical thinking and other analytical skills developed over the course of their undergraduate education.

Ancillary to the research theme mentioned above is exposing students to scholarship within their chosen field of study. Since coming to California I have taken undergraduate students with me to local and regional conferences in Archaeology. While such settings provide students with the opportunity to network with other students and professionals, conferences also provide students the opportunity to learn about the different methods of presenting research.

Finally, in my position as an advisor, I enjoy helping students chart their career at California. Student achievement is my reward and that is really the reason why I am at California University of Pennsylvania.

Courses:
ANT 100 Introduction to Anthropology
ANT 101 Archaeology Field School
ANT 255 World Ethnology
ANT 290 Archaeology
ANT 341 Research Laboratory in Archaeology
ANT 355 Prehistoric American Indians
ANT 360 Historic Sites Archaeology
ANT 421 Anthropological Thought

Affiliated Cal U department(s):
Center for Prehistoric and Historic Sites Archaeology

Research interests:
Microwear Analysis; this analytical approach uses high power (greater than 100x) to visually examine the edges of stone tools in order to infer how these were used by prehistoric native Americans.

Prehistoric Household Organization; a household is usually thought of as everyone who lives within the same house or dwelling; however, this definition does not hold true for all peoples across the world. The task is to determine how prehistoric native American families organized themselves both politically and economically in regards to labor and food acquisition by using modern living populations and the remains of the built environment (such as housed) over the past 10,000 years.
Historic Site Archaeology; my interest in historic or historical sites focuses upon early colonial settlement dating to the 17th century and upon military sites, especially military forts and fortified communities.

Research projects that include students:
From 1993 until 2005 I directed excavation at a Late Prehistoric native American site in Greene County, Pennsylvania. Several students have presented research papers in Archaeology using information from the site. As research on the site continues, additional research papers by students will be generated for presentation at student and professional conferences.

Service-learning, volunteer or community projects:
Over the past 10 years, students have assisted me in the survey and testing of areas for development by both the US government and non-profit organizations. Two such projects are described below.

One such project was the examination of the land within the Fort Necessity National Battlefield Park in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, for the National Park Service. Several acres were surveyed for the Park Service in advance of building a new welcome and interpretive center. Students obtained field experience and were also paid for their time and labor.

A second project consisted of testing the inside of Fort Pitt Blockhouse, the only remaining fortification from the British fort built at the point in Pittsburgh. The blockhouse was slated for a major renovation and excavation within the blockhouse to learn about its 18th century history was required prior to beginning the renovation. Students obtained field experience and were also paid for their time and labor.

In your classroom:
I do take students on Field Trips as part of some courses that I instruct.

Favorite student story:


Additional (or preferred) profile reference:
None

Video(s): http://www.youtube.com/user/caluofpa

The best part of your job:
Sharing with students not only my love for archaeology and anthropology but also the relevance of both in today’s world by showing how both are useful for understanding and helping solve current social issues and problems.

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