Anthropology student Alena Wigodner receives NSF award

Alena Wigodner, a junior anthropology major in Arts & Sciences, has been selected for a new National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program titled “Angel Mounds REU Site: Multidisciplinary Training for Students in Environmental and Social Sciences through Archaeological Research.”


The objective of this program, which is run through Indiana University and the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology, is to advance multidisciplinary training for students in environmental and social sciences through archaeological research.

The eight-week program will include five weeks of fieldwork at the Angel Mounds State Historic Site in southwestern Indiana, a late Pre-Columbian town and National Historic Landmark site occupied during the Mississippian cultural period (A.D. 1050 to 1450) and highlighted by 11 earthen mounds and a series of palisades.

This will be followed by three weeks of laboratory training at IUPUI and IU-Bloomington, analyzing materials and data from the fieldwork.

The goal of this project is to foster a new generation of scholars that can work across disciplinary boundaries to craft cogent, meaningful and empirically sound interpretations.

An aerial view of Angel Mounds State Historic Site in Indiana.

Nationally recruited undergraduates from the environmental and social sciences and humanities, as well as other science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines will be provided with field and laboratory training in archaeology, geophysics, geoarchaeology and geochemistry.

Over the program’s three years, REU participants will conduct original research on the Native American peoples that inhabited Angel Mounds through investigation of earthwork construction (Year 1), reconstruction of the paleoenvironment (Year 2), and exploration of the timing and relationship between fortification construction, settlement development and subsequent site abandonment (Year 3).

Participants in the Angel Mounds REU will receive a $500/week stipend ($4,000 for eight weeks). The program will also cover all housing and the requisite field and laboratory equipment in Evansville, Bloomington, and Indianapolis. In addition, a $300 allowance will be provided to participants for travel to the REU site from their institution or home. A $500 allowance has also been budgeted for student presentations of research findings at a regional archaeological conference in the fall subsequent to project participation.

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