AUM students conduct archeological research in Ecuador

AUM students who went to Equador to study.Auburn Montgomery anthropology/GIS students began a second week of study today in Ecuador, where they are assisting in archeological research aimed at determining whether an ancient settlement existed before the Inca in an area near Manta, Manabi.

Led by Terry Winemiller, associate professor of anthropology and geography, participants are developing a precise spatial and temporal model of settlement development at the sites of Cerros Jaboncillo and Cerros Hojas. Marshall Saville surveyed the area in 1907 and 1908, publishing crude maps of the region and removing artifacts that are now housed in U.S. museums.

Using high-tech GPS methods, the team will document the true locations of the architectural features while working alongside faculty and students for several universities in Ecuador. The university is gaining a memorandum of understanding with Escuela Superior Politécnica del Litoral (ESPOL) and already has one in place with Universidad Técnica de Manabí (UTM).

Participants are: 

  • Chris Blair, graduate student pursuing a Master of Liberal Arts in anthropology and GIS
  • Elizabeth Renee Boroughs, graduate student pursuing a Master of Liberal Arts in anthropology and GIS
  • Molly Freeman, graduate student pursuing a Master of Liberal Arts in anthropology and GIS
  • Joe Rodriguez, undergraduate majoring in sociology/anthropology and GIS
  • Michael (Chad) Young, graduate student pursuing a Master of Liberal Arts in anthropology and GIS

Winemiller says that several offices on campus have come together to help fund the trip and limit out-of-pocket expenses for the students. Sponsors include the Provost's Office, Study Abroad program, Khaled Global Initiative Fund, and a portion of Winemiller's Ida Belle Young Faculty Research Award.

AUM offers a certificate program and undergraduate and graduate concentrations in GIS – equipping students to use spatial theory, technology and data to unearth and explain relationships, patterns, entities and attributes related to geographic areas. Students in the program also study geography, learning to understand how the interaction between people and their environments impacts culture, economics and ideology.

For more information on the AUM GIS program, contact Winemiller at 334-244-3945 or twinemi1@aum.edu.

Photographed, from left: Terry Winemiller, associate professor of anthropology and geography; Elizabeth Renee Boroughs, graduate student pursuing a Master of Liberal Arts in anthropology and GIS; Joe Rodriguez, undergraduate majoring in sociology/anthropology and GIS; Molly Freeman, graduate student pursuing a Master of Liberal Arts in anthropology and GIS; Michael (Chad) Young, graduate student pursuing a Master of Liberal Arts in anthropology and GIS; Chad Randolph, a representative of Leica Geosystems. Not pictured: Chris Blair, graduate student pursuing a Master of Liberal Arts in anthropology and GIS.

Photo taken by Frank C. Williams.