Mark R. Schurr
B.S. in chemistry, Purdue University, 1977
Ph.D. in anthropology, Indiana University, 1989
Mark R. Schurr is a professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Notre Dame. He also is editor of the Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology. His research focuses on the archaeology of eastern North America (especially from the Midcontinent to the Lower Great Lakes region). An early interest in chemistry eventually led to a B.S. in Chemistry and a continuing interest in archaeological chemistry, especially stable isotope analysis and fluoride dating. Schurr is the director of the Fluoride Dating Service Center, which provides fluoride measurements and other analytical services to researchers from throughout the world. His isotopic studies of prehistoric weaning behavior and of the relationships between agricultural intensity and social organization among Middle Mississippian societies have been recognized for their creative blending of analytical chemistry and archaeology.
Schurr also conducts a field research program through Notre Dame’s Archaeology Field School. The field program is investigating changes in human adaptation to the Kankakee Marsh environment that once dominated northwestern Indiana. Much of his recent work has focused on the Removal period (the early nineteenth century when Native Americans were being forced out of northern Indiana and Euroamerican pioneers were moving in to displace them). An important part of his field research includes the application and development of geophysical survey techniques. Since 2003, he has directed “Public Archaeology at Collier Lodge.”
Since 2003, Schurr has led archeological digs on the grounds of the Collier Lodge, a 19th-century hunting lodge located on the banks of the Kankakee River in northwestern Indiana. With the help of Notre Dame anthropology students and volunteers from the Kankakee Valley Historical Society, Schurr has unearthed hundreds of clues to the area’s rich past, including a prehistoric tool dating to 7,000 B.C., beads, tools and dishes of prehistoric Native American tribes, parts of a rare flintlock rifle, a spear point that dates back to 300 B.C., and prehistoric pottery from every known time period, spanning 800 B.C. to imported English pottery of the early 19th century. “Because the site had never been plowed, layers of earth were sealed, revealing centuries of artifacts," Schurr said. "I have never seen another site like this.”