Mark R. Schurr
He especially seeks applicants interested in the following topics: stable isotope analysis, archaeological chemistry more generally, archaeological prospection, or Midwest/Upper Great Lakes archaeology (prehistoric periods from the Middle Woodland to Upper Mississippian and Historic periods before A.D. 1840).
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 a former 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. 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 the Kankakee Protohistory Project in collaboration with Dr. Madeleine McLeester. The field program is investigating changes in human adaptation to the Kankakee Marsh environment that once dominated northwestern Indiana and northeastern Illinois. His recent work seeks to reconstruct human activities and the environment they occurred in during the Protohistoric period (the time when Native Americans and Europeans were first coming into contact). Remote sensing, geophysical surveys and excavations at the Middle Grant Creek site in the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie are providing new insights into this important but neglected time period.
The work at Midewin combines standard anthropology research questions with the the Kankakee Protohistory Project and Schurr’s mission to do engaged anthropology. He hopes that whatever answer he and his team come up with will become a model for environmental reconstruction of natural sites.
“If we can help the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie make this a natural area that will enrich everyone’s life in our region, that would really be our biggest accomplishment,” Schurr said. “I think that’s perfectly in line with Pope Francis’ Laudato Si', the idea of how we should care for the earth.”
240 Corbett Family Hall