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Marshall I. Weisler Seminars

The Department of Sociology & Anthropology and the Department of Geosciences invite you to hear a presentation by,

Marshall I. Weisler, Ph.D.,

Professor and Head of Archaeology, School of Social Science
The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

He will present two seminars:

Tuesday, April 21, 2015       

at 2:00 pm in Ag & Biosystems 223:

His seminar title is

“Human Settlement of Pacific Atolls and Responses to Changing Climate and Atoll Landscapes over Two Millennia”

Thursday, April 23, 2015
at 4:00 pm in Stevens Hall 134:

His seminar title is

Isotopes and Archaeology”

 Everyone is invited. 


Professor Weisler (PhD 1993, UC Berkeley) is the Head of Archaeology, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia. He is also Honorary Professor at the University of Otago, in New Zealand, Associate in Cultural Studies at the Bishop Museum, Honolulu, and elected Fellow of:  Society of Antiquaries of London; the Linnaean Society of London; and the Australian Academy of Humanities. His geographical focus is on Oceanic archaeology. Research themes include: island colonization strategies; human adaptation to island ecosystems; understanding long-term changes in marine exploitation through the identification of archaeological fish bones; sustainability of low coral islands or atolls over last 2,000 years; the development of Hawaiian religious architecture and inferred human population trends through the high-precision U-series dating of coral offerings; and identification and development of prehistoric long-distance exchange/trade by the geochemical fingerprinting of source rock and artifacts. His major field projects and collections-based research have been conducted in Hawai‘i, New Zealand, the Pitcairn Group, French Polynesia (Society Islands, Tuamotus), Cook Islands, Samoa, and the Marshall Islands.  His current field research is supported by a New Zealand Marsden grant to understand human colonisation strategies of New Zealand.


April 21, 2:00 – 3:00, 223 Ag & Biosystems Bldg., NDSU campus

Human Settlement of Pacific Atolls and Responses to Changing Climate and Atoll Landscapes over Two Millennia

Pacific atolls are, indeed, the most precarious coastal landforms found anywhere on Earth. Scarcely more than 2 m above sea level, and consisting of unconsolidated sand and gravel, they evidence some of first effects of sea-level rise and increasing storm intensity, and, therefore, have been likened to “canaries in the cage” for signalling warnings to the rest of the world. A long-term multi-disciplinary research project was initiated in 1993 to investigate human adaptations to low coral atolls, economic and social responses to changing landforms, and charting islet formation in the Republic of the Marshall Islands over the past 2,000 years. This island group, consisting of 29 atolls spread across more than 775,000 square miles of ocean, is situated about 2,400 miles southwest of Hawaii. Excavations were conducted on four atolls spread 500 miles, from the dry north (1,500 mm of annual rainfall) to the wet south (4,000 mm of rainfall). Since rainfall dictates vegetation cover and density on these otherwise nearly identical landforms, a contrastive analysis reveals differences in population, agricultural production, and even marine subsistence strategies. This archaeological data provides a long-term record for understanding future trends that may affect contemporary island societies.

April 23, 4:00 – 5:00, Stevens Hall 134, NDSU campus

Isotopes and Archaeology:
Understanding ancient trade and religion through geochemistry

In this interdisciplinary talk, geochemical techniques are shown to be powerful tools for identifying prehistoric long-distance movement of fine-grained basalt adzes (tools similar to axes) across East Polynesia. This allows archaeologists to determine routes of island colonization, the frequency of post-settlement trade, and the demise of some isolated island societies. Several examples across East Polynesia are highlighted. In another study, high-precision U-Th dating of branch corals placed as offerings on ancient Hawaiian temples provides a solid basis for charting human population trends during the past five centuries. This high-precision dating technique, newly applied to archaeology, is especially important since the radiocarbon time scale during the past few hundred years has large shifts in the calibration curve with dates that typically have large standard errors making it difficult to chart temporal events.

 For more information contact Dr. Jeffrey Clark (, Dept. Sociology & Anthropology.

Great Plains Sociological Association Annual Conference

The Great Plains Sociological Association (GPSA) Annual Conference will be October 15 and 16, 2015 in Fargo, ND.  The GPSA's annual conference is a great opportunity for professionals to share their work, ideas, and recent accomplishments.  The GPSA also gives graduate and undergraduate students the opportunity to present their work in a friendly yet professional atmosphere.

The theme of the 2015 conference is "Sociology from the Great Plains to the Global World"  For more information on the conference.

For registration form, click here

For schedule of events, click here.

Student Focused. Land Grant. Research University.

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North Dakota State University
Sociology and Anthropology Department: +1 (701) 231-8657
Fax: +1 (701) 231-5118
Campus Address: Minard Hall 428, Fargo, ND 58102
Mailing Address: Dept. 2350, PO Box 6050, Fargo, ND 58108-6050
Site manager: Kate Ulmer

Last Updated: Monday, April 13, 2015 2:09:54 PM