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Annual Meeting 2007

Welcome to San Antonio for the
78th Texas Archeological Society Annual Meeting

Dr. Doug Owsley
Featured Banquet Speaker

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Dr. Doug Owsley, PhDDr. Doug Owsley, PhD, a world-renowned physical/biological anthropologist, is the featured banquet speaker for the 2007 Texas Archeological Society Annual Meeting that will occur on Sat. Oct. 27, 2007 at 8:00 p.m.  His talk is titled “17th Century Hard Knocks: Life in Jamestown.” Owsley will compare life in the early Chesapeake Colonies to that of modern America, and he will offer the audience a biological look at these first explorers including the rare find of the remains of Vice Admiral Bartholomew Gosnold, one of the earliest known colonial Americans and a man of some importance.  In 1602, Gosnold was the first Englishman to set foot in New England.  Five years later, he landed in what became known as Virginia and settled what became known as Jamestown – the first British colony in North America.  Dr. Owsley’s talk is especially timely since America is celebrating the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown.

Dr. Owsley is the Division head for Physical Anthropology at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., Owsley investigates the human bone–both ancient and modern.  Although he is trained in the study of ancient skeletal remains, he also has applied his expertise in the area of forensic anthropology.  Owsley has assisted in identifying human remains found in mass graves in the former Yugoslavia, the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, and at the Pentagon after 9/11.  For his work at the Pentagon plane crash, he received the Commander’s Award for Civilian Service, Department of the Army, in 2002.  Owsley is frequently asked to aid law enforcement officials across the country by evaluating remains in unsolved cases.  His work has been the subject of a book, a Discovery Channel documentary, and an ABC "20/20" news program.

Dr. Owsley was instrumental in advocating for the right of scientists to retain and analyze the Kennewick Man remains discovered on the Columbia River in Washington State in 1996.  The Kennewick Man discovery challenged traditional theories about the development of early man in North America, not to mention long-held beliefs about who the "original" Americans were."  The remains were the subject of an intense and prolonged fight between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Umatilla tribe on one side and the wider archaeological and scientific community on the other.  Without his intervention and subsequent analysis the important information provided by the Kennewick Man remains would more than likely have been lost to science.  Owsley’s other work includes identifying the crew of the Civil War Confederate submarine CSS Hunely.

Dr. Owsley’s archaeological work in Texas received much acclaim for his analysis of Paleo-Indian skeletal material from the Horn Shelter in Bosque County.  The unique feature which gives the site such prominence in the archeological world, in addition to the radio-carbon date of 9500 BCE for the human remains, are the associated burial goods, which consisted of shells, antlers, sandstone slabs, tools, flint knives, and additional “cultural debris”.

In the November 2005 issue of Smithsonian magazine, Owsley was named, along with such noteworthy people as Maya Angelou, Bill Gates, and Yo-Yo Ma, as one of the “35 Who Made a Difference.”

Owsley received both his master’s and Ph.D. in anthropology at the University of Tennessee.  Owsley has been more than a witness to history.  He has been its interpreter.


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April 20, 2013