Annual Meeting 2007
Welcome to San Antonio for the
78th Texas Archeological Society Annual Meeting
Dr. Doug Owsley
Featured Banquet Speaker
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
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.