All posts by Kerri Wilhelm

Currently I am the NAGPRA Specialist at the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory of the University of Texas at Austin.

Introductions!

Introducing TARL’s Head of Collections: Marybeth Tomka

We are pleased to announce that Marybeth Tomka joined the staff of the TARL in July 2014 as the Head of Collections.  Marybeth received her BA and MA from UT-Austin, and feels like she has come home to TARL.  Marybeth has over 30 years of professional experience in the field of cultural resource management. She has experience working in both the private and public sector, has completed analyses of lithic and ceramic materials, made contributions to archaeological reports, participated as the supervisor of archaeological lab and field crews, and served as a project manager while in the private sector.

She spent six years with TRC, six years with TPWD, and as a work study and later employee at TARL’s former contracting arm.  She comes to us from the Center for Archaeological Research (CAR) staff where from July 2000-July 2014, Marybeth served in two major roles as the laboratory director for contract projects and as curator.  She was the driving force to CAR’s 2006 acknowledgement as a THC certified repository coming as only the second institution to be certified.  She also served as the technical lead for outreach field schools work with community volunteers at the National Park Service’s Spanish Colonial site of Rancho de Las Cabras in Wilson County from 2007 through 2012 and taught UTSA’s field in 2008 and 2010. As an undergraduate, and then graduate student, Marybeth was a lab technician for the WS Ranch Project of the Anthropology Department under Jim Neely, and as a teacher’s assistant and area supervisor for the University of Texas (Austin) field school as part of her Master’s thesis research. Her research focused on the great kiva complex.

Marybeth’s interests are focused in the management of archaeological records and collections within the context of state and federal laws and sound museum practice. This interest as well as database administration, led her to pursue additional training and in June 2012, she received her Professional Certification in Collections Management from the University of Victoria (UVic).

Already somewhat versed in TARL’s massive collections, Marybeth is happily pursuing taking TARL into the 21st century with planned projects in collections care, collections management, and database construction management.  She will also be actively recruiting volunteers as we move forward.

Follow the blog and/or subscribe to the Friends of TARL Newsletter to keep track of Marybeth’s projects, her discoveries in TARL’s collections and her own blog entries as she gathers the reins and guides TARL’s collections along an exciting trajectory into the future.

DID YOU KNOW?

The artifact featured above in this post is made of shell.  Per Susan Dial, Editor and Project Manager of Texas Beyond History, this artifact is an:

“Engraved conch shell gorget with triskele design, ca. AD 1400. Excavated by the University of Texas in 1938 from the Mitchell locality (site 41BW4) in the Upper Nasoni Caddo village on Red River, Bowie County, Texas. Specimen 41BW4 (6-2-56); width 11 cm. To learn more about the Hatchell-Mitchell site, see the Nasoni exhibit at http://www.texasbeyondhistory.net/nasoni/index.html.”

 

 

Greetings From TARL 2.0

Hello and welcome to the TARL blog!

Here at the Texas Archeological Research Lab we underwent some new and important changes over the course of 2014.  A new Director, a new Head of Collections, a new position created for a NAGPRA Specialist and a new sense of commitment to making the archeological collections and associated records available to the university and academic communities, CRM firms and various government entities.  Combining new staff, ideas and collections management approaches with the dedicated existing staff, organizational history and long standing position within Texas archeology as a center for research, TARL is moving forward into an exciting new era as an eminent steward of Texas history.  The purpose of this blog is to invite the public along with us on this ‘re-commitment’ as we undertake and encourage collections-based projects that will deepen our understanding of the cultural, historical and biological origins of our shared past.  We will post information about current and ongoing projects here, provide updates about their progress, introduce you to our staff and students, and give you insight into the deep time and broad cultural landscapes represented in the vast collections curated at TARL.  Being that blogs are inherently informal and more conversational, for more thorough information about any of the topics you read about here you should visit our organizational website, http://www.utexas.edu/research/tarl/, and also the comprehensive educational website Texas Beyond History at http://www.texasbeyondhistory.net/.  The staff here at the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory is extremely passionate about Texas archeology, making TARL’s collections available for research, and working with students and the public to expand their understanding of how the collections we steward here inform our understanding of the past, present and future.  We look forward to sharing that knowledge and passion with you!

Kerri Wilhelm