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University Relations

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Aug. 16, 2006
Contact: Kevin Boatright, University Relations, (785) 864-7240.

KU shifts archaeological collection management to Biodiversity Institute

LAWRENCE — In a move designed to increase the visibility and accessibility of its archaeological collection, the University of Kansas is shifting management of those artifacts from the Anthropological Research and Cultural Collections to the Biodiversity Institute, effective immediately.

More than 1 million archaeological artifacts are involved. The majority of the collection is housed in Spooner Hall, across the street from Dyche Hall, home of the Biodiversity Institute. Mary Adair will be associate curator for the archaeological collections.

Mary Lee Hummert, associate vice provost for research, said the collection fits well with the mission of Biodiversity Institute.

“The scientific methods employed in the study of other collections within the Biodiversity Institute are also being applied in archaeological research,” she said. “The archaeological collection will benefit from this synergy and so will the university community.”

Leonard Krishtalka, director of the Biodiversity Institute, said his institute is privileged to become the stewards of the KU archaeology collections and that they fit well with its mission to understand and teach about the interaction of nature and culture.

“The archaeological collections share this research and education mission with three other units of the institute — the Commons, the Biodiversity Research Center and the Natural History Museum,” Krishtalka said. “With the use of information technology, we will make the archaeological collections and their data as broadly accessible as possible to KU faculty and students and to scholars worldwide.”

On an interim basis, Tom Foor will serve as curator of the ethnographic collection in the Anthropological Research and Cultural Collections, reporting to the Office of the Vice Provost for Research. Foor’s appointment as KU’s coordinator for compliance with the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act has been extended to January. His duties will include oversight of a $124,000 upgrade of storage units for the Native American artifacts in the collection, improving the database for the ethnographic collection and facilitating access to the collection for KU classes and research by students and faculty. He will explore collaborations with departments and units across campus, such as art history, anthropology, indigenous nations studies and the Spencer Museum of Art. A decision about the ultimate oversight of the ethnographic collection will be finalized by January, Hummert said.

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The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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