FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                          Date: July 9, 2002

Contact: Donna McCracken 206-6716

UIS anthropology professor receives Fulbright award

 

SPRINGFIELD -- Lynn Fisher, assistant professor of Anthropology at the University of Illinois at Springfield and an adjunct research associate in anthropology at the Illinois State Museum, has received a Fulbright Senior Research and Teaching Award to underwrite four months of research and teaching at the University of Tübingen in Germany.

During that time, Fisher will continue a collaborative data-gathering project with Michael A. Jochim of the University of California, Santa Barbara which is part of on-going efforts to map the densities of Stone Age archaeological sites in southern Germany. This map will help address questions about regional settlement patterns and, as a result, will aid in understanding the transitions between major cultural and economic stages in European prehistory, including hunter-gatherer adaptations and the emergence of agriculture.

 This work has previously been supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation, by a UIS  Summer Competitive Research Grant, and by other sources.

The current stage of the project was begun with Jochim in 2001 and focuses on a 100 by 400 kilometer area of southern Germany, reaching from Lake Constance to the Danube. Fisher said that their work “will put the rich but uneven archaeological record of southern Germany into a new kind of regional context. To achieve this, Jochim and I and a few doctoral students coordinate our research and fieldwork interests within the study area. We carry out our own reconnaissance for Stone Age archaeological sites, which involves walking on plowed fields, and combine our new finds with published information on locations of Stone Age sites.” The map database is constructed using a Geographic Information System.

During the award period, Fisher will teach a course at the University of Tübingen and will also work with private collectors in the area to document and investigate known Paleolithic, Mesolithic, and Neolithic sites through private collections, interviews, and archaeological survey and test excavation.

The primary focus of Fisher’s research is on changing land use by Late Upper Paleolithic and Mesolithic hunter-gatherers, who faced rapid
climate change at the end of the last glacial period (around 15,000 to 8,000 years ago).

She explains, “The data currently available to test hypotheses about prehistoric settlement, in many areas of Europe, comes from sites in caves and rock shelters. While these are rich sources of information, it is difficult to place them in the context of regional social and economic systems because they represent a small number of unique environments rather than a sample of whole landscapes. This extensive surface record has not been integrated into studies of regional settlement patterns. A systematic documentation of the density and approximate age of artifacts found in plowed fields can add much to our understanding of the distribution of living places and activities on ancient landscapes.”

At UIS, Fisher teaches courses including Human Impact on Ancient Environments, European Prehistory, and Human Evolution. She has received several professional awards, including the 2001 Tubinger/Romina Prize for Ice Age Research, awarded by the University of Tübingen’s department of pre-history.

Her many publications include a section titled “Hunter-Gatherer Mobility and Food-Getting Technologies: Long-Term Change from Final Paleolithic to Mesolithic in Southern Germany,” in the forthcoming Beyond Foraging and Collecting: Evolutionary Change in Hunter-Gatherer Settlement Systems, edited by J. B. Fitzhugh and J. Habu (Plenum Press, New York).

She has delivered presentations and invited talks at numerous professional and academic gatherings, including the Society for American Archaeology, the Washington University Friday Archaeology Series, the Annual Visiting Scholar Conference at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, and the Society for American Archaeology. She also delivered the 2001 Tübinger/Romina Prize Lecture at the University of Tübingen. In addition to her current project, Fisher has been active in fieldwork at various sites in Germany and France as well as in this country.

Funded by the federal government, the Fulbright Program is America’s flagship educational exchange program. Since its inception in 1946, its more than 250,000 participants have included Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winners, governors and senators, ambassadors, artists, heads of state, professors, scientists, Supreme Court Justices, and CEOs.