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Contact Info

611 Flanner Hall
Department of Anthropology
University of Notre
Dame Notre Dame, IN 46556

(574) 631-7638

FAX: (574) 631-5760

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Mark R. Schurr


Department of Anthropology
University of Notre Dame

Vita (in PDF format)


Anthro Dept Home Page

Notre Dame Home Page

My research interests take me into the field and the lab.

Field Work:

            My field work has been conducted mainly in northern Indiana since 1991 when I taught my first field school at Notre Dame. Current research topics include:

The Kankakee Protohistory Project The protohistoric period is the time just before history. Sites produce evidence of contact with Europeans but date before the first historic records for the area (for the Kankakee, the earliest known historic records are from A.D. 1679). Madeleine McLeester (University of Chicago) and I are investigating sites from this period to better understand how people adapted to rapid social and environmental changes.. Our current project includes excavatoins at the Middle Grant Creek site at the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie in northern Illinois. Volunteers are welcome!

Summer Scholars Archaeology Field School. For the third year, I will be directing acourse that gives high school students the opportunity to participate in a dig and to learn about college life at Notre Dame. The project is called Exploring the Foundations of Notre Dame. We will dig near Old College on the Notre Dame Campus from June 26 to to July 7, 2017. The last time I worked at the site was in 1992. A chapter in the book Beneath the Ivory Tower: The Archaeology of Academia tells what we found that year.



Laboratory Research:

My lab work makes use of my background in chemistry (I have a B.S. in Chemistry and worked in the chemical industry for several years before going to grad school). My enduring love of chemistry was originally sparked by a childhood chemistry set, and further nurtured by an excellent high school teacher. I am interested in applying analytical methods to archaeological problems.   This is often called archaeometry.   Methods that I am presently using include:

Stable isotopes for understanding prehistoric nutrition, especially to examine changes in weaning behavior (or lack thereof) with the evolution of food production, and the relationship between agricultural intensification and social organization (please see vita, on left). I have recently become very interested in the isotopic ecology of people and the animals they preyed upon or coexisted with. Many of these projects are being done by students.

Fluoride dating of bones, with many projects conducted by the Fluoride Dating Service Center