Hallo everyone! I am Angela Cooper, and I am a 2016 Women in Archeology Intern. Starting in Fall 2016, I will be a third year PhD student in Anthropology at the University of Tulsa. My dissertation research will explore how museums (mainstream, tribal, and mound site) combat or perpetuate stereotypes of Native Americans through exhibitions, displays, text labels, images, and interpretation of collections. In addition, the project will gather information on what visitors learn about Native Americans and their histories from these museums.
In May 2009, I received my Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology with a minor in Spanish from Southern Illinois University of Edwardsville. My senior project is entitled “Inspiring Pride and Saving the Past: An Archaeological Survey of the Belleville-Mascoutah Area.” I documented three privately owned artifact collections of farmers from the Belleville-Mascoutah Area. I also presented my research to students at Mascoutah Elementary School and Mascoutah Middle School. During the summer of 2007, I participated in the SIUE summer field school. We excavated part of the East Palisade at Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site.
After graduating from SIUE, I volunteered at the BRASS/El Pilar program under the direction of Dr. Anabel Ford. I worked with traditional Maya forest gardeners to understand the agricultural practices of the ancient Maya. When I returned to the United States, I worked for the Illinois State Archaeological Survey (formally known as ITARP) at the East St. Louis site for a year.
I left the position of field technician at ISAS to attend the anthropology graduate program at the University of Tulsa. I initially intended to conduct microscopic usewear analysis of lithics under the direction of Dr. George Odell. However, through the course of the program I changed the direction of my research. In 2012, I received my Master of Arts in Anthropology from the University of Tulsa. My thesis is entitled “Hopewell Community Interaction: A Study of Burial Offerings from Sites in the Illinois River Valley and Adjacent Mississippi River Valley.” I analyzed burial goods from seven sites excavated by Gregory Perino. These sites included Joe Gay and Lawrence Gay in the Mississippi River Valley, and Montezuma, Bedford, Pilot’s Peak, Helm and Gibson in the Illinois River Valley.
During the spring and summer of 2013 and the summer of 2014, I supervised the volunteer excavations at the East Palisade of Cahokia Mounds. During the winter of 2013 to 2014, I worked as a seasonal interpreter at the Interpretive Center of Cahokia Mounds. While working at Cahokia Mounds, I also volunteered at the Mascoutah Heritage Museum. Since all of my archaeological fieldwork has been conducted in the American Bottom, I am very excited to excavate of my thesis research area. Additionally, I look forward to participating in the public outreach programs here at Kampsville.
During my free time in grad school, I enjoy singing Build Me Up Buttercup at karaoke, crocheting amigurumi, and hanging out with my cats and friends.