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Release: May 29, 2002

UI alumna is named new state archaeologist

The University of Iowa, pending approval by the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, intends to appoint Elizabeth Prine Pauls the state archaeologist and director of the Office of the State Archaeologist at the UI, effective July 15. She will take over for Stephen Lensink, who has served as interim director since August 2001, when former director William Green left the university.

Pauls was selected after a nationwide search lead by William Decker, associate vice president  for research, and a committee of faculty and staff members. Pauls will be responsible for the office's program of statewide archaeological research, service, and education. She will report directly to Decker and her annual salary will be $65,000.

Since 1997, Pauls has been an assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Wisconsin at Oshkosh. She also has served as director of GIS (Geographic Information Systems) and spatial analysis for the Menoken Archaeology Project since 1999. For the last five years her research has focused on ways that Native people used the plains environment and its cultural landscapes in their resistance against Euroamerican colonial powers.

No stranger to Iowa City, Pauls earned a B.A. with honors in anthropology from the UI in 1990 and earned an M.A. and Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of California at Berkeley in 1991 and 1997, respectively.

"We were fortunate to be able to choose from a very strong pool of candidates for the position," Decker said. "In addition to her obvious preparation and background for this work, Beth demonstrated both a strong vision for the office and a positive, gregarious nature. Given the very public nature of much of the OSA's work, these characteristics should serve her and the university well."

In addition to leading the Office of the State Archaeologist, Pauls will have an adjunct faculty appointment in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences department of anthropology.

As the state archaeologist, Pauls will be responsible for identifying and defining the state's archaeological needs and developing a plan to meet them; locating and excavating archaeological sites for the recovery, restoration, and preservation of archaeological remains; reviewing environmental impact statements; acting as liaison with appropriate federal, state, local, and private agencies; developing a program of information dissemination on Iowa archaeology; and guiding and coordinating archaeological activities within the state, including vigorous enforcement of the state's reburial law.

"Nationally, only a handful of state archaeologists report within a university setting—most are independent state agencies," Decker said. "The University of Iowa is proud to be charged with the responsibility of protecting Iowa's cultural heritage and resources, and we value the opportunity to integrate this important service unit and its programs into our educational and research missions."

Maria Pearson, a Yankton Sioux and chair of the Indian Advisory Council to the Office of the State Archaeologist, served on the search committee for the new director. "I'm looking forward to working with Beth," Pearson said. "Indian cultures are very much alive in Iowa and the nation. I believe we will be able to work effectively together to learn new ways to look at these cultures and to see mother earth through the eyes of the Indian as well as those of the archaeologist."