Jeremy W. Pye

sTUDENT OF Mortuary Archaeology AND fUNERAL bEHAVIORS

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About Me

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Born in Indiana, my family moved to Oklahoma when I was three years old.  Therefore, I would consider myself an Oklahoman.  I love the wide open spaces and richness of the flora and fauna of the Great Plains and the diverse landforms and ecological zones present.  My parents are both from Arkansas in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains, so I also spent a good deal of time in that region as well and grew to enjoy wandering amid the woods and the mountains.

I graduated from high school in 2001, and started my BA at the University of Oklahoma majoring in Aerospace Engineering.  I had always enjoyed science and math in junior and senior high school, but I found one big difference between high school and college science and math courses...they weren't fun at all.  So, after having decided against such a strenuous and boring workload, I did sone soul searching to figure our what I might be able to do with my life.  I had always enjoyed museums, history and archaeology, so I decided to go into anthropology.  A great leap from engineering to the dismay of my parents, but I immediately felt the weight removed from my shoulders, and I began to enjoy college.

I started working with a PhD student on obsidian sourcing of lithic materials from a site in New Mexico, and enrolled in fieldschool in 2003. The fieldschool focused on the excavation of a Vermejo phase circular pit house on the property of the Philmont Boy Scout Ranch near Cimarron, New Mexico.  The Southwest did not really hold great appeal to me, as I had always like the Great Plains.  So, the following summer I helped TA the 2004 University of Oklahoma fieldschool at the Bryson Paddock Site in northern Oklahoma...a large protohistoric Wichita Village site on the Arkansas River just a few miles from the Kansas border.  This site is the sister site to the Deer Creek site, and shows vast evidence for a serious bison hide manufacturing industry, and heavy French trade.  It is suspected to have possibly been a trading point, either directly or indirectly for the La Harpe expedition of 1719.

Towards the end of the Bryson Paddock project, a colleague also on that project got a call about a historic cemetery relocation starting in Manhattan, Kansas.  I asked if I could possibly become involved, and did I ever.  The PI of the project did not have the time to undertake such a grand research project, and asked if I would like to take up the reporting.  This project has perhaps acted to shape my professional interests more than anything else on which I have worked.  This work got me involved in the local archaeological setting, and well as launched me into the national scene, since there are no historic settlements totally bereft of outside influence.  This small cemetery project fed my thesis research on 19th century mortuary artifacts, as well as many other side interest dealing with historic mortuary practices (for more information, see my Research and Publications pages).

At the outset of the cemetery project, we had been given a map of a ground penetrating radar study that had been performed on the cemetery in an effort to locate the graves. It turned out to be less than helpful, and I was interested in understanding why the data had failed to locate the graves and many stone features that lay just below the sod.  To facilitate my historic cemetery research as well as entertain my burgeoning interests in cemetery geophysics, I decided to go to the University of Arkansas to work on my MA degree.  I spent two years studying geophysics with Dr. Ken Kvamme and working on my thesis research on historic cemeteries with Dr. Robert Mainfort, Jr., graduating in May of 2007.

In order to continue my education and research in historic mortuary behaviors, I moved with my wife to Gainesville, Florida so that I could work on my PhD at the University of Florida.  While at UF, I worked with Dr. James Davidson in order to attempt to better understand the intricacies of historic mortuary behaviors in the late 19th century United States, and how the archaeological record might help us understand the health problems of people in the past, particularly problems associated with parasites. While studying at UF, I had the chance to work on many field projects, consultation/research projects, and taught, or assisted with numerous courses, all of which helped in my professionalization.

Prior to completing my dissertation revisions, I was offered a job at the Shreveport, Lousiana, office of Cultural Resource Analysts, Inc. (CRA). So, my family and I moved to Shreveport in December of 2012. I complete my dissertation in early January 2013, and officially was awarded my degree in May 2013. Since beginning work with CRA, I have already had the opportunity to be involved in a number of interesting projects. We will see what comes down the line in the future.