HISTORY OF RESEARCH

A ROGUE’S GALLERY of FIELD ASSISTANTS


For over 20 years I’ve been taking graduate students along to help with my field work: from 1988 until 2002 largely on the High Plains of northwest Texas and eastern New Mexico, working out of the University of Wisconsin-Madison; from 2002 to present, throughout western Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and Sonora, Mexico. All of these gents worked hard, sharing blood, sweat, and even a few tears; all were good traveling companions, putting in a lot of “butt time,” and all provided valuable insights and contributed to the research results (and several taught me a thing or two about music).

Over the years my students have been subjected to tall tales about field adventures with various field assistants. Most of my current students at UA have never met the earlier crop, especially those at UW. As a result, one of my UA students - Susan Mentzer - suggested I put together this “Rogue’s Gallery” in tribute to the fine folks who dodged or endured rain, hail, heat, dust, cheap gin, tornadoes, irate landowners, surly wait staff in hole-in-the-wall towns, flying bits of hot metal, dangerous chicken fried steaks, and uncountable HHs (the Patel family should give us a cut of their action). But we also enjoyed fantastic hospitality on farms and ranches, Leal’s Mexican food (in Muleshoe, Texas; the best Tex-Mex on the Plains),  wonderful locally-made beef jerky, Texas BBQ, free donut holes at the Dinner Bell (also in Muleshoe), and, of course, fantastic geology and archaeology. Thanks to you all!

-Vance Holliday

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P.J. in paleopedology heaven - Adair County, Iowa

Peter M. Jacobs
1988, 1989
Summer field work on the Southern Plains feels like someone is holding a blow dryer in your face
           
Now a Professor of Geography at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater

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Ty at the helm


The offending pipeline in Running Water Draw

Ty J. Sabin
1989, 1990, 1999
Big Sid (say no more, say no more)

Memorable moments: Punching a 2" core barrel into a 4" PVC gas pipeline. That was a long afternoon.
           
Now working for the Corps Of Engineers in Omaha.

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In action in Blackwater Draw

Garry L. Running IV
1991,1992,1993,1994
Steamy Nicks et al.    
Memorable moments: losing the left-rear wheel of a Jeep pick-up on I-80 in 4th of July weekend traffic. Then, when the worn down side of the brake drum finally came to rest on the shoulder pavement, used tonic water to put out the fire that started...

Now a Professor of Geography at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

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The field of view on my camera only
got 3 of the 5 twisties - yikes!

James Jordan
1995
Memorable moments: watching 5 tornadoes on the ground at the same time; several hours later watching a wall cloud form directly above us as we chatted with a storm chaser.

Now Director of Field Studies at Antioch New England Graduate School

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Coring at the Lucy site, New Mexico

Jemuel L. Ripley
1996,1997,1998
Memorable moments: miserable drives in an out of the Lucy site; amazing crew accommodations at the Folsom site; field work with George Agogino.
           
Now working in New York.

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Sampling at the San Jon site, New Mexico

James H. Mayer
2000,2001,2002,2003,2004,2005
Memorable moments: The cesspool at Pyote, Texas, followed two hours later by a party with a local oil millionaire and his pals in the lap of luxury in Odessa, Texas.

Just completed a PhD in Geosciences at the University of Arizona. Now a post-Doc at SMU with QUEST.

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Bill and Matt Hill augering at
Mockingbird Gap, New Mexico

Bill Reitze
2006, 2007, 2008
Wild Bill’s keen eye spotted one of the hotels used in No Country for Old Men as the same place we stayed while doing field work near Albuquerque. It is the last hotel in the string of dives used in the movie, the “Desert Sands” supposedly in El Paso, but in fact along Central Ave in Albuquerque. The shoot-out was filmed either in the room we stayed in or the one next door to the left of ours.

Working on a PhD in Anthropology at the University of Arizona

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Bill and Jill and the landowner
trying to fix the broken pipe.

Matt E. Hill and Jill Onken
Matt helped out in 2006 and 2007. He is an Assistant Professor in Anthropology at the University of Iowa. 
Jill was along in 2008. She is working on a PhD in Geosciences at the University of Arizona.
           
Memorable moments: While setting up to core, we cracked a buried water line coming from a windmill in the middle of nowhere. He and Jill (and the local rancher, who turned out to be a great guy) spent a long, muddy afternoon getting that repaired.

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© 2007 Department of Anthropology, University of Arizona. All Rights Reserved.