Stigler Lecture Features 'Coping with Conflict: Warfare, Drought and Food Insecurity,' Feb. 22

Professor Amber VanDerwarker
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Professor Amber VanDerwarker

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Department of Anthropology at the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences will present a lecture, "Coping with Conflict: Warfare, Drought and Food Insecurity in the Mississippian-period in the Central Illinois River Valley" by professor Amber VanDerwarker at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 22, as part of the Robert L. Stigler Lecture in Anthropology and Archaeology series.

The event is free and open to the public, and will be followed a short question and answer session and reception. It will held in Gearhart Hall suditorium, room 26.

VanDerwarker, a University of California, Santa Barbara professor, combines isotope analysis, botanical analysis and traditional archaeological data to examine the intersections of war, health and agriculture in the Central Illinois River Valley.

Often, studies of ancient warfare focus on the causes of violence. More rarely do they investigate the everyday effects that violence can have. This presentation explores the impacts of chronic warfare and sustained drought on the everyday lives of people in the Central Illinois River Valley, from A.D. 1200 to 1425, when settlement nucleation and declining health occurred in a context of escalating violence.

VanDerwarker examined plant remains from multiple sites and used isotopic data and species abundance to reconstruct changing agricultural strategies. This approach revealed that intensified violence and sustained drought led to food shortages and nutritional insufficiencies, which farmers attempted to offset through key changes in agricultural practices.

The lecture is a part of the Robert L. Stigler Lecture in Anthropology and Archeology series. The series is supported through a trust established by Mr. and Mrs. Robert L. Stigler of Pine Bluff, in their son's memory. Its purpose is to bring distinguished scholars to address the university community and the public on diverse archeological topics. The Stiglers' generous endowment of this lecture series is an especially fitting memorial to their son, who enjoyed a wide-ranging professional career in archeology, and provides opportunities for all to share in the knowledge of past peoples and cultures.

For more information, email or call 479-575-2508.


Benjamin Vining, assistant professor
Department of Anthropology


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