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Alumnus Digs an Archaeological Debate

Sharp readers of the latest edition of the Smithsonian magazine spotted a familiar name in the story about the debate over when humans came to America: Ted Goebel, of the Washington and Lee Class of 1986.

Ted is associate director of the Center for the Study of the First Americans at Texas A&M University, where he also holds the Endowed Professorship in First Americans Studies.

An independent-work major with a concentration in anthropology at W&L, Ted received both his M.A. and Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Alaska at Fairbanks. He taught at Southern Oregon University, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and the University of Nevada, Reno before joining the center at Texas A&M in 2006.

He focuses his research on the Ice Age origins of the first Americans, and he directs field-based archaeological projects in Alaska and in the Great Basin in Eastern Nevada. Ted has published his findings in major research journals in his field, and he co-edited the 2011 volume, “From the Yenisei to the Yukon.” Ted was part of a major international study trying to solve the mystery of the extinction of the megafauna at the end of the last Ice Age. That research was described in Nature magazine in November 2011, and you can watch him explain the findings of that work in this video:

The Smithsonian piece explores recent scientific findings indicating that humans arrived in the Americas earlier than thought. But the debate is on, and you can read Ted’s role in the conversation on the magazine’s website.

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