Meet the Archaeologists, Part III

MTSU RCARP is very fortunate to have a passionate and talented Public Outreach Coordinator, Laura Bartel, who also happens to be a well-traveled and experienced archaeologist. 


Laura Bartel exploring Arches National Park.

Laura received her M.A. in Anthropology from San Diego State University in 1983. Her interests and experience include prehistoric and historic archaeology, bioanthropology, public archaeology, and forensic anthropology. She considers the focus on bio-cultural-environmental interactions as prime in most areas of research.

Her husband’s career has necessitated many moves, so before arriving here in middle Tennessee in 2010, Laura resided and worked in California, North Carolina, Florida, and Colorado. Laura has taught anthropology and archaeology courses at several colleges and universities in the West and Southeast, including San Diego Mesa College, University of North Carolina- Greensboro, Elon University, and Florida Gulf Coast University. She has also taught college courses on Strategies for Academic Success and truly enjoys mentoring students.

Her undergraduate fieldwork began in 1977 as the “bone person” for excavations and research at a 4th century AD Roman site in northeastern Serbia. She has since conducted archaeological fieldwork and research at prehistoric and historic sites in California, North Carolina, Florida, and Colorado. Laura also has experience in cultural resource management, and while a graduate student, she was a CRM archaeologist for the state of California Department of Transportation, San Diego office. 

While on the faculty of Florida Gulf Coast University, in 2003, Laura was the co-director of the archaeological field school, held at the Thomas Edison-Henry Ford Winter Estates property in Fort Myers, Florida. She developed a public archaeology program to be held during the field school, including giving lectures and site tours for the public. Public archaeology, and the public’s perception of anthropology in general, is something that she is very passionate about. One of her goals is to get the citizens of Rutherford County aware and excited about the wealth of information regarding our county’s earliest inhabitants.

Most recently, Laura assisted in salvage fieldwork at the Black Cat Cave research project of Rutherford County, Drs. Tanya Peres and Shannon Hodge, Directors, and will be doing lab work on skeletal materials  recovered  from that project, as well as her own independent research. She has also been an osteology instructor for MTSU’s CSI camp, a judge for MTSU’s Forensic Institute for Research and Education high school forensic competition, as well as participated in forensic skeletal recovery with Dr. Hugh Berryman and the FASR team of the Forensic Institute for Research and Education.


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