Mercyhurst Archaeological Institute

About Mercyhurst Archaeological Institute

Mercyhurst Archaeological Institute (MAI) is a teaching, traditional research, and applied research working group composed of staff members from the Anthropology/Archaeology, Applied Forensic Sciences, and Geology departments at Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pennsylvania. MAI conducts archaeological and related field work all over the United States, Europe, and the Near East. Through year round activities, students have access to a wide variety of research opportunities in diverse environmental, topical and chronological settings.

MAI contains a number of educational, well appointed in-house research facilities dedicated to artifact processing and curation, human and vertebrate skeletal and forensic analysis, geographic information systems, and computer graphics as well as for analysis of prehistoric lithic, perishable, and ceramic artifacts, historic artifacts, and organic residues from archaeological contexts.

MAI's faculty, staff and students conduct research funded by a broad range of public and private organizations such as the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of Justice, Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, Pennsylvania Sea Grant, the National Geographic Society, and numerous private businesses who contract MAI for professional contracted services.

Teaching, research, and applied research themes explored by faculty, staff and students at MAI include the following:

Archaeology
  • Archaeological statistics
  • Archaeological theory
  • Archaeological field methods
  • Conservation
  • Funerary archaeology
  • Geoarchaeology
  • Geographic information systems
  • Historical technology and materials analysis
  • Lithic technology
  • Organic residues
  • Perishable artifacts/technology
  • Prehistoric ceramic technology
  • Prehistoric material analysis
  • Zooarchaeology
Culture-Historic
  • Central American Prehistory
  • Central Asian Prehistory
  • Eastern and Western North American Prehistory
  • European Prehistory
  • Far Eastern Prehistory
  • Foraging societies
  • Great Lakes Prehistory
  • Mayan Iconography
Geology
  • Costal environments
  • Geomorphology
  • Glacial geology
  • Historical geology
  • Limnogeology
  • North American and European geology
  • Palaeontology
  • Sedimentary mechanisms
  • Stratigraphy
  • Varves
Forensic Anthropology:
  • Bone trauma analysis
  • Crime scene recovery
  • Criminalistics/ Forensic Biology
  • Cutmarks on bone and soft tissue
  • Fatal fire sites
  • Forensic Chemistry and Toxicology
  • Forensic Wildlife Investigation
  • Forensic anthropological statistics
  • Large-scale mass fatality incident
  • Recovery of buried body features
Anthropology
  • Anthropological Theory
  • Biological anthropology
  • Gender
  • Human anatomy
  • Human skeletal anatomy and biology
  • Human evolution
  • Metric and non-metric skeletal variation
  • Physical anthropology
  • Ritual and religion

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