LU News Archive

Humans at the end of the Ice Age topic of March 21 lecture

The Lamar University chapter of Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society, will host Ted Goebel, associate director of the Center for the Study of the First Americans, in a free public lecture on Wednesday, March 21 at 7:30 p.m. in the Richard Price Auditorium, John Gray Center, Building A.
Ted GoebelCoping with change is never easy. It’s good when you can ask someone who has “been there, done that” what to do, yet in the case of climatic change that’s not so easily done. But thanks to archeology, we can learn from those who lived through the last great climatic shift, about 12,000 years ago.  Goebel’s lecture, “Humans at the End of the Ice Age: Coping with Climate Change, Circa 10,000 BC” will provide a glimpse into what life was like for those who lived a part of the last great climatic change.

Goebel, who holds a Ph.D. from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, is known for his expertise in First American studies and lithic analysis. Goebel has worked on many early sites in Russia and the United States. From 2000-2009 he directed excavations at Bonneville Estates Rockshelter in Nevada, and other Paleoindian sites in the Great Basin. In 2007, he started a new research program investigating the Ice Age colonization of the Bering Land Bridge area in Alaska and northeast Asia. 

In 2009-2010, the Beringia program focused on excavation of the Serpentine Hot Springs fluted point site in Alaska, production of the book From the Yenisei to the Yukon: Interpreting Lithic Assemblage Variability in Late Pleistocene/Early Holocene Beringia, and survey for new sites in different area of Alaska. Goebel advised graduate students investigating a wide range of topics including Clovis technology in the American Southeast, the stemmed-point complex of the intermountain west during the terminal Pleistocene, fluted point technology in the north, and human settlement of central Alaska's uplands.

Goebel’s research focuses on the Ice Age origins of the first Americans. Throughout his career he has worked on Paleolithic and Paleoindian sites in remote areas of Russia, Alaska, and the intermountain west of North America (Nevada, California, Oregon, Utah, and Idaho). He also directs field-based archaeological projects in Alaska and the Great Basin. 

“In Alaska, our team’s research focuses on explaining variability in human technologies of Pleistocene Beringians.” Goebel said. “Since 2009, we have excavated a buried fluted-point site called Serpentine Hot Springs, which dates to about 12,000 years ago and is in the Bering Land Bridge National Preserve. 

“Besides this, we are surveying for early sites in the uppermost Tanana River valley and middle Yukon basin of Alaska, and we are analyzing old collections from the Nenana valley region. Our Great Basin program for the past decade has been centered on Bonnville Estates Rockshelter, eastern Nevada, where we unearthed evidence of human cultures spanning the last 13,000 years,” Goebel said.

Goebel is engaged in analyses of a variety of paleoecological and archaeological materials from the Bonneville Estates, including 12,000-year old grasshoppers, 8,000-year old human coprolites, and hundreds of projectile points representing all periods of Great Basin prehistory.

Founded in 1886 at Cornell University, Sigma Xi has more than 500 chapters in North America and around the world at colleges and universities, industrial research centers and government laboratories. The society has more than 60,000 members worldwide.

For more information on the lectures, contact Jim Westgate, University Professor of Earth and Space Sciences, at (409) 880-7970.  For more information on the Center for the Study of the First Americans visit