Contact: Wendel Sloan at 505.562.2253
Reporter: Colleen Wright
PORTALES – Eastern New Mexico University is hosting the annual Cynthia Irwin-Williams Lecture Series on Thursday, Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. in the Becky Sharp Auditorium in the College of Business.
Dr. Lynne Sebastian, director of Historic Preservation Programs for the SRI Foundation, a private non-profit dedicated to historic preservation, and president-elect of the Society for American Archaeology, will speak on "The Awful Truth about Archaeology." The lecture is free and open to the public.This will be the third annual lectureship, according to Dr. David Batten, assistant professor of anthropology. The Department of Anthropology named the presentation, sponsored by Mu Alpha Nu Anthropology Club and the Department of Anthropology, after famous female anthropologist/archaeologist and former ENMU employee Dr. Cynthia Irwin-Williams.
The late Dr. Irwin-Williams was born and grew up in Denver, Colo. As early as the age of 12 she developed a passion for archaeology when she got a job with her brother working part-time in the archaeology department in the Denver Museum of Natural History.
Working at the museum sparked Dr. Irwin-Williams' interest in the Archaic period, the period 8,000 B.C. and 6,000 B.C. This passion lead to her publications about Magic Mountain, LoDaiska, and Agate Bluff, all archeological sites around Denver.
When Dr. Irwin-Williams decided to attend college, it was during a time when it was not seen as necessary or appropriate for women to attend school; society felt they were more suited to take care of the home. She did not agree with these views, and attended Radcliff College where she received bachelor's and master's degrees in archaeology. She then went to Harvard and received a Ph.D.
After college, Dr. Irwin-Williams tried an array of jobs, including working in the Colorado Historical Museum, lecturer at Hunter College in New York, and in 1964 she came to teach at Eastern New Mexico University where she was awarded the Llano Estacada Center for Advanced Professional Studies and Research Distinguished Research Professorship.
In 1977 Dr. Irwin-Williams became the second woman president for the Society for American Archaeology. She then became executive director of the Social Science Center in Reno, Nev., and then Research Professor for the Quaternary Science Center.
Dr. Irwin-Williams paved the way for many women, especially those in archaeology. That is why ENMU decided to name their annual lectureship after her.