Instagram Combined Shape quotation Created with Sketch. 69

Department of Anthropology

Hands-on the Past, Present, and Future

Humans are a complex and diverse species, and the disciplines of Anthropology and Archaeological Studies give us the tools to better understand who we are and how we used to be, and to shape what we might become.

At Potsdam, we know that our students learn these tools best by doing. Our students may find themselves experimenting with past technologies (from stone tools to blacksmithing to cooking with historic recipes!) at our new HEARTH facility, or analyzing a mock crime scene as part of a forensic anthropology class. Others might design a museum exhibit, intern with a non-profit, or learn to excavate as part of our summer archaeology field school.

These transformative learning opportunities have helped prepare our students for a broad range of careers in government, business, education, and the non-profit sector.

Our alumni have become:

  • Museum curators
  • Social studies teachers and college professors
  • Field archaeologists and cultural resource managers
  • Marketing and human resource professionals
  • International and community development advocates
  • And much more!


Dr. Tim Messner talks about the value of the HEARTH (Hand-crafted, Experiential, Archaeological Research and Teaching Hub), a brand-new applied learning center at SUNY Potsdam.

“I’m really glad for the opportunity to do independent research while still an undergraduate. Not all colleges have these kinds of opportunities." 

Alexis Michael Archaeology major
Hands Across Cultures

Bringing years of research experience from remote regions of Latin America into the classroom, Dr. Sergio López and Dr. Lydia Rodríguez have continued to share their passion for anthropology with their students, while creating unique applied learning opportunities for them along the way. Since 2016, they have worked with their students to organize the annual AIBR International Conference of Anthropology, which unites 600 professionals and students from around the globe—a formative, even life changing experience for students studying anthropology or Spanish at SUNY Potsdam.

read more


A Once in a Lifetime Opportunity

A lifelong curiosity about the inner workings of humankind brought Alexandra Sveshnikova '25 to the SUNY Potsdam Department of Anthropology. The fire of that curiosity will be fueled by a research trip this summer to Kenya, where she will be part of a cutting-edge examination of our origins and the history that preceded human tenure on Earth.

Read More

A Creative Mind

Tasked with writing a fractured fairytale in one of his first English classes out of high school, Parker Atlas Yaw ’24 had no way of knowing that he would be a published author just a few years later. Now, a junior at SUNY Potsdam, he has turned those initial pages into a fully formed novel that will soon be on the digital shelves of Amazon in paperback and eBook.

Read More

In Search of Lost History

Years of detective work by SUNY Potsdam archaeologist Dr. Hadley Kruczek-Aaron and her search for a forgotten African American settlement in the Adirondacks are highlighted in "Searching for Timbuctoo," a new film by Paul Miller. The examination of pre-Civil War social justice and roots of abolitionism in the North Country has been screened and discussed across central and northern New York.

read more

Fertile Ground for Exploration

A double major in anthropology and international studies, Simisola Macaulay ’23 has taken on leadership roles as the president of the anthropology club, a student ambassador for Admissions and Advancement, and a peer study abroad counselor in the Lougheed Center for Applied Learning. Whether giving a TEDx Talk on gender expression within the Yoruba community in Nigeria, or conducting research on maternal practices of women in the Maasai tribe in Tanzania, she has continued to personalize her educational experiences by connecting them to her family and African heritage.

read more

Examining Humanity Through an Anthropological Lens

From nightly performances on a Royal Caribbean cruise line, to acting gigs all over the world, Charlie Sarkioglu ’22 has had a fruitful career embracing his passion for the arts. Now he’s shifting gears as he completes his undergraduate degree in anthropology at SUNY Potsdam—something that he believes will positively impact his future theatrical projects.

read more

SUNY Potsdam Faculty Member Documents Greenland Visit in ‘Virtual Field Trip’

Dr. Kathryn Grow Allen engages with SUNY Potsdam students & public in Greenland visit, thanks to grant from the U.S. Embassy in Nuuk.

Read More

Seeing the Future Through the Past

Marla Jacobs ’20 drew strength from her Mohawk heritage to overcome daunting challenges and finish an archaeology degree with three minors. Hard at work on a new display for The Wild Center in Tupper Lake, she continues to help build our knowledge of Indigenous peoples and their role in the ancient Adirondack landscapes. 
Read more

The Man Behind the Lens

If you’ve recently gazed on photos of Jupiter’s murky gases or a panorama showing unprecedented detail on the surface of Mars, chances are, you were seeing Daniel Krysak’s work. Krysak ’08, who graduated from SUNY Potsdam with degrees in both speech communication and archaeology, with a minor in geology, is living the dream of just about every techie and space buff. He's one of the people behind all those stunning panoramas of Mars, for three different NASA missions.

Read More

The Destruction Guy

In chaos, destruction and ash, Dr. Jesse Millek '12 finds sweet order.

Sudden invading armies that freeze time in their wake, earthquakes that seal layers of history and flames that throw the past into stark relief — these are Millek’s forte, as he works to pioneer a systematic study of the destructive events of antiquity. A SUNY Potsdam alum with a double major in archaeological studies and art history and a suite of graduate degrees, honors and fellowships, Millek is a visiting scholar with the Department of Middle East Studies at the University of Michigan.

Read More

Nicole Weed '20

Nicole Weed ’20, a senior in the Department of Anthropology, is currently working on a Presidential Scholars project looking at how technology has affected language and communication over time. With opportunities to work as a research assistant for Dr. Lydia Rodriguez and as an intern for Dr. Faris Khan, the culmination of her experiences has been paving the way for graduate school and a successful career as a linguistic anthropologist.

Read more

Archaeology Students Dig at Camp Union

From June 24 to July 19, SUNY Potsdam Professor Dr. Hadley Kruczek-Aaron led an archaeology field school for 12 of her students at Camp Union in Potsdam—a Civil War training ground once used by soldiers preparing for battle. Students spent four weeks unearthing layers of dirt, digging excavation units, using sifter screens and bagging artifacts. The Meadow East Apartment Complex property in Potsdam became the students’ outdoor classroom for a month as they searched for historic remnants from the Camp Union occupation.

read more

Field School on John Brown’s Farm

Sitting in a hole, surrounded on all sides by layers of exposed soil in a 2-meter-long excavation unit, SUNY Potsdam junior Michael Madeiros ’19 uses a trowel to dig for artifacts on abolitionist John Brown’s farm.

Read more