416 North Indiana Ave.
Bloomington, Indiana 47408
Edward Herrmann is Executive Director of the Indiana University Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Bloomington, Indiana, and a faculty member in the Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Department. Ed is a geoarchaeologist who uses methods and theories developed in the geosciences to study archaeological questions. His training and research straddle the fields of anthropology, archaeology, history, geology, and earth science. Although his degree is in anthropology, the archaeological research questions he addresses focus on how earth processes affect archaeological sites. Such work provides data relevant to understanding the chronology and environmental contexts specific to archaeological site occupational histories. Ed has been involved in archaeological projects in Illinois, Indiana, Montana, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Wyoming, as well as in Germany and Tanzania.
While a student in Germany, Ed worked for the Römisch-Germanisches Museum in Cologne, where he conducted excavations, cataloged artifacts, trained new hires, and gave museum tours. He had the opportunity for hands-on experience with Old World lithics, Roman-era artifacts and fieldwork, and cave excavations. These experiences have helped him understand that museum research includes a broad range of scientific disciplines and a wide variety of collections-based questions.
While a student working at the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology, Ed developed an interest in experimental archaeology and studied stone tool technology and the identification of Midwestern tool types. He organized the Lithic Raw Material and typological comparative collections and created a website to share information related to the over 500 raw material sources and types curated at the facility. Ed is also an avid flintknapper.
Although much of Ed’s research focuses on early North American hunter-gatherers, he has experience in Native American mound construction methods, chronologies, and taphonomy (the study of differential preservation of or within archaeological sites). As the term geoarchaeology implies, Ed researches both the earth and the people who inhabited it. He works in different time periods and regions, and has had experience working at sites in Germany that range in time from the Upper Paleolithic to Roman colonies to medieval villages. At Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania, Ed studies evolutionary clues left by early human ancestors millions of years ago.
These experiences gave Ed the opportunity to work with a variety of people including Indigenous communities from a wide range of cultures. At Olduvai Gorge, Ed’s research team lives and works with Maasai and Chagga tribal communities. Their perspectives and local landscape knowledge are invaluable assets to the research conducted during the summer weeks on the Serengeti. In North America, Ed spent two summers conducting research and organizing a landscape-based field school through Little Big Horn College that focused on locating and excavating buffalo jump and trap sites on the Crow reservation. The grant he helped obtain for this field school facilitated teaching ten Crow students the skills necessary to become tribal archaeological technicians, and provided the students with funding for six college credits.
He is currently the Chair of the Geoarchaeology Interest Group of the Society of American Archaeology, and a member of numerous archaeological, museum, and earth sciences associations.