Archaeologist Virginia Gerald and her husband, Downey Raibourn, both retired professors of Anthropology, returned to IUP on August 2, 2012, with archaeological collections that Gerald has been studying since her retirement in 1985. These collections will be curated by the Department of Anthropology, where they can now be further investigated by Archaeology undergraduate and graduate students.
Gerald was the first archaeologist at IUP and created a program that emphasized student training through hands-on field and laboratory research. She was an IUP faculty member from the mid-1960s through the mid-1980s in what was then the Sociology–Anthropology Department. Gerald and her students identified many of the archaeological sites that are recorded in the county and excavated several significant sites, including the Mary Rinn and Fleming sites along Crooked Creek in northern Indiana County.
On hand to welcome Gerald and Raibourn and receive the collections were former student and archaeologist Paula Zitzler, current faculty member Sarah Neusius, and Anthropology Department Chair Phillip Neusius, pictured here with Professor Gerald. As Zitzler commented, “I have always been surprised throughout my career that I keep running into IUP students. The program wasn't that big, but it seems that IUP students found their way. Maybe that's their best legacy of all.”
Several of these sites have been reinvestigated as part of the IUP Late Prehistoric Project by archaeologists Beverly Chiarulli and Sarah Neusius, codirectors of the project. The LPP focuses on the pre-European occupation of this area from approximately AD 1000–1600. Several graduate students in the IUP Applied Archaeology master’s program and several undergraduate students in the Anthropology honors program have completed or are currently undertaking theses associated with this project.
Having the Gerald collections here at IUP will allow faculty and student researchers to build upon her important work and makes possible new research opportunities for IUP students and faculty.