Cynthia Irwin-Williams Lectureship

The Department of Anthropology and Applied Archaeology established the Cynthia Irwin-Williams Lecture in 1997 to honor former faculty member Dr. Cynthia Irwin-Williams. A truly remarkable woman, with over 60 publications and 30 years of professional experience, Cynthia is a role model for women who aspire to scientific careers.

Born April 14, 1936 in Denver, Colorado, Cynthia Irwin-Williams developed an early interest in archaeology. When she was only 12 and her brother, Henry, 14, both began working part-time at the Department of Archaeology in the Denver Museum of Natural History (now the Denver Museum of Nature and Science) and were mentored by Dr. H. Marie Wormington. These early years of exposure to science, in a time when women did not regularly attend college, and rarely became scientists, left an impression. Irwin-Wiliams went on to attend and graduate from Radcliffe College with B.A. and M.A. degrees in anthropology, in 1957 and 1958, respectively. In 1963 she received her Ph.D. in anthropology from Harvard University.

Cynthia persevered and quickly made her mark as a professional, having a towering grasp over specialties that ranged from archaeology to related aspects of geology, paleontology, climatology, remote sensing, desertification and desert reclamation. From 1963 to 1964 Cynthia lectured at Hunter College in New York. From 1964 to 1982, she taught at Eastern New Mexico University. In 1978 she was awarded the Llano Estacado Center for Advanced Professional Studies and Research Distinguished Research Professorship. Cynthia served as president of the Society for American Archaeology from 1977 to 1979, only the second woman to hold this position. In 1982 Cynthia became executive director of the Social Science Center, Desert Research Institute of Reno, Nevada. From 1988 until her death in 1990, she held the title of research professor, Quaternary Science Center, DRI.

To honor her many professional achievements, as well as paving the way for later generations of women in the sciences, we bring a speaker to share their recent research. A free evening presentation is included for all faculty, staff, students, and the community.

Cythia Irwin-Williams Lectureship Information

Year Description Description
1997 Dr. Linda S. Cordell Aftermath of Chaos in the Pueblo Southwest
2001 Dr. Thomas Dillehay The First Americans: An Interdisciplinary and South American Perspective
2002 Dr. Stephen Lekson The New Ancient Southwest
2003 Dr. Lynne Sebastian The Awful Truth about Archaeology
2004 Dr. David Hurst Thomas Skull Wars Revisited
2005 Dr. David Meltzer Back to Where it All Began: A New Look at the Folsom Site
2006 Dr. Virginia L. Butler Where Have All the Native Fish Gone?
2007 Dr. Glenna Dean In Search of Anasazi Lite: Fermentation in New Mexico Prehistory
2008 Dr. Douglas W. Schwartz Researching at the Edge of Splendor: Discovering Grand Canyon Prehistory
2008 Dr. J. Stanley Rhine The Real CSI: Forensic Anthropology and the Investigation of Death
2011 Dr. Patricia L. Crown Chaco Chocolate: The Recovery of Cacao at Pueblo Bonito, Chaco Canyon
2012 Dr. Ted Goebel Ice Age Peopling of America: Do Stones, Bones and Genes Tell the Same Story?
2013 Dr. Catherine M. Cameron The Bluff Great House and the Chaco Phenomenon
2014 Dr. David R. Hunt Forensic Files of the Smithsonian Institution
2015 Dr. Bruce B. Huckell Making Sense of the Mockingbird Gap Clovis Site in the Northern Jornada del Muerto