Early Dispersal of Domestic Horses in the Great Plains and Northern Rockies wins AAAS 2024 Newcomb Cleveland Prize

Departmental News

Posted:  Feb 22, 2024 - 12:00pm

An interdisciplinary team led by UNM Anthropology graduate Will Taylor (UNM PhD 2017, currently Assistant Professor and Curator of Archaeology at the University of Colorado Boulder) for the prestigious AAAS 2024 Newcomb Cleveland Prize for Early Dispersal of Domestic Horses in the Great Plains and Northern Rockies, published in the journal Science in the spring of 2023. The award is given annually by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) to an outstanding publication in Science.

The authors include UNM Professor Emily Jones, who is a senior coauthor on the paper, and UNM graduates Caroline Gabe (UNM PhD 2019, currently Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Adams State University) and Victoria Monagle (UNM MA 2017).

The paper, which combined archaeozoological study of ancient horses from archaeological sites and museum collections across the continent with cutting-edge genomics, and traditional Indigenous scientific knowledge, helped rewrite the story of people and horses in North America – showing that horses had deeper antiquity in Native societies across the region than could be gleaned from European or American historical records. Most importantly, the research demonstrated the enhanced research experience and scientific power that comes from thoughtful cross-cultural partnerships based on equal footing.

“Walking the earth as Lakota is to protect, sustain and advocate for all life. This global collaboration, and those to come, are what is necessary for ourselves and all Peoples to protect their traditional lands, relations and lifeways for the sustainability of Grandmother Earth and all life. The time is upon us,” says Chief Joe American Horse, an Indigenous scientist, knowledge keeper and study co-author.

The funds from the award will be donated to create a new endowment at the University of Colorado, named in memoriam for late study co-author and elder, Knowledge Keeper and cultural educator for the Sicangu Lakota People, Sam High Crane. The endowment will help support research and training for Indigenous perspectives and young professionals in archaeology, archaeogenetics, and the museum world. This donation is the first step in a larger partnership between leaders from the Global Institute for Traditional Sciences (GIFTS), the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), the Paul Sabatier University of Toulouse, and the University of Colorado.

Read the UNM News Article here
UNM News 2020: Research collaborative looks at spread of domestic horses