by Michael Kirk

UConn Advance 9050410.htm
May 1 2009

Seven UConn undergraduates will accompany anthropology professor
Daniel Adler on a Study Abroad program to Armenia this summer to
participate in archeological excavations at three Stone Age sites.

The trip is sponsored by UConn's Armenian Studies Program, and by a
partnership between UConn and Yerevan State University in Armenia. The
students, selected through a competitive process, will be in Armenia
for the month of June. They will work at the archaeological sites
under the direction of Adler and three anthropology graduate students.

For two years, Adler has been conducting research at several sites in
Armenia that he estimates are between 25,000 and 200,000 years old. In
time, he expects the sites to provide significant new information on
Neanderthal evolution and behavior. To date, the sites have yielded
stone tools and animal bones.

"This is a great opportunity for undergraduates who are interested
in the field, providing them with very valuable field experience,"
Adler says.

"It will also help create stronger ties between UConn and Yerevan
State University, as well as highlighting the important work of our
Armenian Studies Program."

Five of the students are juniors and two are sophomores. Four are
anthropology majors, and the other three are majoring in history,
journalism with anthropology as a minor, and nutritional sciences.

Adler notes that the research is physically taxing work.

"They are going to be working in a somewhat rugged, rural area several
miles outside Yerevan, and they will be living in close quarters with
one another," he says.

Junior Maria Darr, the journalism major minoring in anthropology, says,
"I have aspirations to become an archaeologist, and this seemed like
an opportunity I did not want to pass up. I always knew I wanted to
study abroad during my years at UConn, and when I saw this option,
it combined everything I wanted in a Study Abroad program."

One student for whom the trip has special significance is sophomore
Danice Tatosian, the nutritional sciences major, who is of Armenian

"Spending a month experiencing the culture of a foreign country, while
working on an extraordinary archaeological site, is a once-in-a-life
time opportunity," says Tatosian.

"When I first read about this trip my heart must have momentarily
stopped, and I knew this was something I had to work for."

Tatosian says she applied because it is an opportunity to do something
she had always dreamed of doing: working on an archaeological site,
"sifting through and studying materials that haven't been touched in
thousands of years" in a place she says she regards as home.

The students will earn six honors credits for their work.