History and Archaeology conference scheduled in Alpine

ALPINE The Center for Big Bend Studies at Sul Ross State University in Alpine will hold its 29th annual conference on Nov. 10-11 in Alpine. The conference will be held on the Sul Ross campus and online registration is now available.

This year’s keynote speaker, Matthew R. Bennett, led an international team of scientists in the discovery of the oldest evidence of humans in North America. Bennett is a geologist, world-renowned footprint expert, and head of the Institute for Landscape and Human Evolution at Bournemouth University in England.

His recent discovery of ancient human footprints in White Sands National Park revealed new evidence of human presence in the Americas and has received world-wide press coverage from National Geographic, PBS, Science Magazine, NPR and The Atlantic, a news release said.

“We’re thrilled that Dr. Bennett will be here in West Texas to share his groundbreaking findings with us,” CBBS Director Dr. Bryon Schroeder said in the release. “Bennett is a world-class researcher whose work is of importance to anyone interested in when and how the first peoples entered North America.”

This undated photo made available by the National Park Service in September 2021 shows fossilized human fossilized footprints at the White Sands National Park in New Mexico. Fossil human footprints discovered in White Sands, New Mexico likely date back to between 21,000 and 23,000 years ago, according to two lines of scientific evidence published Thursday, Oct. 5, 2023. (NPS via AP)

Bennett’s presentation will explore the footprints at White Sands and reveal what they can say about life during the Ice Age. He will discuss the implications of his findings for the peopling of the Americas and how American archaeology is on the cusp of a paradigm shift in which the discovered footprints traces will transform our knowledge of the first Americans over the coming decade.

Along with Bennett’s keynote, there will be more than 30 informative presentations on the history, archaeology, and culture of the Big Bend and northern Mexico.

The cost to attend the conference is $55 for the general public if registering before October 18, and $60 thereafter. Registration can also be done on-site. The Friday night banquet and keynote presentation will take place at the historic Granada Theater in downtown Alpine. The cost for the banquet is $45 if participants register before Oct. 18, and $50 thereafter, through the Oct. 25 registration deadline. There is limited seating, so early registration is suggested. For more information, visit tinyurl.com/4uvuakud

Read more about Dr. Matthew Bennett’s research:

Stunning footprints push back human arrival in Americas by thousands of years (nationalgeographic.com)

Ancient footprints in New Mexico raise questions about when humans inhabited North America | PBS NewsHour

Human footprints near ice age lake suggest surprisingly early arrival in the Americas | Science | AAAS

Ancient Footprints Show Humans Lived In The Americas Earlier Than Once Thought | NPR

Fossil Footprints Show Humans Hunting a Giant Sloth | The Atlantic