For the second year, Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Anthropology has been selected by the Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine Inc. through the Department of Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency to conduct a field study in Germany at the site of a crash of a World War II airplane.

From left: Arthur Townend (IUP), Cassidy Tech (IUP), and Mariah Mireles (University of Tennessee, Knoxville)

The mission of the DPAA is to provide the fullest possible accounting for missing personnel from America’s past conflicts.

IUP Department of Anthropology faculty Andrea Palmiotto and William Chadwick are directing the five-week field school, which began June 27. Six IUP students are part of the field school, joining five other students from other universities across the US and a German teacher from the Chambersburg School District in Pennsylvania who is providing translation services.

In summer 2021, Palmiotto, Chadwick, and 14 IUP students conducted a field school near Gifhorn, Germany, at the site of a World War II plane crash. This summer, the field school is working to discover artifacts at a different World War II plane crash near Frankfurt, Germany. The crash site is very different than the site the group explored in summer 2021; this year’s site is in a nature preserve, with more challenging logistics.

“The DPAA were impressed by our work last summer, especially our expertise with the ground-penetrating radar,” Palmiotto said. “We were very happy to be asked to lead this second field school for the agency.”

Prior to joining the IUP faculty, Palmiotto was a research fellow and then a forensic anthropologist for the DPAA, working at agency laboratories in Nebraska and Hawaii. She worked on cases related to WWII, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, and led archaeological recovery efforts in Vietnam and Laos. This year, she attained the highest professional certification through the American Board of Forensic Anthropology and is one of two American Board of Forensic Anthropology Diplomates currently working in Pennsylvania.

“When I came to IUP, I knew I wanted to maintain that relationship [with DPAA] and I was sure that IUP would be a great fit for a partnership because of the expertise and experience our faculty have,” she said.

Left to right: PK Koons (IUP), Katey Doyle (William Peace University), and Mariah Mireles (University of Tennessee, Knoxville)

Chadwick also brings extensive experience in applied archaeology. He is a registered professional archeologist and licensed geologist who has broad experience in both geoarchaeology and archaeology. Prior to joining the IUP faculty, he worked within cultural resource management as a consultant for over 17 years.

While the students will not be analyzing any materials that they find—that will be done by the DPAA—the field school provides an opportunity for the students to make and properly document the discoveries. Two of the IUP students are in the Applied Archaeology master’s program and have had previous field experience. This year they are working as “crew chiefs” for the group, gaining supervisory experience in addition to a different type of field work experience.

“We’re really glad that the agency recognized what IUP can offer toward this project,” Palmiotto said. “As much as I enjoy my work at IUP, I am very proud to be a part of the mission of bringing people home to their families and to offer the students this life-changing opportunity that will open all sorts of doors to them,” she said.

Left to right: Autumn Dershem (IUP) and Elena Waters (University of Tennessee, Knoxville)

“We chose IUP because they bring two highly qualified and experienced leads to the project who completed a successful mission for us last year in Germany and have many years of combined experience between them,” Joshua Toney, Henry Jackson Foundation senior lead archaeologist in support of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, said.

“Dr. Andrea Palmiotto is an experienced and former JPAC/DPAA anthropologist familiar with the DPAA mission, and Dr. William Chadwick is an experienced archaeologist and expert in geophysical survey. His geophysical survey work has helped their team last year, and will this year, to better understand where and how to excavate for maximum results,” he said.

IUP’s program, especially the master’s program in Applied Archaeology, continues to get recognition for providing students with practical experiences outside of the classroom, Chadwick said.

“This kind of project is one of the things that makes IUP’s program stand out, both at the undergraduate and graduate levels,” Chadwick said. “We constantly get feedback from employers about how well prepared and trained our graduates are when they enter the workforce. IUP has been recognized as being typically within the top 10 schools each year producing registered professional archaeologists in the nation.”

About the IUP Faculty Researchers

William Chadwick

William ChadwickWilliam Chadwick is an archaeological geophysicist, geoarchaeologist, and director of the Archaeological Services Center housed within the Department of Anthropology. His primary research is on landscape and environmental change related to continuing sea level change on historic and precontact archaeological sites.

Chadwick holds a PhD in Geology from the University of Delaware, where he gained extensive training in archeological geology, ground-penetrating radar, quaternary geology, sedimentology, stratigraphy, and geomorphology. His dissertation, titled “Paleogeographic and Paleoenvironmental Reconstruction of Terrain Associated with Coastal Prehistoric Archaeological Sites, Cape Henlopen, Delaware,” utilized geophysics and intertidal coring to reconstruct the terrains and environments related to the construction of prehistoric shell middens on relict recurved spits in Cape Henlopen State Park, Delaware.

He has conducted numerous geoarchaeological examinations of paleogeographies and paleoenvironments and geophysical surveys related to both historic and precontact archaeological sites and their environs throughout the Middle-Atlantic, Mid-Western, and New England regions. Experiences in geomorphic assessments include surveys within glaciated, coastal, and fluvial systems. Notable geomorphic assessments in fluvial settings include deep testing on floodplains of the Schuylkill River and Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania, the Potomac River in Virginia and Maryland, and the Wabash River in Indiana, in addition to smaller rivers and streams. Other areas of expertise include geospatial predictive modeling, quantitative and statistical analysis, and the utilization of GPS and GIS in archaeological research. His experience in archaeology includes all phases of excavation related to precontact and historic period sites throughout the Mid-Atlantic and New England regions. Chadwick’s research interests include archaeological geophysics, intertidal archaeology, and the application of geospatial technology to archaeology.

At IUP, Chadwick teaches courses in World Archaeology, Basic Archaeology, Archaeological Lab Methods, Cultural Resource Management, Laws and Ethics, Archaeological Geophysics, and Geospatial Technologies. He also is an instructor for IUP’s six-week field school and advanced field methods course.

Andrea Palmiotto

Andrea PalmiottoAndrea Palmiotto is an archaeologist specializing in zooarchaeology and human osteology. Palmiotto earned her MA and PhD in anthropology from the University of Florida, where she analyzed faunal materials from pre-Columbian coastal sites in Florida with an emphasis on seasonality and mobility.

Prior to joining IUP, she worked as a forensic anthropologist with the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, where she led field recoveries in Laos and Vietnam and analyzed skeletal materials leading to the identification of US casualties from WWII, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. She holds the highest professional certification through the American Board of Forensic Anthropology. She is one of two American Board of Forensic Anthropology Diplomates currently working in Pennsylvania.

Palmiotto has extensive experience in academic and professional contexts and has worked with colleagues to publish in numerous peer-reviewed journals, including recently serving as a guest editor for Forensic Anthropology on a special issue about commingled human remains. Her zooarchaeological research interests include zooarchaeology of the southeastern United States, coastal and island zooarchaeology, bone tool debitage, seasonality, and subsistence; her osteology research interests include past conflict casualty resolution, commingled human remains, perimortem skeletal trauma, and quantification methods.

She is a member of the Register of Professional Archaeologists, American Academy of Forensic Sciences, Society for American Archaeology, and Southeastern Archaeology Conference. She is currently collaborating with researchers from various institutions, including the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, on a number of different research and field projects.

At IUP, Palmiotto currently teaches Contemporary Anthropology, World Archaeology, North American Archaeology, Zooarchaeology, Human Osteology, and Forensic Anthropology. She is the director of the IUP Undergraduate Research Office, responsible for helping undergraduate students to do research in all disciplines, and to help students compete and be selected for national scholarship opportunities.

More About the DPAA

DPAA combined the functions of the former Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office, the Joint Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Accounting Command, and the Life Sciences Equipment Laboratory. DPAA today is comprised of more than 600 highly skilled and talented civilians and military from each of our services (Army, Navy, Marines, and Air Force), and includes historians, research analysts, policy experts, anthropologists, archivists, archaeologists, odontologists, linguists, logisticians, communication experts, field operators, material evidence experts, strategists, and planners, as well as numerous additional support personnel. These professionals with a wide variety of backgrounds and specialties are integral to the successful day-to-day operations of our important mission.

Personnel from DPAA, along with other US and foreign specialists, research, investigate, recover, and identify remains of Americans unaccounted for from World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Cold War, and the Iraq and Persian Gulf Wars. When recovery operations are unsuccessful, DPAA professionals work hand-in-hand with Service Casualty Officials to provide answers to family members on the fate of their loved ones.

The analysis and investigation sections also provide historical analysis to help with the identification of recovered remains. At any given time, there are more than 1,000 active cases under analysis.