Skip Lohse: Who Am I?


Student sketch … seems right… Bronowski’s credo is mine


Professional Bio Sketch

     I am a field archaeologist, trained as an undergraduate by Dr. Makoto Kowta, California State University, Chico, and trained as a graduate by Dr. Jesse D. Jennnings, University of Utah. I was Jennings’ last PhD student in 1981 and have followed his admonishments for rigorous field methodology and sound pragmatic analytical design. I was exposed to Robert Dunnell’s analytical systems as a Research Scientist at the University of Washington, 1981-1984. I then went on to the Smithsonian Institution as a research scientist studying Native American material culture for the Handbook of North American Indians from 1984-89. At the Smithsonian, I feel I earned a second PhD in ethnology under the guidance of John C. Ewers and William Sturtevant, as well as Handbook volume editors Warren d’Azevedo, Wayne Suttles, Wilcomb Washburn and Ray deMallie, and the wonderful authors I was privileged to work with on each volume. In 1989, I jumped at the opportunity to come back West to Idaho State University. In twenty-plus years at ISU, I have had numerous roles moving from Assistant to full Professor, serving as curator and division head of Anthropology, Idaho Museum of Natural History, Director of the Southeastern Idaho Archaeological Repository, Chair of the Anthropology Department, and Interim Director of INNH from 1998-2002 and again from 2008-2010.

     On theory, I have moved from Materialist in the Leslie White tradition (cudos to Dr. Robert Anderson at University of Utah) to critical theory and other so-called postmodernist perspectives based on my work with Native Americans. The happy bridge over this seeming theoretical schism is the P-M idea that theories, methods and techniques are tools used for the task at hand (cudos to Jesse Jennings who preached using the “coarsest tool for the job” … pragmatism in pursuit of goal completion). Modeling requires sound empirically based approaches except when working with peoples as in KE applied to expertise in AI applications. Today, I teach qualitative analysis (knowledge elicitation, concept mapping, content analysis, and everything related to building computer models and smart user interfaces.

Research Interests

     I have conducted field research in California, the Great Basin, Southwest, Columbia Plateau, Plains and Western Samoa. I have analyzed prehistoric and ethnographic collections from all over the North American continent. I consider myself a specialist in traditional material culture and have developed a resume in stone tool production and use. I knap reasonably well, preferring generalized blade technologies, but I am not an artist in stone. I am a knapper to better understand the physical properties of stone in order to build analytical systems.

     For the past decade, I have been working with Dr. Corey Schou and colleagues in the Informatics Research Institute, Idaho State University, to design smart user interfaces atop archaeological heritage databases. We have built AI systems to aid archaeological classifications. In my mind, this is a perfect combination of my training received under the tutelage of Jesse Jennings and Robert Dunnell, the wedding of field and analytical rigor.

     I am also intensely interested in supplying information to professionals, non-professionals and students through use of computer applications under standards of instructional design. In this vein, I work closely with Corey and with my lifemate, Dr. Dotty Sammons, College of Education, Idaho State University.  Over the last decade, we have conducted expert knowledge elicitations in archaeological analysis, built online courses in analysis, built multimedia products, and published our assessments of these efforts.

     Currently, I am seeking funding through various venues to pursue building AI classification systems through emphasis on working with archaeological experts. An example is my continued work with Dr. Michael Collins on Clovis and pre-Clovis collections from the world famous Gault site in Texas.

Publications Coming Out Now

     My colleagues and I have just finished a full report on our work on the 14,000 year old “Buried Beach site” in southcentral Idaho, which has been submitted to American Antiquity. We have also completed a manuscript summarizing our work in knowledge elicitation and ontology building in the classification of stone artifacts, which will be submitted to the Journal of Archaeological Science.

     In the immediate offing are more manuscripts on computer applications, expert knowledge elicitation, archaeoinformatics, and the building of educational products.

Papers at Conferences

     Spring 2011, I am fortunate to be part of the "Standardization in Lithic Use-wear Analysis:  How Do We Get There From Here?" organized by H. Lerner and involving an international group of experts, for presentation at the Society for American Archaeology Meetings. This will be fun!

SAA 2011 Abstract


A major problem in advancing the rigor of archaeological use-wear studies has been lack of standardization in measurement of attrition, polishes and microsurface morphology. We have developed a system of standardized analysis based on replication studies using advanced digital imaging at medium- to low power magnification. Results have been robust and we are currently adapting this system to training an AI system, SIGGI-AACS, to enable greater resolution. The AI system is scalable and an active learner environment, allowing self-discovery with integration of new statistical data sets. We are also using this AI system to explore how archaeologists classify use-wear and identify tools and activities in the archaeological record. We are establishing greater rigor through application of new technologies and have the potential to explicitly explore how archaeologists think about classification itself.

Authors: E.S.Lohse, Department of Anthropology, Idaho State University; C. Schou, Informatics Research Institute, Idaho State University; K. Lohse, Department of Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Colorado; and D. Sammons, Department of Instructional Design, Idaho State University


     Dotty and I are also pursuing promotion of our work in AI applications in education in a paper at the AACE 2011 meeting in Lisbon, where we interact with like-minded folks from a very broad international community.









My friends, SLAINTE!   Let’s lift a glass for our success in this world …  I lend you my feeling for my good life,

Old wood to burn

Old wine to drink

Old friends to meet

Old books to read


Links to Help You Explore my World

Professional Resume

Digital Stones CD on Dotty’s homepage

Presentations and posters

     TARL Knowledge Elicitation Project Poster

     Crabtree: A Reader in Stone

     Digital Stones

     07 Plains Conference

     The Smith Cache

        SIGGI-AACS revised powerpoint

        Graphical Representations and Expertise

     Plains Presentation 05

     Edge Recognition Paper SAA05

        CHAG9 Paper on Symmetry and Cognitive Development

        Archaeological Field and Lab Analysis Manual 2011

Tebiwa, Vol. 26 (1996): Computerized …System for Functional Analysis …


Miscellaneous Pictures

     Family page

     Plains KE Workshop 07

     Fieldschools 06-07

Field Research Opportunities Summer 2011

     Gault Fieldschool poster

     Gault School News

     ISU Fieldschool information