Month: February 2011

March 2011 talk was on field research pioneer

March 2011 talk was on field research pioneer

ECWG member Frank R. Power MN ’93 discussed the colorful life of  Roy Chapman Andrews (1884 – 1960) during a brunch Sunday, March 6 at Maggiano’s Little Italy in Chevy Chase.

Power said that Andrews “was the 20th century’s prototypical explorer—a bold, dashing figure who braved bandits, sandstorms, shipwrecks, and other brushes with death around the world.”

William Chapman Andrews in the late 1920s. From The Explorers Club Archives

Most notably, he led five scientific expeditions for the American Museum of Natural History’s to Mongolia’s desert, the Gobi, from 1922 to 1930.

He was a pioneer of modern field research, but it was his team’s fossil discoveries that amazed the world – especially the first-ever complete nest of dinosaur eggs.

Andrews–adventurer, administrator, and Museum promoter–spent his entire career at the American Museum of Natural History, where he rose through the ranks from departmental assistant, to expedition organizer, to Museum director.

He served as President of The Explorers Club from 1931 to 1934 and was awarded the Explorers Medal in 1932.

Archaeologist discusses ancient medicine

Archaeologist discusses ancient medicine

Sarah K. Yeomans FN ’07 spoke on “Medicine in the Ancient World: What we have learned from archaeology” at The Explorers Club Washington Group dinner at the Cosmos Club on Saturday Feb. 12, 2011.

Sarah Yeomans, speaking at the ECWG dinner on Feb. 12, 2011. Photo by Darlene Shields

Life in the ancient world was risky business. The perils of war, disease, famine and childbirth are a just a few examples of circumstances that contributed to a much lower average lifespan in the ancient world than we have now.

People in antiquity were no less concerned about the prevention and cure of maladies than they are now, however, and entire cults, sanctuaries and professions dedicated to health dotted the spiritual, physical and professional landscapes of the ancient world.

In her talk, Yeomans discussed what ancient cultures did to combat disease and injury, and noted that some of their methods are not too different from today’s.

Yeomans teaches archaeology in the University of West Virginia’s Religious Studies Program and is also Director of Education Programs for the Biblical Archaeology Society.

News Briefs: 4th Quarter 2010

News Briefs: 4th Quarter 2010

Dr. Craig Cook MN ’01 was the diving medical officer and physician on a flag expedition to Antarctica which documented land and marine wildlife.  The team traced the route of Shackleton’s epic escape to South Georgia Island and attempted to reach the approximate location of the wreck of the Antarctic.

Sarah Yeomans FN ’07 recently completed a field research season examining Biblical-era sites in the West Bank and at Bethsaida in the Golan Heights, excavating a Bronze Age town associated with several New Testament references. She also completed a southwestern Turkish survey of evidence for ancient medical technology from the Greek and Roman eras.  Her findings were presented at invited lectures at the Huntington Library and Museum in California and in Amman, Jordan, the latter at the invitation of the Young President’s Organization.

Dr. Polly Penhale FN ’91 and ECWG chair, was a member of the US Delegation to the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), participating in the annual treaty meeting in Hobart, Tasmania. She was named Co-Convener of the 2011 CCAMLR Workshop on Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) to establish a system of  MPAs in the Southern Ocean.  Dr. Penhale will receive the 2011 Quadrennial Finn Ronne Award for her accomplishments in polar research.

Piotr Chmielinski FN ’98 was featured in a National Geographic Society digital media article about his group whitewater trip on the Gauley River.  Considered by many to be the best whitewater rapids on the East Coast, this West Virginia river drops more than 668 feet through 28 miles of rugged terrain with more than 100 rapids of technical runs.

Dr. Michael Manyak MED ’92 and Col. Don Morley MN ’90 traveled 800 miles into the Gobi Desert to join 2010 Lowell Thomas Awardee John Hare and rode camels with him for two days at the Wild Camel Reserve in Mongolia.  The wild camel is just now recognized as a separate species whose ancestors split from the camel evolutionary line 700,000 years ago, long before the common ancestor of the domesticated Bactrian and Dromedary.  The breeding station established by John Hare is attempting to preserve this very highly endangered animal which numbers less than 1000 in two remote areas of Mongolia and China.

The ECWG had an active fall season of monthly meetings with interesting speakers.

  • Dr. Hans-Dieter Sues FN ’09, Senior Scientist and Curator in the Department of Paleobiology at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, presented the results of 10 years of fossil collection by an international team he headed in Uzbekistan.  Dr. Sues is an internationally-renowned dinosaur expert and this effort has yielded many new dinosaur species.
  • Dr. Michael Manyak shared his experiences about medical risks in remote areas of Central African jungles, the deepest canyon in the world, the North Atlantic, Mongolia, and Antarctica.
  • Dr. Thomas King FN ’02 gave the details of five expeditions to Nikumaroro in the Phoenix Islands in search of the remains of Amelia Earhart.  He is the senior archaeologist for The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR).

Lastly, and very importantly, the ECWG welcomes the following new members: Jack M. Curran SM ‘05, Benedicte Valentiner MN ‘10, Tyler A. Lystash SM ‘10, Amy M. Putnam SM ‘10, and Carl Pechman MN ’81.

Andrew Alexander, The Washington Post’s ombudsman, noted the work of the company headed by Curt J. Westergard, MN09, in his Nov. 5 column about estimates of attendance at big events on the National Mall. Full story.

The New York Times published a talk by reporter Claudia Dreifus with ECWG member Jane Goodall MED 93 in its Nov. 15, 2010 editions.  The story is online with a photo of Goodall.