Applied Anthropology Laboratories


The Applied Anthropology Laboratories (AAL) is an outreach arm of the Department of Anthropology and provides a full range of cultural resource management (CRM) and research services, with a professional staff experienced in all levels of field survey, excavation, analysis, and curation. We assist communities, government agencies, and industry in the integration of archaeological research with community and economic development. We work closely with our clients to meet their needs from project inception through completion.

With more than 30 years experience in Midwestern archaeology, our staff offers extensive qualifications in completing compliance and research projects and meeting state, federal, and professional guidelines. We are on the Indiana Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology (DHPA) list of qualified professionals and are prequalified to conduct projects for the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) in archaeology, architectural history, and karst.

Since its inception, AAL has conducted several thousand CRM field projects, research, literature reviews, and public outreach activities. We work with consulting engineers, private developers, small towns and large cities, state and federal agencies, descendant communities, schools, students, historical societies, and others on a variety of cultural resource management, applied archaeology, and educational activities.

We are committed to the highest quality, timely, and professional products. Our staff and research associates have expertise in the following areas:

Cultural Resource Management

  • field investigations, including phase I, II, and III survey, testing, and data recovery excavations
  • project management
  • archival research
  • specialized artifact analysis including lithics, ceramics, trace element analysis, and historic artifact analysis
  • cataloging and curation services
  • testing and mitigation planning
  • historic preservation planning
  • interpretive planning
  • grant development
  • public education and public participation in archaeological activities
  • geophysical surveys, or remote sensing, featuring magnetic gradiometry and soil resistivity
  • records, literature reviews, and archival research
  • geographic information systems (GIS) analysis
  • descendant communities

Geophysical Survey

  • resistivity
  • gradiometry
  • magnetic susceptibility

Environmental Specialties

  • dye tracing
  • water sampling
  • karst landscapes
  • cave and karst monitoring
  • phosphate testing and analysis
  • cave mapping and cartography


We have conducted projects in every county in Indiana and on sites that represent the complete range of human habitation in the state. We serve as a state and federal repository for archaeological collections and data, and we are capable of curating archaeological materials for clients.

We offer several specialized services, including remote sensing, specialized analysis, historic preservation planning, interpretive planning, and public outreach. The AAL uses a Geoscan Research FM-36 Fluxgate Gradiometer and a Geoscan Research RM-15-D Resistance Meter to detect archaeological features without excavation.

Our laboratories provide a range of microscopic services, including petrographic analysis using a Nikon LV-100 POL polarizing microscope. We also have a large comparative collection of Midwestern lithic materials that allow for detailed studies of lithic sourcing, trade, and interaction. Our staff and research associates provide expertise in the analysis of lithic technology, chemical composition of native copper and other materials, and analysis of historic materials and farmsteads, and possesses an extensive background in historic preservation planning and working with descendant communities.

For more information on our current projects and the services we have to provide, contact us. To learn more about cultural resource management and historic preservation in Indiana, visit the Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology.

Applied Anthropology Laboratories
Burkhardt Building (BB), room 314
Ball State University
Muncie, Indiana 47306

Hours: Monday-Friday 8 a.m.- 5 p.m.
Phone: 765-285-5328
Fax: 765-285-2163
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