CHRISTOPHER S. PEEBLES
(1939 - 2012)
Christopher S. Peebles passed away Monday evening, April 16, 2012. He described himself as “an anthropologist by training and an information technologist by happenstance” and all who know him appreciate the value of that eclectic mix. As a graduate student, Chris was mentored by a diverse group of some of the best minds in 20th century archaeology, including Lewis Binford, Albert Spaulding, Charles Fairbanks, William Sears, David DeJarnette, and James Griffin. Although they influenced his thinking about archaeology, Chris always maintained that his rigorous training in philosophy at Chicago is what really shaped his theoretical perspective. Chris is best known through the successes of the many students he mentored, the innovative scholarship he produced, and his leadership of the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology at Indiana University, for which he is most proud. His scholarship on Mississippian archaeology, geophysical applications to archaeological investigations, modern and prehistoric social complexity, and information technology will continue to inspire colleagues for years to come. George Milner said it best, “Archaeology has lost a brilliant scholar and all of us a wonderful colleague and friend.” Chris will be missed by all.
Chris’s long career in archaeology spanned nearly 50 years. He received an AB degree from the University of Chicago in 1963 and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 1974. He has taught at universities around the world, including Florida Atlantic University, University of Windsor, University of Michigan, Northwestern University, Penn State University, University of Amsterdam, and Indiana University. He has served Indiana University in several capacities between 1983 and his retirement in 2009. His appointments included Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology and positions in the Program for Cognitive Science and in the School of Informatics. He also held many other leadership roles, including Associate Vice President for Research and Academic Computing, Dean for Information Technology, and Special Advisor for Centers and Institutes in the Office of the Vice President for Research. As Associate Vice President for Information Technologies he worked with the Chancellors and Vice Chancellors for Information Technology at the regional campuses of Indiana University. After retirement, Chris continued to advise students and colleagues as Professor Emeritus of Anthropology, Director Emeritus of the Glenn A, Black Laboratory of Archaeology, and Dean Emeritus and Associate Vice President Emeritus for Information Technology.
During his career, Chris advanced archaeology through many avenues. He taught courses in contemporary culture change, the role of historical methods in anthropological research, and the prehistories of North America and northern Europe. He was involved in the development of information technology for over forty years and has used computers in his research and teaching throughout his career. For example, he designed the National Archaeological Resources Database in 1984 with Sandra Parker and, as Assessor for Archaeology with the Andrew Mellon Foundation Scholarly Communications Division, Chris supported and promoted continuing efforts to design and implement a national archaeological information system for preservation of and access to archaeological information from collections and reports to publications and images. His interest in formal organizations and their culture led to considerations of corporate success and failure and the role of quality in corporate performance. These interests, in turn, led to his role in working as a part of the management team to bring quality and cost management programs to University Computing Services and its successor University Information Technology Services at Indiana University.
Significant publications in archaeology include: “Moundville and Surrounding Sites: Some Structural Considerations of Mortuary Practices II.” Memoirs of the Society for American
Archaeology 25:68-91 (1971); “Some Archaeological Correlates of Ranked Societies.” American Antiquity 42: 421-48 (with Susan Kus, 1977); Excavations at Moundville: 1905-1951. University of Michigan Press, (1979); “Paradise Lost, Strayed, and Stolen: Prehistoric Social Devolution in the Southeast.” Proceedings of the Southern Anthropological Society, 18: 24-40 (1982); Prehistoric Agricultural Communities in West Alabama. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Mobile District (Editor, 1985); “The Rise and Fall of the Mississippian in Western Alabama: The Moundville and Summerville Phases, A.D. 1000-1600.” Mississippi Archaeology. 22:1-31 (1987); “From History to Hermeneutics: The Place of Theory in the Later Prehistory of the Southeast." Southeastern Archaeology 9(1):23-34 (1990); “Annalistes, Hermeneutics, and Positivists: Squaring Circles or Dissolving Problems," in The Annales and Archaeology, edited by John Bintliff, Leicester University Press, pp. 108-124 (Chapter 6) (1991);Representations in Archaeology (joint editor and contributor with J.-C. Gardin) Indiana University Press (1992); "Aspects of a Cognitive Archaeology," Cambridge Archaeological Journal, 3(2): 250-253 (1994); and “The Construction, Use, and Abandonment of Angel Site Mound A: Tracing the History of a Middle Mississippian Town Through its Earthworks.” American Antiquity 75(4):935-953 (with G. William Monaghan, 2010)
Chris also published many articles on IT, including: “The Establishment and Management of IT Support Systems, Shanghai Quality (December 2002) in Chinese; "Measuring Quality, Cost, and Value of IT Services." (with Brian Voss, Craig Stewart, and Sue Workman) Proceedings of the 55th Annual Quality Congress, American Society for Quality, AQC Proceedings pp. 468-493 (2001); "Life-Cycle Costs: More than the Cost of Hardware" in Technology-Driven Planning: Principles to Practice. Edited by Judith V. Boettcher, Mary M. Doyle, and Richard W. Jensen, Society of College and University Planners, Ann Arbor, MI, pp. 109-120 (2000); "Modeling and Managing the Cost and Quality of Information Technology Services at Indiana University: A Case Study" (with Laurie Antolovic, Norma Holland, Karen Adams, Debby Allmayer, and Phyllis Davidson) in Information Technology: Assessing Its Impact and Planning for the Future, edited by Richard Katz and Julia Rudy, pp. 37-54 (1999); "Cost (and Quality and Value) of Information Technology Support in Large Research Universities" (with Laurie Antolovic) Educom Review 34 (5): 20-23, 46-49 (1999) Josey-Bass, New Directions for Institutional Research; “Cost, Quality and Value: Assessing the Networked Information Value Chain at Indiana University,” Beyond the Beginning: The Global Digital Library, UKOLN, London (1997).