ASU archaeologist honored by France's National Center for Scientific Research
Arizona State University archaeologist Anick Coudart has been awarded a lifetime service medal by France’s National Center for Scientific Research, for which she served as a senior research director.
The honor was bestowed on Coudart during a March ceremony in Paris. She was introduced by French archaeologist and historian Jean-Paul Demoule, who lauded her for her leadership and contributions to the field, including the introduction of a novel excavation technique, which adds manual synchronous scraping of the sterile soil above the archaeological levels to the mechanical scraping performed by a backhoe.
Coudart, who is a research professor in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, has conducted extensive fieldwork in Papua New Guinea, France’s Aisne Valley and Mexico.
During the 1980s and 1990s, she edited the French professional journal Les Nouvelles de l’Archéologie, which played a major role in the reform of French archaeology. Coudart has also proven integral to her field as a member of the French National Research Committee and the French National University Council.
In recent years, she has been known for five main research projects in the following areas: cultural practices versus identity strategy; domestic time and space in the elaboration and transformation of cultural norms; the Neolithic Bandkeramik Longhouses as material, social and mental metaphor for small-scale sedentary societies; the settlement of the Danubian Bandkeramik Peoples in the Aisne Valley; and the epistemology and history of archaeology.
Coudart is a past visiting scholar at Cambridge University, Japan’s Kyushu University, Germany’s Saarland University, the Santa Fe Institute and the University of Sydney. She is a prolific author and is affiliated with the National Center for Scientific Research’s Laboratory for European Proto-History and the Center for Research and Documentation of Oceanian Societies.
She credits her training in social and cultural anthropology and collaborative work with anthropologists like Maurice Godelier with enabling her “to contribute to archaeology an anthropological dimension that is anchored in social reality and not limited to theory.”
Coudart adds, “I have always felt that my knowledge was shaped by that of others. I have thus been able to make very different kinds of minds meet in order to work together. I was never concerned about whether my name appeared in a project. For me, the important thing was its success. I see this medal of honor as recognition of that important but unusual contribution to scientific research.”
The National Center for Scientific Research is France’s equivalent of the U.S. National Science Foundation. Founded by governmental decree more than 60 years ago, it is composed of three national institutes and more than 1,000 research units and laboratories.