William Schindler III
Chair, Anthropology Department
Dr. Bill Schindler is a specialist in primitive technologies who lives his work.
Trained by some of the leading archaeologists, experimental archaeologists and primitive technologists in the world, Dr. Schindler now shares his knowledge and skills with his Washington College students with a teaching philosophy he calls “sole authorship.” It meanss starting at the earliest stage of any process they are studying, and following it through to the end product. For example, to learn about prehistoric leather clothing, they would butcher and skin the deer, flesh and de-hair the hide, brain-tan the deerskin, research different forms of buckskin clothing, tailor clothing using traditional methods, wear the clothing and then … have an informed discussion about it. (He focused on sole authorship when he delivered the keynote address at the world’s largest experimental archaeology conference in Dublin, Ireland, in January of 2015.)
The recipient of the 2014 Distinguished Teaching Award from the Alumni Association, Dr. Schindler engages students in first-hand experiences that teach them about primitive technology and our relationship with food. This is a professor who shapes his own hunting tools, makes use of every part of the animal, forages for wild edibles and bakes bread with wheat he milled and in an oven that—you guessed it—he made himself.
During the summer and fall of 2015, Dr. Schindler will be living in remote locations around the globe, being filmed for the new National Geographic Channel series, “The Great Human Race.” The show, set to air in 2016, retraces the migratory route of our ancestors from the roots of humanity in Africa to the “New World” of North America. Each episode will drop him and co-star Cat Bigney into a time and place from our evolutionary past with only the period-correct tools available to our ancestors. “I will literally be recreating prehistoric life, as we understand it, during some of the most significant technological milestones in our evolutionary past, and doing it in the actual locations where they took place,” he says. “No one has ever done this before. It’s as if I have been training for this my whole life! I know the experience is going to make me a much better teacher and scholar.”
In the video below, part of the College’s #Unhurried series, Dr. Schindler flintknapps an arrowhead with Mike Whisenant ’16.
And in this excerpt from Fall Convocation in 2014, Dr. Schindler describes the personal journey that brought him to field of anthropology and teaching at Washington College.
- B.A., The College of New Jersey, 2000
- Ph.D., Temple University, 2006