Anthropology

William Schindler III

Center Director, Eastern Shore Food Lab

Dr. Bill Schindler is a specialist in primitive technologies who lives his work.

Under his guidance, Washington College students embark on journeys that completely change how they think about their history as human beings, particularly as it relates to the fundamental necessity of finding and preparing food and making the tools needed to hunt and process foods. By drawing students closer to the sources of food—for instance, showing them how to form and fire clay cooking vessels, how to butcher a deer with a piece of obsidian, how to create a tool through flint-knapping techniques—Schindler imparts his concept of “sole authorship” that guides all of his work. The basis of this philosophy is simple: Being part of a process from start to finish is the only way to truly understand the amount of energy and effort—whether human or environmental—that is required to feed, clothe, and sustain a population. For example, to learn about prehistoric leather clothing, students would butcher and skin a 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 a truly informed discussion about this process.

Known worldwide for his work, in January 2015 Dr. Schindler gave the keynote address at EXARC, the world’s largest experimental archaeology conference. Also in 2015, he traveled the world with the National Geographic Channel filming its show “The Great Human Race.” Dropped into a time and place of our evolutionary past, he and his co-star Cat Bigney had to survive only on the tools and resources available to our human ancestors of that time and place. He subsequently spent a year based in Ireland with his family to study the fusion of ancestral foodways and modern culinary arts with indigenous groups and some of the most esteemed chefs in the world.   

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. 

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. 

 
Education
  • B.A., The College of New Jersey, 2000
  • Ph.D., Temple University, 2006