Melanie Blackman, Program Coordinator
Melanie is a native Texan and frequent visitor to the Big Bend region. Her childhood dream was to work in the field of Archaeology. Melanie is responsible for administrative operations, meeting and event planning, and fundraising support. Prior to joining CBBS, Melanie was the Executive Assistant and Human Resources Director for KLRU-TV, Austin’s PBS Station for over 17 years. She loves to cook, read and spend time with her family.
Roger Boren, Archaeologist
Roger is a magna cum laude and honors program graduate of Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas. He began participating in archaeological field research with the Center for Big Bend Studies in 2001 and assumed a staff position with the CBBS in 2007. Roger is involved in various projects which range from field survey to archaeological excavation, with a special interest in the rock art of the Trans-Pecos and the surrounding area.
Erika Blecha, Project Archaeologist
Erika received her B.A. in Anthropology from the University of California at Berkeley and an M.A. in Archaeology from the University of Montana. While in school, her research interests extended from Mesoamerica to reservation-era archaeology, and federal management of archaeological sites in wilderness areas. She has been a professional archaeologist since 2009, working as an archaeological field technician, crew chief, GIS specialist, and now, project archeologist. She loves to travel and has conducted archeological work throughout the central coast of California (where she is from), Nevada, Montana, and Wyoming, as well as Belize, Honduras, and along the coast of Peru. Erika is currently working on Pinto Canyon Ranch, researching the spatial and iconographic patterns of the boulder petroglyphs. Her interests include GIS, hunter-gatherer violence, and Late Prehistoric human lifeways.
Andy Cloud, Project Archaeologist
William A. Cloud received both his B.A. (Archeological Studies; 1978) and M.A. (Anthropology, with a focus on Archeology; 1987) degrees from The University of Texas at Austin. Since 1980 he has participated on various archeological projects for universities (Sul Ross State University-Center for Big Bend Studies; University of Texas at Austin-Texas Archeological Survey; University of Arkansas-Arkansas Archaeological Survey), state agencies (Texas Historical Commission-Office of the State Archaeologist; Texas Parks and Wildlife Department-Historic Sites Division), a federal agency (National Park Service-Big Bend National Park), and several private firms (Geo-Marine, Inc.,-Plano, Texas; Prewitt and Associates, Inc.,-Austin, Texas). He has served as Field Archaeologist, Laboratory Technician, Project Archaeologist, and Principal Investigator during the course of these investigations. He joined the Center for Big Bend Studies of Sul Ross State University in September 1995 as a staff archaeologist. After stints as cultural resources management coordinator and senior project archaeologist, and following the retirement of long-time CBBS director Robert J. Mallouf in August 2008, the University named him to carry the torch as director of the Center. Cloud served as director for 11 years until his retirement in December, 2019.
David Keller, Senior Project Archaeologist
David W. Keller earned a B.A. in History and Psychology at Texas Tech University and an M.A. in Environmental History from the University of Montana. He has taught field courses for the University of Montana and San Francisco State University and conducted archeological and historical research in Montana and the Big Bend region of Texas. His book, Below the Escondido Rim: A History of the O2 Ranch in the Texas Big Bend, was published in the summer of 2005. He is presently project archaeologist for the Big Bend National Park project and has recently completed his new book, In the Shadow of the Chinatis: A History of Pinto Canyon in the Big Bend.
Robert Mallouf, Senior Archaeologist
Robert J. Mallouf has been conducting archeological research and preservation work in Texas for over 40 years and served as Texas State Archaeologist from 1981 to 1995, and as director of the Center for Big Bend Studies and assistant professor of anthropology at Sul Ross State University from 1995 to 2008, when he retired. He has authored numerous publications related to the archaeology of Texas, as well as western Kansas and northeastern Chihuahua, Mexico. Mallouf received B.A. and M.A. degrees in anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin, and also studied at the University of California at Berkeley and the American University of Cairo, Egypt. A native of Brownwood, Texas, his background includes work as varied as commercial fishing in the Gulf of Mexico, marketing in California, and forestry and rescue work with the National Park Service in Arizona. Mallouf and his son Parker reside in Alpine, Texas.
Eden Meadows, Archaeologist
Eden received her B.A. in Applied Arts and Sciences from Texas State University after eight years in the United States Air Force as an intelligence analyst and band vocalist. While at Texas State University, Eden realized, after many college credits and changed majors, that she wanted to be an archaeologist. She attended field school with Sul Ross University at Bonfire Shelter and Spirit Eye Cave and was hooked. Eden has many interests including singing, kayaking, hiking, travelling, and gardening.
Andrea Ohl, Archaeologist
Andrea earned a B.A. in anthropology from the University of New Hampshire in Durham. She wrote her thesis on the prehistory of the upper Connecticut River valley and published several articles regarding her research. She was employed as an archaeologist in New England for seventeen years at Dartmouth College as a field school assistant and for several CRM firms as a surveyor, excavator, researcher, and writer. Andrea moved to the Big Bend in 1993 to begin construction of an earth-sheltered adobe house in the Christmas Mountains. She began working for the CBBS in 1997 on surveys, excavations, CRM projects, research, and writing. She has written CRM reports for the CBBS, and her book, The Paradise Site—A Middle Archaic Campsite on the 02 Ranch, was published in 2006. She continues to build her house, and research and write about the Middle Archaic period in the eastern Trans-Pecos.
Bryon Schroeder, Director
Bryon is the new Director of the Center for Big Bend Studies. He recently received his Ph.D. in archaeology from the University of Montana with research focused on high-altitude hunter-gatherer sites in the Wind River Range of the Middle Rocky Mountains. He also holds both a B.A. and M.A. in archaeology from the University of Wyoming where he studied Late Prehistoric and Protohistoric hunter-gatherer refuge fortification and defensive structures. He has worked throughout Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Montana, and most recently the Central Coast of California. His broader research interests focus on interpersonal conflict in hunter-gatherers across time and space, macroevolutionary models, and inheritance theory. He is a recent convert to Bayesian modeling specific to radiocarbon data. He is a blank slate when it comes to Texas archaeology and is excited to delve into the complexities of Trans-Pecos prehistory.
Richard Walter, Archaeologist
Richard Walter grew up in Ralls, a small farming community east of Lubbock, Texas. Richard joined the South Plains Archaeological Society (SPAS) in 1967, which at that time held meetings in the basement of the old museum at Holden Hall, Texas Tech University. During the 1960s, Richard volunteered on a number of small excavations conducted by SPAS and had the privilege to work with Texas pioneer archaeologists Frank Runkles, Emitt Shedd, and Jim Word. From 1972 to 1992 Richard attended the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Texas at El Paso, and Texas Tech University. Richard's first paying job was illustrating artifacts from a Paleoindian site outside of Quito, Ecuador in 1982. Since 1990, Richard has been involved with archaeological investigations in Texas, Kansas, Indiana, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Nevada and has been senior and co-author of more than forty archaeological reports.