Your Instructor:

Hi everyone! My name is Nikki Silva and I’m a PhD Student in the Anthropology Department and I’ll be your Instructor this summer. I will be starting my 5th year in our program this fall and it will be my 5th year in Michigan. I am originally from Texas and graduated from Baylor University with my Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology in the spring of 2012. I received my Master’s degree from MSU in the spring of 2014 and hope to be finishing my PhD in the next few years!

In the field excavating at Morton Village in Central Illinois during the summer of 2015.

In the field excavating at the Morton Village site in Central Illinois during the summer of 2015.

My research focuses on how cultural interaction affects community organization and the use of space. For my dissertation I will examine the Morton Village site in the Central Illinois River Valley near Lewistown, IL as a case study of cultural interaction. Morton Village dates to ca. A.D. 1300 and has evidence that two cultural groups interacted and cohabitated for a period of time. I’m interested in multiple scales of settlement and community patterns including the structure of households and the organization of activities at the village.

For the past 4 summers (including this summer), I have excavated at the site with Dr. Jodie O’Gorman (the creator of this course) and Dr. Michael Conner (Dickson Mounds Museum) in many different roles, including Research Assistant (2013), Field School Teaching Assistant (2014), Field Supervisor for the Taste of Archaeology Camp (2015), and Graduate Student Researcher (2016). Dr. O’Gorman has excavated at the site in some way every summer since 2008. The Morton Village Archaeological Project is a collaborative research project between MSU and the Dickson Mounds Museum (DMM) in Lewistown, IL.

In the field during the summer of 2016 excavations at Morton Village.

In the field during the summer of 2016 excavations at the Morton Village site.

I am very excited for this course and for all of you to learn about archaeology this semester! Please see below for information on contacting me during the semester!

Course Developer:

This online course was designed by Dr. Jodie O’Gorman, an archaeologist who works in the mid-continental U.S. on late prehistoric and early historic issues of cultural interaction. She has worked at or run excavations at several large community sites and has experience working in museums and in cultural resource management. Throughout the course she uses examples from the Morton Village site in west-central Illinois where she has worked since 2008.

Dr. O’Gorman will not be running this course, so please do not  contact her about it.

Have a question about the course?

  • Check Announcements Page First: It is very unlikely that I will send out many mass emails in this course. If I have anything to tell the class, I will post it on the home page. This means you need to log in daily to keep up to date on any class announcements. You are responsible for everything posted on the announcements page.
  • Type #HELP and type your question into the comment section on the schedule page for the week: Especially if your problem is a technical problem (like a link doesn’t work or you can’t find a video). Help out the rest of the class by answering other student’s questions here. By using #HELP I can find your question more easily.
  • Use #Nikki in your weekly posts or comments to get my attention: If you want to tell me something in weekly blog post or comment, using #Nikki will help me find your question or comment more easily. You can use this to clarify something in your post or just to point out something cool that you think I would appreciate. This is not required, but is there for you if you need it.
  • Don’t email the entire class: If you have a question, check the site first – your answer is probably there.


I will mainly use the WordPress site to communicate with you, however, if you have something private you need to discuss (like medical emergencies) or if you have a message specifically for me – you are more than welcome to email. Make sure you follow the format below when sending emails:

  • Put “ANP 203″ in the subject line
  • Start the email with “Hi Nikki” or something polite.
  • Use full sentences, proper grammar, etc.
  • Sign with your full name.

Please allow me up to 48 hours to respond to your emails (especially if it is over the weekend). Emails that do not meet the above protocol will not receive a response.


Email: anthropology [dot] courses [at] matrix [dot] msu [dot] edu

If you are experiencing real technical difficulties, like your password isn’t working, or you are receiving an error message when trying to login, or anything like that, you should directly email the tech help desk: anthropology [dot] courses [at] matrix [dot] msu [dot] edu .

Please note that this email DOES NOT come to me, it goes to the ANP WordPress technical team. You should write this address down somewhere because obviously, if you can’t access the site, you can’t access this page where the email is located… 


The only thing you will use D2L for is accessing your gradebook. However, if you ever have any issues with D2L, you should contact them directly.

Local: (517) 355-2345

Toll Free: (800) 500-1554
(North America and Hawaii)

Web: D2L Contact Form
Web: D2L Help Site