UM Anthropology Alumna Wins National Award

November 25, 2015

MISSOULA – University of Montana Department of Anthropology Collections Curator C. Riley Auge recently earned an award for her 2013 dissertation. Auge, who earned her doctorate in anthropology from UM, will receive the 2016 Kathleen Kirk Gilmore Dissertation Award from the Society for Historical Archaeology on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016, in Washington D.C., during the society’s annual conference.

Auge’s dissertation titled “Silent Sentinels: Archaeology, Magic and the Gendered Control of Domestic Boundaries in New England, 1620-1725” involved delving into the historic archaeological record of myth, ritual and religion. Specifically, Auge was interested in how magic is woven into the fabric of life in all cultures.

“It is an ambitious work, in the best sense of the phrase within the anthropological tradition,” wrote UM professors Kelly Dixon and John Douglas in their nomination letter. “It seeks to comprehend human behavior broadly, while drawing on a diverse data set that focuses on everyday practice.”

In her dissertation, Auge establishes the use of magic and its context by drawing on a variety of scholarly sources: the interpretations of historians, the witch trial documents, diaries and letters, and general folklore works.

“We believe that with minimal editing, this dissertation can become a well-received and widely-read book,” Dixon and Douglas wrote.

The award panel selected Auge’s dissertation as an outstanding contribution to historical archaeology. Auge will receive $1,000 and a consideration for publication with the SHA.

Auge presently is writing an archaeological field handbook of magic and ritual. As a former Montana secondary school teacher, she uses her experience and training in curriculum and teaching to help shape educating the next generation of anthropologists; and to expand anthropology outside of academia to the community through public outreach events.

For more information on Auge’s research, call her at 406-249-5851 or email For more information on the Kathleen Kirk Gilmore Dissertation Award email SHA Awards committee chair Terry Majewski at


Contact: C. Riley Auge, UM Department of Anthropology collections curator, 406-243-5525,