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  • In MemoriamRemembering Anne Pike-Tay (10 June 1956 – 16 April 2020)
  • Veronica Peterson, Ariane Burke, Heidi Katz, Minghao Lin, Richard Cosgrove, and Jillian Garvey

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Anne Pike-Tay at 2014 Vassar College Commencement

(photograph courtesy of Gerald Peterson)

Anne Pike-Tay, Ph.D. (1989, New York University), Professor Emerita of Anthropology (Vassar College), passed away on 16 April 2020. She is survived by her husband Eng Chye Tay, son Brendan Yi-Fu Tay, daughter Hannah Ling Tay, and two brothers William Pike and David Pike. Anne was predeceased by her brother Timothy Pike. Due to the circumstances of COVID-19, memorial services were private with a celebration of Anne's life planned for a later date. [End Page 241]

In her 2013 convocation address to Vassar College, Anne identified a lifelong journey to combine her love of natural science and art as the thread running through all her endeavors. Her concern for the environment manifested in action, first by becoming a founding member of her high school's Students to Overcome Pollution and later as a member of the steering committee for Vassar College's Environmental Studies Program. Her sense of adventure was another constant thread in her life. Asked what she wanted to be when she grew up by first grade teacher Sister John Peter, Anne drew herself as a Roman Catholic nun in a spaceship heading toward the moon.

Anne was a first-generation college student. She earned a B.S. at the College of Mount Saint Vincent, concentrating in East Asian art history and studio art. She also studied Spanish, Japanese, and biology. After college, she taught for a year in Bogotá, Colombia, then apprenticed in wood-block print master Yoshida Toshi's studio in Nagano-ken, Japan. In Taipei, she taught English, studied Chinese, and spent afternoons sketching and befriending graduate students at the National Palace Museum. At a professional conference on Chinese art and archaeology, Anne determined that she would pursue graduate training in archaeology.

At New York University, married and with two children, Anne specialized in zooarchaeology and palaeoanthropology. Her doctoral thesis led to the publication of her first book in 1991, Red Deer Hunting in the Upper Paleolithic of South-west France. It was here she applied odontochronology, or the analysis of growth rings in dental tissues, with other methods to study seasonal variations in red deer hunting over time. After completing her Ph.D., Anne continued to work on questions of seasonal faunal exploitation during the Upper Palaeolithic in southwest France and Cantabria, Spain. Her interest in applying zooarchaeological methods to study transition periods in human prehistory was a theme that was carried throughout her geographically and temporally wide-ranging publications.

Anne played a significant part in understanding the way in which ice age Tasmanian Aboriginal people adapted to changing palaeoenvironments and their interactions with animal resources. At a chance meeting with Richard Cosgrove at the 1998 International Council for Archaeozoology meeting in Victoria, Canada, they discussed the application of skeletochronological techniques to assessing whether wallaby teeth preserved seasonal annuli and whether they could obtain good baseline data from modern wallaby teeth. So began a highly successful 18-year collaboration studying the thousands of marsupial bones from four of the most important Tasmanian ice age sites extending back 40,000 years (see publications listed in the Australia section of Anne Pike-Tay's Bibliography). This was the first time that odontochronology had been applied successfully to Australian late Pleistocene human prey. Anne's work brought a greater understanding of both the behavioral ecology of the marsupials as well as insights into how these ice age people used landscapes in a systematic and planned way. This challenged the notion of a people who were said to be at the mercy of the environment, showing that these people possessed an intelligence and understanding of seasonal exploitation and hunting strategy to prosper through the Southern Hemisphere ice age.

Anne was a wonderful colleague, friend, and mentor to many people, as exemplified by her hosting of Jillian Garvey when she visited Anne in 2006 and 2008 at Vassar College to learn the techniques of annuli recovery and recording. Anne...


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