Back to top

Northwest Research Obsidian Studies Laboratory

About Northwest Research Obsidian Studies Laboratory


Alex J. Nyers, M.A

Alex Nyers received his Masters in Applied Anthropology from Oregon State University in 2013, successfully defending his thesis entitled, “A Provenance Study of Crypto-Crystalline Silicates at the Cooper’s Ferry Site: A Geochemical Approach.”

He has expertise in information technology, instrumental analytical methods (e.g., benchtop and portable EDXRF, instrumental neutron activation analysis) and digital analysis methods (e.g., 3D scanning, printing and statistical morphological analyses). Alex has also worked in the creation of predictive modelling for archaeological sites in both terrestrial as well as underwater contexts. Alex is the project lead for the Archie archaeological database system software. Prior to working in archaeology, Alex worked in information technology for ten years at Oregon State University. Click here to see his CV.



Craig Skinner, M.A

Craig Skinner has been involved in volcanic tephra and obsidian characterization research in the Far Western U.S. since 1980 and is the now-retired former owner of Northwest Research Obsidian Studies Laboratory. Prior to that, he was program director for the Obsidian Studies Program at BioSystems Analysis, past-president of the International Association for Obsidian Studies, and assistant laboratory director for INFOTEC Research. Craig is currently engaged in obsidian-related research projects in Oregon and other western states and is also busy assembling the online U.S. Obsidian Source Catalog.



Jennifer Thatcher
Jennifer Thatcher is the owner/operator of Willamette Analytics, LLC, an obsidian hydration laboratory located in Corvallis, Oregon. She received her initial obsidian hydration training at the University of Oregon and BioSystems Analysis obsidian hydration laboratories. She was the hydration analyst at Northwest Research Obsidian Studies Laboratory from 1996 to 2013, and has been operating Willamette Analytics as an independent contractor since that time. She also currently works in various capacities as a field archaeologist, lab specialist, and GIS analyst on different projects within the Pacific Northwest.