Contact Us

A group photo of our team.

Dave Williams

As Nebraska State Archeologist, Dave directs the State Archeology Office; oversees Nebraska’s archeological resources under the Nebraska Archeological Resources Preservation Act and National Historic Preservation Act; assists with the identification, recovery, and repatriation of human skeletal remains and consultation with Native American tribes; supervises cultural resource management projects; and disseminates archeological information to the public. Dave’s cultural resource management experience includes work across the Great Plains, Midwest U.S., Great Basin, Colorado Rockies, and in Oaxaca, Mexico. Prior to joining History Nebraska, he was the Assistant State Archeologist and Contracts Manager for the South Dakota State Historical Society. Dave’s research interests include public archeology, geochemical sourcing analysis, long-distance exchange of materials, and precontact ceramic production. Dave received a BA in Anthropology from the University of South Dakota and an MA in Anthropology from the University of Colorado Boulder.

MaKenzie Coufal

MaKenzie graduated from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln in 2015 with a BA in Anthropology and a minor in Archeology. He began working for History Nebraska as a temporary archeological technician helping to process the NAGPRA collection for repatriation and quickly discovered there was nowhere he would rather work. From his lair in the basement of the Fort Robinson Museum, Coufal dedicates his time to Nebraska Department of Transportation projects in the Panhandle and Sand Hills regions. He is interested in prehistoric archeology as well as ground stone tool and ornament production. Work-related hobbies include pipe carving and Sand Hills floral identification.

Brian Goodrich

Brian's duties include reviewing projects for the Highway Archeology Program, identifying and evaluating archeologically significant areas in Nebraska and working to preserve and protect those places. He also has the privilege to assist with outreach events like the September Archeology Month Volunteer Dig.  Brian received his MA in Anthropology from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln and BA in History from Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa.  His research interests includes lithic technologies, the Fur Trade Era, and Nebraska archeology.

Edward Harthorn

Architectural historian Edward Harthorn joined History Nebraska from Minnesota, where he previously served as a technical specialist with Northern Bedrock Historic Preservation Corps in Duluth. He received his BA in history from Williams Baptist University in 2016, and his MA in global history from Arkansas State University in 2018. Edward’s outside activities and interests include cemetery restoration, preservation technologies, and maintaining a virtual archive of two municipalities’ historic sources.

Nolan Johnson

Nolan graduated from the University of South Dakota in 2004 with a BS in History and Anthropology. He received an MA in Anthropology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2006. His thesis was on the Beaver Creek Trail Crossing Site, which was a road ranch on the Nebraska City Cut-Off Trail. Johnson has worked at History Nebraska in a variety of positions since 2007 and as an archeologist since 2012. The largest part of his duties is working on Nebraska Department of Transportation projects in the northeast quarter of the state. Other interests include historic archeology, cultural change in Nebraska, and public archeology. Johnson is the President of the Nebraska Association of Professional Archeologists and the Vice-President of the Department of Anthropology Alumni and Friends Advisory Board.

Diane Laffin

As a Preservation Associate for the Highway Cultural Resources Program, Diane Laffin completes Section 106 compliance reports for various statewide Nebraska Department of Transportation projects. She meets and exceeds the Secretary of the Interior’s professional qualifications for history and architectural history. Prior to joining History Nebraska, Diane spent 20 years in the Architecture/Engineering industry (surface transportation). She received her MA in Public History from Loyola University in Chicago and has a BS in Education from the University of Minnesota.

Talon O’Connor

Talon is an Archeological Technician. Talon received his BA degree from the University of Nebraska Lincoln in 2017 with an Anthropology major and a Psychology minor. He has been a part of the History Nebraska team since the fall of 2017. His job duties include archeological field work as well as an assortment of laboratory work such as cleaning/cataloging artifacts and photo editing. Talon’s area of interest is Plains archeology.

Katie Paitz

Katie serves as the Office Manager for the State Archeology Office/Highway Archeology Program. She manages the program’s project database, organizes and tracks all written/electronic documentation, and assists with field and lab work. She received a BA in Anthropology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Karen Steinauer

Karen joined the Archeology Division of History Nebraska in 2004. As a staff archeologist she primarily evaluates and documents the effect of Nebraska Department of Transportation projects on historic cultural resources. Karen holds a BA in Anthropology, a JD, and an MA in Anthropology with a specialization in Professional Archeology, all from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  Her experience ranges from practicing law to archeological field surveys, excavations, curation, and research and compliance. 

Courtney Ziska

As Highway Archeology Program Manager, Courtney coordinates the completion of Section 106 National Historic Preservation Act reviews for proposed transportation projects across Nebraska. She also provides technical support to program staff, including producing illustrations for reports and GIS mapping. Her current research interests include the Sand Hills, the Nebraska Buried Sites GIS, and public archeology. Before coming to History Nebraska in 2011, Courtney worked as an archaeological technician with the Midwest Archeological Center (National Park Service). She received an MA in Anthropology (Professional Archeology emphasis) and a BA in Anthropology and History from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. She is currently serving on the Plains Anthropological Society Board of Directors as webmaster, and is also an active member of the Nebraska Association of Professional Archeologists.



Nebraska State Archeology Office
5050 N. 32nd Street
Lincoln, NE 68504



Map - 5050 N. 32nd Street, Lincoln, Nebraska


State Archeology Office: Dave Williams (402-219-2759)

Highway Archeology Program: Courtney Ziska (402-471-3233)​

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