I am an historical archaeologist in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. My research interests focus on marginalized groups—American Indians, women, minorities, the poor, and the institutionalized—in the United States during the 18th and 19th centuries.
Currently my research focuses on the Shawnee in Ohio during the late eighteenth century. WSU students and I are researching the Shawnee town of Piqua (ca. 1765-1780) and the battle of Piqua between the Shawnee of that town and an invading American militia force.
Much of my research describes Cherokee life in the mountains of North Carolina during and after the Removal. Excavations focused on the house site of John and Betty Welch, a Cherokee/Euro-American couple, who helped sustain a Cherokee community called Welch’s Town. For more than 15 years after the Trail of Tears (1839-1855), this diverse community of Cherokees and whites operated publicly as a Southern plantation (the Welches enslaved several African Americans) and secretly as a traditional Cherokee town.
From 2012-2014 I served as the director of the Camp Lawton research project. Camp Lawton was a Confederate POW camp in Georgia, occupied in 1864. The camp was built to relieve overcrowding at Andersonville, but did little to stop the suffering of Union prisoners. Our excavations uncovered the remains of Confederate officers’ quarters, Union prisoners’ huts, and several sections of the stockade trenches. One of the main goals of the project under my directorship was to compare the daily lives of prisoners and guards, with a particular focus on diet. I am also interested in the effects of long term incarceration on soldiers; many of these POWs were imprisoned for months or even years, and the physical, mental, and emotional impacts were devastating for most.
I hope to be of service to students at the university and to the general public. Archaeological and anthropological training our students receive will prepare them for jobs in archaeology and other careers. Public archaeology will also provide the local public with opportunities to learn about their history and about how archaeological research is conducted.
2022, “Their Determination to Remain;” A Cherokee Community's Resistance to the Trail of Tears in North Carolina. University of Alabama Press. https://www.uapress.ua.edu/9780817393854/their-determination-to-remain/
2022, “The Impact of Removal on Nineteenth-Century Eastern Cherokee Foodways.” Chapter in edited volume The Legacy of Jefferson Chapman and the Tellico Reservoir Project. Edited by Thomas Whyte and Clifford Boyd. University of Tennessee Press.
2019 “Archaeology and Community Reconstruction of Mid-Nineteenth Century Cherokee Farmsteads Along Valley River, North Carolina.” Chapter in edited volume Archaeological Adaptation: Case Studies of Cultural Transformation from the Southeast and Caribbean. Edited by Clifford Boyd, Jr. University of Tennessee Press.
2018 "Community Behavior in a Post-Removal Cherokee Town." In The Archaeology of Everyday Matters, edited by Philip Carr and Sarah Price. University of Florida Press.
2017 ""Pend in a pine grove": Archaeology of the Confederate POW Camp at Blackshear, Georgia." Early Georgia. Co-authored with M. Jared Wood and Inger Wood.
2011 "Ethnicity and Material Culture in Antebellum North Carolina". Southeastern Archaeology, Volume 30(1):64-78.
2010 American Indians and the Market Economy, 1775-1850, edited volume (co-edited with Mark Plane), University of Alabama Press. https://www.uapress.ua.edu/9780817384791/american-indians-and-the-market...
2010 "Identity in a Post-Removal Cherokee Household, 1838-1850", In American Indians and the Market Economy, 1775-1850, University of Alabama Press.
RECENT CONFERENCE PRESENTATIONS
2018 ““Andersonville All Over Again”: An Archaeological Comparison of Union POWs and Their Confederate Guards during the American Civil War”. Fields of Conflict Conference, Mashantucket Pequot Museum and Research Center, Mashantucket, Connecticut.
2017 “Cherokee Participation in the Southern Slave Society”, Society for American Archaeology conference, Vancouver, British Columbia.
2017 “A century of white settlement in western North Carolina: Archaeology of the Hiwassee Reservoir”. Uplands Archaeology in the East Symposium XII. Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina.
2015 “A Novel Approach: Historical Fiction in Archaeology”. Southeastern Archaeological Conference, Nashville, Tennessee.
2014 “Little Shanties Made of Pine Boughs: Investigating Civil War Union Prisoners’ Huts.” Fields of Conflict Conference, Columbia, South Carolina.
2014 “The Whole Shebang: The Use of LiDAR Technology to Identify and Record Union Prisoners’ Huts at the Confederate POW site of Camp Lawton.” Society for American Archaeology conference, Austin, Texas (co-authored with Matt Luke).
2014 “Archaeology and Community Reconstruction of Mid-19th Century Cherokee Farmsteads Along Valley River, North Carolina.” Southeastern Archaeological Conference, Greenville, South Carolina.
ATH 2200 Introduction to Archaeology (every Fall and Spring semester)—A Social Science Gen-Ed course!
ATH 3510 Lab Methods in Archaeology (counts as a Methods course for Anthropology majors and minors)
ATH 3600 America’s Buried Past
ATH 3600 Archaeology of Industry and Labor
ATH 3700 Field Methods in Archaeology (counts as a Methods course for Anthropology majors and minors)
ATH 4500 Archaeology of Conflict
ATH 4650 Field School in Archaeology (counts as a Methods course for Anthropology majors and minors)
ATH 4750 Seminar in Archaeological Theory (counts as a Theory course for Anthropology majors and minors)
IN THE NEWS
WSU field school:
2017 Wright State University College of Liberal Arts, Outstanding Early Career Achievement Award
2013 Georgia Southern University CLASS Faculty Research and Creativity Seed Grant
2012 NEH Summer Institute program on the Visual Culture of the Civil War, CUNY Graduate Center
Ph.D., Department of Anthropology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dissertation: A Struggle for Cherokee Community: Excavating Identity in Post-Removal North Carolina. Chair, Vin Steponaitis.
M.A., Department of Anthropology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Thesis: The Archaeology and History of the Cherokee Out Towns.
B.A., Department of Anthropology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville.