Professor and Chair of Anthropology
5434 Sewell Social Science Bldg.
Ph.D., The Pennsylvania State University, 1997
Joined UW-Madison faculty in 2000
Areas of Focus
Archaeology, Historical Ecology, Eastern North America, Complex Societies
American Indian Studies Program
The Nelson Institute of Environmental Studies
Center for Culture, History and the Environment
Material Culture Studies Program
My most current research has four interrelated spheres of study: ecological and agency-based considerations of emerging sociopolitical complexity among ancient societies in the midcontinental and southeastern United States; historical ecological efforts at modeling ancient resource productivity and reconstructing ancient anthropogenic landscapes; microhistorical investigation of households, ancient architecture, planned communities, and built landscapes as expressions of social order in which both cosmological canons of design and vernacular traditions of engineering and construction style contribute to architectural variation; and the history of archaeology as practiced in the United States in the first half of the twentieth century – a time when newly discovered archaeological evidence was used to establish cultural historical meta-narratives that are still in use today in many regions. These questions are being pursued in the context of my fieldwork and collections-based analyses in western Kentucky (the Jonathan Creek site, associated with the Mississippian Tradition), Cahokia and the American Bottom in Illinois (region with intensive Mississippian occupation), and southern Wisconsin (the Skare site, a multicomponent site; Aztalan, associated with the Late Woodland and Mississippian Traditions).
I enjoy teaching a wide variety of courses from large lectures on world prehistory, archaeological methods, Wisconsin archaeology, and the archaeology of Eastern North America to small courses on landscapes, material culture analysis, museums in anthropology, curation methods, household archaeology, and archaeological theory. I also teach a summer field course that provides hands-on training in archaeological excavation.