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Anthropological Archaeology

Anthropological Archaeology

Anthropological Archaeology at the University of Kentucky

The primary regional focus of the department's archaeology program is on the Americas, especially Eastern and Midwestern U.S. and Mesoamerica. Current students, however, are also engaged in research in the Southwestern U.S., Southern Plains, and both lowland and highland South America. Faculty and staff have a broad range of experience from the eastern seaboard to the Rocky Mountains and from the northern Plains to Central America. Although faculty have a diverse range of technical expertise and theoretical interests, they share a common interest in peoples and cultures of the New World from the Late Pleistocene through early historical times.

Clearing a stone mound in preparation for mapping at the archaeological site of UcĂ­, Yucatan, Mexico. (Photo Credit: S. Hutson)


In addition to couses in the Department of Anthropology, many students take courses or seek outside committee members in the departments of Geography and Geological Sciences. The archaeology program has also recently added a full complement of geophysical instruments to aid in field research. See the corresponding technical research and teaching concentration in Archaeological Geophysics.

The William S. Webb Museum of Anthropology is also the primary curatorial facility for archaeological collections from Kentucky. While the museum contains approximately 8,000 individual collections, the largest and best known date from extensive WPA excavations in the 1930s and 1940s. Many UK graduate students incorporate analysis on materials in the collection into their thesis or dissertation research. In addition, approximately five to ten researchers per year from all parts of the U.S. and many international institutions request access to these collections to conduct bioarchaeological and artifactual analyses.

PhD Student Gavin Davies, next to a historic Mayan altar at Pan'alujaay, Proyecto Arqueologico Lago de Atitlan (PALA). Department of Solola, Guatemala. (Photo Credit: G. Davies)


Archaeology Faculty

  • Renee Bonzani
    Ethnobotany, South American Archaeology, Midwest and Eastern North American Archaeology, Origins of Food Production, Paleoethnobotany
  • Celise Chilcote-Fricker
    Bioarchaeology, NAGPRA, Mesoamerica, Lower Central America, identity, embodiment of social processes
  • George M. Crothers
    Eastern U.S.; prehistorical archaeology, hunters and gatherers, origins of agriculture, institutional economics, nonlinear dynamics, geophysical techniques
  • Scott R. Hutson
    Mesoamerica; political and social organization, household archaeology, statistics, identity, practice theory, public archaeology, soil chemistry
  • Richard W. Jefferies
    North American midcontinent; exchange and interaction, social networks, lithic analysis, the emergence of cultural complexity, cultural ecology, prehistoric hunter-gatherers of the North American midcontinent, mission period archaeology of the Georgia coast
  • Shannon Plank
    Ancient Mesoamerica and the Maya, epigraphy, ceramics, Plains Indian cultures
  • Christopher A. Pool
    Mesoamerica; evolution of complex societies, political and economic archaeology, ethnicity, cultural ecology, ceramic analysis, archaeometry, geoarchaeology
  • Hugo Reyes-Centeno
    Evolutionary mechanisms that produce the anatomy of humans today and in the past. Heritage conservation, digital research, teeth, bioarchaeology
  • Elena Sesma
    Historical archaeology, cultural heritage, collective memory, archaeological ethnography, public and community archaeology, African Diaspora, The Bahamas, slavery and emancipation.



Selected Graduate Courses


  • ANT 610 - History of Anthropological Theory
  • ANT 650 - Theory in Archaeology
  • ANT 651 - Archaeological Data Analysis
  • ANT 662 - Research Design


  • ANT 555 - Archaeology of Eastern North America
  • ANT 580 - Advanced Topics: Archaeological Geophysics
  • ANT 652 - Demographic Archaeology
  • ANT 653 - Prehistoric Economics
  • ANT 654 - Archaeology of Political Systems
  • ANT 770 - Topical Seminar: Ethnoarchaeology
  • ANT 770 - Topical Seminar: Geoarchaeology
  • ANT 770 - Topical Seminar: Hunter-Gatherer Societies
  • ANT 770 - Topical Seminar: Emergence of Cultural Complexity
  • ANT 770 - Topical Seminar: Mississippian Chiefdoms
  • ANT 770 - Topical Seminar: Middle Range Societies of Eastern North America
  • ANT 770 - Topical Seminar: Archaeology of Identity
  • ANT 770 - Topical Seminar: Space Place and Landscape

Selected Research Programs

  • Green River Human Paleoecology Project (Kentucky)
  • Mammoth Cave Archaeological Project (Kentucky)
  • Research collections of the WPA archaeology program in Kentucky
  • Sapelo Island Mission Period Archaeology Project (Georgia)
  • Tres Zapotes Archaeological Project (Veracruz)

Research Sponsors Have Included

For further information on the archaeology program and the Department of Anthropology, please contact any of the archaeology faculty or call 859-257-2710.