This department provides continuous geographic coverage of ancient societies from the Plains of North America through the Southwest and Mesoamerica to the Intermediate Area. The native societies range from egalitarian hunter-gatherers through middle range societies to the city-states and empires of Mesoamerica. The faculty’s theoretical and topical interests include:

  • human ecology
  • ethnoarchaeology
  • agency and social theory
  • lithic and ceramic analyses
  • remote sensing
  • disasters in ancient and modern times
  • geophysical applications in archaeology

Faculty Profiles

Arthur Joyce
Arthur Joyce’s research focuses on two interrelated issues: the origins, development, and collapse of complex societies and the archaeology of landscape and space.
Catherine Cameron
Professor Cameron works in the American Southwest and has focused especially on the Chaco Phenomenon.
Douglas B. Bamforth
Professor Bamforth's research focuses on the archaeology of the Great Plains, with a technical emphasis on lithic and microwear analysis.
Gerardo Gutiérrez
Gerardo Gutiérrez’s research focuses on the archaeology, ethnohistory, communication systems, biological admixture and human ecology of Prehispanic and Early Colonial peoples of the former domains of the Spanish Empire in the Americas.
Payson Sheets
Professor Sheets' main areas of research are the Arenal region of Costa Rica and the Ceren site in El Salvador.
Sarah Kurnick
Sarah Kurnick’s research focuses on understanding the creation, perpetuation, and negation of social inequality generally and political authority in particular. Exploring how archaeology can benefit indigenous communities and foster positive social change
Scott Ortman
Scott Ortman’s research focuses on the integrative approaches to the long-term histories of American Indian peoples and expanding the role of archaeology in the social sciences as well as the social sciences in archaeology.