- Cornell Institute of Archaeology and Material Studies (CIAMS) Director 2015 -
Archaeology provides a perspective on Postcolumbian indigenous lives that both supplements and challenges document-based histories. My research centers on the archaeology of Iroquois (Haudenosaunee) peoples, emphasizing the settlement patterns, housing, and political economy of seventeenth- and eighteenth- century Senecas. The empirical evidence provided by archaeology can do much to combat inaccurate narratives of Indian decline and powerlessness that pervade scholarly and popular writing about Native Americans. For example, fieldwork at the 1715-1754 Seneca Townley-Read site near Geneva, New York, recovered data indicating substantial Seneca autonomy, selectivity, innovation, and opportunism in an era usually considered to be one of cultural disintegration.
I am currently leading excavations in domestic areas at the 1688-1715 Seneca White Springs village site, also located near Geneva, New York, and the predecessor to the Townley-Read site. Excavation and surface collections, conducted in collaboration with representatives of the Seneca descendant community, commenced in 2007 and are ongoing.
I teach courses providing general introductions to American Indian Studies and the archaeology of North American Indians, and more advanced courses on archaeological theory, the global historical archaeology of indigenous peoples, and political economy in archaeology. I also offer hands-on training courses in archaeological excavation and laboratory analysis that tap into the rich archaeological resources of the Finger Lakes region.
I have a great interest in the long-term scope of indigenous archaeology in Central New York. I have delivered public talks on the archaeology of the region to audiences in Bath, Canandaigua, Geneva, Ithaca, Liverpool, Lodi, McLean, Montour Falls, Tyrone, Trumansburg, and Waverly.