Archaeology (emergent complexity, identity politics, warfare; Eastern North America, particularly the Mississippi valley and interior southeastern United States)
PhD, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
My archaeological research is concerned with issues of social inequality, identity politics, and violence in pre-Columbian North and South America. My perspective is informed by contemporary theoretical research on human agency, practice, and political economy. I investigate these issues through a household and community-centered archaeology with an emphasis on the methodologically rigorous analysis of large and diverse datasets.
My current research consists of a collaborative project that explores the catastrophic and wide-ranging consequences of war on Mississippian period communities in the Central Illinois River Valley. This three-year National Science Foundation funded project has revealed that Mississippian groups in the region sacrificed important dimensions of food security and health in order to minimize their exposure to inter-group violence.
I am also investigating issues of identity politics in the context of the northern expansion of the Mississippian cultural frontier culture, a complex multiregional phenomenon linked to the 11th century regional consolidation of Cahokia, the largest and most complex Native American polity in North America. My exploration of this topic has revealed that Cahokia’s northern hinterlands were defined by a surprising juxtaposition of cultural change and continuity.
- 2010 - Categories of Complexity and the Preclusion of Practice. In Ancient Complexities: New Perspectives in Pre-Columbian North America, edited by Susan Alt, pp. 138-152. University of Utah Press. (By Jon B. Marcoux and Gregory D. Wilson)
- 2010 - Social and Spatial Dimensions of Moundville Mortuary Practices. In Mississippian Mortuary
Practices: Beyond Hierarchy and the Representationist Perspective, edited by Lynn P. Sullivan and Robert C. Mainfort, Jr. Pp. 74-89. University Press of Florida, Gainesville. (by Gregory D. Wilson, Vincas P. Steponaitis, and Keith P. Jacobi)
- 2010 - Community, Identity, and Social Memory at Moundville. American Antiquity 75(1):3-18
- 2008 - The Archaeology of Everyday Life at Early Moundville. University of Alabama Press,
- 2006 - Square Pegs in Round Holes: Organizational Diversity Between Early Moundville and Cahokia.
In Leadership & Polity in Mississippian Society, edited by B. M. Butler and P. D. Welch, pp. 43-72. Center for Archaeological Investigations Occasional Paper No.33, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. (by Gregory D. Wilson, Jon B. Marcoux, and Brad Koldehoff)
- 2002 - Boiling, Baking, and Pottery Breaking: A Functional Analysis of Ceramic Vessels from Coweeta Creek. Southeastern Archaeology 21(1):29-35. (by Gregory D. Wilson and Christopher B. Rodning)
- 2001 - Crafting Control and the Control of Crafts: Rethinking the Moundville Greenstone Industry. Southeastern Archaeology 20(2):118-128.
- 1999 - The Production and Consumption of Mississippian Fineware in the American Bottom. Southeastern Archaeology 18(2):98-109.
- 1996 - Insight Through Icons. Illinois Archaeology 8(1,2):23-37.
ANTH 143F- Ethics in Archaeology (4)
Prerequisite: Anthropology 3 or 3SS.
An analysis of ethics in contemporary archaeology. Topics include reburial and repatriation, interpretation of the archaeological record in the context of historically oppressed groups, ethnic minorities, and non-western societies. The course also includes the ethics of collecting and managing cultural property.
ANTH 182M. Introduction to Lithic Analysis (4)
Prerequisite: Anthropology 3 or 3SS or 100.
This course is designed to introduce the student to the fundamentals of lithic technological organization and analytical techniques. Considering that stone tools represent the majority of the prehistoric archaeological record, the technological and cultural significance of lithics cannot be overstated. Classes will consist of a combination of hands-on lithic analysis, experimental stone tool production and use, and critical discussion of published articles. Course topics include raw material identification, fracture mechanics, flaking techniques, debitage and core analysis, typology, projectile point technologies, groundstone tools, Paleolithic technologies, artifact illustration, use wear analysis and considerations of style.
ANTH 119. Household Archaeology (4)
Prerequisite: Anthropology 3 or 3SS.
Household Archaeology plays a central role in the analysis of a wide range of anthropological
issues, such as wealth, status, economic risk, gender, political networks, and ethnicity. Focuses of how to integrate household data into abstract general theories of social process.
ANTH 206. Middle Range Societies (Graduate Seminar)
The origins and development of social complexity has long been a central research problem in archaeology. This seminar explores the meaning and manifestations of “complexity” as the concept relates to the world’s first civilizations. A principal goal of the course is to familiarize students with the different theoretical perspectives from which the origins of complexity have been investigated. We begin by reading several Functionalist and Structural Functionalist ethnologies from the mid-20th century and conclude with a review of the most current archaeological studies.
ANTH 201B Contemporary Archaeological Theory (Graduate Seminar)
This course focuses on Archaeological theoretical trends since the 1980's. Particular emphasis is placed on important theoretical developments in the last decade. Your primary challenge in this course is to critically evaluate the weekly readings. You will do this on a weekly basis in class discussions. There will also be three, 5-page essays that you will write on different theoretical issues.