Excavating artifacts from a Spanish trashpit at the Luna settlement, 2016


See also: Academic Background / Online Publications

Though I have always maintained a broad-based interest in the prehistory and early history of the Southeastern Indians, in my three-decade research career I have primarily focused on the impact of the European colonial era on indigenous chiefdoms of the southeastern United States, and their response and adaptation over time in differing political and economic circumstances.  In broader perspective, one of my major long-term goals has been to explore the developmental trajectories of the new colonial society comprising greater Spanish Florida between 1513 and 1821, incorporating both indigenous and immigrant colonial groups (and emergent new social and ethnic formations) within and beyond the colonial frontier.  Over the course of my professional career, I have had the opportunity to conduct direct research across a broad geographic region within the zone of influence of Spanish Florida and its colonial neighbors, including not just the core mission territories in the Coastal Plain region to the west and north of St. Augustine, but also the territories of the historic Creek and Cherokee Indians of the Piedmont, Appalachian, and Ridge and Valley provinces, as well as the Calusa and other nonagricultural groups of the deep southern Florida peninsula, and most recently the far western margin of colonial Florida along the northern Gulf coast in Pensacola.  To this end, I collaborate with students and colleagues in broad-based anthropologically-oriented research which draws upon multiple sources of evidence from a number of disciplines.

For context, my theoretical orientation leans strongly toward logical positivism, with an emphasis on scientific analysis, empirical proof, and objectivity. As an anthropologist, while I was originally trained in processual archaeology, I also embrace more recent approaches including agency and practice theory, and historical ecology. With regard to historical and ethnohistorical research, my outlook aligns well with the Annales school of social history, including an emphasis on serial data and quantitative analysis. Finally, in concert with these perspectives, I believe a strict wall of separation should be maintained between objective scientific inquiry and partisan political advocacy, and that the past should be studied but not judged.

An overview of my academic background (including my current c.v.) is provided here, and a list of online publications is here.

A sampling of my ongoing research activities is listed below: