Archaeology, the study of the humanity from deep antiquity to the recent past, is a major focus of research and training within the department at the University of Tennessee. Our strengths include the study of foodways; human interactions with plants, animals and landscapes; social complexity; and the development of the modern world. We employ cutting-edge laboratory and field methods to answer big questions about our past that inform our present.
About Archaeological Anthropology
This primary focus on research provides University of Tennessee Archaeological Anthropology faculty and students with a collaborative setting for scholarly research, cultural resource management, and public outreach. Research addressing theoretical concerns centers on the global expansion of capitalism and variability in social complexity and systems of inequality that emerged in frontier encounters and solidified in colonial and post-colonial settings. Methodologically, historical archaeologists and affiliated scholars are developing innovative approaches in faunal and botanical analyses, geophysics, geomorphology, and dendrochronology to address these issues.
Supporting our research is the Charles Faulkner Archaeology Laboratory, curating a significant comparative collection of historic ceramics, glass, architectural fragments and other artifacts dating primarily from the late eighteenth- through early twentieth centuries, and the Faunal Laboratory, housing more than 10,000 specimens used for comparative analysis in studies of historic subsistence. Other facilities include the Archaeology Research Laboratory, housing the Archaeobotanical Laboratory with a suite of geophysical equipment for site survey and assessment, the Laboratory of Tree Ring Science housed in the Department of Geography, and GIS resources in Hodges Library’s Map Services.
Zooarchaeology is the systematic study of animal remains recovered from archaeological sites, with the goal of understanding past human life, in historic and prehistoric times. The breadth of the field covers many topics not limited to environmental reconstruction, assessment of subsistence strategies, foodways, animal domestication, and the ritual use of animals in the past. The dynamic nature of the field and its ability to help explain human and animal interactions often brings zooarchaeologists and wildlife managers together in order to provide accurate interpretations for modern conservation practices. The field is also valuable to law enforcement when human and non-human remains are discovered in comingled contexts.
Supporting our research is the the Vertebrate Osteology Collection at the University of Tennessee which includes over 12,000 vertebrate specimens and is one of the largest of its kind in eastern North America. It was established in the early 1970s through the efforts of Paul Parmalee and Walter E. Klippel. The collection has proven invaluable for both research and public service, and is utilized extensively in several courses offered through the Department of Anthropology.
If you are interested in utilizing the collection for research purposes, please contact Anneke Janzen. The zooarchaeology lab is always looking for great volunteers—if you are an interested student, contact Anneke Janzen.
Archaeological Institute of America
The AIA was founded in 1879 and chartered by Congress in 1906. It is North America’s oldest and largest archaeological organization. It includes among its members professional archaeologists, students, and people from all walks of life—people like you—all of whom share a passion for understanding the human past. Today, the AIA has 108 societies throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe which host lectures (like this one) on the latest archaeological discoveries.
To promote new research we provide fellowships for young scholars, fieldwork scholarships for undergraduates, and grants to promote archaeological publications; we organize an Annual Meeting at which the results of the latest research are presented and discussed, and publish the highly respected American Journal of Archaeology.
Barbara J. Heath
Professor & Department Head
Kandace D. Hollenbach
Associate Professor & Associate Head; Associate Curator of Paleoethnobotany, McClung Museum of Natural History & Culture
- Archaeology at Curles Neck 44HE388
- New Technology Used to Map Coan Hill
- Charles Fort Archaeological and Historical Project, St. Kitts, West Indies