CfP: Shifting Borders: Early-19th Century Archeology in the Trans-Mississippi South

The Society for Historical Archaeology announced that it is shifting its 2021 conference to an online format. I was not going to make it to Lisbon (the original planned conference venue), but this format is more reachable. So, I put together the following proposed title and abstract. Anyone want to join in?

Shifting Borders: Early-19th Century Archeology in the Trans-Mississippi South

The Trans-Mississippi South was a place of rapid change in the first decades of the 19th Century. The Louisiana Purchase hastened American immigration into the region, creating a complex mix of people, both indigenous and settler, and swiftly implicating the region in systems of capitalist production that would fundamentally alter the region, its people, and its environment. These papers explore sites in the region (Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas) dating to the 1800-1840 period. All are encouraged to assess our understanding of the region, its connection to the social, economic, and cultural spheres (indigenous and settler) of the area, and how archeologists have studied this context.

If you want to participate, send me an email at!

Summer research abroad… Well, at least in a different corner of Arkansas

It’s mid-June, and my summer’s research and field schedule is in full swing. I’m on the road this month, whiling away the hours in a different corner of Arkansas than my usual.

I am currently assisting my old boss and current colleague at the UAF Station, Dr. Jamie Brandon, with the 2017 University of Arkansas Field School at Pea Ridge National Military Park, near Pea Ridge, Arkansas. We are working with 10 students from the UofA, as well as Jerry Hilliard, Jared Pebworth, and Lydia Rees to figure out the exact footprint, size, orientation, and antiquity of the village of Leetown, which figured prominently in the battle (probably the most important one fought west of the Mississippi River).

As we are operating out of Fayetteville, I am taking time on weekends to delve into the prodigious stacks at the University of Arkansas’s Mullins Library to advance some writing projects. I owe the Encyclopedia of Arkansas Online and the Pulaski County Historical Review each an article on the Little Rock Picric Acid Plant (LRPAP). The LRPAP was a munitions factory that, during World War I, produced a high explosive for the U.S. military. It’s also feeding into a longer work on World War I production that will be presented at the Old Statehouse Museum this fall. On top of all that, I have been doing some additional groundwork for expanding out a recent SHA paper into a book chapter for an edited volume on place and historical archaeology in the West, focusing on the construction of place through archaeology and history associated with the Camden Expedition of 1864. That’s got an October due date, though, so it’s not feeling the front-burner flames as keenly as the other things.

Being alone in the evenings is also great for productivity, and I’ve finished two books that I have wanted to polish off for some time. Ian Hope’s A Scientific Way of War: Antebellum Military Science, West Point, and the Origins of American Military Thought and Gary Pinkerton’s Trammel’s Trace: The First Road to Texas from the North, which I am reviewing for the Journal of Southern History (the other [for myself and other historical archaeologists] SHA). There’s some work for the Society for Historical Archaeology (the real [for myself and other historical archaeologists] SHA) that needs doing, too.

Stay out of academia, kids, or else this is what your “holidays” will start to look like…