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My research focuses on how community identity is maintained or transformed by events of the recent American past.


I teach mainly undergraduate courses on archaeology, museums, repatriation, osteology, and forensics.

Local Heritage

The past is kept alive in the present through knowing and sharing local heritage.

A postcard to a resident of a town that is now underneath the Ashokan reservoir which provides water to New York City.

Recent Publications

For a more complete list of publications, see my Vassar College profile page.

Taking Our Water for the City

A book about the rural communities that were demolished to make room for the Ashokan Reservoir, a main water supply for New York City.

From Alcatraz to Standing Rock: Archaeology and Contemporary Native American Protests

An article on how archaeology must recognize their role in the myth of the vanishing Indian and work to counteract it.

Identifying and Interpreting Animal Bones: A Manual

My attempt to write the missing manual for zooarchaeology. This is not a bone atlas.

Telling Ghost Stories…

A wonderful book for which I created a “ghost tour” of each chapter.

America’s One Room Schools: Sites of Regional Authority and Symbols of Local Autonomy

Jane Baxter and I co-authored this piece which focuses on schools of the American mid-west.

The Archaeology of Institutional Life

Schools, prisons, asylums, and other sites where behavior is controlled yield insights into the structures of power around us.