About Jeff

I am a fourth-year PhD student in the Department of Anthropology at Michigan State University focusing on archaeology. In addition to my studies, I work as MSU’s Campus Archaeologist within the Campus Archaeology Program (CAP) and as the archaeology student assistant at the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT). My archaeological focus is on the social and material relationships that inform the formation, performance, and experience of identity in 19th and 20th century United States. I have an interest in the use of collaborative and community-based methodologies in both excavation and collections-based research.

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My dissertation research focuses on the history of African American vacationing communities in Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. I am currently working with community partners to establish a community-based archaeology program to study this history and the materiality and spatiality of Black vacationing in Oak Bluffs.

I have been involved in archaeology since 2012 and have experience in designing and implementing archaeological survey and excavations, writing reports, and identifying and analysing material culture. As an archaeologist working within document assisted archaeology, I am most familiar with material culture from the 18th – 20th centuries, and at MSU I have continued to develop my skills in historic period ceramic and glass analysis, including minimum number of vessel (MNV) methodologies.

While I was trained in northeast archaeology and have mainly worked along the Atlantic Coast of the US, I have been growing increasingly familiar with Michigan archaeology since joining CAP in 2018. I started as MSU’s Campus Archaeologist in Summer 2020 and in that role I have been part of a team that worked collaboratively with campus partners to draft a successful Section 106 application for a Phase 1 archaeological survey and have been conducting that survey during the summer of 2021. I have also designed and implemented other survey projects on MSU’s historic campus, conducted archival research, and co-created virtual outreach activities. As part of my duties with MDOT, I catalogued and analyzed a collection of over 3,000 artifacts recovered from a 19th century settler site in southwestern Michigan (read here).

As a public archaeologist I have have been able to write about my work as it is developing and archaeology generally, through blog posts as CAP Fellow, or in publicly accessible academic newsletters (1) (2). I have also written about my developing work in less publicly accessible peer-reviewed publications. Additionally, I have spoken to broad audiences about archaeology and history at professional conferences and local outreach events and have designed digital and in-person outreach activities.

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