Ph.D. 1987, Washington University - St. Louis

Location:  Gambrell Hall 432
Phone number:  (803) 777-6548
Office Hours:

My field of interest is the interrelationships between people and plants, both past and present (and, one could argue, the future). I conduct research in the archaeology of Indians in eastern North America via the Wateree Archaeological Project (W.A.R.P.). I conduct research in ethnobotany (the study of the interrelationships between plants and peoples). I am a practicing paleoethnobotanist who studies macrobotanical plant remains (seeds, nuts, wood, etc.) in the archaeological record of eastern North America: what did people eat, what plants did people use, what did the vegetation look like, and how did people affect the vegetation around them. I maintain a Paleoethnobotanical Lab focused on eastern North American macrobotanical plant remains. For over thirty years I have been involved in re-creating Indian gardens and researching flotation recovery techniques. For my current and recent projects, please see the list below.

I teach principles of archaeology, archaeological laboratory methods, ethnobotany, ethnoecology, archaeological field school, North American archaeology, archaeology of the Southeast, and human evolution. Undergraduate and graduate students who work with me have the opportunity to participate in my projects. I relate my findings to the public via public walking tours of plants, use of volunteers in the field and in the archaeological lab, writing for the public, and giving public talks. I am a long-time public speaker for the SC Humanities Council Speakers Bureau



My current and recent projects in ethnobotany include a study of the botanical knowledge of South Carolinians; Biocultural Diversity in the Carolinas (with Karen Hall at Clemson University); What is a Vegetable?; Homegardening in South Carolina; and the Meaning of Plants. I currently am co-PI of a 5-year NSF grant (2009-2013) called the Open Science Network (OSN) in Ethnobiology, in which we “provide a collaborative forum for educators and students to create a new paradigm of science education. The purpose of this project is to create new curriculum and new ways of development that will keep the learning fresh, innovative, and engaging to each generation of students” via the topic of ethnobiology. Our open philosophy encourages everyone, regardless of level of knowledge, to contribute to and participate in our resources for science education.

My current and recent projects in paleoethnobotany include an investigation of the plant record at Indian sites in South Carolina during the Colonial period, A.D. 1500-1759; the plant use transition between Late Woodland and Mississippian groups in South Carolina; and anthropogenesis (human affect on the vegetation) in central South Carolina. Plants of special interest to me include maize (Zea mays), tobacco (Nicotiana spp.), beans (Phaseolus spp.), maygrass (Phalaris caroliniana), and sumpweed (Iva annua).

My current and recent projects in archaeology include understanding the beginning of Mississippian in central South Carolina; understanding the rise and end of the central South Carolina chiefdom of Cofitachequi; and investigating the Colonial-era Indians in central South Carolina. I run a summer field school for undergraduate and graduate students on my projects.







 Wateree Archaeological Research Project (W.A.R.P.)


Information and Application

To be announced prior to the next field season.

Phone:  (803)777-6548

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