University of Florida Homepage

Kenneth E. Sassaman, Ph.D.

Hyatt and Cici Brown Professor of Florida Archaeology
Office: Turlington Hall, Room B372
Phone: (352) 294-7601
Lab: Laboratory of Southeastern Archaeology
Google Scholar


  • Ph.D., Anthropology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 1991
  • M.A., Public Service Archaeology, University of South Carolina, 1983
  • B.A., Anthropology, University of Maryland, 1979

Research Interests


Personal Statement

I am an archaeologist with specialties in the Archaic and Woodland periods of the American Southeast, technological change, and community patterning. I spent most of the 1990s conducting field research in the middle Savannah River valley of Georgia and South Carolina.  Since arriving in Florida in 1998, I have spent most summers in the middle St. Johns River valley of northeast Florida, where field schools have been directed toward the study of the region’s oldest shell mounds and associated sites.  In 2009 I launched the Lower Suwannee Archaeological Survey on the northern Gulf coast of Florida to investigate a record of maritime living that continues to be diminished by rising seas.  Relating the experiences of indigenous coastal dwellers over the past 4000 years to contemporary challenges of sea-level rise is among the project’s chief goals.

Archaeology to me is a unique blend of science and humanities. A systematic, empirical approach to research is necessary to wrest information from the faint residues of ancient times, but it takes imagination and a deep understanding of cultural variation to render this information relevant. I am committed to strengthening the integration of archaeology and anthropology, as I view the former as long-term ethnography and draw inspiration from theory that enables me to explore the relationship between the structural components of culture and the real human experiences that reproduce and transform structure.

Positions and Honors

Positions and Employment


Other Experience and Professional Memberships




Selected Publications

Kenneth E. Sassaman, Paulette S. McFadden, Micah P. Monés, Andrea Palmiotto, and Asa R. Randall
2014. Northern Gulf Coastal Archaeology of the Here and Now. In New Histories of Precolumbian Florida, edited by N.J. Wallis and A.R. Randall. University Press of Florida, Gainesville.

Kenneth E. Sassaman and Jason M. O’Donoughue
2014. In the Unlikely Event: Method for Temporalizing the Experience of Change. In The Archaeology of Events: Cultural Change and Continuity in the Pre-Columbian Southeast, edited by Z.I. Gilmore and J.M. O’Donoughue. University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa.

Kenneth E. Sassaman
2013. Drowning Out the Past: How Humans Historicize Water and Water Historicizes Them. In Big Histories, Human Lives: Tackling Problems of Scale in Archaeology, edited by J. E. Robb and T. R. Pauketat, pp.171-192. School for Advanced Research, Santa Fe.

David G. Anderson and Kenneth E. Sassaman
2012. Recent Developments in Southeastern Archaeology: From Colonization to Complexity. Society for American Archaeology Press, Washington, D.C.

Kenneth E. Sassaman
2012. Futurologists Look Back. Archaeologies 8:250-268.

Kenneth E. Sassaman and Asa R. Randall
2012. Shell Mounds of the Middle St. Johns Basin, Northeast Florida. In Early New World Monumentality, edited by R. Burger and R. Rosenswig, pp. 53-77. University Press of Florida, Gainesville.

Kenneth E. Sassaman and Donald H. Holly, Jr. (editors)
2011. Hunter-Gatherer Archaeology as Historical Process. University of Arizona Press, Tucson.

Kenneth E. Sassaman
2010. The Eastern Archaic, Historicized. AltaMira, Lanham, MD.

More Publications Available on Google Scholar

Contribution to Science


Research Support

Ongoing Research Support


Completed Research Support (within the past three years)


Courses Taught