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Kenneth E. Sassaman, Ph.D.

Hyatt and Cici Brown Professor of Florida Archaeology




Turlington Hall, Room B372

(352) 294-7601

PO Box 117305
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL 32611-7305





Laboratory of Southeastern Archaeology

(352) 392-6772

sassaman (

Research Interests

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.

Selected Publications

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

In the Unlikely Event: Method for Temporalizing the Experience of Change. 2014. Kenneth E. Sassaman, Kenneth E., and Jason M. O’Donoughue. 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 (in press).

Drowning Out the Past: How Humans Historicize Water and Water Historicizes Them. 2013. 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.

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

Futurologists Look Back. 2012. Archaeologies 8:250-268.

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

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

The Eastern Archaic, Historicized. 2010. AltaMira, Lanham, MD.


North American Archaeology (ANT 3153)
Hunter-Gatherers (ANG 6930)
Southeastern U.S. Prehistory (ANG 6930)
Archaeology of Alternative Futures (ANG 6930)