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About Douglas K. Charles

My primary research interest is in understanding the complexity of the political economies of foraging/gardening societies, with a focus on pre-Columbian Eastern North American, particularly the Mississippi River drainage of the Eastern Woodlands. An early interest in the Archaic period (ca. 6000-ca. 3000 bp) has given way to a concentration on Middle Woodland "Hopewellian" cultures (ca. 2050-ca. 1550 bp). Much of our knowledge of social and political life in this period comes from the analysis of mounds and linear earthworks concentrated at "ceremonial" gathering sites, which create a landscape of communities (consisting of shifting networks of differing size and composition) and which were an integral part of the complex social world of a population otherwise dispersed in small hamlets. A complete political economy of Middle Woodland societies requires investigation of the hamlets as well, and I am currently analyzing the material recovered during the ca. 1980 Smiling Dan site CRM excavation by the Center for American Archeology. I am also interested in the history and theory of archaeology and how we construct archaeological knowledge.
A set of secondary interests--human evolution and skeletal biology--stems from my concentration on biological anthropology in graduate school. My first academic appointment was as lecturer in the Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy in the Medical School at Northwestern University. Following that, and before coming to Wesleyan, I was the Leverhulme Visiting Fellow in the Department of Archaeology and Prehistory at the University of Sheffield, where I taught courses on mortuary archaeology and paleopathology.


Present Professor and Chair, Archaeology Program, Wesleyan University
Present Professor, Department of Anthropology, Wesleyan University

Curriculum Vitae

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1974 - 1985 MA, PhD, Northwestern University
1970 - 1974 BA, University of Chicago

Contact Information

Department of Anthropology
Wesleyan University
281 High Street
Middletown, CT 06459-0502
ph: 860-685-3266
fax: 860-685-2051


Eastern Woodland Archaeology (12)

Method and Theory (7)