Lecturer

Email: elsteven@live.unc.edu

Phone:

Areas of Interest: Archaeology of riverine environments, community and identity studies, foodways, ritual deposition, monumental and domestic architecture, GIS and spatial analysis, southeastern United States, Lower Mississippi Valley

Education: Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2016.

Research and Activities:

My work examines the material remains of foodways, monumental and domestic architecture, and the organization of community space in order to understand how past people negotiated issues of kinship, group identity, leadership, and worldview in the context of their communities. Theoretically rooted in literature on the development of complex societies, landscape archaeology, and practice theory, my research also draws on ethnographic and archaeological literature on the foodways and social organization of southeastern U.S. Indian groups.

Most recently, I have investigated the ways that mound building, spatial practice, and ritual and everyday eating events were used by community members to negotiate the tensions between leadership and communal values at the Mississippi period (AD 1300-1541) site of Parchman Place. For example, at certain historical moments, mound builders incorporated non-local sediments and other culturally meaningful substances into earthen monuments. These and other atypical building practices communicated values related to wholeness, balance, and the geography of the cosmos, and indicate that leadership at Parchman was not unfettered, but firmly embedded within these values.

 

Selected Publications:

2016 Community Identity in the Late Prehistoric Yazoo Basin: The Archaeology of Parchman Place, Coahoma County, Mississippi. Ph.D. Dissertation, Department of Anthropology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

2016 (with Megan C. Kassabaum) Standing Posts and Special Substances: Gathering and Ritual Deposition at Feltus (22Je500), Jefferson County, Mississippi. Southeastern Archaeology 35(2): 134-154.

2014 Intimate Landscapes: The Social Nature of the Spaces Between. Archaeological Prospection 21(1):49-57.

2014 (with Megan C. Kassabaum) Expanding Social Networks through Ritual Deposition: A Case Study from the Lower Mississippi Valley. Archaeological Review from Cambridge 29(1): 103-128.

2013 (with R.P. Stephen Davis, Vincas P. Steponaitis and Andrius Valiunas) Mississippi Mound Trail, Southern Region: Phase I Investigations. Report prepared for Mississippi Department of Archives and History.