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Email: gpurcell at

Phone: (919) 962-6574

Office Room: Smith Hall, Room 003

Areas of interest:

archaeology, paleoethnobotany, foodways, participatory research, southeastern U.S. Native cultures, Cherokee history.


2013 M.A. Anthropology University of Tennessee, Knoxville

2008 B.A. Anthropology University of West Florida

Research and activities:

I’m a paleoethnobotanist interested in studying the foodways of Native peoples in the southeastern U.S. I’ve worked on field projects throughout the Southeast, dating from the Woodland through Historic periods. My dissertation research examines the impact of European-introduced foods on Cherokee foodways during colonization. I’m using participatory research methods to collaborate with members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians to understand what these new foods may have meant to Cherokee people in the past.

Recent and ongoing research projects:

2019 Teaching Assistant, UNC Field School at the Wall site, Hillsborough, NC. Supervisor: Heather Lapham.

2018-present Paleoethnobotany Lab Technician, Old Chapel Field and Antenna Field excavations, St. Mary’s County, MD. Collaborator: Sierra Roark. Supervisor: C. Margaret Scarry.

2016-present Paleoethnobotany Research Assistant, St. Catherine’s Island, GA excavations, American Museum of Natural History. Supervisor: C. Margaret Scarry.

2017 Field Technician, UNC Field School at Old Town, Rock Hill, SC. Supervisors: R.P. Steve Davis and Heather Lapham.

2016-2017 Paleoethnobotany Lab Technician, Cane River, NC excavations, for University of Michigan graduate student Ashley Schubert. Supervisor: C. Margaret Scarry.

2016 Graduate Research Consultant, Paleoethnobotany Lab class analysis of the UNC Field School Wall site excavations, Hillsborough, NC. Supervisor: C. Margaret Scarry

2015-2016 Lab Supervisor and Ceramic Assistant, UNC-Duke Field School at Azoria, Crete, Greece. Supervisors: C. Margaret Scarry and Peggy Mook.