Associate Professor, Director of Center for Archaeological Sciences

Contact Info

Baldwin Hall

I am an archaeologist who specializes in the application of archaeological science to the study of socio-political complexity and the historical ecology of wetland and coastal environments in the American Southeast. Through this work, I engage globally with scholars who share research interests broadly in archaeological science, as well as island and coastal archaeology. Broadly, my research utilizes historical and political ecology frameworks and focuses on the Georgia coast and the central and southwestern Gulf Coast of Florida. This research seeks to understand the long-term dynamics between humans and their environments in the context of ritual, monumentality, and political complexity, and how these trajectories experienced ruptures and displacement at the moment of European contact and colonialism. Specifically, I hope to further our understanding of anthropogenic impacts to ecosystems, resilience in socio-ecological systems, and how these systems responded to the abrupt changes due to European settlement of these regions. Such research provides important insight into changing patterns of human mobility and resource exploitation, as they relate to sea level change and differences in the biophysical environment, as well as how groups who have long-term relationships with specific ecosystems experience dramatic new social landscapes. I employ a number of methods in my research including the analysis of monumental architecture, shell midden archaeology, stable isotopes, remote sensing, and Geographic Information Systems. I regularly make substantive contributions in these areas, such as the use of geophysics in reconstructing Native American shell mound architecture.  


Ph.D. University of Kentucky, Anthropology

M.A. University of Kentucky, Anthropology 

B.A. University of Georgia, Anthropology

Research Areas:
Research Interests:

Research Areas: Historic Archaeology (Colonial Period); Pre-Columbian Archaeology; Bayesian Modeling; Radiocarbon; Oxygen Isotopes; Monumentality; Early Villages; Shell Midden Archaeology; American Southeast/Caribbean; Islands, Coasts, and Wetlands; Geoarchaeology and Geophysics; Landscape Archaeology; Social Theory 

Selected Publications:

Thompson, Victor D. 2016. Conceptualizing Anthropogenic Islands through LiDAR in Southern Florida. New Approaches to Anthropological Remote Sensing, edited by Duncan McKinnon and Bryan Haley, University of Alabama Press. (in press) 

Michael Savarese, Karen J. Walker, Shanna Stingu, William H. Marquardt, and Victor Thompson. 2016. The Effects of Shellfish Harvesting by Aboriginal Inhabitants of Southwest Florida on the History of Productivity of the Eastern Oyster: A Conservation Paleobiological Approach. Anthropocene. (in press) 

Thompson, Victor D., William Marquardt, Alexander Cherkinsky, Amanda Roberts Thompson, Karen Walker, Lee Newsom. 2016. From Shell Midden to Shell Mound: The Geoarchaeology of Mound Key an Anthropogenic Island in Southwest Florida, USA. PLOS One. 11(4): e0154611. doi:10.1371/journal. pone.0154611 

Thompson, Victor D., Chester B. DePratter, Amanda D. Roberts Thompson. 2016. Defining Santa Elena’s Colonial Landscape through Shallow Geophysics. Journal of Archaeological Science Reports 9:178-190. 

Thompson, Victor D. 2016. Finding Resilience in Ritual and History in South Florida. In Beyond Collapse: Archaeological Perspectives on Resilience, Revitalization, and Reorganization in Complex Societies. Carbondale, edited by Ronald Sonny Faulseit. pp. 313-341. University of Southern Illinois Press, Carbondale. 

Fitzpatrick, Scott M., Victor D. Thompson, Aaron Poteate, Matthew Napolitano, and Jon Erlandson. 2016. Marginalization of the Margins: The Importance of Smaller Islands in Human Prehistory. Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology 11(2):155-170. DOI: 10.1080/15564894.2016.1192568 

Turck, John A. and Victor D. Thompson. 2016. Revisiting the Resilience of Late Archaic Hunter-gatherers along the Georgia Coast. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 43:39-55.   

Pluckhahn Thomas J., Victor D. Thompson, and W. Jack Rink. 2016. [Field]Evidence for Stepped Pyramids of Shell in the Woodland Period of Eastern North America. American Antiquity 81(2):345-363. 

Gragson, Ted L., Florent Hautefeuille, Victor D. Thompson, and David S. Leigh. 2016. Ground-Penetrating Radar Discovery and Imaging of the Early Christian Church of Notre Dame de Baudes near Labastide-du-Temple, France. Journal of Archaeological Science Reports 6:584-593. 

Thompson, Victor D., Thomas J. Pluckhahn, Oindrila Das, and Fred Andrus. 2015. Assessing Village Life and Monument Construction (cal. AD 65-1070) along the Central Gulf Coast of Florida through Stable Isotope Geochemistry. Journal of Archaeological Science Reports 4:111-123.  

Pluckhahn, Thomas J., Alex D. Hodson, W. Jack Rink, Victor D. Thompson, R.R. Hendricks, Glen Doran, Grayal Farr, Alex Cherkinsky, and Sean P. Norman. 2015. Radiocarbon and Luminescence Age Determinations on Mounds at Crystal River and Roberts Island, Florida, USA. Geoarchaeology 30:238–260.