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Victor Thompson

UGA Arch
Distinguished Research Professor
Director, Laboratory of Archaeology

I am an archaeologist who specializes in the application of archaeological science to the study of collective social formations and the historical ecology of wetland and coastal environments. In this work I strive more and more to connect to issues related to community archaeology and the descendent communities whose ancestral lands that I study. I engage globally with scholars who share research interests in archaeological science, as well as island and coastal archaeology. Broadly, my research utilizes approaches derived from collective action, cooperation, political ecology, and historical ecology. Specifically, I seek to understand Native American histories and how these histories experienced ruptures and continuities at the moment of European contact and colonialism. I employ a number of methods in my research including the analysis of monumental architecture, radiocarbon analysis, shell midden archaeology, stable oxygen isotopes, remote sensing, and Geographic Information Systems. As Director of the Laboratory of Archaeology, I am engaged with NAGPRA (Native American Graves and Repatriation Act, to make sure that ancestors cared for by UGA are treated respectfully and repatriated to the their descendent communities.   


PhD, Anthropology, University of Kentucky, 2006

Research Interests:
  • Historic Archaeology (Colonial Period)
  • Native American Archaeology
  • Bayesian Modeling
  • Radiocarbon
  • Oxygen Isotopes
  • Monumentality
  • Early Villages
  • Shell Midden Archaeology
  • American Southeast
  • Islands, Coasts, and Wetlands
  • Geoarchaeology and Geophysics
  • Landscape Archaeology
  • Social Theory
Selected Publications:

Thompson Victor D., Torben Rick, Carey J. Garland, Karen Y. Smith, David Hurst Thomas, Matt Sanger, Bryan Tucker, Isabelle Lulewicz, Anna M. Semon, John Schalles, Christine Hladik, Clark Alexander, Brandon T. Ritchison (2020) Ecosystem Stability and Native American Oyster Harvesting along the Atlantic Coast of the United States. Science Advances 6:eaba9652

Thompson, Victor D., William H. Marquardt, Michael Savarese, Karen J. Walker, Lee A. Newsom, Isabelle Lulewicz, Nathan R. Lawres, Amanda D. Roberts Thompson, A. R. Bacon, C. Walser (2020) Ancient Engineering of Fish Capture and Storage in Southwest Florida.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 117(15):8374-8381.

Thompson, Victor D., William H. Marquardt, Karen J. Walker, Amanda Roberts Thompson, Lee A. Newsom. (2018) Collective Action, State Building, and the Rise of the Calusa, Southwest Florida. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 51:28-44.


2019       $81,981. UGA, Laboratory of Archaeology, NAGPRA Consultation Grant. National Park Service. Victor Thompson (P.I.), co-P.I. Amanda Roberts Thompson.

2018       $289,652. Collaborative Research: Occupying New Landscapes: Late Archaic Shell Rings and the Coastline of the Georgia Bight. National Science Foundation, $188,953 awarded to Thompson (co-P.I.), Matt Sanger (P.I.), Sharyn Jones (co-P.I.).

2018       $300,925. Collaborative Research: Integrated Archaeological and Paleoecological Studies of Sea Tenure and Socioecology in Late Holocene Tampa Bay, Florida. National Science Foundation, $192,192 awarded to Thompson (co-P.I.), Thomas Pluckhahn (P.I).

Articles Featuring Victor Thompson
Tuesday, October 12, 2021 - 1:40pm

UGA Anthropology alumni, Dr. Brandon Ritchison (PhD ‘19), current postdoc, Dr. Carey Garland (PhD ‘19), and Professor & Lab of Archaeology Director, Dr. Victor Thompson, along with Dr.

Tuesday, August 3, 2021 - 12:51pm

UGA Research spotlights the Lab of Archaeology in their recent article titled, "Keepers of history: UGA’s Archaeology Lab preserves relics of Georgia’s past." This feature highlights the lab's vast array of artifacts, their ability to transition during the…

Wednesday, September 9, 2020 - 12:23pm

Dr. Victor Thompson, Dr. Brandon Ritchison (PhD '19), and PhD candidate, Isabelle Holland Lulewicz, along with Georgia Department of Natural Resources' Bryan Tucker and US National Park Service's John A Turck recently had their article, "Climate change,…

Tuesday, September 1, 2020 - 12:11pm

UGA Research article, "A million little rings: Using dendrochronology to explore the ancient environment" features PhD student, Kat Napora. The article takes a deeper look into Kat's dendrochronology research and what inspired her to study trees.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020 - 11:41am

UGA Laboratory of Archaeology's Dr.

Monday, October 2, 2017 - 6:08pm

Several faculty members and an alumnus were featured in UGA's fall issue of Georgia Magazine.

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