Director, Center for Archaeological Sciences

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 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 

Current Advisees and Research: 
Brandon Ritchison (ABD) Research Areas: Georgia Coast, Migration, Mississippian Period, Communities and Households 
Justin Cramb (ABD) Research Areas: Remote Oceania, Northern Cook Islands, Resilience Theory, Historical Ecology, Anthropogenic impacts 
Matthew Colvin (doctoral student) Research Areas: South Florida, Okeechobee Basin, Monumentality, Earthworks, Geoarchaeology, Bayesian analysis  
Katherine Napora (ABD) Research Areas: Georgia Coast, Mesolithic Ireland, Historical Ecology, Climate, Dendrochronology, Shell Middens 
Isabelle Lulewicz (doctoral student) Research Areas: Florida Gulf Coast, Georgia Coast, Archaeological Science, Stable Isotope Geochemistry, Historical Ecology  

Of note:

Book Series Editor (founding editor), Society and Ecology in Island and Coastal Archaeology, for the University Press of Florida 

Associate Editor for Book Reviews, American Antiquity 

Editorial Board Member, Journal of Island and Coastal Archaeology 


2016       $25,187. Reverberations of a Vacuum: Effects of the Collapse of a Region on its Neighbors, A Case from the Georgia Coast USA. National Science Foundation, Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Awards. Thompson (P.I.) Brandon Ritchison (co-P.I.)  

2016       $20,000. Santa Elena Foundation for the project: Remote Sensing at Santa Elena (Chester DePratter co-P.I.). Total awarded to Thompson (P.I.) 

2016       $240,342. National Science Foundation for the project: Collaborative Research: The Role of Surplus Production in the Emergence of a Complex Coastal Society. $124,195 awarded to Thompson (co-P.I.)  

2016       $13,840. National Geographic Society/Waitt Grants for the Project:  
Perishable Objects, Water Features, and Bounty of the Estuaries in the Kingdom of the Calusa Kingdom (William Marquardt co-P.I.). Total awarded to Thompson (P.I.)  

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.  

Pluckhahn, Thomas, Victor D. Thompson, Alex Cherkinsky. 2015. The Temporality of Shell-Bearing Landscapes at Crystal River, Florida. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 37:19-36.  

Thompson, Victor D. and Christopher R. Moore. 2015. The Sociality of Surplus among Late Archaic Hunter-gatherers of Coastal Georgia. In Surplus: The Politics of Production and Strategies of Everyday Life, edited by Christopher T. Morehart and Kristin De Lucia. pp. 245-266. University of Colorado Press, Bolder. 

Thompson, Victor D., and Thomas J. Pluckhahn. 2014. The Modification and Manipulation of Landscape at Fort Center. In Precolumbian Archaeology in Florida: New Approaches to the Appendicular Southeast, edited by Neill Wallis and Asa Randall, pp. 163-182. University Press of Florida, Gainesville. 

Pluckhahn, Thomas J., and Victor D. Thompson. 2014. Monumentality Beyond Scale: The Elaboration of Mounded Architecture at Crystal River. In Precolumbian Archaeology in Florida: New Approaches to the Appendicular Southeast, edited by Neill Wallis and Asa Randall, pp. 62-73. University Press of Florida, Gainesville. 

*Thompson, Victor D. 2014. What I Believe: Reflections on Historical and Political Ecology as Research Frameworks in Southeastern Archaeology. Southeastern Archaeology 33:246-254. 

Thompson, Victor D. 2014. Monumental Architecture, Households, and Archaeo-Geophysics in the American Southeast and Midwest. Introduction to special issue of the journal, Archaeological Prospection. 21(1): 1-3.  

Thompson, Victor D. William H. Marquardt, Karen J. Walker. 2014. A Remote Sensing Perspective on Shoreline Modification, Canal Construction, and Household Trajectories at Pineland along Florida’s Southwestern Gulf Coast. Archaeological Prospection 21(1):59-73. DOI: 10.1002/arp.1470 

Cherkinsky, Alexander, Thomas J. Pluckhahn, and Victor D. Thompson. 2014. Variation in Radiocarbon Age Determinations from the Crystal River Archaeological Site, Florida. Radiocarbon 56(2):801-810. DOI: 10.2458/56.16960