Tristram R. Kidder
Department of Anthropology
Washington University in St. Louis
Campus Box 1114
One Brookings Drive
St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
Major Field/Research Interests
Anthropological archaeology; paleoecology, paleoenvironmental reconstruction, climate change, geoarchaeology; the formation of hierarchical social systems, the emergence of social complexity, complex hunter-gatherer history, and historical ecology.
Research: What causes people to arrange themselves through time into increasingly complex forms of social organization? With graduate students and collaborators I explore these and related issues through several different projects in the eastern United States and in China.
Much of our work is focused in the realm of geoarchaeology and landscape archaeology. My own work emphasizes geomorphology in large river systems and the relationships between climate change, fluvial response, and human cultures. I also use geoarchaeological methods to study mound building. My lab group is interested in the complex interplay between climate, geology, history, and human agency, which lets us fit much of our research into the frameworks of landscape archaeology and historical ecology. As part of this work our research group conducts studies of the evolution and chronology of the Holocene Mississippi and Yellow Rivers using archaeological and geoarchaeological data.
We also do research on issues associated with "complexity." This takes two main forms. One, we are doing research on issues of hunter-gatherer complexity, especially at Poverty Point in Louisiana and Jaketown in Mississippi. The questions here are: what is the interplay of structure and practice in these societies that allowed them to create elaborate monumental earthworks or massive long-distance trade networks while lacking outward signs of hierarchy or stratification? A second area of interest is the construction of earthworks as materialized evidence of social organization and complexity. Work at Poverty Point and Jaketown is important but efforts at Cahokia and elsewhere are critical too.
Kidder, Tristram R., Lori M. Roe, and Timothy M. Schilling
2010 Early Woodland Settlement and Mound Building in the Upper Tensas Basin, Northeast Louisiana. Southeastern
Archaeology 26: 121-145.
Kidder, Tristram R.
2010 Trend, Tradition and Transition at the End of the Archaic. In Trend, Tradition, and Turmoil: What Happened to the
Southeastern Archaic? edited by D. H. Thomas and M. Sanger, pp. 23-32. Anthropological Papers. American Museum of
Natural History Vol. 89, pt. 2, New York.
2010 Hunter-Gatherer Ritual and Complexity: New Evidence from Poverty Point, Louisiana. In Ancient Complexities: New
Perspectives in Precolumbian North America, edited by S. Alt, pp. 32-51. University of Utah Press, Salt Lake.
2011 Transforming Hunter-Gatherer History at Poverty Point. In Hunter-Gatherer Archaeology as Historical Process, edited by
K. E. Sassaman and D. H. Holley, Jr., pp. 95-119. University of Arizona Press, Tucson.
Sherwood, Sarah C. and Tristram R. Kidder
2011 The DaVincis of Dirt: Geoarchaeological Perspectives on Native American Mound Building in the Mississippi River
Basin. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 30:69-87. doi:10.1016/j.jaa.2010.11.001.
Kidder, Tristram R., Haiwang Liu, and Minglin Li
2012 Sanyangzhuang: early farming and a Han settlement preserved beneath Yellow River flood deposits. Antiquity 86
Kidder, Tristram R.
2012 Poverty Point. In Oxford Handbook of North American Archaeology, edited by T. Pauketat, pp. 460-470. Oxford University
Press, New York.
Kidder, Tristram R. and Minglin Li
2012 三杨庄汉代遗址地学考古和古环境研究 [Geoarchaeological and Environmental Context of the Han Dynasty
Sanyangzhuang site]. In International Symposium on the Urban and Settlement Archaeology of the Han Dynasty and Han
Culture, edited by Hong Shi, pp. 123-136 (in Chinese). Science Press, Beijing.
Kidder, Tristram R., Haiwang Liu, Qinghai Xu, and Minglin Li
2012 The Alluvial Geoarchaeology of the Sanyangzhuang Site on the Yellow River Floodplain, Henan Province, China.
Geoarchaeology: An International Journal 27:324-343. doi: 10.1002/gea.21411.
Kidder, Tristram R.
2013 Observations about the Historical Ecology of Small-Scale Societies. In The Archaeology and Historical Ecology of Small
Scale Economies, edited by V. Thompson and J. Waggoner, pp. 176-183. University of Florida Press, Gainesville.
Geoarchaeology (L48 372)
Meltdown: Archaeology and Climate Change (L48 379)
The Archaeology of Social Complexity (L48 4791)
Archaeological Theory (L48 5053)